WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 1 JACKPOT SYSTEM RELATED APPLICATIONS This application claims priority to Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2007902788 in the name of Crown Limited, which was filed on 25 May 2007, 5 entitled "Jackpot System" and, the specification thereof is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety and for all purposes. FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to the provision of bonus prizes. In particular, the present invention relates to Jackpot prizes associated with primary 10 games such as, for example, table or card games. In one form the present invention is suitable for use with the game of Blackjack (otherwise referred to as Pontoon or '21') in combination with the additional game of Perfect PairsTM providing contributions through side wagers to one or more Jackpots, and it will be convenient to hereinafter describe the invention in relation to that use. 15 However, it should be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to that use, only. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Throughout this specification the use of the word "inventor" in singular form may be taken as reference to one (singular) inventor or more than one (plural) 20 inventor of the present invention. The inventor has identified the following related art. The attraction of players to games such as card games may often be a combination of the nature of the game play with the perceived odds of winning the game. Accordingly, the schemes by which prizes are awarded may be an 25 important part of attracting and maintaining players. At the same time, a 'game edge' or return for the house (casino) in relation to games played and wagers placed thereon is an important consideration for the casinos or games providers. Game edge is a consideration for casino games comprising such games as those found in slot machines, video based games generally and table games. 30 Typically, prizes may be awarded for winners at the end of each round of a game. For example, a card game player who achieves Blackjack may be one of the winners of that round, and may be rewarded by receiving playing chips or WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 2 another prize. In this way, each round of a game can be seen as an independent game having no effect or interrelationship with any other game(s). In general Jackpots may be funded by a percentage of each wager, but the actual Jackpot process is able to be managed by a number of approaches, for 5 example, by way of a Progressive Jackpot or by way of a Mystery Jackpot. With respect to Progressive systems there are several different types of Progressive Jackpots currently in use; however they are considered to have the following characteristics in common: * The Jackpot may be triggered by, for instance, an individual machine being 10 played. In other words, triggering the Jackpot depends on the individual result such that it is symbol or event driven; N The Jackpot Value ordinarily has no maximum limit and therefore may grow indefinitely; * The Jackpot Winner may be determined by an event that is independent of 15 the Jackpot Size. In other words, the probability of winning may be the same in each case. A difficulty with Progressive Jackpots is that they may not work well with different wager sizes given that the events that trigger the Jackpots may be unrelated to the wager size. A number of attempted solutions for this difficulty are 20 as follows in three specific examples: A first solution is to fix the allowable wager size. An example of this is found in table games such as Caribbean Stud Poker. To be eligible to win, a player must place exactly $5 on a table sensor prior to receiving any cards. It is noted that that all wagers must be exactly the same, ie $5 in this case. The 25 player is then dealt their cards and wins the Jackpot prize if they receive a Royal Flush. However, the difficulty with this is that bets of such a fixed amount restrict the potential patron spend. A second example solution is to allow wagers of any size but only award the Jackpot to bets that exceed a given value. An example of this is found with 30 slot machine games such as Triple Diamonds. To be eligible to win, a player must play exactly 3 lines per button press. Note that all players may be forced to contribute to the Jackpot, even if they are ineligible to win. An eligible player then WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 3 wins the Jackpot Prize if, say, 5 Diamond Symbols are displayed on the machine. The problem encountered here is that patrons who only play one or two lines help to fund the Jackpot but are not eligible to win the Jackpot. Similarly, patrons who play multiple credits per line may not improve their chances of winning the 5 Jackpot. This means that players have a different overall Return to Player (RTP) or Game Edge, depending on the amount that they wager. A third example solution to the above noted problem of Progressive Jackpots is to adjust the probability of triggering the Jackpot event with respect to the wager size. An example, again found in slot machine games, is known as 10 Hyperlink Progressive (Slots). All players may be eligible to win the Jackpot. For each button press, the machine selects a random number from a large range. A player then wins the Jackpot Prize if the amount wagered is greater than the random number selected. Accordingly, players with large wagers therefore have a better chance of winning the Jackpot than players with small wagers. A 15 problem with this example is that patrons with the largest wagers dominate the Jackpot and win most frequently, which may contribute to the perception that players with small wagers don't even become eligible to win the Jackpot. This makes it strategically hard to promote a Jackpot that is linked across a wide range of wager sizes because the low value players may rarely win. 20 Turning to Mystery Jackpots, these Jackpots may be taken to differ with Progressive Jackpots in three ways, as follows. Firstly, the Jackpot of a Mystery Jackpot may be triggered by a Jackpot Controller linked to all machines. In other.words, triggering the Jackpot does not necessarily depend on an individual machine or game result, but more on the 25 combined effect of all machines or games in the link. Secondly, the Jackpot Value may have a pre-determined maximum limit. Thirdly, the Jackpot winner may be decided by an event that depends on the Jackpot size. In other words, the probability of winning may increase as the Jackpot grows. 