Title:
Link System and Playing Method of Card Game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A link system of the present invention is provided with: a plurality of game machines and a link controller. The plurality of game machines includes: a controller, which causes a display device to display player's cards and banker's cards for a player having accepted participation entry, based upon participation entry data stored in a memory, and then, executes a basic game. The link controller has a central controller. The central controller is operable to: determine the players' cards and banker's cards dealt in one of the plurality of game machines, and then, transmit a control signal to the plurality of game machines so as to execute the basic game while remaining cards excluding the banker's cards are used as the players' cards in each of the game machines with the banker's cards being in common among the plurality of game machines; determine a predetermined number of players as players participating in the link game, from among the players staying at the plurality of game machines, based upon the participation entry data from the memory; and determine a winner or loser, and then, pay out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of all players, which are displayed on a display device corresponding to each of the determined players, with hands of the common banker's cards, while in the link game.



Inventors:
Yoshizawa, Kazumasa (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/398741
Publication Date:
09/10/2009
Filing Date:
03/05/2009
Assignee:
Aruze Corp. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SUN, YU-HSI DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POLSINELLI PC / WATCHSTONE LLP (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A link system, comprising: a plurality of game machines for performing a card game; and a link controller synchronized with the plurality of game machines via a link, the link controller executing a predetermined link game in association with the card game performed by the plurality of game machines, the plurality of game machines including: a plurality of display devices provided corresponding to respective ones of a plurality of players; a plurality of input devices for accepting participation entry of each of the players; a memory for storing participation entry data which is indicative of participation entry by the input device; and a controller for executing a basic game while displaying players' cards and banker's cards on the display device for players having accepted participation entry based upon the participation entry data stored in the memory, wherein: the link controller has a central controller; and the central controller is operable to: determine the players' cards and banker's cards dealt in one of the plurality of game machines, and then, transmit a control signal to the plurality of game machines so as to execute the basic game while remaining cards excluding the banker's cards are used as the players' cards in each of the game machines, with the banker's cards being in common among the plurality of game machines; determine a predetermined number of players as players participating in the link game, from among the players staying at the plurality of game machines, based upon the participation entry data from the memory; and determine a winner or loser, and then, pay out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of all players, which are displayed on a display device corresponding to each of the determined players, with hands of the common banker's cards, while in the link game.

2. The link system according to claim 1, wherein: the central controller executes the link game in a case where the basic game is executed a predetermined number of times.

3. The link system according to claim 2, wherein: the link controller further comprises a memory for accumulatively storing a progressive value generated by means of a predetermined operation of each of the game machines; and the central controller performs a process of starting the link game on condition that the progressive value stored in the memory reaches a predetermined value.

4. A link system, comprising: a plurality of game machines for performing a card game; and a link controller synchronized with the plurality of game machines via a link, the link controller executing a predetermined link game in association with the card game performed by the plurality of game machines, the plurality of game machines including: a plurality of display devices provided corresponding to respective ones of a plurality of players; a plurality of input devices for accepting participation entry of each of the players; a memory for storing participation entry data which is indicative of participation entry by the input device; and a controller for executing a basic game while displaying players' cards and banker's cards on the display device for players having accepted participation entry based upon the participation entry data stored in the memory, wherein: the link controller has a central controller; and the central controller is operable to: determine the players' cards and banker's cards dealt in one of the plurality of game machines, and then, transmit a control signal to the plurality of game machines so as to execute the basic game while remaining cards excluding the banker's cards are used as the players' cards in each of the game machines with the banker's cards being in common among the plurality of game machines; execute the link game in a case where the basic game is executed a predetermined number of times; determine a predetermined number of players as players participating in the link game, from among the players staying at the plurality of game machines, based upon the participation entry data from the memory; and determine a winner or loser, and then, pay out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of all players, which are displayed on a display device corresponding to each of the determined players, with hands of the common banker's cards, while in the link game.

5. The link system according to claim 4, wherein: the link controller further comprises a memory for accumulatively storing a progressive value generated by means of a predetermined operation of each of the game machines; and the central controller performs a process of starting the link game on condition that the progressive value stored in the memory reaches a predetermined value.

6. A link system, comprising: a plurality of game machines for performing a card game; and a link controller synchronized with the plurality of game machines via a link, the link controller executing a predetermined link game in association with the card game performed by the plurality of game machines, the plurality of game machines including: a plurality of display devices provided corresponding to respective ones of a plurality of players; a plurality of input devices for accepting participation entry of each of the players; a memory for storing participation entry data which is indicative of participation entry by the input device; and a controller for executing a basic game while displaying players' cards and banker's cards on the display device for players having accepted participation entry based upon the participation entry data stored in the memory, wherein: the link controller has a central controller and a memory for accumulatively storing a progressive value generated by a predetermined operation of each of the game machines; and the central controller is operable to: determine the players' cards and banker's cards dealt in one of the plurality of game machines, and then, transmit a control signal to the plurality of game machines so as to execute the basic game while remaining cards excluding the banker's cards are used as the players' cards in each of the game machines with the banker's cards being in common among the plurality of game machines; perform a process of starting the link game on condition that the progressive value stored in the memory reaches a predetermined value; determine a predetermined number of players as players participating in the link game, from among the players staying at the plurality of game machines, based upon the participation entry data from the memory; and determine a winner or loser, and then, pay out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of all players, which are displayed on a display device corresponding to each of the determined players, with hands of the common banker's cards, while in the link game.

7. A card game playing method, comprising the steps of: (a) obtaining synchronization among a plurality of game machines; (b) accepting participation entry from a plurality of players who are playing at the plurality of game machines; (c) performing a basic game after dealing players' cards to players having accepted participation entry while remaining cards excluding banker's cards are used with the banker's cards being in common among the players having accepted the participation entry; (d) paying out a payment by comparing the players' cards with the banker's cards, while in the basic game; (e) determining a player who performs a link game, from among the players participating in the basic game; (f) performing the link game between the player determined in the step (e) and the banker; and (g) determining a winner or loser, and then, paying out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of the players that are determined to participate in the link game, with hands of the banker's cards, while in the link game.

8. The card game playing method according to claim 7, wherein: the step (e) comprises the step of performing the link game in a case where the basic game is performed a predetermined number of times.

9. The card game playing method according to claim 7, comprising the step of (g) accumulatively storing a progressive value generated by means of a predetermined operation of each of the game machines, wherein: in the step (e), the link game is started on condition that the progressive value reaches a predetermined value.

10. A card game playing method, comprising the steps of: (a) obtaining synchronization among a plurality of game machines; (b) accepting participation entry from a plurality of players who are playing at the plurality of game machines; (c) performing a basic game after dealing players' cards to players having accepted participation entry while remaining cards excluding banker's cards are used with the banker's cards being in common among the players having accepted the participation entry; (d) paying out a payment by comparing the players' cards with the banker's cards, while in the basic game; (e) determining a player who performs a link game, from among the players participating in the basic game; (f) performing the link game between the player determined in the step (e) and the banker in a case where the basic game is performed a predetermined number of times; and (g) determining a winner or loser, and then, paying out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of the players that are determined to participate in the link game, with hands of the banker's cards, while in the link game.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/034,641 filed on Mar. 7, 2008. The contents of this application are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a link system and a playing method of card games.

