Title:
Card Viewing Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention is directed toward devices which all a person to view playing cards without having to actually pick up the cards themselves. There are two basic versions of the invention: a portable version which can be carried by the user, and an installed version which sits in a cavity cut out from a card playing table. Both versions have sides to prevent others from seeing the cards, a mirror to reflect the cards up onto the eyes of the user while the cards remain face down on the table, and a ramp, or means by which a user can pull cards from a table over the mirror. A number of accessory items can be added to the installed version, such as advertising gaskets between the rim of the device and the table, various LCD screens and control buttons displayed around the edges of the devices, and other such add-ons.



Inventors:
Willis, John Lindel (Waterford, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/367523
Publication Date:
06/11/2009
Filing Date:
02/08/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NICONOVICH, ALEXANDER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eric Hanscom / InterContinental IP (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Claims:
What I claim is:

1. A device for playing a game of cards: comprising a mirror, where the mirror has three or more sides and a reflective surface on at least one side, means to manually move one or more cards, where the one or more cards are in a face down position, over the mirror, such that a user of the invention can see a reflection of the one or more cards in the mirror, means to prevent others from viewing the reflection of the one or more cards in the mirror, and means to hold the mirror in a stationary position.

2. The device of claim 1, where the device is intended to be embedded into a card playing table, and where the means to manually move one or more cards is a flat, clear, piece of non-flexible material and the device additionally comprises one or more embeddable sides which are of a size, a shape, and a configuration to fit into a cavity, with one or more sides, which has been created in a table, and where the means to prevent others from viewing the reflection of the one or more cards in the mirror, is the one or more side of the cavity, which prevent the other players from seeing the reflection in the mirror, and means to hold the mirror in a stationary position is the one or more sides which are of a size, a shape, and a configuration to fit into a cavity.

3. The device of claim 2, where the one or more embeddable sides are in the shape of a circle, and the cavity is in the shape of a circle.

4. The device of claim 2, where the flat, clear, piece of non-flexible material additionally comprises a lip, which is an extension of the flat, clear, piece of non-flexible material which extends over the cavity, such that the device can rest on the lip.

5. The device of claim 4, where the lip additionally comprises one or more holes through which screws or other means of attachment can be placed to secure the device to the table.

6. The device of claim 4, where the device additionally comprises an advertising gasket, which is of a size and shape such that it fits under the lip and above the table, such that a user of the invention can view advertising material contained in the gasket.

7. The device of claim 4, where the device additionally comprises an LCD screen, upon which advertising material can be viewed.

8. The device of claim 4, where the device additionally comprises one or more buttons located on the lip, where the one or more buttons are electronically connected to one or more services provided by the owner of the card tables, said one or more services comprising food and beverages where the user of the invention can order food and beverages, and reserve a table for future food and beverages by activating the one or more buttons.

9. The device of claim 4, where the device additionally comprises one or more buttons located on the lip, where the one or more buttons are electronically connected to one or more services provided by the owner of the card tables, said one or more services comprising entertainment.

10. The device of claim 2, where the mirror is convex.

11. The device of claim 2, where the mirror is concave.

12. A device for viewing playing cards comprising a plug, where the plug fits into a hole cut into a table, where the plug comprises a cavity portion and an above table portion, where at least part of the cavity portion is enclosed by the table, where the above table portion comprises a lip and a clear ramp, where the lip prevents the plug from falling through the hole cut into the table, where the cavity portion comprises a side and a mirror, where the mirror is at an end of the plug opposite from that of the clear ramp.

13. The device of claim 12, where the side comprises a tab, where the tab comprises a screw hole, where the tab and corresponding screw hole can be used to secure the plug to the table.

14. The device of claim 12, where the side comprises a non-reflective material.

15. The device of claim 12, where the lip comprises a hole, where the hole is used to secure the plug to the table.

16. The device of claim 12, where the lip is an extended lip.

17. The device of claim 16, where the extended lip comprises a button.

18. The device of claim 16, where the extended lip comprises an LCD screen.

19. The device of claim 12, where the clear ramp is level with the table.

20. A device for viewing playing cards comprising a plug, where the plug fits into a hole cut into a table, where the plug comprises a cavity portion and an above table portion, where at least part of the cavity portion is enclosed by the table, where the above table portion comprises a lip and a clear ramp, where the lip prevents the plug from falling through the hole cut in the table, where the lip comprises a hole, where the hole is used to secure the plug to the table, where the cavity portion comprises a side and a mirror, where the mirror is at an end of the plug opposite from that of the clear ramp, where the side comprises a tab, where the tab comprises a screw hole, where the tab and corresponding screw hole can be used to secure the plug to the table, where the clear ramp is level with the table.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a Divisional Application of U.S. Ser. No. 11/766,765 filed on Jun. 22, 2007, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

This invention was not federally sponsored.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

