US20070202937A1 - Method and System for a Game of Knowledge For Multiple Players Including Wagering - Google Patents

Method and System for a Game of Knowledge For Multiple Players Including Wagering Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070202937A1
US20070202937A1 US11/680,201 US68020107A US2007202937A1 US 20070202937 A1 US20070202937 A1 US 20070202937A1 US 68020107 A US68020107 A US 68020107A US 2007202937 A1 US2007202937 A1 US 2007202937A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
question
hand
contestants
contestant
game
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Abandoned
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US11/680,201
Inventor
Grant Peires
Dirk McFarlane-Aitken
Charles Low
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TRIVIAL POKER Ltd
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Peires Grant C
Mcfarlane-Aitken Dirk
Charles Low
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Priority to US77769606P priority Critical
Application filed by Peires Grant C, Mcfarlane-Aitken Dirk, Charles Low filed Critical Peires Grant C
Priority to US11/680,201 priority patent/US20070202937A1/en
Publication of US20070202937A1 publication Critical patent/US20070202937A1/en
Assigned to TRIVIAL POKER LIMITED reassignment TRIVIAL POKER LIMITED ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: LOW, CHARLES, PEIRES, GRANT CRAIG, MCFARLANE-AITKEN, DIRK
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F1/00Card games
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F3/00Board games; Raffle games
    • A63F3/00003Types of board games
    • A63F3/00082Racing games
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/326Game play aspects of gaming systems
    • G07F17/3272Games involving multiple players
    • G07F17/3276Games involving multiple players wherein the players compete, e.g. tournament
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3286Type of games
    • G07F17/3295Games involving skill, e.g. dexterity, memory, thinking
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F1/00Card games
    • A63F2001/005Poker
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F9/00Games not otherwise provided for
    • A63F9/24Electric games; Games using electronic circuits not otherwise provided for
    • A63F2009/2483Other characteristics
    • A63F2009/2488Remotely playable

Abstract

A game of knowledge including wagering is played by multiple players. The players of the game place wagers to outwit the other players, such that the other players decide to leave the game, and based on their belief that they can correctly answer a question on a selected topic. A sole player remaining in the game, or the player(s) answering the question correctly, win or share a betting pot generated during at least one wagering round performed before the question is answered. The wagering round(s) follows the format conventional in the game of poker.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/777,696 filed Feb. 28, 2006, incorporated by reference herein.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to a game of knowledge for multiple players including wagering and where winning the game depends on a combination of strategic wagering and a player's knowledge and intelligence, more particularly, to a game in which players place wagers (i) to outwit the other players, such that the other players are eliminated from the game, and (ii) based on the belief that they will correctly answer a question.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Various games of knowledge are known in which players compete against one another by attempting to respond correctly to questions concerning selected topics. Some knowledge-based games, when adapted to a television game show format, have become very popular and successful. For example, in the television game show FAMILY FEUD, a team of family members compete against another team of family members by attempting to correctly answer questions relating to the results of surveys on a variety of topics. Based on the popularity and success of the FAMILY FEUD television game show, board game and DVD game adaptations of the game show also were introduced.