2. Description of the Related Art

Conventionally, table games such as poker or blackjack and baccarat are widely known which are performed by a plurality of players in gaming places such as Casinos. In recent years, a plenty of players have often enjoyed a variety of pokers such as a PAIGOW poker or a Caribbean Stud poker.

With the prevalence of gaming places and game arcades in recent years, game machines have been introduced which allow computers to take over a dealer in such games employing cards, such that players can casually enjoy the games as described above. In this game machine, the dealing of cards and the determination of what numbers or symbols of the dealt cards might be are executed by gaming machines executing programs. The players recognize what cards have been dealt by way of images of the cards displayed on the display devices such as liquid crystal displays, and perform game operation with the use of input devices. Such game machines are disclosed in US Published Patent Application No. 20070004512.

In addition, a game machine exists which is capable of accepting a side BET different from a normal BET. For example, in Blackjacks, in a case where one of the dealer's two cards, for example, a card “A” is faced up, the players can perform a side BET called “Insurance” in addition to a normal BET. In a case where “Insurance” is performed, the players can additionally make a first bet at half price. In a case where the dealer's hand is “Natural 21”, the amount of bet, which is twice of the side BET (insurance), is paid back.

In the Caribbean Stud poker, for example, a side BET is accumulatively stored as a progressive jackpot. The players can acquire all or part of the progressive jackpots in accordance with an established hand when performing a side BET in addition to an ante (a normal BET). Games for accepting the side BET are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,789,801, 5,711,525, and 6,874,786, for example.

Further, a game machine also exist which is capable of performing a PAIGOW poker. The rules of the PAIGOW poker are different from those of other pokers. First, seven cards are dealt to each of a plurality of persons consisting of a banker and players, and each of them divides the seven cards into a group of five cards and a group of two cards. The hands of five cards are compared with each other among the banker and the players. Similarly, the hands of two cards are compared with each other. The winner or loser of the game is determined only when at least one of the players has won in both of the above hands. The procedures for dividing the dealt cards into two groups exist, whereby the players are required to adopt a strategy different from those of other pokers, which becomes a kind of amusing attractiveness of the game. A link system is proposed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,068,553.

However, in these card game and game machine, in general, if gaming is performed in one group of cards (52 cards may include a joker), only a predetermined small number of players could be participate. In the PAIGOW poker, for example, seven cards are dealt to each person, and up to only seven persons including the dealer and the players could participate. Because of the limited space of the gaming places, further, not so many input devices could be installed corresponding to gaming tables. In view of this fact also, only a limited number of players can participate in the games performed on gaming tables. Therefore, a need exists for the advent of new methods of playing card games and game machines without any limitation to the number of participants in games.

The present invention has been made in view of the above-described problems. It is an object of the present invention to provide a method of playing card games and a game machine, having new entertainability, in which players can participate without a waiting time and which a large number of persons can use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A first aspect of the present invention is a link system, including: a plurality of game machines for performing a card game; and a link controller synchronized with the plurality of game machines via a link, the link controller executing a predetermined link game in association with the card game performed by the plurality of game machines, the plurality of game machines including: a plurality of display devices provided corresponding to respective ones of a plurality of players; a plurality of input devices for accepting participation entry of each of the players; a memory for storing participation entry data which is indicative of participation entry by the input device; and a controller for executing a basic game while displaying players' cards and banker's cards on the display device for players having accepted participation entry, based upon the participation entry data stored in the memory, wherein: the link controller has a central controller; and the central controller is operable to: determine the players' cards and banker's cards dealt in one of the plurality of game machines, and then, transmit a control signal to the plurality of game machines so as to execute the basic game while remaining cards excluding the banker's cards are used as the players' cards in each of the game machines, with the banker's cards being in common among the plurality of game machines; determine a predetermined number of players as players participating in the link game, from among the players staying at the plurality of game machines, based upon the participation entry data from the memory; and determine a winner or loser, and then, pay out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of all players, which are displayed on a display device corresponding to each of the determined players, with hands of the common banker's cards, while in the link game.

According to the first aspect of the present invention, players are given an opportunity to participate in a link game other than a basic game, and further, participation of more players can be accepted according to one game. Thus, as long as settings are provided so that a payment of the link game increases according to the number of participants, the players obtain the sense of anticipation that a high payment is paid out. Therefore, a link system with new entertainability can be provided.

A second aspect of the present invention is a link system of the first aspect, wherein the central controller executes the link game in a case where the basic game is executed a predetermined number of times.

According to the third aspect of the present invention, for example, players can generate a link game by oneself performing games a number of times. Thus, as long as the same games are continued, for example, the players anticipate that an opportunity of surely performing the link game takes place. Therefore, a link system with novel entertainability can be provided which is capable of maintaining the sense of anticipation.

A third aspect of the present invention is the link system of the second aspect, wherein: the link controller further includes a memory for accumulatively storing a progressive value generated by means of a predetermined operation of each of the game machines; and the central controller performs a process of starting the link game on condition that the progressive value stored in the memory reaches a predetermined value.

According to the present invention, since a timing of generating a link game is indefinite, for example, the players participate in games, thereby anticipating that an opportunity of obtaining a high payment by a surprise link game takes place. Therefore, a link system with novel entertainability can be provided which is capable of maintaining the sense of anticipation.

A fourth aspect of the present invention is a link system, including: a plurality of game machines for performing a card game; and a link controller synchronized with the plurality of game machines via a link, the link controller executing a predetermined link game in association with the card game performed by the plurality of game machines, the plurality of game machines including: a plurality of display devices provided corresponding to respective ones of a plurality of players; a plurality of input devices for accepting participation entry of each of the players; a memory for storing participation entry data which is indicative of participation entry by the input device; and a controller for executing a basic game while displaying players' cards and banker's cards on the display device for players having accepted participation entry based upon the participation entry data stored in the memory, wherein: the link controller has a central controller; and the central controller is operable to: determine the players' cards and banker's cards dealt in one of the plurality of game machines, and then, transmit a control signal to the plurality of game machines so as to execute the basic game while remaining cards excluding the banker's cards are used as the players' cards in each of the game machines, with the banker's cards being in common, among the plurality of game machines; execute the link game in a case where the basic game is performed a predetermined number of times; determine a predetermined number of players as players participating in the link game, from among the players staying at the plurality of game machines, based upon the participation entry data from the memory; and determine a winner or loser, and then, pay out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of all player, which are displayed on a display device corresponding to each of the determined players, with hands of the common banker's cards, while in the link game.

According to the fourth aspect of the present invention, the players are given an opportunity of participation in a link game other than a basic game, and participation of many players can be accepted according to one game. Thus, as long as settings are provided so that a payment of the link game increases according to the number of participants, for example, the players can obtain the sense of anticipation that a high payment is paid out. Therefore, a link system with novel entertainability can be provided. Further, a link game can be generated by performing games a predetermined number of times. As long as the same games are continued, the players anticipate that an opportunity of surely performing the link game takes place. Accordingly, a link system with new entertainability can be provided which is capable of maintaining the sense of anticipation.

