Title:
Method And Apparatus For Executing A Draw-Type, Blackjack-Themed Lottery Game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Described herein are a method and apparatus for executing a draw-type lottery game between a plurality of players and a dealer. The draw-type lottery game includes a plurality of subgames and each of the subgames includes at least one hand of a blackjack-type game. The method includes, for each hand of each of the subgames, using a central computer system to generate for each of the players a player hand; to generate for the dealer a dealer hand; to compare each player hand to the dealer hand to determine whether the player or the dealer has a better blackjack hand; and to identify each player who has a better blackjack hand than the dealer as a winner of the hand. For each of the subgames, the central computer system determines a winner of the subgame based on the winner of the at least one hand of the subgame. The apparatus includes the central computer system, a plurality of remotely located terminals communicatively coupled to the central computer system; and a plurality of lottery displays communicatively coupled to the central computer system.



Inventors:
Hemstead, Trina (Vancouver, CA)
Romano, Robert (Burnaby, CA)
Application Number:
12/620125
Publication Date:
05/19/2011
Filing Date:
11/17/2009
Assignee:
British Columbia Lottery Corporation (Kamloops, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Other References:
The Wizard of Odds, Ties Win Blackjack, 6/25/2006, http://wizardofodds.com/games/ties-win-blackjack/
Primary Examiner:
YEN, JASON TAHAI
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TROUTMAN PEPPER HAMILTON SANDERS LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A method for executing a draw-type lottery game between a plurality of players and a dealer, the draw-type lottery game comprising a plurality of subgames and each of the subgames comprising at least one hand of a blackjack-type game, the method comprising: (a) for each hand of each of the subgames, using a central computer system to: (i) generate for each of the players a player hand; (ii) generate for the dealer a dealer hand; (iii) compare each player hand to the dealer hand to determine whether the player or the dealer has a better blackjack hand; and (iv) identify each player who has a better blackjack hand than the dealer as a winner of the hand; and (b) for each of the subgames, using the central computer system to determine a winner of the subgame based on the winner of the at least one hand of the subgame.

2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the winner of the subgame is the winner of all the hands of the subgame.

3. A method as claimed in claim 1 further comprising, for each hand of each of the subgames, displaying the dealer hand on a lottery display that is communicatively coupled to the central computer system.

4. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the likelihood of winning any one of the subgames played during an instance of the draw-type lottery game is lower than the likelihood of winning any previous subgames played during the instance of the draw-type lottery game.

5. A method as claimed in claim 1 further comprising, for each hand of each of the subgames and prior to comparing each player hand to the dealer hand, using the central computer system to: (a) generate a player hit card; (b) determine whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; (c) add the player hit card to the player hand when it is determined that the player hit card is to be added to the player hand; (d) generate a dealer hit card; (e) determine whether to add the dealer hit card to the dealer hand; and then (f) add the dealer hit card to the dealer hand when it is determined that the dealer hit card is to be added to the dealer hand.

6. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein the draw-type lottery game comprises a subgame wherein the player hit card is automatically added to the player hand when doing so will not result in a player hand totaling greater than 21.

7. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein the draw-type lottery game comprises a subgame, wherein prior to a ticket being issued for the draw-type lottery game: (a) each of the players chooses whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; and (b) the lottery display displays to the player the value of one card of the dealer hand and the total value of the player hand.

8. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein the draw-type lottery game comprises a subgame, wherein prior to a ticket being issued for the draw-type lottery game: (a) each of the players chooses whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; and (b) the lottery display does not display to the player the value of any cards of the dealer hand, but does display the total value of the player hand.

9. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein the draw-type lottery game comprises first, second and third subgames, the second subgame playable after playing the first subgame, and the third subgame playable after playing the second subgame, and wherein: (a) in the first subgame, the player hit card is automatically added to the player hand when doing so will not result in a player hand totaling greater than 21; (b) in the second subgame, prior to being issued a ticket for the draw-type lottery game: (i) each of the players chooses whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; and (ii) the lottery display displays to the player the value of one card of the dealer hand and the total value of the player hand; and (c) in the third subgame, prior to being issued the ticket for the draw-type lottery game: (i) each of the players chooses whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; and (ii) the lottery display does not display to the player the value of any cards of the dealer hand, but does display the total value of the player hand.

10. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein the dealer hit card is added to the dealer hand when the total value of the dealer hand is less than 17, and wherein for each of the consecutive hands dealer hit cards are repeatedly generated and added to the dealer hand until the total value of the dealer hand is greater than or equal to 17.