  • The success and popularity of a game of knowledge oftentimes depend upon attributes or features in the game that complement or are unrelated to the knowledge-based element. For example, in the television game show WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, in which contestants attempt to correctly answer questions and need to risk accumulated winnings to remain in, and ultimately win, the game, members of the studio audience, or individuals not in the studio audience and pre-selected by the contestants, sometimes participate in the game by suggesting an answer to a question. It is believed that the interaction with the studio or home audience and also the wagering features of the WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE television game show, in combination with the knowledge-based features, resulted in the television game show becoming tremendously popular and successful. Based on the success and popularity of the television game show, the game elements of the television show were adapted to other formats, such as, for example, a board game, a computer game and DVD-based interactive game, which also became successful.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with the present invention, a game of knowledge for multiple players including wagering presents players with questions that test the players' knowledge, and provides that players can use their wagering skills, including bluffing, to eliminate other players from the game. During play of the game, the players participate in at least one wagering round, in which the players wager against one another and which occurs before the stage of the game when players reveal an answer to a question that is presented. The wagering may include (i) a player attempting to outwit the other players based on the amount wagered, thereby causing the other players to discontinue play (“fold”) on the question before the stage of the game for revealing an answer to the question is reached; and (i) wagering by a player based on the belief that he or she will correctly answer the question. A betting pot generated during the wagering for a question, where the wagering may include a wagering round conducted before a question from a selected category is revealed, is distributed to (i) the player(s) who placed the necessary wagers to remain eligible to reveal an answer to the question and then revealed the correct answer to the question following the conclusion of the wagering for the question, or (ii) to a sole player remaining in the game after all of the other players have folded.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the inventive game of knowledge is adapted into a television game show format where the game is played as a tournament including several levels of gaming rounds, where each gaming round includes at least one wagering round. In a preliminary gaming round, members of a studio audience are selected as contestants to play the game, based on the speed with which the members respond, and the correctness of their responses, to a question on knowledge. Each of the contestants receives a stake at the beginning of the gaming round, and wager against one another in at least one wagering round, which occurs before the stage of the game where players reveal an answer to a question on knowledge from a selected category. During the wagering round(s), the contestants with a remaining stake must place the necessary wagers to have an opportunity to reveal an answer to the question and, ultimately, win or share the amount in a betting pot generated for the question during the wagering round(s). The wagering in the wagering round(s) preferably follows the format conventional to the game of poker. The contestant having the largest stake at the conclusion of a preliminary gaming round, during which several questions preferably have been revealed and answered, decides whether to proceed to an advanced gaming round or leave the tournament with an amount of money equal to the contestant's current stake. In the tournament, several preliminary gaming rounds are played with different contestants until a predetermined number of contestants has chosen to proceed to an advanced gaming round. In an advanced round, a selected number of the contestants who decide to proceed to an advanced gaming, preferably the contestants having the five highest current stakes from play during the preliminary gaming rounds, play the same game as played during the preliminary gaming round. The tournament may include several advanced gaming rounds culminating in a final gaming round, and the stake assigned to the contestants at the beginning of each advanced gaming round increases in each succeeding advanced gaming round.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the inventive game, such as adapted as a television game show, a casino game or an online game, contestants enter answers and wagers on an electronic data entry device coupled to a centralized controller. The controller controls play of the game, monitoring contestant answers and wagers entered on the data entry device, and provides for display of gaming information, which includes questions, answers, wagers, betting pot, current stake, moving video images of the contestants and other contestant-related information, on a monitor. Depending upon the format into which the inventive game is adapted, the monitor may include a monitor visible by members of the studio audience for the game show or spectators of the casino game, or monitors of home viewers to whom the game show is broadcast.
  • In one embodiment of the game, the contestant having the greatest stake after a predetermined number of questions has been answered in a gaming round participates in a solo question and answer round. In the solo round, which has a predetermined time length, the contestant attempts to correctly answer as many questions as possible, and wagers any amount not exceeding the contestant's current stake before attempting to correctly answer a question. In an alternative embodiment, the contestant in the solo round selects questions having odds and wagers, in connection with the odds for a selected question, that he can correctly answer the selected question.
  • In a further embodiment, the contestant who has the greatest stake after a predetermined number of questions have been answered in a preliminary gaming round of a tournament must have accumulated a stake of at least a predetermined amount to join a winning group including other contestants who also accumulated a stake of at least the predetermined amount. Only those contestants in the winning group who have the five highest stakes proceed to an advanced gaming round in a tournament. In one embodiment, the contestant having the greatest stake at a predetermined stage of a gaming round, but whose stake is less than the predetermined amount, can choose to increase the stake, so as to qualify to become eligible for an advanced gaming round, by wagering the entirety of the stake that he will correctly answer at least one additional question.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the presently preferred embodiments, which description should be considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements and in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram of an exemplary gaming system for implementing a game of knowledge including wagering as a television game show, in accordance with the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a flowchart of an exemplary method for playing a game of knowledge including wagering using the system of FIG. 1, in accordance with the present invention.
  • FIG. 3 is an exemplary schematic arrangement of contestants playing a game of knowledge according to the method of FIG. 2 and using components of the system of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 is a flowchart of an exemplary method for playing a game of knowledge including wagering as an online game using components of the system of FIG. 1, in accordance with the present invention.