A fifth aspect of the present invention is the link system of the fourth aspect, wherein: the link controller further comprises a memory for accumulatively storing a progressive value generated by means of a predetermined operation of each of the game machines; and the central controller starts the link game on condition that the progressive value stored in the memory reaches a predetermined value.

According to the fifth aspect of the present invention, for example, since a timing of generating a link game is indefinite, the players participate in games, thereby anticipating the fact that an opportunity of obtaining a high payment by a surprise link game takes place. Therefore, a link system can be provided which is capable of maintaining the sense of anticipation.

A sixth aspect of the present invention is a link system, including: a plurality of game machines for performing a card game; and a link controller synchronized with the plurality of game machines via a link, the link controller executing a predetermined link game in association with the card game performed by the plurality of game machines, the plurality of game machines including: a plurality of display devices provided corresponding to respective ones of a plurality of players; a plurality of input devices for accepting participation entry of each of the players; a memory for storing participation entry data which is indicative of participation entry by the input device; and a controller for executing a basic game while displaying players' cards and banker's cards on the display device for players having accepted participation entry based upon the participation entry data stored in the memory, wherein: the link controller has a central controller and a memory for accumulatively storing a progressive value generated by a predetermined operation of each of the game machines; and the central controller is operable to: determine the players' cards and banker's cards dealt in one of the plurality of game machines, and then, transmit a control signal to the plurality of game machines so as to execute the basic game while remaining cards excluding the banker's cards are used as the players' cards in each of the game machines with the banker's cards being in common among the plurality of game machines; perform a process of starting the link game on condition that the progressive value stored in the memory reaches a predetermined value; determine a predetermined number of players as players participating in the link game, from among the players staying at the plurality of game machines, based upon the participation entry data from the memory; and determine a winner or loser, and then, pay out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of all players, which are displayed on a display device corresponding to each of the determined players, with hands of the common banker's cards, while in the link game.

According to the sixth aspect of the present invention, players are given an opportunity of participation in a link game other than a basic game, and participation of a plenty of players can be accepted according to one game. Thus, as long as settings are provided so that a payment of the link game increases according to the number of participants, for example, the players anticipate that an opportunity of surely performing the link game takes place. Therefore, a link system with novel entertainability can be provided. Further, the players can generate a link game by performing games a predetermined number of times. Accordingly, a link system can be provided such that, as long as the players continue the same games, they anticipate that an opportunity of surely performing the link game takes place, thus making it possible to maintain the sense of anticipation. Further, since a timing of generating a link game is indefinite, for example, the players participate in the games, thereby anticipating that an opportunity of obtaining a high payment by a surprise link game. Therefore, a link system with novel entertainability can be provided which is capable of maintaining the sense of anticipation.

A seventh aspect of the present invention is a card game playing method, including the steps of: (a) obtaining synchronization among a plurality of game machines; (b) accepting participation entry from a plurality of players who are playing at the plurality of game machines; (c) performing a basic game after dealing players' cards to players having accepted participation entry while remaining cards excluding banker's cards are used with the banker's cards being in common among the players having accepted the participation entry; (d) paying out a payment by comparing the players' cards with the banker's cards, while in the basic game; (e) determining a player who performs a link game, from among the players participating in the basic game; (f) performing the link game between the player determined in the step (e) and the banker; and (g) determining a winner or loser, and then, paying out a payment, by comparing hands of players' cards of the players that are determined to participate in the link game, with hands of the banker's cards, while in the link game.

An eighth aspect of the present invention is the card game playing method of the seventh aspect, wherein the step (e) comprises the step of performing the link game in a case where the basic game is performed a predetermined number of times.

A ninth aspect of the present invention is the card game playing method of the eighth aspect, including the step of (g) accumulatively storing a progressive value generated by means of a predetermined operation of each of the game machines, wherein: in the step (e), the link game is started on condition that the progressive value reaches a predetermined value.

A tenth aspect of the present invention is a card game playing method, including the steps of: (a) obtaining synchronization among a plurality of game machines; (b) accepting participation entry from a plurality of players who are playing at the plurality of game machines; (c) performing a basic game after dealing players' cards to players having accepted participation entry while remaining cards excluding banker's cards are used with the banker's cards being in common among the players having accepted the participation entry; (d) paying out a payment by comparing the players' cards with the banker's cards, while in the basic game; (e) determining a player who performs a link game, from among the players participating in the basic game; (f) performing the link game between the player determined in the step (e) and the banker in a case where the basic game is performed a predetermined number of times; and (g) determining a winner or loser, and then, paying out a payment by comparing hands of players' cards of the players that are determined to participate in the link game, with hands of the banker's cards, while in the link game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view showing an exemplary image displayed on a front panel display, while in a link game, according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a view showing an entire configuration of a link system according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a correlative view showing a relationship of card sets used in a game machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view schematically depicting the game machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing an exemplary image displayed on the front panel display in the game machine shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a view showing an exemplary image displayed on the front panel display included in the game machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 7 is a view showing an exemplary image displayed on a liquid crystal display included in each of stations according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 8A is a block diagram depicting an internal configuration of a link controller;

FIG. 8B is a block diagram depicting an internal configuration of each of the stations included in the game machine shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 9 is a block diagram depicting an internal configuration of each of the stations included in the game machine shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 10A is a view showing an exemplary image displayed on a liquid crystal display included in each of the stations, while in a side game, according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 10B is a view showing an exemplary image displayed on a liquid crystal display included in each of the stations, while in a side game, according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing link controller processing executed in a CPU, of the link controller, according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing main control unit processing executed at a main control unit included in the game machine according to the present embodiment; and

FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of station processing executed in each of the stations, according to the present embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, a game machine 1 according to the present embodiment will be described in detail with referring to the drawings. In the embodiments that follow, when a PAIGOW poker is performed, in a case where entry has been made such that seven or more persons (exceeding a predetermined number of players) participate in the poker, cards are dealt to the players while a second card set is used. A game performed apart from a regular PAIGOW poker is defined as a side game.

First, the rules of the PAIGOW poker will be described in detail. In the PAIGOW poker of the present embodiment, one or more players complete against a banker with the use of one set of 52 trump cards (playing cards) excluding a joker.

Seven cards are dealt to each of the persons consisting of a banker and the players. Each of them divides seven cards into two groups of five cards and of two cards. At this time, a hand of five cards (a high hand) must be as strong as or must be stronger than that of two cards (a low hand).

Next, it is judged as to which one of the players' hands is strong or weak after comparing the five cards of each of the banker's and players' hands with each other. Similarly, it is judged as to which one of the players' hands is strong or weak after comparing the two cards of each of the banker's and players' hands with each other. In a case where the banker's hands are stronger in both of the two groups of five and two cards, it is judged to be the banker's win. In a case where one of the players' hands is stronger in both of the two groups of five and two cards, it is judged to be the player's win. In a case where the player's hands are stronger in one of the two groups consisting of five cards and two cards, and the banker's hand is stronger in the other one, it is judged to be “draw”. In addition, in a case where the player's hand and the banker's hand are identical to each other in strength with respect to both of the two groups of five and two cards, it is judged to be the banker's win.

