Title:
SOCIAL GAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and apparatus for enabling multiple players to participate in an online game in a landbased gaming terminal. Each player is associated with a color or a pattern, by selecting the color or pattern using for example buttons on the screen. The player deposits money, places a wager, and chooses a number or color to bet on using his or her unique color. Once the game is activated, the terminal determines for each player his or her balance and winning according to the result of the game. Each player can individually cash his or her balance, or all players can cash their balances at once.



Inventors:
Harari, Sagi (Douglas, GB)
Teigar, Silver (Douglas, GB)
Application Number:
12/523078
Publication Date:
03/25/2010
Filing Date:
01/15/2007
Assignee:
VIDEOB HOLDINGS LIMITED (Douglas, Isle of Man, UK)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/42
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, MUKUNDBHAI G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLIFF PLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A terminal for enabling at least two players to simultaneously play a game, the terminal comprising: at least two coded buttons, wherein each of the at least two players presses a different coded button prior to depositing a sum or prior to placing a bet or prior to choosing a bet sum; a display, the display displaying: at least two coded numeric displays for displaying an one or more of the group consisting of: balance, a winning sum, a losing sum, or a bet sum, for each of the at least two players, wherein each coded numeric display corresponds to one of the at least two coded buttons; and a presentation of the game.

2. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the game is a roulette game.

3. The terminal of claim 2 wherein the presentation of the game shows a roulette wheel divided into a predetermined number of parts, wherein each part carries a different number.

4. The terminal of claim 2 wherein the presentation of the game shows a roulette wheel divided into thirty-seven parts, each of the thirty-seven parts carrying a number ranging between zero and thirty-six, wherein each part carries a different number.

5. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the game is a baccarat game.

6. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the at least two coded buttons are touch-sensitive areas on the display.

7. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the at least two coded buttons and the at least two coded numeric displays are color coded.

8. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the at least two coded buttons and the at least two coded numeric displays are pattern coded.

9. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the terminal further comprises a numeric keypad for entering a number.

10. The terminal of claim 9 wherein the number is a voucher number.

11. The terminal of claim 9 wherein the number is a credit card number.

12. The terminal of claim 1 further comprising an at least one betting button for indicating a bet.

13. The terminal of claim 12 wherein the at least one betting button is selected from the group consisting of: a button denoting the numbers between one and eighteen; a button denoting the numbers between nineteen and thirty-six; a button indicating odd numbers; or a button indicating even numbers.

14. The terminal of claim 1 comprising a display having a first window for showing the roulette wheel and a second window for enabling the at least two players to deposit a sum, to play a roulette game pr to cash out money.

15. The terminal of claim 1 comprising a display having a single window presenting displays alternating between showing the roulette wheel and enabling the at least two players to deposit a sum, to play a roulette game pr to cash out money.

16. A method for playing a game using a terminal by at least two players, the method comprising the steps of: activating a button associated with one of the at least two players; each of the at least two players depositing a sum; each of the at least two players placing a bet; each of the of the at least two players indicating a bet sum; activating a button to activate the game; and determining a sum won or lost by each of the at least two players.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the button associated with one of the at least two players is color coded.

18. The method of claim 16 wherein the button associated with one of the at least two players is pattern coded.

19. The method of claim 16 further comprising a step of displaying the sum won or lost by each of the at least two players.

20. The method of claim 16 further comprising a step of cashing out a balance by at least one of the at least two players.

21. The method of claim 16 wherein the game is a roulette game.

22. The method of claim 16 wherein the game is a baccarat game.

23. A computer readable storage medium containing a set of instructions for a general purpose computer, the set of instructions comprising: activating a button associated with one of at least two players; each of the at least two players depositing a sum; each of the at least two players placing a bet; each of the of the at least two players indicating a bet sum; activating a spin button to spin a roulette wheel; and determining a sum won or lost by each of the at least two players.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a social game in general, and to a terminal for multi-player mini roulette in particular.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Games involving betting are popular. An example to such a game is a roulette game which involves spinning a walled wheel comprising thirty seven parts, numbered zero to thirty six. A small ball spins within the wheel, and when the wheel and the ball come to a stop, the part of the wheel on which the ball stopped is the winning number. Prior to spinning the wheel one or more players place their bets. Each bet can be a number between one and thirty six. Alternatively, a player can bet on the number to be odd, even, in the range of zero to twelve, thirteen to twenty-four, or twenty-five to thirty-six. If the ball stops on the part marked with a zero, the game operator collects the bets.