11. A method as claimed in claim 1 further comprising, for each hand of each of the subgames: (a) determining whether any of the players has a better blackjack hand than the dealer; (b) when none of the players has a better blackjack hand than the dealer, identifying all of the players as a winner of the hand.

12. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein when the dealer and the player both bust, the dealer is determined to have a better blackjack hand than the player.

13. A method as claimed in claim 12, wherein when the dealer and the player push and do not both bust, the player is determined to have a better blackjack hand than the dealer.

14. A method for executing a draw-type lottery game between a plurality of players and a dealer, the draw-type lottery game comprising one or more subgames, and each of the one or more subgames comprising a plurality of hands of a blackjack-type game, the method comprising: (a) for each of the hands of the one or more subgames, using a central computer system to: (i) generate for each of the players a player hand; (ii) generate for the dealer a dealer hand; (iii) compare each player hand to the dealer hand to determine whether the player or the dealer has a better blackjack hand; and (iv) identify each player who has a better blackjack hand than the dealer as a winner of the hand; and (b) for each of the one or more subgames, using the central computer system to determine a winner of the subgame based on the winner of the hands of the subgame.

15. A method for executing a draw-type lottery game between a plurality of players and a dealer, the draw-type lottery game comprising three subgames, and each of the subgames comprising a plurality of hands of a blackjack-type game, the method comprising: (a) for each of the hands of the subgames, using a central computer system to: (i) generate for each of the players a player hand; (ii) generate for the dealer a dealer hand; (iii) compare each player hand to the dealer hand to determine whether the player or the dealer has a better blackjack hand; and (iv) identify each player who has a better blackjack hand than the dealer as a winner of the hand; and (b) for each of the subgames, using the central computer system to identify the winner of the subgame as the winner of all the hands of the subgame.

16. A method as claimed in claim 15, wherein the likelihood of winning any one of the subgames played during an instance of the draw-type lottery game is lower than the likelihood of winning any previous subgames played during the instance of the draw-type lottery game.

17. An apparatus for executing a draw-type lottery game between a plurality of players and a dealer, the apparatus comprising: (a) a central computer system comprising a processor and a memory communicatively coupled to the processor, the memory having encoded thereon for execution by the processor a method as claimed in claim 1; (b) a plurality of remotely located terminals communicatively coupled to the central computer system; and (c) a plurality of lottery displays communicatively coupled to the central computer system.

18. A computer readable medium having encoded thereon a method as claimed in claim 1.

19. A computer readable medium having encoded thereon a method as claimed in claim 14.

20. A computer readable medium having encoded thereon a method as claimed in claim 15.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present application relates to a method and apparatus for executing a draw-type, blackjack-themed lottery game involving a plurality of players and a dealer.

BACKGROUND

Consumers are increasingly demanding greater access to government sanctioned gaming. Such gaming can take many forms. Conventionally, consumers have participated in draw-type lottery games that require the purchase of a lottery ticket prior to a draw. On the lottery ticket are printed numbers that the consumer hopes will be selected during the draw. After the draw, the consumer can compare the numbers on the ticket to the numbers selected during the draw, and if sufficient numbers match, the consumer is identified as a winner of the draw.

Relatively recently, more elaborate forms of gaming have begun to become mainstream. For example, Internet-based gaming allows consumers to purchase electronic lottery tickets using a government sanctioned gaming website, and to determine via the gaming website whether or not a ticket is a winning ticket. Internet-based gaming allows consumers located at remote locations to purchase electronic lottery tickets and to participate in lotteries from the comfort of their own home, as opposed to having to attend at a lottery retailer in person to participate.

Notwithstanding the advances that have been made in government sanctioned gaming, technical challenges remain in deploying captivating and interesting games to consumers. For example, there remains a need for a draw-type, blackjack-themed game that is designed to generate and sustain consumer interest, and that can be played by a plurality of players located at a variety of remote locations.

SUMMARY

According to a first aspect, there is provided a method for executing a draw-type lottery game between a plurality of players and a dealer. The draw-type lottery game includes a plurality of subgames and each of the subgames includes at least one hand of a blackjack-type game. For each hand of each of the subgames, a central computer system generates for each of the players a player hand; generates for the dealer a dealer hand; compares each player hand to the dealer hand to determine whether the player or the dealer has a better blackjack hand; and identifies each player who has a better blackjack hand than the dealer as a winner of the hand. For each of the subgames, the central computer system determines a winner of the subgame based on the winner of the at least one hand of the subgame.

The winner of the subgame can be the winner of all the hands of the subgame.