The hands of five cards include “Royal Flush”, “Straight Flush”, “Four of a Kind”, “Full House”, “Straight”, “Three of a Kind”, “Two of a Kind”, and “No Pair” in order of strength. The hands of two cards include “One Pair” and “No Pair” in order of strength.

In addition, in a case where the player's and banker's hands are identical to each other, it is judged as to which one of the players' hands is strong or weak after comparing the numbers or alphabets drawn in cards constituting the hands with each other. The card's numbers and alphabets include “A”, “K”, “Q”, “J”, “10”, “9”, “8”, “7”, “6”, “5”,“4”, “3”, and “2” in sequential order from the strongest combination of the five cards.

In the embodiments that follow, a PAIGOW poker accepting a normal BET and a side BET is executed. The normal BET is to be performed for the play of the PAIGOW poker, and the side BET is stored in an accumulative manner as a jackpot (hereinafter, referred to as a JP) at a predetermined rate included in a betted currency value (50% in the embodiments of the present invention). The following embodiments describe a case in which a dealer takes over a banker.

First, essential parts of a link system according to the present embodiment will be described. FIG. 1 is a view showing an exemplary image displayed on a front panel display, while in a link game, according to the embodiment. FIG. 2 is a view showing an entire configuration of the link system according to the embodiment.

A link system 100 is provided with: a plurality of game machines 1a to 1x, for performing card games; and a link controller 150 synchronized via a link 160 with the plurality of game machines 1a to 1x; the link controller executing predetermined link games in association with the card games executed in the plurality of game machines 1a to 1x. The link controller 150 is connected to, and is synchronized with, the plurality of game machines 1a to 1x for performing card games, via the link 160. Further, the link controller 150 executes link games in association with the card games. A CPU151 of the link controller 150 mentioned later starts games, based upon start information from the plurality of game machines 1a to 1x having accepted participation of players. Here, the link games executed by means of the link system 100 include a progressive bonus game, for example.

Next, the CPU151 of the link controller deals players' cards and banker's cards at one of the plurality of game machines 1a to 1x. Here, one of the determined game machines is assumed to be a game machine 1a. Next, among the plurality of game machines 1b to 1x other than the determined game machine 1a as well, a control signal is transmitted thereto, whereas a set of the remaining cards excluding the banker's cards is used as that of the players' cards, so that the banker's cards are used in common. Each of the game machines 1b to 1x performs a predetermined basic game, by determining and dealing the players' cards of the game machines 1b to 1x, based upon the set of the remaining cards excluding the banker's cards.

Further, the CPU151 determines a predetermined number of players participating in a link game from among those staying at the plurality of game machine 1a to 1x, based upon participation entry data. Then, this CPU causes a display device corresponding to each of the determined players to display cards; determines a winner or loser in comparison with the banker's cards; and then, pays out a payment.

As shown in FIG. 1, while in a link game, a link game display 74 is displayed upwardly of the screen of a front panel display 21 in each of the game machines 1a to 1x corresponding to the determined players. The banker's cards 71 determined by means of the CPU151 of the link controller 150 are displayed at the lower side of the above screen. At the lower side thereof, further, player number displays 72a to 72j, which are indicative of the determined players and images of the players' cards, are displayed. These displays and images are displayed to be arranged in two columns and three rows so that they are readily visible.

Here, a combination of the banker's cards is realized as “One Pair” of “3s”; that of the player 72a is realized as “One Pair” of “10s”; that of the player 72c is realized as “Straight Flush”; that of the player 72e is realized as “No Pair”; that of the player 72g is realized as “Four of a Kind” of “Qs”; that of the player 72h is realized as “No Pair”; that of the player 72j is realized as “No Pair”.

The player 72c, who won against the combination of the banker's and realized the highest combination from among those of other players, is eligible as a winner, and a winner-loser result display 78a, which is indicative of the result, is displayed. After that, a payment of this link game is paid out to the player 72c.

Further, the CPU151 of the link controller 150 may execute a link game in a case where a predetermined number of basic games are performed. Furthermore, the link controller 150 may be provided with a memory for accumulatively storing a progressive value generated by a predetermined operation of each of the game machines 1, and the CPU151 may start the link game on condition that the progressive value has reached a predetermined value.

FIG. 3 is a correlative view showing a relationship of card sets used in the game machines 1a to 1x according to the embodiment. Here, the link controller 150 determines the banker's cards, and then, the game machines 1a to 1x receive control signals so that the above banker's cards are identical to those of the link controller 150. The banker and the plurality of players perform the playing method of card games. In these games, a description will be furnished as to a case in which the predetermined number of players is 6, whereas seven players actually participate.

As shown in FIG. 3, first, the banker starts a game after accepting participation of the players. From a first card set (one card set) consisting of plural kinds of cards used in these games, the banker deals seven cards, as player's cards 72, to the players having accepted participation, and deals seven cards as banker's cards to the banker.

Next, from a second card set consisting of cards identical to those of the first card set, the banker deals seven player's cards to a seventh player having accepted participation, from among those excluding the banker's cards dealt based upon the first card set.

Next, the player divides the dealt player's cards 72 into two sets of cards. Similarly, the banker divides the dealt banker's cards into two sets of cards. Then, high hands of seven players' cards are compared with that of the banker's cards, and then, low hands of the seven players' cards are compared with that of the banker's cards, thereby determining a winner or loser.

In this manner, the banker and players can perform games while the banker's cards are used in common, and seven players can participate in the games, although it has been impossible for such many players to do so. Namely, no limitation applies to the number of players who can participate therein.

In a side game as well, similarly, the game machines 1a to 1x are linked with each other, and the banker's cards of all of the game machines 1a to 1x are commonly used, thereby allowing a large number of players to participate therein.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view schematically depicting an appearance and a configuration of a game machine according to a first embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 4, the game machine 1 is basically made up of a main monitor 2 and ten stations 3 (stations 3a to 3j). While the present embodiment describes in detail a case in which the game machine 1 is provided with a plurality of stations 3 (ten stations), the game machine may include over ten stations in the present invention or may be less than ten stations.

A front panel display 21 is provided at the center part of a main monitor 2, and an image indicative of a dealer and cards is displayed. The front panel display 21 is equivalent to a display device of the present invention. In addition, provided at the upper side of the main monitor 2 are: a speaker 22 for outputting music or effect sounds in accordance with the progress of a game executed by the game machine 1; and an LED23 that is lit at the time of various effects.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view schematically depicting an appearance and a configuration of stations 3 included in the game machine shown in FIG. 4. As shown in FIG. 5, a liquid crystal display 10, which displays an image or the like relating to operation (see FIG. 6), as described later, is provided at the upper center of a station 3. In addition, a touch panel 11 for inputting operations such as BET is provided on the upper face of the liquid crystal display 10. The touch panel 11 is equivalent to a normal BET switch, a side BET switch, and an input switch, of the present invention.