Traditional games, including roulettes are social games, wherein an operator activates the game and collects the bets from multiple players. Another type of games is terminal-based games, such as terminal-based roulette, wherein a player is using a gaming terminal, which imitates the traditional game. In such roulette terminals, either a physical wheel is rotated, or a computerized illustration is provided. However, each such gaming terminal is limited to one person playing at a time. If a number of people wish to play simultaneously, they either have to take turns, or to decide on a common bet and keep track of their relative contributions to the bet, and calculate their winnings and loses, which often leads to disputes.

There is therefore a need for a gaming terminal that would enable a multiplicity of people to play a game simultaneously using a terminal, without having to agree on a bet or to keep the balance of each individual's winnings or loses.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a novel method and apparatus for enabling multiple players to participate in an online game, without having to keep track of each player's balance. The disclosed invention provides a terminal which associates a color with each player, so that the deposit, bet, balance and cash out of each player are displayed with this color so that different players' actions and balances are easily distinguishable.

In accordance with the disclosed invention, there is thus provided a terminal for enabling two or more players to simultaneously play a game, the terminal comprising: two or more coded buttons, wherein each player presses a different coded button prior to depositing a sum or prior to placing a bet or prior to choosing a bet sum; a display, the display displaying: two or more coded numeric displays for displaying a balance or a winning or losing sum for each of player, wherein each coded numeric display corresponds to one coded button; and a presentation of the game. The game is optionally a roulette game, and the presentation of the game preferably shows a roulette wheel divided into thirty-seven parts, each of the thirty-seven parts carrying a number ranging between zero and thirty-six, wherein each part carries a different number. The game can also be a baccarat game, or any other game.

Within the terminal, the coded buttons are touch-sensitive areas in a display. Within the terminal, the coded buttons and the coded numeric displays are optionally color or pattern coded. The terminal optionally comprises a numeric keypad for entering a number. The number is optionally a voucher number, or a credit card number. The terminal optionally comprises a betting button for indicating a bet. The betting button can be selected from the group consisting of: a button denoting the numbers between one and eighteen; a button denoting the numbers between nineteen and thirty-six; button indicating odd numbers; or a button indicating even numbers. The terminal optionally comprises a display having a first window for showing the roulette wheel and a second window for enabling the players to deposit a sum, to play a roulette game or to cash out money. The terminal can comprise a display having a single window presenting displays alternating between showing the roulette wheel and enabling the players to deposit a sum, to play a roulette game or to cash out money.

Another aspect of the disclosed invention relates to a method for playing a game using a terminal by two or more players, the method comprising the steps of: activating a button associated with one player; each player depositing a sum; each of player placing a bet; each player indicating a bet sum; activating a button to start the game; and determining a sum won or lost by each player. Within the method, the button associated with one player can be color coded or pattern coded. The method can further comprise a step of displaying the sum won or lost by each player, or a step of cashing out a balance by a player. Within the method, the game can be a roulette game or a baccarat game.

Yet another aspect of the disclosed invention relates to a computer readable storage medium containing a set of instructions for a general purpose computer, the set of instructions comprising: activating a button associated with one of two or more players; each of player depositing a sum; each player placing a bet; each player indicating a bet sum; activating a spin button to spin a roulette wheel; and determining a sum won or lost by each player.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Non-limiting embodiments of the invention will be described with reference to the following description of exemplary embodiments, in conjunction with the figures. The figures are generally not shown to scale and any sizes are only meant to be exemplary and not necessarily limiting. In the figures, identical structures, elements or parts that appear in more than one figure are preferably labeled with a same or similar number in all the figures in which they appear, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a gaming terminal in a deposit state, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of a gaming terminal in a bet state, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention;

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a landbased gaming terminal in a playing state, in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the main components of the instructions code executed by a gaming terminal, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention;

FIG. 5 is a flowchart of the main steps performed when playing a multi-player roulette, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention; and

FIG. 6 is an illustration of the disclosed invention, when used in a terminal for playing a game of baccarat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art by providing a novel solution which enhances and adds to the capabilities of currently available online games, and discloses multi-player games, such as multi-player roulette or baccarat games.