30 In general, a Mystery Jackpot uses a Random Number Generator (RNG) to randomly pre-select a number from a fixed range. The Jackpot may then be won by the patron that pushes the Jackpot value to or above the pre-selected WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 4 Mystery Number. Providing a Mystery Jackpot to a range of wager sizes may face some issues to be overcome, such as: " Low limit patrons may rarely win the Jackpot. " A single Jackpot range is not suitable for all patron segments. 5 0 "Syndicate players" may take advantage of large Jackpots. By way of explanation, at a certain point a Mystery Jackpot can move into positive expectation, that is, the Jackpot prize may be greater than the average spend needed to win the prize. Professional groups of players may then dominate the machines and reduce the opportunity for regular patrons to 10 win the Jackpot. Another Mystery type Jackpot is as disclosed in co-pending International (PCT) Patent Application No PCT/AU2006/000882 in the name of the present applicant where a system for awarding a Jackpot prize has been devised that comprises, in general, determining a tally of a plurality of games/game events that 15 may occur at one or more tables and awarding the prize upon the occurrence of a game/game event that causes the tally to reach a predetermined number. However, a difficulty that the inventor has identified with the above Jackpot systems is that it is difficult to ensure a consistent or constant game edge for the house (casino), in particular, while allowing different wager and payout sizes, 20 respectively. Related art Jackpot systems may account for a particular game edge, which involves recording the total and exact amount gambled with each side wager and adding a fixed percentage of each bet amount to the Jackpot total. An example of such a system relates to Caribbean Stud TM Poker, mentioned above, in which table sensors record each 'Jackpot chip' gambled or 25 alternatively gaming machines that record each wager from all games played. Any discussion of documents, devices, acts or knowledge in this specification is included to explain the context of the invention. It should not be taken as an admission that any of the material forms a part of the prior art base or the common general knowledge in the relevant art in Australia or elsewhere on or 30 before the priority date of the disclosure and claims herein.
WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 5 SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the embodiments described herein to overcome or alleviate at least one of the above noted drawbacks of related art systems or to at least provide a useful alternative to related art systems. 5 In a first aspect of embodiments described herein there is 'provided a method of forming a bonus prize pool for a Jackpot associated with a primary game, the method comprising the steps of: providing for a plurality of side wagers directed to at least one nominated outcome being generated by the primary game; 10 selecting at least one side wager from the plurality of side wagers; allocating a portion of the at least one selected side wager to the bonus prize pool. Preferably, the at least one selected side wager is selected on the basis of being a winning side wager. Further steps may comprise: 15 estimating a total amount of all side wagers placed; determining the portion of the selected side wager to be allocated to the bonus prize pool in accordance with the estimated total amount. The estimated total amount of all side wagers placed may be determined in accordance with an event probability for the at least one nominated outcome. The at least one 20 nominated outcome may comprise one or a combination of: a mixed pair comprising two gaming elements of the same magnitude and different colour; a coloured pair comprising two gaming elements of the same magnitude and colour whilst being different suits; 25 a perfect pair comprising two gaming elements of the same magnitude; colour and suit. The allocated portion of the at least one selected side wager preferably comprises one of: a fixed percentage of the selected side wager; 30 a predetermined percentage of the selected side wager; a percentage of the selected side wager determined in accordance with the estimated total amount of all side wagers placed.
WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 6 In another aspect of embodiments described herein there is provided a method for awarding at least one bonus prize associated with a game, the method comprising the steps of: providing for play of at least one primary game which is adapted to 5 generate a plurality of outcomes comprising at least one nominated outcome; providing for a plurality of side wagers directed to the at least one nominated outcome being generated; selecting at least one side wager wherein the at least one side wager comprises a bet size; 10 in association with the at least one selected side wager, awarding a number of opportunities to win the bonus prize wherein the number of opportunities awarded corresponds to the bet size of the at least one selected side wager. The at least one selected side wager is preferably selected on the basis of being a winning side wager. 15 The step of awarding a number of opportunities preferably comprises, for each opportunity: generating a random number; comparing the generated random number with a preselected number; awarding the at least one bonus prize if the generated random number 20 corresponds to the preselected number. The bonus prize may be awarded to one or more of: a player; a primary game; a side wager game; 25 a location at which the at least one selected side wager was placed in which the location may correspond to at least one of: a gaming table; a gaming machine. The primary game in preferred forms may comprise one or a combination 30 of: Blackjack; Pontoon; Baccarat; Roulette; Poker; Bingo; Keno; slot games; video card games; video bingo; and video keno.
WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 7 In yet a further aspect of embodiments described herein there is provided apparatus for forming a bonus prize pool for a Jackpot associated with a primary game, the apparatus comprising: side wager means for providing for a plurality of side wagers directed to at 5 least one nominated outcome being generated by the primary game; selecting means for selecting at least one side wager from the plurality of side wagers; allocating means for allocating a portion of the at least one selected side wager to the bonus prize pool. 10 In still another aspect of embodiments described herein there is provided apparatus for awarding at least one bonus prize associated with a game, the apparatus comprising: gaming means for providing for play of at least one primary game which is adapted to generate a plurality of outcomes comprising at least one nominated 15 outcome; side wager means for providing for a plurality of side wagers directed to the at least one nominated outcome being generated; side wager selection means for selecting at least one side wager wherein the at least one side wager comprises a bet size; 20 awarding means for, in association with the at least one selected side wager, awarding a number of opportunities to win the bonus prize wherein the number of opportunities awarded corresponds to the bet size of the at least one selected side wager. The awarding means may comprise: 25 random number generating means for generating a random number for each awarded opportunity; comparing means for comparing the generated random number with a preselected number; bonus prize awarding means for awarding the at least one bonus prize if 30 the generated random number corresponds to the preselected number.
WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 8 Embodiments of the present invention are envisaged to comprise apparatus adapted for forming a bonus prize pool and/or adapted for awarding a game prize, said apparatus comprising: processor means adapted to operate in accordance with a predetermined 5 instruction set, said apparatus, in conjunction with said instruction set, being adapted to perform the method steps as herein described. Embodiments of the present invention are further envisaged to comprise a computer program product comprising: 10 a computer useable medium having computer readable program code and computer readable system code embodied on said medium, for forming a bonus prize pool and/or awarding a game. prize, within a data processing system, said computer program product comprising: computer readable code within said computer usable medium for 15 performing the method steps as described herein. Embodiments of the present invention offer patrons multiple opportunities to win a bonus prize where the number of opportunities provided is preferably proportional to the side bet wager size, but not necessarily related to the final payment size. 20 Advantages provided by embodiments of the present invention comprise the following. * A Jackpot may be linked across multiple tables. * Players may be rewarded for larger bets by improving their chance of winning the Jackpot. 25 * Extra or additional betting areas may not be needed because facilities can be overlayed on existing gaming infrastructure for side-wagers such as Perfect PairsTM. The Jackpot may therefore be perceived as a bonus payment. e A substantially constant Game Edge may be maintained through periods of 30 game playing given that each game may be considered an independent event when played in accordance with preferred embodiments and WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 9 therefore the Game Edge is not dependent on player behaviour and may be quoted as a fixed number in an actuarial analysis. In a preferred embodiment a primary game comprises a table game which is preferably one of Pontoon, Blackjack, Baccarat and Roulette, Poker, Bingo, 5 Keno or, any such game that may be played by way of a slot or video game, which may in turn comprise video card games, video Bingo or video Keno. With respect to awarding the bonus prize to a game, as herein disclosed, awarding the bonus prize to a game may be taken as providing or making available the prize to a location or point at which the successfully selected game 10 was played or completed. Thereafter once the prize has been awarded to the game, the actual distribution of the prize amount or consideration may be handled in a variety of ways some of which would be recognised by the person skilled in the art, for example, the prize amount may be made available to a dealer or croupier to distribute to one or more players of the selected game. Other means 15 of distributing the prize at the point of the selected game are disclosed and claimed hereinafter and it is noted that it is envisaged that the means of distribution does not necessarily need to be actually at the location of the selected game, for instance, it may be performed at a central control point for example in a computer networked gaming system. 20 Other aspects, preferred features and advantages of embodiments of the present invention are disclosed in the following specification and / or defined in the appended claims, forming a part of the description of the invention. Further scope of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter of preferred embodiments. 25 However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description. 