An operational button 12 for making payout operation and a coin insertion slot 13 for inserting coins or medals are provided in front of the liquid crystal display 10. A bill insertion slot 14 for inserting bills is provided at the front top right end of the station 3. Provided downwardly of the bill insertion slot 14 is a coin payout opening 15 through which the coins or medals corresponding to stored credit are paid out to the players when payout operation is made.

FIG. 6 is a view showing an exemplary image displayed on a front panel display included in a game machine. As shown in FIG. 6, the front panel display 21 displays a dealer image 30 indicative of a dealer (banker), a table image 31 indicative of a table, and a card image 32 indicative of seven banker's cards. The card image 32 is displayed in a faced down manner when cards are dealt to the dealer. When a high hand and a low hand are determined, the card image 32 is displayed in a faced up manner. In FIG. 6, the left five cards toward the dealer indicate a high hand, and the right two cards indicate a low hand.

FIG. 7 is a view showing an exemplary image displayed on a liquid crystal display included in stations. As shown in FIG. 7, a high hand display section 80, which displays a player's high hand, and a low hand display section 81, which displays a low hand, are provided at the upper side of the liquid crystal display 10. The high hand display section 80 and the low hand display section 81 display card images 82 indicative of a high hand card and a low hand card, respectively, in a faced up manner.

A dealt-card display section 83 is provided at the lower side of the high hand display section 80. A card image, which is indicative of the seven player's cards dealt to each of the players, is displayed in a faced up manner at seven portions enclosed by the dotted line of the dealt-card display section 83. A high hand determination button 84 and a low hand determination button 85, for determining cards constituting a high hand and a low hand, are provided at the right side of the dealt-card display section 83. A player can determine a high hand by selecting a card desired to be high hand, via a touch panel 11, from among the cards displayed at the dealt-card display section 83, and then, operating the high hand determination button 84. The card determined to be a high hand is displayed at the high hand display section 80. Similarly, the player determines a low hand by selecting a card desired to be a low hand, via the touch panel 11, from among the cards displayed at the dealt-card display section 83, followed by operating a low hand determination button 85 via the touch panel 11.

A BET button display section 86 is provided at the lower side of the dealt-card display section 83. The BET button display section 86 displays a BET button 87 for inputting a BET number. The player can input a normal BET number and a side BET number by operating a BET button 87 via the touch panel 11.

A normal BET number display section 88, which displays the number of normally betted coins, is provided at the right side of the BET button display section 86. It is shown here that 28 coins have been betted. In a case where betting of these 28 coins is input, the player may operate “10” of the BET button 87 twice, “5” of the BET button 87 once, and “1” of the BET button 87 three times.

A side BET number display section 89, which displays the number of side-betted coins, is provided at the right side of a normal BET number display section 88. It is shown here that 10 coins have been betted. A credit number display section 90 is provided at the right side of the side BET number display section 89. In the figure, it is shown here that 500 coins have been credited. Next, the link controller 150 will be described in detail with referring to FIG. 8A. FIG. 8A is a block diagram depicting an internal configuration of the link controller 150. As shown in the figure, the link controller 150 is provided with: a CPU151, which is a control unit; a ROM152; a RAM153, which is provided as one exemplary storage unit; and a communication interface 154.

The CPU151 executes processing operations required for a link game, based upon information received from the game machine, the information being stored in the RAM153. Further, this CPU performs equipment control which is required for conducting of the link game. Here, the CPU151 is equivalent to a central controller included in the link controller 150.

The ROM152 stores in advance program data or the like, for controlling equipment. The above described programs include program data or the like for performing processing of link games. In addition, this ROM stores a variety of tables or the like referenced by the CPU 151.

The RAM153 temporarily stores data transmitted from the game machine 1 or data indicative of a computation result or a processing result obtained by the CPU151. A work area or the like used for a variety of computation processes performed by the CPU151 is formed. The data stored in the RAM153 contains an accumulatively stored progressive value, participating-players information, and banker's cards information, for example.

The ROM152 and the RAM153 or the like are connected to the CPU151, and has a function of executing a variety of processing operations in accordance with the programs stored in the ROM152. Further, the CPU151 performs output processing such as creating target data, with the use of the program data read from the ROM152 and the data contained in the RAM153.

The communication interface 154 is intended for the CPU151 to perform reception from the game machine 1 via a link. Further, this interface is also intended to transmit to the game machine 1 the data or the like processed by means of the CPU151 mentioned above.

FIG. 8B is a block diagram depicting an internal configuration of a game machine 1 shown in FIG. 4. As shown in FIG. 8B, a main control unit 40 included in the game machine 1 is basically constituted while microcomputers 45 made up of a CPU41 (controller), a RAM42 (memory), a ROM43 (memory), a timer 95, and a bus 44 for transferring data therebetween are employed as a base. The CPU41 of the main control unit 40 is equivalent to a controller in the present invention. The CPU41 controls equipment such as the front panel display 21, the stations 3, the RAM42, and the ROM43, which were connected in order to conduct a game, and then, conducts games. The CPU41 is connected, via an I/O interface 46, to an image processing circuit 47, a voice circuit 48, an LED driving circuit 49, and a communication interface 50.

The ROM43 stores a variety of programs or data tables and the like, for performing processing required for controlling the game machine 1.

A RAM42 is a memory for temporarily storing a variety of data computed by the CPU41. The variety of data includes: a plurality of card set data; and a payment data table based upon the number of players having accepted entry of participation by means of the input device and combinations. Further, the timer 95 performs time measurement.

A front panel display 21 constituting a main monitor 2 is connected to an image processing circuit 47; a speaker 22 constituting the main monitor 2 is connected to a voice circuit 48; and an LED23 constituting the main monitor 2 is connected to an LED driving circuit 49. To the communication interface 50, ten stations 3 are connected, whereas the link controller 150 is connected via a link.

The CPU41 conducts: game programs (including a PAIGOW game program and a side game program) stored in the ROM43; and games (a PAIGOW game and a side game) at the game machine 1, based upon a variety of signals received from stations 3. Further, the CPU41 causes the front panel display 21 to display an image, based upon the aforementioned game programs; outputs a sound from the speaker 22; and then, illuminates the LED23. Furthermore, the CPU41 transmits a variety of signals to each of the stations 3, based upon the aforementioned game programs.

FIG. 9 is a block diagram depicting an internal configuration of each of the stations 3 included in the game machine 1 shown in FIG. 4. As shown in FIG. 9, each of the stations 3 is constituted while micro-computers 55 comprised of a CPU51, a RAM52, a ROM53, and a bus 54 for transferring data therebetween is employed as a base. The stations 3 are equivalent to a plurality of input devices accepting entry of participation of players.

The CPU51 is connected via an I/O interface 56 to a liquid crystal panel driving circuit 57, a touch panel driving circuit 58, a hopper driving circuit 59, a payout completion signal circuit 60, an inserted-coin detection signal circuit 67, a bill detection signal circuit 64, an operational signal circuit 66, a communication interface 61. This CPU51 is also is connected via link to a communication interface 151 (communication I/F).

The ROM53 stores a variety of programs or data tables and the like, for performing processing required for controlling the station 3.