In a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention, a gaming terminal is providing players with a game, such as a roulette game. Unlike ordinary gaming terminals, a terminal according to the disclosed invention supports deposits by multiple players, wherein each player is assigned a differentiating factor, such as a distinct color or pattern. The terminal lets each player to deposit or cash-out separately, by letting the player indicate his color (or other factor), for example by pushing a button prior to performing the relevant operation. When the terminal is in “play” state, each player selects the bet sum and makes his own choices, again, after choosing his or her assigned color. The bet sum and total balance are displayed for each player and are indicated by the relevant color. After the game was activated, for example in roulette after the wheel as spun and has stopped, and the result is known, each user's balance is calculated based on his or her previous balance, bet sum and result, and the win and new balance are displayed.

Reference is now made to FIG. 1, showing a roulette gaming terminal according to the disclosed invention in a deposit or cash-out state. The terminal shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 is generally a commercially available terminal, such as Butterfly manufactured by Favola of Italy (www.favolasrl.it), or Nevada manufactured by Tab-Austria (www.tab.at). The terminal comprises a memory and CPU (no shown) for running one or more applications, such as the disclosed roulette application. The terminal can run any operating system, such as any type of Windows operating system by Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Linux, or others. Each application is preferably a collection of machine instructions and data structures cooperating to provide the desired effect, and implemented in software, hardware, or a combination thereof. The instructions can be provided in any programming language and in any format, such as an executable, a collection of methods, functions, libraries, DLLs or others. The terminal can further comprise a connection to a communication network such as the internet, so that updates or changes to the provided applications can be downloaded. The terminal is preferably further provisioned with a storage device (not shown) for storing the application and data of the game. The terminal comprises a display, such as LCD, CRT, or others, showing the options available to a user, the ongoing game and additional data, such as balance. The display is preferably a touch screen, wherein screen areas produce an event which initiates an action when pressed. Using touch screen enables the addition or deletion of buttons or parts of the display so as to enable a more complex or simple presentation of the progress of the game. The addition or deletion can be performed either constantly or dynamically as the game evolves, Thus, for example, if at a certain point in the game no more bets can be placed, the betting button is removed or disabled, i.e. does not respond to press. Alternatively, the terminal can comprise physical buttons, mechanical levers or other elements which produce actions relevant to the game, and the display only presents the game and information to the players. The terminal shown in FIG. 1, FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 enables a common game of up to six players at a time. It will be appreciated, however, that a terminal can be designed to enable any other predetermined number of players. The display of terminal 100 preferably comprises a top window 104 and a bottom window 128. Top window 104 is identical in deposit state, cash-out state and play state, and will be discussed in detail in association with FIG. 3 below. In deposit/cash-out state, the user first chooses a color, by pushing any of buttons 132, 134, 136, 138, 140 or 142. In FIG. 1 the buttons are indicated by different patterns, wherein a real terminal would preferably use colors. Once a color is chosen, frame 143 of numeric keypad 130 assumes the pattern or color of the pushed button, and arrow 156 points at the pushed button. The user can then type, using numeric keypad 130 located on window 128, a number associated with a voucher for which he or she already paid at a cashier. Alternatively the user can type in a user name and a password, a membership card number, a voucher number or credit card details, and a sum to be deposited. Once the user enters the voucher number or otherwise introduces a deposit, his or her account is credited, and the balance appearing in the corresponding display reflects the updated sum. For example, if the user pushed button 134, arrow 156 will point at button 134, and frame 143 will assume the color of button 1.34. Then, once the user typed the number of a voucher worth for example 50$ using numerical keypad 130, the number displayed in display 118 will increase in 50$. Once all players deposited money, a player hits play button 148 and the terminal changes the displays into a display of a play state, shown in FIG. 3. When one or more users wish to cash out their balance, one of them pushes cash-out button 146.