  • FIG. 5 is an exemplary schematic arrangement of contestants playing a game of knowledge including wagering as an online game according to the method of FIG. 4.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention of a game of knowledge for multiple players including wagering is illustrated below in connection with an adaptation of the game as a television game show in which questions on knowledge from selected categories, contestant answers, wagering and other contestant-related information, including contestant appearance and activities during play of the game, are displayed to a studio audience and also to a home television audience, and in which viewers in the home audience and members of the studio audience have an opportunity to win prizes and also become a contestant on the game show by answering a question on knowledge or wagering along with a favored contestant and winning a portion of the game corresponding to a particular question, a gaming round or a tournament including a plurality of gaming rounds. It is to be understood that the inventive game of knowledge for multiple players including wagering can be adapted, in accordance with the present invention, into other formats, such as, a board game, an online game, and a casino game in the exemplary embodiments illustrated below, and also as a video game, a PC game, an interactive DVD game and a mobile media game, such as on a cellular phone.
  • FIG. 1 is an embodiment of a gaming system 10, in accordance with the present invention, for implementing a game of knowledge including wagering, which is played by several contestants and includes rounds of wagering, preferably following the wagering format of the game of poker, as a television game show. Referring to FIG. 1, the gaming system 10 includes gaming units 12 operatively coupled to a gaming controller 14 via data links 16. In addition, the gaming system 10 includes studio audience keypads 18 operatively coupled to the gaming controller 14 via data links 20. The gaming controller 14 also is coupled to a monitor 17 over a data link 19, and a video camera 25 over a data link 27. Further, the gaming controller 14 includes a viewer communication interface 22 and a multimedia transmitter 24.
  • The gaming unit 12 includes a conventional electronic information entry device, such as a stylus and a writing pad, a monitor 13 for visually displaying information entered on the writing pad and also information transmitted to the gaming unit 12 from the controller 14, and control and communication means for facilitating communication of data between the unit 12 and the controller 14 and selective display of information on the monitor 13. In a preferred embodiment, the gaming unit 12 is a personal digital assistant (“PDA”), computer tablet or like device capable of displaying information entered by a contestant or received from an external device, such as the controller 14, and exchanging information between the unit 12 and an external device having communication capabilities.
  • The keypad 18 includes communication capabilities, an electronic information entry means, such as a keypad, and an indicating device (not shown), such as, for example, a light emitting diode, a speaker or a conventional electronically controllable vibration means, such as a piezoelectric device. In a preferred embodiment, the keypad 18 has the same functionalities and components as the unit 12, except for the monitor 13.
  • The interface 22 includes a conventional controller having communication capabilities and is operable to exchange data with a plurality of communication devices, such as a computer, telephone, personal digital assistant or a cellular telephone, over wireless or wired communication networks.
  • The multimedia transmitter 24 is a conventional multimedia transmitter that transmits audio and video information representative of a live or recorded scene, such as a live or pre-recorded television show.
  • The data links 16, 19, 20, and 27 are conventional wireless communications links of a wireless data network, or single or multiple data lines of a wired data network.
  • The monitor 17 is a conventional display, such as high definition plasma or LCD display.
  • The video camera 27 is a conventional video camera, such as a high definition video camera, controllable by an external controller to generate moving video images and also audio data representative of a scene, and then transmit the video and audio data to the controller.
  • The gaming controller 14 includes a processor, a server and a memory, and is operable to receive data signals from, and transmit control signals and other game-related data to, the gaming units 12 and the keypads 18; to exchange data signals with a plurality of communication devices over communication networks via the interface 22; to transmit control data signals to, and receive video and audio data signals from, the camera 25; and to transmit control and multimedia data signals, including audio and video data received from the camera 25, to the transmitter 24 and the monitor 17. See, for example, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2003/0186745, incorporated by reference herein, for a description of conventional connections of gaming units with a central controller and the exchange of gaming information between the controller and the gaming units or external communication devices.