30 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Further disclosure, improvements, advantages, features and aspects of embodiments disclosed herein may be better understood by those skilled in the WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 10 relevant art by reference to the following description of preferred embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which are given by way of illustration only, and thus not limiting to the scope of the present invention, and in which: 5 Figure 1 is a schematic view of a network of gaming tables which in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention may be located in one or more casinos; Figure 2 is a flow chart illustrating the formation of a Jackpot prize pool in accordance with a preferred embodiment; 10 Figure 3 is a flow chart illustrating the awarding of a Jackpot prize in accordance with a preferred embodiment; Figure 3a is a flow chart further illustrating the awarding of a jackpot prize in accordance with a preferred embodiment; Figure 4 shows an example set of prize scales which may be used in 15 embodiments disclosed herein. DETAILED DESCRIPTION A preferred embodiment of the present invention will be described in relation to a table version of the game of Blackjack played in combination with the additional side wager game of Perfect Pairs'. For the purposes of the present 20 description of embodiments, the specification of Applicant's co-pending International Application No PCT/AU2006/000882 is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. A primary game of Blackjack may be considered to have been won in two scenarios. The first is where the final value of cards dealt to a player total more 25 than the dealer's cards without exceeding a value of twenty-one. The second is where the player has two cards with a value exceeding that of the dealer's cards, and one of the player's cards is an Ace and the other is one of a King, Queen, Jack or Ten- this is what is known as "Blackjack". Embodiments described herein are equally applicable to both scenarios or situations. However, by way of 30 illustration of a preferred embodiment a primary game of Blackjack may be taken herein as won by a player when that player achieves a "Blackjack". The achievement of "Blackjack" may precipitate the completion of a round of play itself WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 11 but may also be considered as the achievement of a predetermined result within the play of a game. With reference to figure 1, each table 1 on which Blackjack is played is associated with at least one display means 2 visible to at least the players on the 5 table. The display means 2 may be a flat display panel, such as a Liquid Crystal Display or a plasma panel. This display means 2 preferably displays information in relation to the Jackpot prize such as for example, results of the processes involved in awarding the bonus prize or Jackpot indications of the winner of the Jackpot, the progressive value of the Jackpot or a communal tally or count of 10 games/game events from a plurality of game locations such as tables where the images may be in the form of repeated and/or updated images. Additionally, a central visual display unit 7 may be provided for displaying information that may comprise amongst other information and indicia, the information displayed by visual display units 2. 15 Each table 1 on which Blackjack is played, along with its associated display means 2, is connected to a common computer system C through a communications network, which together comprises a CPU 3 at each table in communication with a central controller 4 and a system administration server 6, which is adapted to perform system administration functions as would be 20 understood by the person skilled in the art. The display means 2 associated with each table obtains its information from the common computer system C. Players on a Blackjack table 1 may voluntarily place a side bet, or alternatively may be required to place a side bet. Preferably the side bet comprises a wager on a nominated outcome generated by a primary game such 25 as Blackjack where the nominated outcome may be unrelated to the rules of Blackjack itself. For instance, an example of a nominated outcome from the primary game of Blackjack is that the first two cards dealt are a pair of some description. The pair may comprise one of the following: a 'mixed' pair comprising two gaming elements of the same magnitude and 30 different colour. An example payout for achieving this result may be from about 6-1 to about 5-1; WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 12 a 'coloured' pair comprising two gaming elements of the same magnitude and colour whilst being different suits. An example payout for achieving this result may be from about 12-1 to about 10-1; a 'perfect' pair comprising two gaming elements of the same magnitude, 5 colour and suit. An example payout for achieving this result may be from about 30-1 or 25-1 to preferably about 20-1. The above noted nominated outcomes may form part of a side wager played in combination with the primary game (eg Blackjack) and preferably follow the rules of the side wager game known as Perfect Pairs TM. The concept of the 10 side wager game related to Perfect PairsTM is relatively simple wherein a side bet wins if the first two cards dealt in the course of the Blackjack hand are a pair and loses if they are not a pair. The side wager may be made prior to the initial deal. Table 1, below shows an exemplary payout table for the side wagers involved in Perfect PairsTM. 15 Pedect Pairs ayout Table Name Description 4 Decks 5 Decks 6 Decks 7 Decks 8 Decks Perfect Pair The initial two cards dealt to the player are exactly alike including 25 to 1 25 to 1 25 to 1 25 to 1 25 to 1 colour and suit. Coloured The initial two cards Pair dealt to the player are exactly alike 15 to 1 14 to 1 13 to 1 12 to 1 12 to 1 (including colour) except for suit. Mixed Pair The initial two cards dealt to the player are exactly alike except 6 to 1 6 to 1 6 to 1 6 to 1 6 to 1 for suit and colour. TABLE I WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 13 In a preferred aspect, a Jackpot is funded without the need to record total turnover by means of the central controller 4 and/or system administration server 6 selecting side wagers and allocating a portion of the selected side wager(s) to the bonus prize pool. With reference to the flow chart of figure 2 a method of 5 forming a Jackpot prize pool is illustrated. At step 201 a primary game facility, for example a Blackjack table game, is provided. At step 202 a side wager game facility, for example Perfect PairsTM, is provided. At step 203 side bets may be placed in respect of nominated outcomes of the primary game being achieved. At step 204 the primary game is played once side bets are placed. At step 205 10 primary outcomes are determined in the course of play of the primary game. Based on the results achieved in the primary game play, certain side bets are selected at step 206 in accordance with criteria such as whether the side bet was a winning bet. In this event, the successful selection of a side bet may trigger opportunities for the bonus prize to be awarded as described further herein. 