Referring now to FIG. 2, showing the terminal in cash-out mode. The top part of the screen is identical to the top part of the screen in FIG. 1. In lower part 200 of the terminal, the user can choose whether to push cash-out all button 204, or any of buttons 208, 210, 212, 214, 216, or 218. If the user selected, for example button 208, arrow 220 will be highlighted, to point at the player cashing out. Then, when any user presses cash-out button 224, the terminal cashes out all balances if cash out all button 204 was pressed, or the balance associated with the specific color, if a specific color was selected using buttons 208, 210, 212, 214, 216, or 218. In cashing out the balance can be provided in cash, in an individual voucher for each player, in a common voucher to al players, in crediting an account or the like.

Referring now to FIG. 3, showing the roulette terminal in play mode. In play mode, as well as in deposit or cash out mode, the gaming terminal, generally referenced 300 displays a top window 304 and a bottom window 302. Using bottom window 302, each player first pushes one of buttons 310, 312, 314, 316, 318 or 320, to indicate the color he or she is associated with. Frame 324 then optionally changes its color to indicate the color associated with the user, and the player selects the sum he wishes to place as wager on, by pressing or otherwise activating any one of buttons 328. After selecting a button, when the user selects one or more of the squares numbered one to thirty-six, and an indication to the bet sum is shown on that square. Alternatively, the player can select one to eighteen button 344, nineteen to thirty-six button 348, “red” button 350, or “black” button “352”. The wager appears in bet indication 330, 332, 334, 336, 338 or 340, according to the color associated with the player. Once a player finished entering the bet and the bet sum, the turn goes to another player who repeats the process. Thus, on each number or part on which a player placed wager, such as square 2 of numbered squares 375, or numbers nineteen to thirty six button 348, coins are illustrated, wherein each coin is illustrated in the color of the player who placed it and carries the relevant sum as chosen by the player. Once all participating players entered the sum and the wager, one player hits spin button 360. The illustrated roulette wheel 364 on top window 304 is then illustrated as spinning, and eventually stops. Once the illustration of the spinning wheel stops, wherever illustrated small ball 368 is present is the winning number. The winnings of each player are then calculated according to the result and the sum he or she bet on, and displayed in displays 370, 372, 374, 376, 378 and 380, according to the colors chosen by the participating players. Displays 248, 250, 252, 254, 256 and 258 preferably display the winnings of each player per the specific round (depending on the specific winning number, whether the number is odd or even, the range the winning number belongs to or the like), and the balance of each player is preferably displayed in display 380, 382, 384, 386, 388 and 390, on lower screen 302, respectively. History bar 395 preferably displays the results of the last predetermined number of rounds.

Referring now to FIG. 4, showing the main modules or other components associated with enabling a gaming terminal to provide the multiplayer roulette game. The disclosed implementation is exemplary only, and other divisions or combinations of the instructions and components can be implemented to perform or enable the methods of the disclosed invention without departing from the spirit of the description which follows. The components are generally composed of graphical user interface (GUI) components 454 and logic components 458. GUI components 454 and logic components 458 interact, such that the displayed information is influenced by decisions and other operations performed by logic components, and the logic components act on data received from the user through the GUI. GUI components include a colored buttons mechanism 462, which enables a user to select a colored (or otherwise patterned button) and reflects the selection by coloring other screen elements, such as frame 143 or coin buttons 224 of FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, respectively. Deposit mechanism 466 handles receiving the voucher number from a player, and transferring it to communication component 470 for receiving the sum associated with the voucher. Bet sum and bet per player component 470 enables a player to enter a bet sum and bet contents, and associate them with a specific color, and thus with a specific deposit. GUI components further comprise a game activation mechanism 474, such as a roulette spinning mechanism, for displaying a spinning wheel and little ball, in an imitation to a physical roulette. Game activation component 474 notifies the logic components of the winning number, in order to enable balance determination. An optional component of GUI components 454 is history display component 478 for displaying results associated with previous rounds. The displayed data is retrieved from history keeping component 478. Logic components 458 comprise a communication component 480 for communicating with a cashier or another point of sale. In a preferred embodiment, one or more terminals are connected to a game server comprising a random number generator, which determines a winning number for each round in each terminal. In these embodiments, communication component 480 is optionally used also for communicating with the game server receiving the result, such as the winning number for the round. The communications include receiving a sum associated with a voucher, and for transmitting a sum associated with a voucher provided to a user at cash-out. The communication component can also be used for updates to the software, rules, advertisements displayed to players or the like. Another component of logic components 458 is winning determination 482, for determining the wins or loses of each player, according to the bet sum and the result. Balance maintenance per player component 484 maintains the balance for each player, according to the sums deposited by the specific player, the roulette result and the win or lose determined by component 482. History keeping component 488 receives a current result from game activation component 474, and provides the last predetermined number of results to history display component 478.