The RAM52 temporarily stores the credit amount that is currently accumulated in the stations 3 and a variety of data computed by means of the CPU51. The RAM52 is equivalent to a memory for storing participation entry data which is indicative of the fact that participation entry has been accepted by the input device.

The liquid crystal display 10 is connected to the liquid crystal panel driving circuit 57; the touch panel 11 is connected to the touch panel driving circuit 58; a hopper 62 is connected to a hopper driving circuit 59; a coin detecting section 63 is connected to the payout complete signal circuit 60; an inserted-coin detecting section 68 is connected to the inserted-coin detection signal circuit 67; a bill detecting section 65 is connected to the bill detection signal circuit 64; and the operational button 12 is connected to the operation signal circuit 66, respectively. A plurality of liquid crystal displays 10 is equivalent to those provided corresponding to respective ones of the plurality of players.

The hopper 62 is provided inside of the station 3 and serves to pay out coins from the coin payout opening 15, based upon a control signal output from the CPU51. The coin detecting section 63 is provided inside the coin payout opening 15, and transmits signals to the CPU51 in a case where it is detected that a predetermined number of coins have been paid out from the coin payout opening 15.

Upon detecting that coins have been inserted through the coin insertion slot 13, the inserted-coin detecting section 68 detects the amount of the detected coins, and then, transmits to the CPU51 a detection signal indicative of the detected amount. The detected coins are stored in the RAM52 while a predetermined amount is handled as one credit.

At the time of acceptance of bills, the bill detecting section 65 detects the amount of the accepted bills, and then, transmits to the CPU51 a detection signal indicating the detected amount. The detected bills are stored in the RAM52 while the predetermined amount is handled as one credit. The operation button 12 is intended for performing payout operation in a case where coin payout has been determined.

FIG. 10A is a view showing an exemplary image displayed on a liquid crystal display in a link game according to the present embodiment.

In a link system 100, a link controller 150 is synchronized via a link 160 with a plurality of game machines 1a to 1x for performing card games. Then, the link controller 150 executes link games in association with the card games. A CPU151 of the link controller 150 starts games, based upon start information from the plurality of game machines 1 having accepted participation of players.

Next, the CPU151 of the link controller 150 deals a set of player's cards and banker's cards in one of the plurality of the game machines 1a to 1x. Here, one game machine is defined as the game machine 1a. Further, the CPU151 of the link controller 150 transmits a control signal to a plurality of game machines 1b to 1x other than one game machine 1a so that the banker's cards are commonly used between the plurality of game machines 1b to 1x other than one game machine 1a. The game machines 1b to 1x determine and deal the players' cards thereof, based upon a set of the remaining cards excluding the banker's cards, thereby performing predetermined basic games, respectively.

Further, the CPU151 of the link controller 150 determines a predetermined number of players participating in the link games performed by the plurality of game machines 1a to 1x. The CPU151 of the link controller 150 executes processing so as to display images on the display devices corresponding to the determined players. Further, this CPU determines a winner or loser in comparison with the banker's cards, and then, performs control so as to pay out a payment.

As shown in FIG. 10A, when a link game is started, at first, a link game display 74 is displayed upwardly of the screen of the liquid crystal display 10 in each of the game machines 1a to 1x corresponding to the determined players. An image indicative of the player's cards 76 of each of the determined players is displayed at the lower card display section 75 of the screen in a faced down state. Five banker's cards and five player's cards in the link game are employed in this example.

Next, as shown in FIG. 10B, the player's cards 72c are disclosed at a predetermined timing. The cards are displayed on the front panel display 21 (see FIG. 1) and the liquid crystal display. Here, the player's cards 76 are also displayed on the front panel display (see FIG. 1).

In this link game, a combination of the banker's cards is realized as “One Pair of 3s”; that of the player 72a is realized as “One Pair of 10s”; that of the player 72c is realized as “Straight Flush”; that of the player 72e is realized as “No Pair”; that of the player 72g is realized as “Four of a Kind” of “Queen”; that of the player 72h is realized as “No Pair”; and that of the player 72j is realized as “No Pair” (see FIG. 1). The player's cards of FIG. 10B are defined as 72c throughout the specification.

Among the players who have won against the banker's combination, the combination of one player 72c is the strongest (“Straight Flush”). Thus, this player wins this side game. The corresponding winner-loser result display 78a, which is indicative of the side game result (“You Win”), is displayed to be superimposed on the card image of the player 72c. Then, the player 72c is given a payment of this link game. Further, the winner-loser result display 78a (“You Win”) is also displayed on the liquid crystal display. A BET button display section 86 is provided at the lower side of the link game dealt-card display section 75.

Further, in another embodiment, the CPU151 of the link controller 150 executes link games in a case where basic games are performed by the predetermined number of times. In the present embodiment, further, the RAM153 of the link controller 150 accumulatively stores the progressive value generated by means of the side BET of each of the game machines 1a to 1x (by means of predetermined operation). The CPU151 starts link games on condition that the predetermined progressive value has been reached.

Next, processing operations performed at the link controller 150, the main control unit 40, and the stations 3 will be described in detail with referring to FIG. 11. FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing the processing operation performed at the central controller included in the link controller 150.

First, the processing performed at the link controller 150 will be described in detail. Here, the CPU151 conducts link games, and then, controls equipment required for the link games, based upon information contained in the RAM153, in accordance with programs contained in the ROM152.

First, the CPU151 of the link controller 150 performs start signal reception processing (step S1). In this processing operation, the CPU151 receives participation entry data from the main control unit. This data is inclusive of the number of games, player participation information, and identification information or the like of the game machine 1.

Next, at step S2, the CPU151 performs BET information reception processing. In this processing operation, the CPU151 receives BET information from the game machine 1.

Next, at step S3, the CPU151 performs JP accumulation processing. In this processing operation, the CPU151 accumulatively stores the predetermined currency value, based upon the BET information. Namely, the RAM153 accumulatively stores the progressive values generated by means of the predetermined operation of each of the game machines 1.

Next, at step S4, it is judged whether or not a predetermined condition for generating link games is met. In this processing operation, the CPU151 judges whether or not the predetermined condition for performing the link games is met based upon the information stored in the RAM. Where the judgment result is affirmative, the routine proceeds to step S5. Otherwise, this CPU151 terminates this link control processing. The predetermined condition includes, for example, determining that a link game is performed in a case where games are performed a predetermined number of times (for example, 10 times), based upon the number of games received at the step S1. In another example, at the step S3, processing is performed in a case where the accumulatively stored value (progressive value) exceeds the predetermined value (for example, 10,000).

Next, at step S5, the CPU151 performs processing of information for determining players participating in a link game. The CPU151 randomly determines participating players, based upon the information received at step S2. The CPU151 determines a predetermined number of players participating in the link game, from among those staying at the plurality of game machines 1, based upon the information stored in the RAM153. The participating players are randomly determined, for example.

Next, at step S6, the CPU151 transmits information for determining players participating in link games. Here, the CPU151 transmits to the game machine 1 the information for determining the players participating in link games. Namely, the CPU151 transmits to the game machine 1 the fact that the participating players are selected for the link games.

Next, at step S7, the CPU151 performs banker's cards determination processing. In this processing operation, the CPU151 determines the banker's cards employed in common in each of the game machines 1.