15 Upon selection of a side bet(s), at step 207 an event probability of the nominated outcome corresponding to the selected side bet is determined. In a preferred example, this may simply be performed by look up table. Once the event probability is determined, at step 208, a portion of the selected side bet is added to the prize pool. In this method described in figure 2, the side wager is selected 20 on the basis of being a winning side wager. Therefore in a preferred embodiment the system is recording only winning bets. It is envisaged that side wagers may be selected on an alternate basis to that of being a winning bet, for example, on the basis of being a losing bet or a randomly selected bet. In an alternate arrangement, it is envisaged that a manual record of selected (preferably only 25 winning) side bets may be provided. The system may estimate the total amount gambled (that is the total of side wagers placed up to a given point in time) based on the event probability of events that lead to at least one or more winning bets, and adds a portion (in one embodiment a fixed percentage) of every winning bet to the Jackpot total. In this respect the game supervisor only needs to record 30 certain game events, namely for example, a winning event and not each and every event corresponding to a side wager for funding the Jackpot. This will obviate data errors that may be prone to occur in systems requiring a manual WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 14 count of every event. Accordingly, embodiments as disclosed herein may be more accurate as it has stemmed from the inventor's realisation that it may not be necessary to record each and every bet to determine funding for a Jackpot because the correct amount to be added to maintain the Jackpot pool may be 5 determined by the event probability and preferably the winning bet size. A beneficial application of embodiments here relates to their use in table games, which may include but are not limited to Blackjack, where unlike electronic gaming machines, there may not be any automated electronic counting mechanisms involved. In one exemplary embodiment, after every qualifying hand 10 eg $9.00 is added to the Jackpot for every $1 wagered. This comprises $7.50 incremented to the pool and $1.50 to fund a reseed amount. In a Perfect PairTM payment at 30-1 this may be reduced by at least 9-1 to fund this amount. In contrast to the Jackpot system disclosed in Applicant's co-pending International Application No PCT/AU2006/000882 a preferred embodiment 15 according to the present invention comprises an alteration to the Jackpot system of PCT/AU2006/000882 wherein the value or size of the side wager determines the number of opportunities provided to a player to win the Jackpot, and the Jackpot may be formed by either a Mystery or preferably a Progressive method. The Jackpot is preferably linked across multiple tables 1 with payments made to 20 the table 1 rather than directly to the player. However, it is noted that embodiments may relate to awarding the bonus prize(s) to one or more, or a combination of a player; a primary game itself; a side wager game itself; and, a location at which a winning side wager was placed. In accordance with a preferred embodiment, a substantially constant 25 Game Edge may be maintained through periods of game playing given that each game may be considered an independent event. Thus the Game Edge is not dependent on player behaviour and may be quoted as a fixed number in an actuarial analysis and the behaviour of the bonus award scheme is more like a progressive scheme than a mystery scheme. For example, the Jackpot system of 30 PCT/AU2006/000882 in its preferred embodiment is driven by a button press that only recorded the frequency of 'jackpot' wins. Payments however, are made at odds and, therefore are dependent on both frequency and bet size. The Jackpot WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 15 in that scheme may therefore be taken advantage of by the likes of syndicate players when the larger jackpot wagers are placed in the latter stages of the jackpot system as the threshold draws closer for a Jackpot winning event. To illustrate by example, play along the lines of an embodiment of the system of 5 PCT/AU2006/000882 may be as follows: " A qualifying hand is a Perfect Pair T M . - The jackpot may be won after every 4 qualifying hands. " Players are paid at random odds when they receive the fourth qualifying hand. Players may begin betting at $1 per hand. 10 & Qualifying hand #1 - $1 bet, Qualifying hand #2 - $1 bet, Qualifying hand #3 - $1 bet. However, the next qualifying hand wins and players are motivated to now bet $100 per hand. Qualifying hand #4 - $100 bet. Bet is paid at an average of 25 to 1. The following, with reference to the flow chart of figure 3, is an example of 15 a preferred Jackpot system of the present invention in relation to its use with Blackjack in combination with using a Perfect PairsTM side wager game as a trigger and in a Progressive Style Jackpot. At step 301 players at tables 1 as depicted in figure 1 may place wagers-on a Perfect PairsTM betting area (not shown) located on each table 1 as part of play of primary game such as 20 Blackjack. The placed side wagers, in accordance with the rules of Perfect PairsTM, are directed at Blackjack cards being pairs of the kind described herein. At step 302 at least one side wager is selected for eligibility for the awarding of the bonus prize. In a preferred embodiment, the selection is performed on the basis of the side wagers being a winning side wager. Losing Perfect PairsTM 25 wagers are then taken by the house. The selected winning Perfect PairsTM