For each hand of each of the subgames, dealer hand can be displayed on a lottery display that is communicatively coupled to the central computer system.

The likelihood of winning any one of the subgames played during an instance of the draw-type lottery game can be lower than the likelihood of winning any previous subgames played during the instance of the draw-type lottery game.

For each hand of each of the subgames and prior to comparing each player hand to the dealer hand, the central computer system can also generate a player hit card; determine whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; add the player hit card to the player hand when it is determined that the player hit card is to be added to the player hand; generate a dealer hit card; determine whether to add the dealer hit card to the dealer hand; and then add the dealer hit card to the dealer hand when it is determined that the dealer hit card is to be added to the dealer hand.

The draw-type lottery game can include a subgame wherein the player hit card is automatically added to the player hand when doing so will not result in a player hand totaling greater than 21.

The draw-type lottery game can also include a subgame wherein prior to a ticket being issued for the draw-type lottery game, each of the players chooses whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; and the lottery display displays to the player the value of one card of the dealer hand and the total value of the player hand.

The draw-type lottery game can also include a subgame wherein prior to a ticket being issued for the draw-type lottery game, each of the players chooses whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; and the lottery display does not display to the player the value of any cards of the dealer hand, but does display the total value of the player hand.

The draw-type lottery game can include first, second and third subgames, with the second subgame playable after playing the first subgame and the third subgame playable after playing the second subgame. In the first subgame, the player hit card can be automatically added to the player hand when doing so will not result in a player hand totaling greater than 21. In the second subgame, prior to being issued a ticket for the draw-type lottery game, each of the players can choose whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; and the lottery display can display to the player the value of one card of the dealer hand and the total value of the player hand. In the third subgame, prior to being issued the ticket for the draw-type lottery game, each of the players can choose whether to add the player hit card to the player hand; and the lottery display does not need to display to the player the value of any cards of the dealer hand, but can display the total value of the player hand.

The dealer hit card can be added to the dealer hand when the total value of the dealer hand is less than 17, and for each of the consecutive hands dealer hit cards can be repeatedly generated and added to the dealer hand until the total value of the dealer hand is greater than or equal to 17.

For each hand of each of the subgames, the central computer system can determine whether any of the players has a better blackjack hand than the dealer; and when none of the players has a better blackjack hand than the dealer, identify all of the players as a winner of the hand.

When the dealer and the player both bust, the dealer can also be determined to have a better blackjack hand than the player. When the dealer and the player push and do not both bust, the player can be determined to have a better blackjack hand than the dealer.

According to another aspect, there is provided a method for executing a draw-type lottery game between a plurality of players and a dealer. The draw-type lottery game includes one or more subgames and each of the one or more subgames includes a plurality of hands of a blackjack-type game. For each of the hands of the one or more subgames, a central computer system is used to generate for each of the players a player hand; generate for the dealer a dealer hand; compare each player hand to the dealer hand to determine whether the player or the dealer has a better blackjack hand; and identify each player who has a better blackjack hand than the dealer as a winner of the hand. For each of the one or more subgames, the central computer system is used to determine a winner of the subgame based on the winner of the hands of the subgame.

According to another aspect, there is provided a method for executing a draw-type lottery game between a plurality of players and a dealer. The draw-type lottery game has three subgames and each of the subgames includes a plurality of hands of a blackjack-type game. For each of the hands of the subgames, a central computer system is used to generate for each of the players a player hand; generate for the dealer a dealer hand; compare each player hand to the dealer hand to determine whether the player or the dealer has a better blackjack hand; and identify each player who has a better blackjack hand than the dealer as a winner of the hand. For each of the subgames, the central computer system is used to identify the winner of the subgame as the winner of all the hands of the subgame. The likelihood of winning any one of the subgames played during an instance of the draw-type lottery game can be lower than the likelihood of winning any previous subgames played during the instance of the draw-type lottery game.

According to another aspect, there is provided an apparatus for playing a draw-type lottery game between a plurality of players and a dealer. The apparatus includes a central computer system comprising a processor and a memory communicatively coupled to the processor, the memory having encoded thereon for execution by the processor any instructions for executing the draw-type lottery game as described in the aforementioned aspects; a plurality of remotely located terminals communicatively coupled to the central computer system; and a plurality of lottery displays communicatively coupled to the central computer system.