This invention relates to the general field of card playing devices, and more specifically toward a device by which persons with physical challenges holding cards desiring to play a game of cards effectively move and view their cards without having to pick the cards up with their hands. By way of providing a quick summary, the invention has three basic components: a mirror by which the user can view his/her cards while keeping the cards face down on the table, side panels that hold the mirror below the surface of a gambling table and prevent others from seeing his/her cards, and a clear cover over which the cards can be pulled to position the cards for viewing in the mirror. In terms of structure, the invention is roughly an open-top container that fits into a hole or cavity cut into the surface of a gambling table. The container can be permanently or temporally affixed to the table by the manufacturer of the table or the gambling casino in which the table is used, or can be sold to individual gamblers as a portable version which can be carried by the user to different casinos for use on gambling tables with pre-existing holes or cavities. Both the portable and the installed versions nestle into holes in the table, thus the opaque surface of the gambling table prevents others from seeing the cards. The invention has a mirror to reflect the cards up onto the eyes of the user while the cards remain face down on the table, and a clear cover, or means by which a user can pull cards from a table over the mirror. The mirror can be flat, or can be made convex or concave to enlarge or shrink the image of the cards, or can even be manufactured to an eyeglass prescription, such that a near-sighted or far-sighted person requiring corrective lenses can use the invention without needing his or her glasses. The clear cover can also be manufactured to an eyeglass prescription to enhance a user's ease of viewing the cards. A number of accessory items can be added to the installed version, such as advertising gaskets between the rim of the device and the table, various LCD screens and control buttons displayed around the edges of the devices, and other such add-ons.

Playing cards appear to have originated around 1,000 years ago. Traditionally, card games are played by a “dealer” dealing out cards, face down, whereupon the players pick up their cards with their hands, and arrange the cards in one hand in a logical sequence. During each “round” of play, the players may take additional cards, depending on the particular card game being played, and/or remove cards from their hand.

People with some sort of physical challenge that prevents them from having full grasping abilities with their hands are at an obvious disadvantage playing cards, as some cannot hold their cards in their hands, and others do so only with great difficulty. Thus, a device which allows people who would like to play cards but cannot easily hold their cards in their hands is desirable.

The current invention provides just such a solution by providing a mirror, which reflects the cards, which are kept face down, in to the eyes of the user, a means of supporting the mirror in a hold or cavity built into a gambling table, such that the surface of the gambling table shields the cards from the prying eyes of other players, and a clear cover upon which the cards can be moved to position them optimally for the user to see. The invention is intended for use both as a portable card-viewing device which can be carried by (and owned by) the user, and a “commercial version” more appropriate for casinos and other commercial establishments which offer card games, where the installed version sits in a cavity cut out from a card playing table. Additional iterations of the invention allow for the mirror to be manufactured to a surface shape other than flat. A concave mirror would allow the user to see more cards spread out over a greater area; a convex mirror would enlarge the images of the cards directly above the mirror to provide the user with a better view of the cards in a game such as 21 where the player usually plays with a small number of cards. The mirror or the clear cover could also be made to conform to an eyeglass prescription such that a person who normally wears eyeglasses could play cards without the glasses. A number of accessory items can be added to the installed version, such as advertising gaskets between the rim of the device and the table, various LCD screens and control buttons displayed around the edges of the devices, and other such add-ons.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a principal object of the invention to provide a means by a which a person with less-than-average physical control over his/her hands and/or arms can participate in a game of cards.

It is another object of the invention to provide a device with a mirror, means to hide the cards, and a clear cover upon which the cards can be manually moved, such that a user of the invention need only be able to manually move one or more cards by hand, and does not have to pick up the cards in his or her hands.

It is an additional object of the invention that a user be able to carry his or her own personal device.

It is a further object of the invention that a commercially applicable device is available which a casino or other business with a large number of card playing tables is able to purchase and install into its tables.

An additional object of the invention is to provide a mirror which is concave, convex, or manufactured to an eyeglass prescription to provide a product which can be manufactured and sold in versions with several different mirror configurations, thereby providing more comfortable viewing surface for a wider variety of users.

It is also an object of this invention that additional accessories, such as advertising gaskets, LCD screens, text crawlers, buttons and dials by which a person can order drinks or make reservations, etc., can be added to the invention.

It is a final object of this invention that the cost of the main two versions of the invention be minor relative to the enjoyment a disabled or partially disabled person could have playing cards, and be substantially less than the revenue generated by a commercial card playing operation such as a casino that could cater to disable card players by installing the device in some or all of their card playing tables.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. The features listed herein and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description and appended claims. The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the portable iteration of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the portable view of the invention as placed on a card table.