wagers are paid at the relevant odds, for example, of 20-1 and are the means by which a player may become eligible to win the Jackpot. The Dealer/GSup (Game Supervisor) enters the winning wager size or value into the common computer system. This may be performed via an electronic keypad (not shown) in reach of 30 the dealer at the table 1. By entering the winning wager value at least one of two functions may be served, namely, (a) the amount to be added to the Jackpot total is determined (step 304), and; (b) the number of opportunities the player has to WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 16 win the Jackpot is determined (step 303). Either concurrently, prior to or following this, an amount which may be for example a fixed percentage of the winning wager is added to the Jackpot total as shown at step 304. Given the number of opportunities N the player has to win the Jackpot has 5 been determined; the player can then participate in the Jackpot by pressing an electronic Jackpot button, which may be provided as the increment device 5 of figure 1. The number of opportunities N to win the Jackpot is proportional to the wager size as entered by the Dealer/GSup. For example, 1 x $1 bet = 1 opportunity, 1 x-$100 bet = 100 opportunities. At step 305, effectively, each 10 opportunity represented by a press of the increment device 5 produces a random number RN which may be generated by the central controller 4/system administration server 6. In one alternate embodiment, a fixed percentage of the winning wager is added to the Jackpot total after each press of the increment device 5. If a match is made between the randomly generated number and a 15 preselected number provided by the central controller 4/system administration server 6 then the player/location etc is identified at step 307 and is determined as the winner of the Jackpot. This result will be displayed at the table by graphical images on the visual display unit 2. Alternately, a display may be provided on the central visual display unit 7. In the event the Jackpot is won, then either the 20 player or the table where the player is located may be paid accordingly and the Jackpot total is reset to a predetermined reseed value at step 308 The eligibility for participation on the bonus prize award scheme is determined in a preferred embodiment in the form of a player or players placing a side bet, for example in a Perfect PairsTM side wager. In an alternate 25 embodiment eligibility may be contributed to by any player that sits at a participating table or alternatively, database information in relation to carded players and their profiled information may also contribute to determining eligibility and this may be managed by the central controller 4 and/or systems administration server 7 as would be understood by the person skilled in the art. 30 Each primary game may have the same chance of winning the Jackpot. As a further illustrative example, a player may win a Perfect Pair" with a $5 WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 17 wager and a current Jackpot Value = $700. The player thus wins $100 ($5 x 20 1) and participates in five primary games as follows. Jackpot +$5 Jackpot +$5 Jackpot+$5 Jackpot +$5 Jackpot +$5 From $705 to $710 From $710 to $715 From $715 to $720 From $720 to $725 From $200 to $205 5 No Win No Win No Win WIN $725 No Win Reset to $200 Upon winning the Jackpot in the event that the randomly generated number equals the preselected number figure 4 illustrates a set of example prize scales that can be used with method of figure 3. There is one local prize scale, 10 which may be used to award prizes to, for example, players who achieve Blackjack or a Perfect Pairs TM result, regardless of whether they do so to qualify them for opportunities of winning the Jackpot prize. However, if an opportunity to win the Jackpot prize is successful, the prize may be randomly selected from one of the "wide area" prize scales labelled "Mini", "Minor", "Major" and "Grand". The 15 Grand prize scale is a higher-value prize scale (having prizes of $100,000) than the Mini prize scale, which has prizes of $50. In the present example, each prize scale is associated with prizes of a single value, for example all prizes in the .Minor scale are worth $200. However, each prize scale may be associated with a range of prizes of differing value, and the selection of prizes within each prize 20 scale may be random. The probability of the prize being selected from a higher-value prize scale, for example the Grand prize scale, is less than the probability of the prize being selected from a lower-value prize scale, for example the Mini prize scale. In the example of figure 4, the probability of the prize being selected from the Grand 25 prize scale is 1/33150, whereas the probability of the prize being selected from the Mini prize scale is 4718/33150. This ensures that more smaller prizes and fewer larger prizes are awarded. By way of further illustration, figure 3a depicts a procedural outline of the preferred Jackpot system in which in which event probabilities and payout odds 30 are also shown at each stage. The game edge related to the Perfect PairsTI side wagering is -5.0%. Probabilities for each of the four possible outcomes for pairs WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 18 are shown and the corresponding payouts are shown. On a PERFECT PAIR occurrence, a payout of 20-1 is given in addition to an opportunity for participation in the preferred Jackpot game labelled as Whirlwind T M . At the point of participating in the Whirlwind TM Jackpot, the number of Jackpot games to be 5 allocated is determined by entering the wager size W for the given bet that presented the PERFECT PAIRS result, the Game Supervisor or player presses a Jackpot button and, a Game number N is predetermined, preferably initialised at a value of 1. In this instance where N > W the wager size has not qualified the participant for Whirlwind games and accordingly the 'end of the hand' condition is 10 invoked. Otherwise if W > N a first Whirlwind Jackpot game is played out in accordance as described above where $ amounts are added to each of the respective prize scales denoted in figure 4. The probabilities of winning each respective prize scale are shown and this is carried out a number of times until N exceeds the value of W invoking the 'end of hand' condition. 15 According to trials run by the inventor in accordance with embodiments herein the following models shown in Table 2 and Table 3 for Blackjack and Perfect PairsTM along with assumptions have been produced.
WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 19 0M 0 0 0O CD 0 m0 00 C) 0'-0 o- E-c *~E~~ U) co C) C: - r- O a) ) U) 01 0 E ' - 1 00 CC L90 0 0 0 0q a) ) C) 00 Q' CDI 0Q 0000 C, 00 LO 0 0) 00 _ 0 o0~ 00 0 0. 0 e~o~o- WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 20 Perfect Paris Odds Prob Edge Mixed Pair 5 3.9% 19.3% Coloured Pair 10 1.9% 19.3% Perfect Pair 20 1.7% 33.7% + Whirlwind Payment 9.00 15.2% No Pair -1 92.5% -92.5% Game Edge -5.06% TABLE3 The above models are in accordance with the following trial assumptions. MODEL ASSUMPTIONS Tables 77 Open Hours per Day 844 Patron Hours per Day 2,605 Hand Rate 82.2 Decisions per Day 214,117 Perfect Pairs Uptake 46% Perfect Pairs Decisions per Day 98,451 Perfect Pair Probability (% hands) 1.69% Perfect Pair Frequency (# hands) 59.3 Perfect Pair Wins per Day 1,661 Perfect Pair Wins per Open Hour 2.0 Perfect Pairs Average Bet($) 10 Whirlwind Games per Day 16,623 5 Preferred embodiments have been described above in relation to the game of Blackjack. However, the present invention may be played with any table game, including games such as Baccarat and Roulette. Further it would be recognised by the person skilled in the art that the invention may also apply to games other than table games, such as for example, gaming machine games which may 10 comprise slot games, and video games such as video card games, video bingo and video keno. Apart from these gaming machine games other live games as would be recognised by the person skilled in the art may comprise further examples such as bingo, keno or poker and all variations of each of these. Some table games may be modified to take advantage of the benefits of 15 embodiments of the present invention. For example, as a side bet in conjunction with Baccarat the tie bet may be replaced by a. selection by the player of a WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 21 number associated with the result of either the player's hand or the banker's hand. There may be 20 numbers, with the first 10 numbers relating to the result of the banker's hand (0 - 9) and the second 10 numbers relating to the result of the player's hand (0-9). On the basis of a winning side bet being selected for a 5 chance at the Jackpot prize, the player is given one or more opportunities to be awarded a Jackpot prize if the player correctly predicts the result of either the player's hand or the banker's hand. Equally, the game being played or a game to follow the present game may be awarded the prize for distribution to either the player or for addition to the primary or local prize for the next result in the game of 10 Baccarat. A person skilled in the art will recognise that embodiments of the invention described herein may be implemented using one or more computers. In that case, the method steps disclosed herein may be embodied as instructions that comprise a computer program. The program may be stored on computer 15 readable media, such as floppy disks, optical discs (eg compact discs), or fixed disks (such as hard drives and the like), and may be resident in memory, such as, for example random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), firmware, or flash RAM memory. The program as software may then be executed on a computer or microprocessor device to implement the method. The program or 20 portions of its execution, may also be distributed over multiple computers in a network having a topology corresponding to one or a combination of: a small area such as in a LAN (Local Area Network); a large campus or city area such as in a MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) or; a wide geographical area such as in a WAN (Wide Area Network). As an example, the present invention may be suitable for 25 use with a computer network implementation of a table game such as Blackjack, which may be played individually by one or more players against a central micro controller. It should be noted that where the terms "server", "secure server" or similar terms are used herein, a communication device is described that may be used in 30 a communication system, unless the context otherwise requires, and should not be construed to limit the present invention to any particular communication device type. Thus, a communication device may include, without limitation, a bridge, WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 22 router, bridge-router (router), switch, node, or other communication device, which may or may not be secure. It should also be noted that where a flowchart is used herein to demonstrate various aspects of the invention, it should not be construed to limit 5 the present invention to any particular logic flow or logic implementation. The described logic may be partitioned into different logic blocks (e.g., programs, modules, functions, or subroutines) without changing the overall results or otherwise departing from the true scope of the invention. Often, logic elements may be added, modified, omitted, performed in a different order, or implemented 10 using different logic constructs (e.g., logic gates, looping primitives, conditional logic, and other logic constructs) without changing the overall results or otherwise departing from the true scope of the invention. Various embodiments of the invention may be embodied in many different forms, including computer program logic for use with a processor (e.g., a 15 microprocessor, microcontroller, digital signal processor, or general, purpose computer), programmable logic for use with a programmable logic device (e.g., a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) or other PLD), discrete components, integrated circuitry (e.g., an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)), or any other means including any combination thereof. In an exemplary embodiment of 20 the present invention, predominantly all of the communication between users and the server is implemented as a set of computer program instructions that is converted into a computer executable form, stored as such in a computer readable medium, and executed by a microprocessor under the control of an operating system. 