According to a further aspect, there is provided a computer readable medium having encoded thereon a method as described in the aforementioned aspects.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the accompanying drawings, which illustrate one or more exemplary embodiments:

FIG. 1 is a flowchart depicting the design of a draw-type lottery game, according to a first embodiment;

FIGS. 2 through 7 are images of various game screens of the game exemplified by the flowchart of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 8 is an apparatus for playing the draw-type lottery game, according to a second embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Blackjack is a popular card game. When played at a casino, Blackjack involves a plurality of players each individually playing against a dealer. For the players, the goal of Blackjack is to defeat the dealer; commonly, the players accomplish this by being dealt a series of cards whose total value is greater than that of the dealer's, but which does not exceed twenty-one; the series of cards on which the player relies to win is known as a “player hand”, while the analogous series of cards on which the dealer relies to win is known as a “dealer hand”. In order to increase the value of their hands, both players and the dealer have the option of being dealt additional cards in addition to an initial two cards that are dealt; additional cards that are dealt to the players are known as “player hit cards”, while the analogous cards that are dealt to the dealer are known as “dealer hit cards”. If the player hand is a winning hand, the player typically receives a prize that is proportional to a bet; otherwise, the player loses the bet.

Conventional Blackjack requires all the players and the dealer to be physically together in the same place to play. It is technically difficult to modify Blackjack and to create an apparatus for playing Blackjack that accommodates a plurality of players who can be located at disparate remote locations, who all wish to play some form of Blackjack. The embodiments described herein are directed at a method and apparatus for executing a draw-type and Blackjack-themed lottery game that solves this technical problem. By a “draw-type” game, it is meant a game that occurs at predetermined times, and which is reliant on some form of random draw to determine a winner. By “Blackjack-themed”, it is meant a game whose rules for determining whether a player hand defeats a dealer hand are substantially similar to, but not necessarily identical to, conventional Blackjack. For instance, in the embodiments described below, a tie between a player hand and a dealer hand is generally deemed to be a victory for the player, unless both the dealer and the player have hands whose value exceeds twenty-one (known as “busting”); however, in conventional Blackjack, a tie between a player hand a dealer hand results in a victory for the dealer. Furthermore, in the embodiments described below, only one player hit card can be added to any given player hand. This contrasts with conventional Blackjack, in which a player can accept as many player hit cards as he or she wants until busting.

In the embodiments described below, any given instance, or draw, of the draw-type game includes first, second and third subgames. Each of the players can participate in and win each of the three subgames, giving each of the players a total of three opportunities to win per draw. The first subgame includes four “hands”, with each “hand” involving dealing at least two cards to each of the players and the dealer and comparing each of the resulting player hands to the dealer hand to determine, for each of the players, whether the player or dealer has won. The second subgame includes five hands, and the third subgame includes six hands. The subgames are played according to different rules such that it becomes progressively harder for the players to win as the game progresses; this serves to maintain player interest in the game.

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is depicted a flowchart exemplifying a first embodiment of a method for executing the draw-type lottery game. In particular, FIG. 1 shows a flowchart of steps and instructions that are stored in a memory and executed by a central computer system 34 (shown in FIG. 8); the central computer system is communicative with remotely located terminals 36 on which the players, each of which is human, can interface and purchase tickets for the draw-type lottery game. The players play the draw-type lottery game against the dealer, which is simulated. The central computer system 34 includes a processor and a memory for executing instructions to enable the players to access the game. The central computer system 34 can be, for example, a Hewlett Packard™ DS20 server running GTECH™ Alpha Gols software. The instructions can also be stored on a computer readable medium, which includes any form of semiconductor-based memory or disc-based media such as compact discs, digital video discs, hard disks, flash memory, random access memory, and read only memory.

The central computer system 34 includes a plurality of modules that enable the playing of the game. These modules include a ticket purchase module, which interfaces with the remotely located terminals 36 to enable players to purchase tickets; a card dealing module, which deals cards to both the players and the dealer from the infinite deck; a hand calculation module, which determines whether a dealt card should be added to a particular player or dealer hand and which then determines the total value of the particular player or dealer hand; a hand winner determination module, which compares player hands to dealer hands to determine whether the player or the dealer is the winner of a particular hand, and which then identifies winning players; a subgame winner determination module, which determines which players are winners of a particular subgame based on which players are winners of at least one hand of the particular subgame; and a display module, which interfaces with lottery displays 38 communicatively coupled to the central computer system 34 to update the game screen 10 as the draw progresses. Each of these modules is implemented as program code that is executed on the central computer system 34.