  • As discussed below in the text accompanying the description of an exemplary method for play of the inventive game as a tournament or an individual game show illustrated in FIG. 2, the gaming controller 14 controls play of a game of knowledge including wagering where multiple contestants operate respective gaming units 12 to select categories of knowledge, place wagers before answering questions relating to the selected categories, preferably following the wagering format conventional in the game of poker, and enter answers to the questions. The gaming controller 14 is operable to generate displays on the monitor 17, and also on the monitors of home viewers receiving a live or pre-recorded broadcast of the television game show, including gaming information, such as questions, answers, wagers, the amount in a betting pot for a wagering round, contestant stakes, moving video images of contestants and other contestant-related information.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary method 30 for play of a game of knowledge including wagering as a television game show using the system 10 of FIG. 1, in accordance with the present invention. In the illustrative television game show adaptation of the inventive game, the game is played as a tournament or an individual game show in which multiple contestants compete in initial and advanced gaming rounds, and where wagering by a contestant together with the contestant's knowledge of answers to questions of trivia selected from various categories determines whether a contestant will win a gaming round and also can proceed to an advanced gaming round in the tournament. Referring to FIG. 2, in step 32 the controller 14 selects a predetermined number of members of the studio audience to become contestants in an initial gaming round, where the predetermined number is at least three and, preferably, five. In advance of the date of play of the initial, and also advanced, gaming rounds, telephone numbers, text numbers or world wide web addresses associated with the television game show are advertised to the general public through various media, such as television, radio, billboards, etc. In addition, the telephone numbers, text numbers or world wide web addresses associated with the television game show are displayed or mentioned at various times during broadcast of the game show or during promotional trailers or commercials shown in connection with the broadcast of the game show. Individuals can call the telephone or text numbers, or access the web addresses, to register with the system 10 for an opportunity to become a member of the studio audience and possibly a contestant on the game show. In a preferred embodiment, the telephone or text numbers are premium rate numbers and the web addresses are subscription only access web sites.
  • For example, where the inventive game is adapted as a television reality game show, an advertising promotional campaign is launched a predetermined period, for example, about two to ten weeks, prior to the airing of the first episode, in other words, first initial gaming round, of the game show. The advertising, for example, would state “Are you an Intellectual Cowboy? Call now to win up to $2.5 million. The biggest game show prize in history is coming soon. We are looking for just twenty-five of the most intellectual and streetwise individuals anywhere. If you think you are a top notch trivia maven, call us on the number identified below to register now for a chance to become a contestant.”
  • As part of step 32, individuals of the general public register with the controller 14 via the communication interface 22. The interface 22 collects contact information from the individuals, which the individuals manually enter on, for example, a telephone or PDA keypad. In an alternative embodiment, the interface 22 automatically collects contact information from the individuals from data ordinarily included in a communication transmission from the communication device, such as a telephone or cellular phone, an individual utilizes to call the advertised number. Of the individuals that register with the controller 14 during a predetermined period, such as during the week preceding the day on which play of an initial gaming round is scheduled, the controller 14 randomly selects a predetermined number, for example, about one hundred to two hundred, of the registrants to become members of the studio audience for the upcoming gaming round of the tournament. The controller 14, via the interface 22, transmits a message to the selected registrants, inviting them to become a studio audience member and possibly a contestant in the upcoming gaming round.
  • Prior to the start of a gaming round, each member of the studio audience is provided with a keypad 18. When the controller 14 displays a multiple choice question on knowledge, such as, for example, a trivia question, on the monitor 17, which may constitute one or more monitors positioned overhead the studio audience, each studio audience member can attempt to enter a correct answer to the question on the keypad 18 as quickly as possible. Each of the keypads 18 transmits to the controller 14 data representative of the answer and the identity of the transmitting keypad 18 as soon as the studio audience member answers the question on the keypad 18. Based on the answer and also the time of transmission of the answer from an individual keypad 18 to the controller 14, the controller 14 determines the five members of the studio audience who were the first to correctly answer the question. The controller 14 then transmits a control signal to the keypads 18 of these five members, causing the indicator on the keypad 18 to operate, for example, an LED to flash. Alternatively, the controller 14 generates on the monitor 17 an audio announcement requesting the members with the keypads 18 having flashing indicators to proceed to a designated gaming area. The audience members having these keypads 18 become the contestants for the current gaming round.
  • The contestants, who are designated as contestants A, B, C, D and E for purposes of illustration and ease of reference herein, proceed to a gaming area in the television studio in which the television game show is being played. At the gaming area, the contestants are positioned around a gaming table 100, as shown in FIG. 3, and sit or stand behind podiums, as is conventional in television game shows. Referring to FIG. 3, each contestant has a gaming unit 12, which the contestant uses to enter answers to questions and place wagers. The gaming units 12A-12E, which are used by the contestants A-E, respectively, convert the entries to digital data and then transmit such data to the controller 14. The monitor 13 for each of the gaming units 12 displays the current stake of the contestant, any information entered on the unit 12 by the corresponding contestant and any other gaming-related information provided by the controller 14. The unit 12 is configured so that any contestant at the table 100 cannot see the information displayed on the monitor 13 of another contestant or entered by another contestant on his or her unit 12.