Next, at step S8, the CPU151 transmits banker's cards information. In this processing operation, the CPU151 transmits to each of the game machines 1 the banker's cards information that was determined at step S7. Among the plurality of game machines 1, while the banker's cards are used in common, the remaining cards excluding the banker's cards are used as the player's cards in each of the game machines 1. Then, a control signal is transmitted to the plurality of game machines 1 connected via a link so as to execute a basic game described later.

Next, at step S9, the CPU151 performs processing of receiving information for selecting hands of the players participating in link games. In this processing operation, the CPU 151 receives from the game machine 1 the information pertinent to the hands of the players participating in link games.

Next, at step S10, the CPU 151 performs link game winner-loser determination processing. In this processing operation, the CPU151 determines a winner or loser by comparing the hands of all players' cards, which were displayed on the display devices corresponding to the players, with those of the banker's cards. Further, this CPU determines awarding a payment to the one that realized the highest combination among the players having won against the banker.

Next, at step S11, the CPU151 performs processing of transmitting link progressive (JP) payout information. In this processing operation, the CPU151 transmits to the game machine 1 the determined winner-loser information at step S10, information for paying out a payment to the determined players, and information pertinent to a value of the payment.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing main control unit processing executed at the main control unit of the game machine 1 according to the present embodiment.

As shown in FIG. 12, in the above processing operation, at first, the CPU41 of the main control unit 40 transmits and receives a start signal (step S101). Specifically, the CPU41 receives a start signal from any of stations 3. The start signal serves as a trigger for conducting the PAIGOW poker game in the game machine 1. Further, the above-mentioned start signal is transmitted to a central controller.

Next, the CPU41 transmits and receives BET information (step S102). In this processing operation, the CPU41 receives BET information from the stations 3 (see FIG. 4). The BET information is pertinent to BET, and is inclusive of information which is indicative of whether or not a normal BET and a side BET have been performed or information which is indicative of the amounts of the normal BET and side BET. Further, the CPU41 transmits the BET information to the central controller.

Next, the CPU41 executes JP accumulation processing (step S103). Specifically, the CPU41 accumulatively stores, in the RAM42 (see FIG. 8B), 50% of the side-betted credit as JP, based upon the received BET information at step S102.

Next, the CPU41 executes dealt-card determination processing (step S104). In this processing operation, the CPU41 randomly determines, from one card set, seven cards dealt to each of the persons consisting of the players and banker, based upon a link control signal received from the link controller 150. The seven cards determined to be dealt to each of the players at step S104 are equivalent to the player's cards, and the seven cards determined to be dealt to the banker are equivalent to the banker's cards. Here, in a case where the number of players exceeds the predetermined value, this CPU performs processing of dealing players' cards to players having participated in excess of the predetermined value while the banker's cards are excluded from another card set consisting of a plurality of kinds similar to the above-mentioned one card set. The remaining cards excluding the banker's cards in each of the game machines while the banker's cards are used in common are determined as the player's cards. Further, the front panel display 21 included in the game machine 1 (see FIG. 4) displays a card image which is indicative of the fact that seven banker's cards are arranged in a faced down state.

Next, the CPU41 transmits dealt-card information (step S105). Specifically, the CPU41 transmits the dealt-card information to a station 3. The dealt-card information includes information indicative of types of cards (the number or letter and suite (heart, club, spade, and diamond)) determined to be dealt to the players and the banker. At the station 3, based upon the received dealt-card information, the liquid crystal display 10 displays card images indicative of seven player's cards, and then, accepts entry for dividing the images into a group of five cards (high hand) and a group of two cards (low hand).

Next, the CPU41 receives selection information from the station 3 (step S106). The selection information indicates which one of the cards dealt to the players has been selected as a high hand, and which one of the cards have been selected as a low hand.

Next, the CPU41 executes processing of determining a banker's high hand and low hand (step S 107). In this processing operation, the CPU41 executes processing of dividing the cards dealt to the banker into a high hand and a low hand.

Next, the CPU41 discloses cards (step S108). Specifically, the CPU41 displays in a faced up manner on the front panel display 21 the card images indicative of the high hand and the low hand determined at the step S106.

Next, the CPU41 performs winner-loser determination processing (step S109). In this processing operation, the CPU41 executes processing of determining a winner or loser, based upon the selection information received at the step S106 and the high hand and the low hand determined at step S107. Specifically, it is judged as to which one of the players' hands is strong or weak after comparing the players' high hands with the banker's high hand. In addition, it is also judged as to which one is strong or weak after comparing the players' low hands with the banker's low hand. Further, the winner or loser is determined based upon the judgment results. Specifically, in a case where the player's high hand is stronger than the banker's high hand and in a case where the player's low hand is stronger than the banker's low hand, it is judged to be the player's win. In a case where the banker's high hand is stronger than the player's high hand and in a case where the banker's low hand is stronger than the player's low hand, it is judged to be the banker's win. Even if the player is stronger at one of the high and low hands, in a case where the banker is stronger at the other one, it is judged to be “draw”.

Next, the CPU41 transmits winner-loser information (step S110). Specifically, the CPU41 transmits to the station 3 the information indicative of the winner or loser determined at the step S109 (hereinafter, referred to as winner-loser information). Upon the receipt of the winner-loser information, based upon the received winner-loser information, the liquid crystal display 10 displays any one of the images inclusive of messages “You Win”, “You Lose”, and “Draw”.

Next, the CPU41 performs processing of transmitting normal-BET payout information (step S111). In this processing operation, the CPU41 transmits the normal-BET payout information to the station 3. The normal-BET payout information is generally indicative of an amount of credit (currency values) to be paid out to BET. Specifically, in a case where the player has won, this CPU transmits information indicative of credit of which amount is twice of that of normal BET. In a case where the outcome of the game is “draw”, the CPU transmits information indicative of credit of which amount is equal to that of normal BET. In addition, in a case where the banker has won, the CPU transmits information indicative of the fact that an amount of credit to be paid out is 0.

Next, at the step S112, the CPU41 judges whether or not player determination information has been received. In this processing operation, the CPU41 judges whether or not the player determination information has been received from the central controller 151 included in the link controller 150. In the case where the judgment result is affirmative (step S112: YES), the routine proceeds to the step S113. Otherwise, this CPU terminates main controller processing.

Next, the CPU41 transmits player determination information (step S113). In this processing operation, the CPU41 transmits to the station 3 the player determination information received from the link controller 150 (step S114). In this processing operation, the CPU41 transmits selection information from the station 3 to the link controller 150. After that, the link controller 150 performs link game winner-loser processing, and controls a payment to be paid out to a predetermined player.

Next, the CPU41 discloses all players' cards (step S115). Specifically, the CPU41 causes the front panel display 21 to display a card image in a face up state (see FIG. 14).

Next, the CPU41 transmits/receives link game progressive payout information (step S116). In this processing operation, the CPU41 receives winner-loser information from the link controller 150 and the link progressive payout information, and then, transmits to the station 3 the winner-loser information which is indicative of a winner or loser in a link game and the link progressive payout information. At the station 3, upon the receipt of the winner-loser information, the liquid crystal display 10 displays an image which is inclusive of a message “You Win”, based upon the received winner-loser information (see FIG. 10B).