At block 100, the player interfaces with the remotely located terminal 36 and purchases a ticket for the game. A ticket can be purchased at the remotely located terminal 36 in a variety of ways. For example, the remotely located terminal 36 can be a personal computer connected to the Internet and a consumer can purchase a ticket online through a government sanctioned gaming website; the website can be hosted on the same central computer system 34 on which the game is executed or on a computer server that is communicative with the central computer system 34. One example of such a site is the site operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, www.playnow.com. The remotely located terminal 36 can also be a self-service terminal (“SST”) which is communicative with the central computer system 34 by known means, and which is a self-contained unit having a display and a user interface that is specifically configured to allow a consumer to purchase lottery tickets. Alternatively, a consumer can purchase a ticket through an Altura™ lottery terminal. SSTs and Altura™ lottery terminals are commonly located in bars and restaurants. These and other terminals as are known to a skilled person are all hereinafter referred to as “remotely located terminals” 36, as depicted in FIG. 8.

The lottery displays 38 display images of a game screen 10 (illustrated in FIGS. 2 through 6), which is updated by video signals sent from the central computer system 34 to the lottery displays 38 as the draw progresses. The lottery displays 38 can be separate from or integral with the remotely located terminals 36. For example, in the embodiment wherein the remotely located terminal 36 is a personal computer connected to the Internet, the lottery displays 38 are integral with the remotely located terminals 36 in that the screen of the personal computer functions as the screen of the remotely located terminal 36 for the purposes of purchasing a ticket but functions as the lottery display 38 which displays the game screen 10 while the draw is being held. Alternatively, the lottery displays 38 can be widescreen monitors that are separate from the remotely located terminals 38.

At block 102, a draw begins. In the context of the game according to the first embodiment, the draw occurs at set times throughout a day and represents each opportunity the players have to play the game; for example, draws can occur every half hour between 11:00 am and 11:00 pm, daily. During the draw, the players and the dealer are dealt cards from an infinite deck of cards. The infinite deck is a conventional deck of 52 cards (excluding Jokers and wild cards); these cards have a 1 in 52 chance of being dealt at any given time. Optionally, instead of randomly selecting the dealer cards at the time of the draw, a certain number of the dealer cards can be selected from the infinite deck at the beginning of every draw day for each of the scheduled draws that day. This is discussed in more detail in relation to the second subgame, below.

The draw begins with the first of the four hands that constitutes the first subgame. At block 104, the central computer system 34 determines whether all the first subgame hands have been played. If four hands are to be played during the first subgame, the central computer system 34 keeps a count of the hands that have been played; determines whether remaining hands need to be played by checking whether the count is less than four; and, if so, the card dealing module deals another hand of cards to the players and to the dealer and increments the count by one (i.e.: proceed to block 106). If the count is equal to four, then all the hands in the first subgame have been played, and the central computer system 34 can proceed to block 112.

Assuming that remaining hands need to be played, the central computer system 34 will proceed to block 106 and the card dealing module will again deal a hand. The central computer system 34 will subsequently proceed to block 108 and the hand winner determination module will determine which of the players have winning hands. FIGS. 2 through 6 illustrate what the players see when the central computer system 34 executes instructions corresponding to blocks 106 and 108.

In respect of dealing a hand (block 106), FIGS. 2 through 6 each show an image of a game screen 10 that the players see while participating in the game. At pre-determined draw times, the screen 10 is displayed on one or more lottery displays 38, as depicted in FIG. 8. The lottery displays 38 are communicatively coupled to, and are updated with signals transmitted from, the display module. The lottery displays 38 can be located at various remote locations throughout the jurisdiction of play, such as in pubs and restaurants. The lottery displays 38 publicly broadcast the screen 10 so that all persons within viewing distance of the lottery displays 38 can witness the draw progress. Beneficially, this serves both to allow the players to determine how they are faring in the draw, and advertises the draw to non-players.