FIG. 3 is perspective view of the portable iteration of the invention showing how the reflection of the cards is created by the angled ramp and mirror.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one of the fixed versions of the invention: the round plug.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another of the fixed versions of the invention: the square plug.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Many aspects of the invention can be better understood with references made to the drawings below. The components in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale. Instead, emphasis is placed upon clearly illustrating the components of the present invention. Moreover, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts through the several views in the drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the portable iteration of the invention. As discussed previously, there are two basic versions of the invention: a portable one that a card player can carry along with him or her, and a fixed version in which a plug is inserted into a hole created in a card table such that the invention rests in a removably fixed state. For the portable version, generally indicated by reference number 1, there are three basic parts. A clear ramp 3, which serves as a platform over which the cards can be pulled, a mirror 2 which reflects the bottom of the cards into the eyes of the user of the invention, and one or more sides 4, which hold the mirror 2 and ramp 3 at a predetermined angle at which viewing of the cards through the reflection in the mirror is optimized. Additional iterations of the invention allow for the mirror to be manufactured to a surface shape other than flat. A concave mirror would allow the user to see more cards spread out over a greater area; a convex mirror would enlarge the images of the cards directly above the mirror to provide the user with a better view of the cards in a game such as 21 where the player usually plays with a small number of cards. The mirror could also be made to conform to an eyeglass prescription such that a person who normally wears eyeglasses could play cards without the glasses.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the portable view of the invention as placed on a card table. A person 7 using the invention places the invention on a card table 5, such that the “narrow end” of the portable version 1 faces away from the person 7, and the “wide end” of the portable version 1 faces toward the person. The sides 4 hold the ramp 3 and mirror 2 apart such that one or more cards 8 can be pulled by the person 7 up the ramp 3 so that the reflection 6 of the cards 8 can be seen by the person 7. Because the sides 4 are opaque, other card players cannot see the cards 8 of the person 7. Because the person 7 only has to pull the cards 8 up the ramp 3, the person 7 can still participate in a game of cards even if he or she is challenged with respect to his or her manual dexterity.

FIG. 3 is perspective view of the portable iteration of the invention showing how the reflection of the cards is created by the angled ramp and mirror. The opaque sides 4 hold the mirror 2 and the ramp 3 at a predetermined angle, such that once the user of the invention pulls the cards 8 up the ramp 3, the reflection of the cards 8 shines off the mirror 2. Because of the angle between the mirror 2 and the ramp 3, there is no way that even if there is a crack of the ramp 3 visible underneath the cards 8, the reflection of the undersides of the cards 8 will not travel to other players.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one of the fixed versions of the invention: the round plug. The round plug 20 is designed to be placed into a found hole drilled, cut or manufactured into a card table. As opposed to the portable version illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, the fixed version is intended to be used by a casino or other commercial operation which features one or more tables dedicated to card playing. There are both round plugs and 4-sided plugs shown in the figures, but shapes other than circles, squares, and rectangles are contemplated to be of possible interest to potential users of the invention and are considered within the scope of this application. The round plug 20 has two basic components: a portion that sits above the level of the top of the card table and a portion that sits in the cavity. Above the card table, the round plug 20 has a lip 21, which serves to prevent the round plug 20 from falling down the cavity. The lip 21 has additional possible features, including a larger, more extended lip 21 that can cover an LCD or other screen which can display news, advertising, or other images. The lip 21 can also contain buttons a card player can push to order drinks, purchase tickets to shows, or make reservations at the casino for rooms and other items. The lip 21 can also have one or more holes 24 in it which allow for the rapid and efficient installation, replacement, and removal of the round plug 20. The round plug 20 has a side 22 forming an interior viewing area 25, which in the case of a round plug 20 is round, but elliptical and other shapes which are completely curving are contemplated, as well as semi-circles and other shapes which are partially curving and partially flat. On the side can be tabs 23, which can be used to secure the round plug 20 to the underside of the card table as well. The tabs 23 can be initially aligned in a vertical position, and upon insertion into the cavity, the tabs 23 can be bent into a horizontal position such that screws and other similar means of attachment can be used to attach the side 22 to the bottom of the card table. The tabs 23 can also be screw threads, such that a large bolt-like object can be screwed up against the bottom of the card table, thereby pulling down upon the lip 21 and securing the round plug 20 to the card table. Inside the round plug 20 and under the clear ramp 26 is a mirror, which reflects the undersides of cards pulled partially over the ramp into the eyes of the card player.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another of the fixed versions of the invention: the 4-sided plug. The 4-sided plug 40 shown here is a cut-away of a card table, which, in this figure, illustrates a rectangular cavity. The 4-sided plug 40 in this illustration is a rectangular plug with a lip 42, which allows the 4-sided plug 40 to rest upon the surface of the card table 5, a clear ramp 41, which allows a card player to view the undersides of cards (not shown in this figure) to reflect off the mirror (not shown in this figure), which is located below the ramp 41 in the 4-sided plug 40. The lip 42 can contain the same features as discussed with respect to FIG. 4.

It should be understood that while the preferred embodiments of the invention are described in some detail herein, the present disclosure is made by way of example only and that variations and changes thereto are possible without departing from the subject matter coming within the scope of the following claims, and a reasonable equivalency thereof, which claims I regard as my invention.

All of the material in this patent document is subject to copyright protection under the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in official governmental records but, otherwise, all other copyright rights whatsoever are reserved.