Further, while the embodiment of the present invention describes a case of paying out credit of which amount is equal to that of side BET in a case where the result is “draw”, the above payout of the credit may not be performed.

Next, the processing performed at the station 3 will be described in detail with referring to FIG. 13. FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of the station 3-side processing performed at the station 3 according to the present embodiment. In the station 3-side processing, first, the CPU51 included in the station 3 transmits a start signal to the main control unit 40 upon the receipt of a signal which is indicative of the fact that a touch has been sensed from the touch panel 11 or that an inserted coin has been detected from an inserted-coin detecting section 68 (step S201). In this manner, the main control unit 40 conducts the processing shown in FIG. 12.

Next, the CPU51 accepts entries of the normal BET and side BET (step S202). This allows the player to enter the normal BET and the side BET via the touch panel 11 included in the station 3. Upon the receipt of a signal which is indicative of the fact that entry of the side BET has been made, the CPU51 sets a side-BET flag. This side-BET flag is set in a case where entry of the side BET has been made.

Next, the CPU51 transmits to the main control unit 40 the BET information pertinent to an entered BET (step S203). Upon the receipt of the BET information, the main control unit 40 transmits BET information to the link controller, receives a control signal from the link controller, and then, determines cards dealt to the players and banker, based upon the received control signal (see step S104 of FIG. 12).

Next, the CPU51 receives, from the main control unit 40, the dealt-card information which is indicative of the cards dealt to the players (step S204). Specifically, the CPU51 receives the dealt-card information transmitted at step S105 of FIG. 12.

Next, the CPU51 displays cards (step S205). Specifically, the CPU51 causes the dealt-card display section 83 of the liquid crystal display 10 a card image indicative of seven player's cards, based upon the dealt-card information received at step S204.

Next, the CPU51 accepts entry for selecting high hands and low hands (step S206). In this manner, a player can determines high hands and low hands from among the dealt cards by operating a high hand determination button 84 and a low hand determination button 85 via the touch panel 11.

Next, the CPU51 transmits to the main control unit 40 the selection information that is based upon selection of high hands and low hands (step S207). Upon the receipt of the selection information, the main control unit 40 determines a high hand and a low hand of the banker's cards, and then, executes processing of determining a winner or loser (see step S108 of FIG. 12A).

Next, the CPU51 receives winner-loser information from the main control unit 40 (step S208). Subsequently, the dealt-card display section 83 of the liquid crystal display 10 displays any one of the images inclusive of the messages “You Win”, “You Lose”, and “Draw”, during a predetermined period of time, based upon the received winner-loser information.

Next, the CPU51 receives normal-BET payout information from the main control unit 40 (step S209). Upon the receipt of the normal-BET payout information, the CPU51 stores in the RAM52 the credit data that is based upon the normal-BET payout information.

Next, the CPU51 receives normal-BET payout information, based upon the normal-BET payout information received at step S209 (step S210). In this normal-BET payout processing, in a case where a player has won, payout is performed, based upon information indicative of a credit of which amount is twice of that of the normal BET; and in a case where the result is “draw”, payout is performed, based upon information indicative of a credit of which amount is equal to that of the normal BET. In addition, in a case where the banker has won, information is displayed which is indicative of the fact that the amount of credit to be paid out is 0.

Next, the CPU51 judges whether or not player determination information has been received (step S211). In this processing operation, the CPU51 judges whether or not the player determination information has been received from the game machine 1. In a case where the judgment result is affirmative (step S211: YES), the routine proceeds to step S212. In a case where the result is negative (step S211: NO), this CPU terminates this station 3-side processing.

Next, upon judging that the player determination information has been received (step S211), the CPU51 displays cards (step S212). Specifically, the CPU51 displays the player's cards on the liquid crystal display included in the station 3 of the determined player.

Next, the CPU51 receives progressive payout information (step S213). Specifically, the CPU51 receives link game progressive payout information from the main control unit 40. Upon the receipt of the progressive payout information, the CPU51 stores in the RAM52 a payment that is based upon the link game progressive payout information.

Next, the CPU51 executes link game progressive payout processing, based upon the received progressive payout information at step S213 (step S214). In this processing operation, a payment is paid out based upon the game machine 1 having received the payout information from the link controller 150.

Next, a link system according to a second embodiment will be described in detail with referring to the drawings. Here, the link system according to the second embodiment that follows has an appearance and a circuit construction, which are substantially similar to those of the link system according to the first embodiment of the present invention. Thus, a duplicate description of like construction is not given here. Further, like constituent elements corresponding to those of the link system are designated by like reference numerals and are explained.

While the foregoing embodiment of the present invention described that the link controller 150 is connected to the game machine 1 via a link, this link may be inclusive of a network. Further, the network may also be inclusive of the Internet or the like.

While the embodiment according to the present invention has been described, the description presents only some of the specific examples and is not intended to limit the present invention in any way and specific constructions of each means and the like can be properly changed in terms of design. Besides, the effects described in the embodiment of the present invention are only the most preferable effects generated from the present invention and the effects to be caused by the present invention is not limitative thereto.

The more important features of the invention have thus been outlined, rather broadly, in order that the aforementioned detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that were described above and which formed the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. In this respect, upon explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limitative in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the aforementioned description or illustrated in the drawings. According to the invention, other embodiments can be variously practiced and carried out as well. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are merely intended for the descriptive purpose and should not be regarded as limiting. As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other systems and methods for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Further, the purpose of the foregoing abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially the scientists, engineers and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. The abstract is neither intended to define the invention of the application, which is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way. These matters together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matters in which there are illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.

The detailed descriptions aforementioned may be presented in terms of program procedures executed on a computer or network of computers. These procedural descriptions and representations are the means used by those skilled in the art to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. A procedure is here, and generally, conceived to be a self-consistent sequence of steps leading to a desired result. These steps require physical manipulations of physical quantities. Usually, though not necessarily, these quantities take the form of electrical or magnetic signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared and otherwise manipulated. It proves convenient at times, principally for reasons of common usage, to refer to these signals as bits, values, elements, symbols, characters, terms, numbers, or the like. It should be noted, however, that all of these and similar terms are to be associated with the appropriate physical quantities and are merely convenient labels applied to these quantities. Further, the manipulations performed are often referred to in terms, such as adding or comparing, which are commonly associated with mental operations performed by a human operator. No such capability of a human operator is necessary, or desirable in most cases, in any of the operations described herein which form part of the present invention; the operations are machine and/or manual operations. Useful machines for performing the operation of the present invention include general purpose digital computers or similar devices. The present invention also relates to apparatus for performing these operations. This apparatus may be specially constructed for the required purpose or it may comprise a general purpose computer as selectively activated or reconfigured by a computer program stored in the computer. The procedures presented herein are not inherently related to a particular computer or other apparatus. Various general-purpose machines may be used with programs written in accordance with the teachings herein, or it may prove more convenient to construct more specialized apparatus to perform the required method steps. The required structure for a variety of these machines will appear from the description given.