In particular, FIGS. 2 through 6 progressively illustrate the first hand of the first subgame being played. The screen 10 contains a status panel 12, which identifies which of the subgames is presently being played, which of the hands in the subgame is presently being played, and the value of the player hit card and the dealer hand; a dealer 14; a first dealer card 16, which initially is hidden from the player; a second dealer card 18, which is dealt such that it is visible to the player (a “dealer up card”) (visible in FIGS. 3 through 6); the dealer hit card 20 (visible in FIG. 6); the player hit card 22; a remaining players panel 24, which indicates how many players have not yet lost a hand and consequently remain eligible to win the game; a prize panel 26, which indicates the prize available for being a winner of the present subgame; a message panel 28, which is periodically updated with various messages for the players; and a dealer hand value panel 30 (visible in FIGS. 3 through 6), which indicates the present total value of the dealer hand.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the first hand of the first subgame begins with the card dealing module dealing the first dealer card 16 and the player hit card 22. In contrast to conventional Blackjack, each of the players participating in the draw according to the depicted embodiment is limited to receiving a single player hit card 22 per hand. However, in alternative embodiments (not depicted), each of the players can receive more than one player hit card. The remaining players' panel 24 indicates that the hand begins with 500 players. As the first subgame progresses and players begin to be eliminated from contention from the first subgame, the number of remaining players will decrease; however, as all of the players can participate in each of the three subgames, the number of remaining players at the start of each of the second and third subgames will return to 500. The prize panel 26 indicates that the total prize available for being a winner of the first subgame is $10. The status panel 12 indicates that the first hand is in progress, and that the first subgame is composed of four hands. In the first subgame, as in all the subgames of the present embodiment, a player is identified as a winner of the subgame if that player wins all the hands in that subgame.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the card dealing module deals the dealer up card, an Ace of Spades, for the first hand. As is typical in Blackjack, the Ace has a value of 1 or 11, whichever is most beneficial to the hand; this is reflected in the total value of the dealer hand as identified in the dealer hand value panel 30.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the display module reveals the player hit card 22, which in the present embodiment is a 10 of Spades. Each of the players, watching the game unfold, can add the player hit card 22 to the cards that are visible on his or her ticket to arrive at the total value of the player hand. So as to be able to subsequently determine which of the players has a winning hand, the hand calculation module, at this stage, calculates the total value of each of the player hands and stores this value in memory. In this exemplary embodiment, the rules by which the first subgame is played are such that the players cannot bust. In other words, for any given player hand, the hand calculation module adds the player hit card 22 to the player hand only if doing so will not result in the player busting.

Referring now to FIG. 5, the display module reveals the first dealer card 16, and updates the dealer total panel 30 accordingly.

Referring now to FIG. 6, card dealing module deals the dealer hit card 20, which in the present embodiment is a 6 of Hearts. As indicated in the dealer total panel 30, this raises the total value of the dealer hand to 19. With a total value of 19, the card dealing module does not deal the dealer any additional dealer hit cards (the dealer “stays”). However, unlike the players, the dealer is not limited to only one dealer hit card. In the present embodiment, the dealer is dealt cards as follows:

    • If the total value of the dealer hand is less than 17, the card dealing module deals the dealer another dealer hit card.
    • If the total value of the dealer hand is between 17 and 21, the card dealing module does not deal the dealer any further cards. This includes situations when the total value of the dealer hand is between 17 and 21 and one of the dealer cards is an Ace.

As dealing is completed, the hand calculation module can and does determine the total value of all of the player hands and also the total value of the dealer hand, and the central computer system 34 consequently proceeds to block 108 of FIG. 1 where the hand winner determination module determines who the winning players are. The winning players will be those players who either have a better Blackjack hand than the dealer, or who are beneficiaries of the “Lucky Loser” rule, as follows:

A player has a better Blackjack hand than the dealer if:

    • neither the player nor the dealer bust, and if the total value of the player hand is greater than the total value of the dealer hand; or
    • the total value of the player hand equals the total value of the dealer hand, i.e. the player and dealer “push”, with the exception being that if both the player hand and the dealer hand total 21, a 21 that is composed of only two cards (an Ace and a card having a value of 10) will defeat a 21 that is composed of three or more cards.

Alternatively, the players can be declared winners by virtue of the “Lucky Loser” rule. The Lucky Loser rule describes a situation in which all the players for any given hand are declared winners and advance to the next hand, i.e. be treated as though they did have a better Blackjack hand than the dealer, if all the players for that given hand in fact do not have a better Blackjack hand than the dealer. In other words, if but for the Lucky Loser rule all the players would have losing hands, the Lucky Loser rule will instead deem all the players to have winning hands.

Following the hand winner determination module's determination of winning players at block 108, the central computer system 34 proceeds to block 110 and eliminates from contention from the first subgame any players who are not winning players (“losing players”). Consequently, in the present embodiment, once any player has lost a single hand in the first subgame, that player is not eligible to win the first subgame. One way to implement this functionality is to associate a “losing player flag” with each of the players and to store this flag in the memory of the central computer system 34. When the central computer system 34 determines that a player is a losing player, the losing player flag associated with that losing player is set. At the conclusion of the first subgame, the winners of the first subgame will be those players whose losing player flags are not set. Losing player flags can also be used in implementing the second and third subgames, which are described in more detail below.