  • The controller 14 provides for display of information entered by a contestant on the unit 12 on the overhead monitor 17 and also on monitors on which home viewers view a broadcast of the television game show transmitted by the transmitter 24. The controller 14, for example, controls the transmitter 24 to transmit a streaming audio and video data feed, such as over the internet, satellite or cable television systems, mobile device audio and video transmission systems or other like audio and video data transmission systems, for broadcasting the television game show live to home viewers. It is to be understood that home viewers can include individuals having mobile devices which include the capability to receive audio and video data signals, display video and generate sound, as well known in the art. Alternatively, the transmitter 24 or another suitable device broadcasts to home viewers a multimedia recording of a gaming round, where the controller 14 generates the recording.
  • The overhead monitor 17 preferably is one or more large screen monitors visible by the studio audience and also the contestants. The controller 14 generates on the monitor 17 and to home viewers a screen display including, for example, moving video images of the faces of the contestants on the respective monitors 13 and arranged around the table 100, as shown in FIG. 3, and also current stake, betting, answer, and other contestant-specific information juxtaposed to the moving video images of the contestants. In addition, the screen display preferably includes the amount in a betting pot generated for a wagering round and the remaining stake for each of the contestants in the gaming round. For ease of reference, it is to be understood that reference below to the controller 14 displaying gaming information, such as the stake of a player, answer to a question, etc., on the monitor 17 and to home viewers means that the controller 14 generates and transmits a multimedia data signal that would cause such information to be displayed on the monitor 17 and also on the monitors of home viewers viewing a live or pre-recorded broadcast of the television game show.
  • Referring again to FIG. 2, in step 34 the controller 14 assigns a predetermined starting stake, for example, $20,000, to each of the contestants A-E. The controller 14 automatically monitors and adjusts the stake for each contestant, based on the results of wagering and play of the game, and continually displays the current stake for each contestant on the corresponding monitor 13, the monitor 17 and to home viewers. Although a numerical representation of the contestants' stakes and also a betting pot generated during a wagering round, as discussed below, is used during play of the game in the illustrated television game show adaptation of the inventive game, in alternative embodiments play money or chips initially assigned to the contestants and equivalent in value to the stakes is used during play of the game.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, after the initial stakes are assigned in step 34, in step 36 the controller 14 deals a card to each of the contestants where all but one of the cards dealt is blank. The contestant who receives the non-blank, or deal card, selects a category from which a question on trivia will be presented, and also is the contestant who begins the wagering for one or more rounds of wagering. The categories for trivia include, for example, sports, history, geography, music, business, politics, current affairs, television and film, and science and nature. For purposes of illustration, referring to FIG. 3, it is assumed that contestant A receives the deal card. During the course of the gaming round, the controller 14 displays on the monitor 17 and also to home viewers a representation of FIG. 3 showing the contestant who has the deal card, categories of topics available for selection, the category selected, questions, wagers made by contestants, the betting pot and answers entered by contestants.
  • In step 38, the contestant with the deal card selects a category from any of the categories not previously selected during the current gaming round. After each category is selected, the category is no longer available, whether a question from the category was answered correctly or not, until after all available categories have been selected in the gaming round.
  • In step 40, the controller 14 displays on the monitor 17 and to home viewers a trivia question corresponding to the selected category. The trivia question constitutes a “hand” of the gaming round and wagering, as discussed below, is performed for each hand.
  • In step 42, the contestant with the deal card begins a round of wagering for the hand. During wagering on a hand, each contestant must initially wager a minimum amount or ante, for example, $1,000, to remain in the hand, and the maximum bet placed by a contestant cannot exceed the lowest stake of a contestant(s) remaining in the hand. The sum of the amount bet in a hand generates and is represented as a betting pot, which is displayed on the monitor 17 and for the home viewers. Wagering commences with the contestant with the deal card (Contestant A in the example), who may bet or elect to pass the bet to the contestant sitting to his left, for example, contestant B. Referring to FIG. 3, wagering proceeds clockwise around the table 100, or to the left of the contestant who selected the current category. The contestant to whom the bet is passed can choose to pass, raise or fold, similar to the wagering occurring during a betting round in the game of poker. The wagering continues in this manner around the table 100 for each of the contestants in the hand, until all wagering has ceased, similar to the wagering occurring during a betting round in the game of poker. A round of wagering on a hand can include multiple raises, similar to the wagering occurring during the game of poker. If a contestant folds at any time during a round of wagering on a hand, the contestant does not have an opportunity to answer the question for the hand. If only one contestant remains when the round of wagering on a hand concludes, then the one contestant is the winner of the amount in the betting pot for the hand and the game proceeds to step 46. If two or more contestants remain in the hand at the end of the wagering round in step 42, then the game proceeds to step 44.