Referring now to FIG. 5, showing a flowchart of the main steps in using the roulette terminal of the disclosed invention. The process starts at user input steps 504. At step 506 a player activates a coded button, thus associating a coding such as the color of the button with himself for the game. At step 508 a player deposits a sum, using keypad 130 of FIG. 1, in order to enter a voucher number. Alternatively, a player can insert bills or coins into the machine. At step 512, the user places his bet, using buttons 228, 230, 232, 234 or 236, and at step 516 the user indicates, using buttons 224 the bet sum. User input steps 504, including steps 506, 508, 512, 516 can be performed in any desired order. User input steps 504 can be performed consecutively by one player, or different players can perform any one of steps 506, 508, 512, 516 followed by a different player performing the same step or another one. At each stage, if there is a vacant spot, i.e. not all colors of the terminal are used, new players can join the game. Once user input steps 504 are done for all players, the game is activated at step 520 as a response to pressing or otherwise activating button 240 of FIG. 2. At step 524 the balance is determined and displayed for each player, based on the previous balance, the bet sum, the bet and the roulette wheel stopping point. After activation step 520, either another game can take place right away, or any one or more players can deposit money, change their bet, or change their betting sum. At step 528, one or more players can cash out their balance. The other players can also cash out their balance, go back to step 504 and deposit, set a bet or set a bet sum, or go back to step 520 and activate the game with the same settings.

It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that the disclosed invention is not limited to a game of roulette, but can rather be used for a multi-player version of any online game. Such games may include any game in which every player plays against the house, i.e. the computerized system, rather than against another player. The same model can be used in all these games, wherein a player chooses a color, a pattern or another distinctive feature, deposits a sum and places a bet using the indicative feature, and his or her bet, win, and balance are presented using the distinctive feature. The display preferably further shows an illustration, a video, or another presentation of a game.

Referring now to FIG. 6, showing an exemplary implementation of the disclosed invention to a baccarat game. On lower screen 400, each player places his bet on the player, banker, or tie, so that the coins 404 indicating the bet are colored, patterned, or otherwise indicated according to the player's indication. The players' respective balances and bets are shown in areas 416, 418, 420, 422, 424 and 426. Clicking play button 402 will start the card drawing. Upper screen 408 shows the result of a particular game, such as drawn cards 412, and the respective player's wins 426, 428, 430, 432, 434, and 436. As mentioned above, the method and apparatus can be used for any other game played by a group of players, so that the wins and balances determination is done automatically, and the players do not have to do the calculations manually.

The disclosed invention suggests a method and apparatus for enabling a group of users to participate simultaneously in an online game. The number of players that can play simultaneously is not limited, and is generally determined by taking into account considerations such as maximal number of players who can still stand around the terminal and see it, buttons size or color range, or the like. It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that the disclosed invention is not limited to the exemplary displayed terminals and other terminals, having different user interfaces can be designed without departing form the spirit of the disclosed invention. In particular, a terminal having a single screen can be used. When using a single-screen terminal, the display on the single screen optionally alternates between different modes such as payment, placing a wager and making selections relevant to the game according to users' selections and actions.

The present invention has been described using non-limiting detailed descriptions of embodiments thereof that are provided by way of example and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. It should be understood that features described with respect to one embodiment may be used with other embodiments and that not all embodiments of the invention have all of the features shown in a particular figure or described with respect to one of the embodiments. It is noted that some of the above described embodiments may describe the best mode contemplated by the inventors and therefore include structure, acts or details of structures and acts that may not be essential to the invention and which are described as examples.

The present invention is not limited to what has been particularly shown and described hereinabove. Structure and acts described herein are replaceable by equivalents, which perform the same function, even if the structure or acts are different, as known in the art. The scope of the present invention is defined only by the claims which follow. When used in the following claims, the terms “comprise”, “include”, “have” and their conjugates mean “including but not limited to”.