Following block 110, the central computer system 34 proceeds back to block 104 to determine whether all four hands of the first subgame have been played, as discussed above. If no, the central computer system 34 repeats the processes of blocks 106, 108 and 110. If all the hands of the first subgame have been played, the central computer system 34 proceeds to block 112 and the subgame winner determination module identifies any players who have not been eliminated from contention from the first subgame as winners of the first subgame. In the present embodiment, where all players who lose a single hand are eliminated, the subgame winner determination module identifies as winners of the first subgame those players who have won all four hands in the first subgame. One way to implement this functionality is to have the subgame winner determination module scan the memory of the central computer system 34 at the conclusion of the first subgame to determine which players have associated with them the losing player flag; those players without the losing player flag are the winners of the first subgame.

Following block 112, the central computer system 34 proceeds to block 114 where it determines whether all five hands that constitute the second subgame have been played. If not, then as with blocks 106, 108 and 110 in the first subgame, the card dealing module deals the next hand to the players in block 116, the hand winner determination module determines which players are winners in block 118, and the central computer system 34 eliminates all losing players from contention from the second subgame in block 120. In contrast to the first subgame, in the second subgame the hand calculation module does not automatically add the player hit card to each player hand only if it will be beneficial to the player. In embodiments wherein each player can see what his or her cards will be prior to being issued the ticket (e.g.: when the player purchases the ticket through a SST or through a website), the ticket purchase module shows the player his or her cards for each hand of the second subgame and the dealer up card 18 for each of the same hands, and gives the player the option of accepting or refusing the player hit card 22 for each hand prior to issuing the player the ticket.

In the embodiments wherein each player can see what his or her cards will be prior to being issued the ticket, the central computer system 34 draws each of the five dealer up cards 18 for each of the draws of the second subgame prior to selling any tickets for the draws on any given day. For example, if there are to be five draws scheduled on a particular day, the central computer system 34 will randomly select twenty-five dealer up cards 18 prior to the sale of any tickets for draws on that day. This allows the players to purchase tickets at any time of the day for any of the draws that have yet to occur on that day and still be able to see the five dealer up cards 18 for the second subgame prior to purchasing the ticket.

Following playing all five hands of the second subgame, the central computer system 34 proceeds to block 122 and, as was done in respect of block 112, the subgame winner determination module identifies those players who won each of the five hands of the second subgame as being winners of the second subgame. Consequently, the likelihood of the player winning the second subgame is less than the first subgame, since in order to win the second subgame the player must win five, and not just four, hands, and since the player can make a non-optimal decision regarding whether to accept the player hit card 22 (i.e.: the player may elect to receive the player hit card 22 and consequently bust, or the player may decide to refuse the player hit card 22 where accepting the player hit card 22 would have resulted in a better Blackjack hand).

In the present embodiment, winners of the second subgame can include those players who lost the first subgame. In an alternative embodiment (not depicted), the subgame winner determination module may only consider those players who are winners of the first subgame as being eligible to win the second subgame. In this alternative embodiment, the winners of the second subgame would be those players who are winners of nine consecutive hands.

Execution of blocks 124, 126, 128 and 130 in respect of the third subgame proceeds analogously as blocks 114, 116, 118 and 120 of the second subgame, and blocks 104, 106, 108 and 110 of the first subgame, respectively. The third subgame is composed of six hands. As in the second subgame, in embodiments wherein each of the players can see his or her cards prior to being issued the ticket, the ticket purchase module gives the player the option of accepting or refusing the player hit card 22 for each of the hands of the third subgame prior to issuing the player the ticket. However, unlike in the second subgame, the ticket purchase module does not show the player the dealer up card 18 prior to the player deciding whether to accept the player hit card 18.

Following playing all six hands of the third subgame, the central computer system 34 proceeds to block 132 and, as was done in respect of blocks 122 and 112, the subgame winner determination module identifies those players who won each of the six hands of the third subgame as being winners of the third subgame. Consequently, the likelihood of a player winning the third subgame is less than the second subgame, since in order to win the third subgame a player must win six, and not just five, hands, and since the player has less information on which to decide whether to receive the player hit card 18 than in the second subgame.

In the present embodiment, winners of the third subgame can include those players who lost one or both of the first and second subgames. In an alternative embodiment (not depicted), the subgame winner determination module may only consider those players who are winners of the first and second subgames as being eligible to win the third subgame. In this alternative embodiment, the winners of the third subgame would be those players who have not lost a single hand during the draw.