  • It is to be understood that, in alternative embodiments of the inventive game, a hand for a question commences when a wagering round is first performed to generate a new betting pot, such as, for example, wagering occurring before the selection of a category or the display of a question from the selected category.
  • In step 44, the contestants remaining in the hand answer the question on their gaming units 12, preferably within a fixed period, such as ten to twenty-five seconds. As wagering on the question has been concluded, the controller 14 then displays the answers of the respective contestants, as well as the correct answer, on the monitor 17 and to the home viewers. If a single contestant answered the question correctly, that contestant takes the entire amount in the betting pot for the hand. If two or more contestants answered correctly, then the amount in the pot is distributed evenly between or among these contestants. If none of the contestants answered correctly, then the amount in the pot is carried over to the next hand and any contestant having a remaining stake can participate in the hand.
  • The controller 14 preferably displays on the monitor 17 and to the home viewers the stake of each contestant in the gaming round after each question is answered in step 44. Any contestant that does not have a remaining stake has busted and cannot participate in any remaining hands in the gaming round. If only a single contestant has a remaining stake at the end of step 44, the game proceeds to step 48.
  • After step 44, in step 46 the controller 14 determines if less than a predetermined number of questions, for example, three, has been revealed and answered for the currently selected category. If yes, the contestant with the deal card continues to keep the deal card and the game proceeds to step 40. If no, the controller 14 displays on the monitor 17 and to the home viewers the deal card being passed to the contestant to the left of the contestant currently with the deal card, for example, from contestant A to contestant B as shown in FIG. 3. The game then proceeds to step 38 if the contestant to whom the deal card was dealt did not previously select a category. If the contestant who received the deal card had previously selected a category or a gaming round timer, which limits the length of a gaming round, has expired, the game proceeds to step 48.
  • In an alternative embodiment, the game automatically proceeds to step 48 after a predetermined number of questions has been answered in a gaming round. For example, the gaming round includes between five and fifteen hands, in other words, five and fifteen trivia questions to be presented and answered, depending upon the length of the game, which can be about thirty or sixty minutes.
  • In step 48, the controller 14 displays on the monitor 17 and to the home viewers the contestant having the largest stake and such contestant is identified as the winner of the gaming round. If two or more contestants have the same largest stake, in step 50 a tie breaker hand occurs. In the tie breaker hand, the controller 14 randomly selects a category from any of the categories, presents a question from the selected category as in step 40 and another wagering round occurs among or between the tied contestants as in step 42. The controller 14 identifies a winner at the end of this wagering round, or after the contestants remaining in the tie breaker hand answer the question as in step 44. Step 50 is repeated, as necessary, until a single contestant has the largest stake, and then the controller 14 displays this contestant as the winner on the monitor 17 and to home viewers.
  • In step 52, the contestant identified as the winner in step 48 or 50 participates in a solo question and answer (“Let It Ride”) round. In the Let It Ride round, the contestant wagers against the bank, for example, the producers of the television game show, in an attempt to increase the contestant's stake and possibly qualify to participate in an advanced gaming round of the tournament. During the Let It Ride round, the contestant can wager any amount so long as the amount does not exceed the contestant's current stake. In the Let It Ride round, the controller 14 displays a trivia category randomly selected from any of the categories not selected in the previous gaming round. The contestant decides how much of his current stake to wager after each category is displayed, but before a question from the category is displayed. The contestant is presented with categories, and questions associated with the categories, for a predetermined time period, such as three minutes, and attempts to correctly answer as many questions as possible during the time period.
  • In an alternative embodiment, in the Let It Ride round, a question is presented in conjunction with odds, and the contestant chooses to answer a question in view of the odds presented. For example, the odds for a very difficult question may be 10:1, such that if the contestant wagers $10,000 and answers correctly, his stake increases by $100,000.
  • After the predetermined time period ends in step 52, in step 54 the controller 14 determines if the contestant's stake following the Let It Ride round equals or exceeds the sum of the stakes assigned to the contestants in step 34. If no, in step 56 the gaming round is over and the contestant leaves the game with an amount of money equal to the contestant's current stake.