25 Computer program logic implementing all or part of the functionality where described herein may be embodied in various forms, comprising a source code form, a computer executable form, and various intermediate forms (e.g., forms generated by an assembler, compiler, linker, or locator). Source code may comprise a series of computer program instructions implemented in any of 30 various programming languages (e.g., an object code, an assembly language, or a high-level language such as Fortran, C, C++, JAVA, or HTML) for use with various operating systems or operating environments. The source code may WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 23 define and use various data structures and communication messages. The source code may be in a computer executable form (e.g., via an interpreter), or the source code may be converted (e.g., via a translator, assembler, or compiler) into a computer executable form. 5 The computer program may be fixed in any form (e.g., source code form, computer executable form,. or an intermediate form) either permanently or transitorily in a tangible storage medium, such as a semiconductor memory device (e.g, a RAM, ROM, PROM, EEPROM, or Flash-Programmable RAM), a magnetic memory device (e.g., a diskette or fixed disk), an optical memory device 10 (e.g., a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM), a PC card (e.g., PCMCIA card), or other memory device. The computer program may be fixed in any form in a signal that is transmittable to a computer using any of various communication technologies, including, but in no way .limited to, analog technologies, digital technologies, optical technologies, wireless technologies (e.g., Bluetooth), networking 15 technologies, and inter-networking technologies. The computer program may be distributed in any form as a removable storage medium with accompanying printed or electronic documentation (e.g., shrink wrapped software), preloaded with a computer system (e.g., on system ROM or fixed disk), or distributed from a server or electronic bulletin board over the communication system (e.g., the 20 Internet or World Wide Web). Hardware logic (including programmable logic for use with a programmable logic device) implementing all or part of the functionality where described herein may be designed using traditional manual methods, or may be designed, captured, simulated, or documented electronically using various tools, such as 25 Computer Aided Design (CAD), a hardware description language (e.g., VHDL or AHDL), or a PLD programming language (e.g., PALASM, ABEL, or CUPL). Programmable logic may be fixed either permanently or transitorily in a tangible storage medium, such as a semiconductor memory device (e.g., a RAM, ROM, PROM, EEPROM, or Flash-Programmable RAM), a magnetic memory 30 device (e.g., a diskette or fixed disk), an optical memory device (e.g., a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM), or other memory device. The programmable logic may be fixed in a signal that is transmittable to a computer using any of various communication WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 24 technologies, including, but in no way limited to, analog technologies, digital technologies, optical technologies, wireless technologies (e.g., Bluetooth), networking technologies, and internetworking technologies. The programmable logic may be distributed as a removable storage medium with accompanying 5 printed or electronic documentation (e.g., shrink wrapped software), preloaded with a computer system (e.g., on system ROM or fixed disk), or distributed from a server or electronic bulletin board over the communication system (e.g., the Internet or World Wide Web). Throughout this specification the word "comprise", or variations such as 10 "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps, but not the exclusion of any other element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps. It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations 15 and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. For example, prizes may take any form, including cash Jackpots, free games and multipliers. The invention may be used in conjunction with more than one type of game (for example, Blackjack and Pontoon). The 20 present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations uses or adaptations of the invention following in general, the principles of the invention and comprising such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice within the art to which the invention 25 pertains and as may be applied to the essential features hereinbefore set forth. As the present invention may be embodied in several forms without departing from the spirit of the essential characteristics of the invention, it should be understood that the above described embodiments are not to limit the present invention unless otherwise specified, but rather should be construed broadly 30 within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. Various modifications and equivalent arrangements are intended to be included within the spirit and scope of.the invention as described hereinabove. Therefore, WO 2008/144807 PCT/AU2008/000727 25 the specific embodiments are to be understood to be illustrative of the many ways in which the principles of the present invention may be practiced. In the description hereinabove and claims hereinbelow, means-plus-function clauses are intended to cover structures as performing the defined function and not only 5 structural equivalents, but also equivalent structures. For example, although a nail and a screw may not be structural equivalents in that a nail employs a cylindrical surface to secure wooden parts together, whereas a screw employs a helical surface to secure wooden parts together, in the environment of fastening wooden parts, a nail and a screw are equivalent structures. 10