Referring now to FIG. 7, there is displayed one of the game screens 10 that summarizes the results of one of the draws. The screen 10 has three status panels 12; the leftmost panel 12 summarizes the results of the first subgame, the middle panel 12 summarizes the results of the second subgame, and the rightmost panel 12 summarizes the results of the third subgame. The cards displayed are the player hit cards 22 for each of the hands of the subgames. By reviewing the screen 10 of FIG. 8, the players can determine whether they have won all the hands played during any particular subgame, and consequently whether they are winners of that subgame. The panels show that 203 players won $10 in the first subgame; 105 players won $70 in the second subgame; and 9 players won $839 in the third subgame. Since the likelihood of winning the subgames decreases as the draw progresses, fewer players win later subgames than earlier ones, and prize money escalates as the draw progresses. In the present embodiment, winners of the first subgame receive a $10 prize; winners of the second subgame receive a prize of between $15 and $150 (19% of revenue from ticket sales divided by the number of winning tickets); and winners of the third subgame receive a prize of between $20 and $1,000 (24% of revenue from ticket sales divided by the number of winning tickets). These prizes are based on $5 tickets. Overall prize payouts in the present embodiment equate to approximately 64% of revenue from ticket sales, although the actual percentage of revenues paid out as prize money varies from draw to draw.

As discussed above, in certain embodiments, players have the option of selecting whether to receive the player hit card 22 prior to being issued the ticket. However, in certain other embodiments, a player may not want to have to decide whether to receive the player hit card 22, or may be playing in front of a remotely located terminal 38 that is not configured to accept player decisions beyond whether to purchase a ticket. The player may, for example, be purchasing tickets through an intermediary such as a waiter at a pub, who purchases tickets on behalf of the player using an Altura™ lottery terminal. In these embodiments, the central computer system 34 can automatically decide for the player whether to accept or refuse the player hit card 22 for each of the hands of the second and third subgames according to a predetermined algorithm (“Basic Strategy”). For example, Tables 1 and 2, below, illustrate how the central computer system 34 can decide for the player whether to accept or refuse the player hit card 22 such that the player's likelihood of winning is relatively high:

TABLE 1
Basic Strategy for the Second Subgame
Game 2
Dealer's First Card
PlayerAce2345678910-K
4HHHHHHHHHH
5HHHHHHHHHH
6HHHHHHHHHH
7HHHHHHHHHH
8HHHHHHHHHH
9HHHHHHHHHH
10HHHHHHHHHH
11HHHHHHHHHH
    Ace/AceHHHHHHHHHH
Ace/2HHHHHHHHHH
Ace/3HHHHHHHHHH
Ace/4HHHHHHHHHH
Ace/5HHHHHHHHHH
Ace/6HHHHHHSHHH
Ace/7SSSSSSSSHS
Ace/8SSSSSSSSSS
Ace/9SSSSSSSSSS
12HHHHHHHHHH
13HHHSSSHHHH
14HSSSSSHHHH
15HSSSSSHHHH
16HSSSSSHHHH
17SSSSSSSSSS
18SSSSSSSSSS
19SSSSSSSSSS
20SSSSSSSSSS
21SSSSSSSSSS

TABLE 2
Basic Strategy for the Third Subgame
PlayerGame 3
4H
5H
6H
7H
8H
9H
10H
11H
    Ace/AceH
Ace/2H
Ace/3H
Ace/4H
Ace/5H
Ace/6H
Ace/7S
Ace/8S
Ace/9S
12H
13H
14H
15H
16S
17S
18S
19S
20S
21S

Although in the aforedescribed embodiments the first subgame involves playing four hands, the second subgame involves playing five hands, and the third subgame involves playing six hands, alternative embodiments are directed at subgames having any number of hands. Furthermore, although in the above embodiments a particular set of rules for each of the subgames has been described, deviations from these particular rules are possible in alternative embodiments. For example, while in the above embodiments a player is a winner of a subgame if the player wins all the hands of that subgame, in alternative embodiments the player may be a winner of a subgame if the player wins a certain percentage of the hands (e.g.: four of six hands) of that subgame.

Additionally, although the embodiments described above incorporate images of the game screen 10 displayed on lottery displays 38 so that the players can watch the game unfold, the use of game screens 10 and lottery displays 38 is not required in all embodiments. For example, the game screen 10 as depicted in FIG. 7 could be published in a newspaper the morning after a draw, and the players could review the newspaper to determine whether they had won.

While particular embodiments have been described in the foregoing, it is to be understood that other embodiments are possible and are intended to be included herein. It will be clear to any person skilled in the art that modifications of and adjustments to the above embodiments, not shown, are possible.