  • If the determination in step 54 is yes, in step 58 the contestant decides whether to continue to play in the tournament and gamble all or at least a predetermined portion of the current stake in an advanced round of the tournament. If the contestant decides not to continue, the game proceeds to step 56 and the contestant leaves the game with an amount of money equal to the contestant's current stake. If the contestant decides to continue to play in the gaming tournament, in step 60 the contestant proceeds to an advanced gaming round. At this stage of the tournament, the contestant can remove from his stake, in other words, not further gamble in the tournament, any amount exceeding the sum of the stakes assigned to the contestants in step 34 in the gaming round just completed. The controller 14 displays on the monitor 17 and to the home viewers the stake of the winning contestant who decides to leave the tournament at step 56 or proceed to an advanced gaming round in step 60.
  • As part of the tournament, initial gaming rounds according to steps 32-60 are played with new sets of contestants until at least five winning contestants proceed to step 60. When five contestants have proceeded to step 60, these contestants participate in an advanced gaming round, such as a semi-final gaming round, which is played according to steps 34-60, except that in step 34 the initial starting stake assigned to the contestants exceeds the starting stake for the prior gaming round, for example, $500,000 instead of $100,000, and is added to the existing stake for each of the contestants. In a preferred embodiment, the contestant that proceeds to step 60 in a semi-final gaming round can then participate in a final gaming round of the tournament.
  • In an alternative embodiment, the winning contestants from the initial gaming rounds are included on a leader board, and after the leader board includes a predetermined number of winning contestants, the contestants on the leader board having the five highest stakes are identified as eligible to proceed to an advanced gaming round.
  • In a preferred embodiment, after twenty-five weeks of initial gaming rounds or individual game shows and five semi-final gaming rounds have been played, the contestants qualifying to play in the final gaming round of the tournament play for a stake equal to, for example, at least $2.5 million.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the television game show tournament, the tournament includes four rounds as follows: a preliminary round 1 consisting of 625 games where 3,125 contestants gamble $640 in groups of five per game; a playoff round 2 consisting of 125 games where 625 contestants gamble $3,200 per game; a quarter final round consisting of 25 games where 125 contestants gamble $16,000 per game; a semi-final round consisting of five games where 25 contestants gamble $80,000 per game (5 games); and a final round consisting of a single game where five contestants gamble $400,000. In a preferred embodiment, a contestant has the option to leave a game with his current stake at a designated point of a gaming round, such as the conclusion of a game show, or alternatively any time.
  • In one format of the inventive game as a television game show tournament, the preliminary, playoff and possibly the quarter-final rounds are not broadcast in their entirety or even at all. All or most of the 750 preliminary, playoff and quarter-final gaming rounds are recorded, however. The controller 14 displays on the monitor 17 and to the home viewers, during advanced gaming rounds such as the quarter or semi-final rounds, video clips of early stages of the tournament showing the play of contestants who progressed to the quarter or semi-final rounds, and also optionally showing the contestants at home or at work, such that the home viewers can begin to select their favorite contestant. The last 30 games of the tournament, in other words, the semi-final and final gaming rounds, are edited or shown in full, including video clips of behind the scenes activities and at home clips of the final contestants and their families and work colleagues.
  • In another embodiment of the inventive game as a tournament, if an insufficient number of contestants qualify for either the semi-final or final gaming rounds after play of twenty-five initial gaming rounds and five semi-final gaming rounds, respectively, a semi-final or final gaming round is scheduled and one or more members of the studio audience for the gaming round are selected to become a semi-final or final contestant for that gaming round by being the first person to correctly answer a multiple choice question, similarly as described above in step 32.
  • In another embodiment of the inventive game, a winning contestant at step 58 must decide whether to participate in a “Double or Quits” round as part of step 60. If the winning contestant decides against continuing to play the game, then that contestant leaves with his stake in step 56 and the contestant in second place, i.e., the contestant having the second greatest remaining stake in the current gaming round, has an opportunity to attempt to increase his remaining stake and possibly advance to the next round of the gaming tournament, preferably so long as the current stake of the second place contestant satisfied the requirements of step 54. In a Double or Quits round, a contestant must answer at least one of two questions correctly, and can advance to step 60 only if the contestant's stake exceeds a predetermined minimum after both questions have been presented. In an alternative embodiment, the winning contestants from this stage of the tournament are included on a leader board, and after the leader board includes a predetermined number of winning contestants, the contestants on the leader board having the five highest stakes are identified as eligible to proceed to the next advanced gaming round.
  • For example, continuing with the illustration of the game with the contestants A-E described above, if the predetermined minimum is $500,000 and contestant A is the winner of the gaming round with $287,500 of winnings, then contestant A needs to choose to answer only one of the two Double or Quits questions. If contestant A answers one of the questions correctly, then contestant A would proceed to an advanced gaming round in step 60. If contestant A desires, contestant A can pass on the first of the two questions presented, and thus answer only the second question. If contestant A decides not to participate in the Double or Quits round in step 58, the runner-up to the winner, for example, contestant B who has a stake of $125,000, would qualify to play in the Double or Quits round, as contestant B satisfied the requirements of step 54. Contestant B, however, would need to correctly answer both questions in the Double or Quits round to proceed to an advanced gaming round and avoid elimination from the tournament without any winnings. Should contestant B fail to reach the next round, the third place contestant, for example, contestant C, would have an opportunity to qualify and increase his stake by playing the Double or Quits round, so long as contestant C satisfies the requirements of step 54. Alternatively, the winning contestants from this stage of the tournament are included on a leader board, and after the leader board includes a predetermined number of winning contestants, the contestants on the leader board having the five highest stakes are identified as eligible to proceed to the next advanced gaming round.
  • In a further embodiment, the method 30 includes a wagering round, which is performed in a manner similar to the wagering round described above for step 42, between steps 36 and 38 or steps 38 and 40, or between the former and latter.
  • In another embodiment, the method 30 is modified such that, after the wagering round for a first question is completed in step 42, the contestants remaining in the hand answer the question, as in step 44, except that a winner of the hand is not yet determined. The answers of the contestants remaining in the hand, as well as the correct answer, are then displayed to the home viewers and on monitors 17 visible only to studio audience. Another (second) question from the selected category is then revealed, as in step 40, and then a wagering round is performed for the second question, similarly as in step 42. Any contestant remaining in the hand, which in this embodiment includes the first and second questions, then answers the questions similarly as in step 44. If a single contestant remaining in the hand answers both questions correctly, that contestant takes the entire amount in the betting pot for the hand. If two or more contestants answer both questions correctly, then the amount in the pot is distributed evenly between or among these contestants. If none of the contestants answer both questions correctly, and two or more contestants answer one of the questions correctly, then the amount in the pot is distributed evenly between or among these contestants. If none of the contestants answer either of the two questions correctly, then the amount in the pot is carried over to the next hand and any contestant having a remaining stake can participate in the hand.
  • In another embodiment, the method 30 is modified such that, after the wagering round for a question is completed in step 42, a clue concerning the question is revealed and then another wagering round is performed, similarly as in step 42. After the wagering round following revelation of the clue is completed, the method 30 proceeds to step 44.
  • In another embodiment, the method 30 is modified, in a manner similar to that described above for the embodiment where two questions are revealed, such that more than two questions, preferably eight, are revealed for a particular hand and a wagering round is performed after each question is revealed. In such embodiment, answers to the plurality of questions are revealed after a wagering round for each of the questions is completed when two or more contestants remain in the hand, and distribution of the betting pot is based on the number of questions correctly answered, similarly as described above for the two question embodiment. In a further embodiment, the method 30 is modified to include the revelation of a plurality of questions for a hand, a clue is revealed following the presentation of each question and a wagering round is performed after each clue is revealed, similarly as described above.
  • In another embodiment of the inventive game as a live or pre-recorded television game show, home viewers can play along with game. For example, home viewers can answer questions by calling a premium telephone or text number, or entering information on a subscription only access website, and prizes or cash would be awarded to the first home viewer(s) who correctly answer a question.
  • In still another embodiment of the inventive game show, a member of the studio audience wins prizes or money, for example, $1,000-$10,000, by correctly answering a question during a gaming round. The controller 14 randomly selects a member of the studio audience from all of the members of the studio audience who correctly respond to a question identified during the game as an “all play” question. When the controller 14 identifies a question as an “all play” question, the controller 14 displays multiple choice answers on the monitor 17 and to the home viewers after the contestants remaining in a hand have entered their answers on their units 12. The studio audience members then have a predetermined time, for example, ten seconds, to enter an answer on their keypads 18.
  • In another embodiment, home viewers of the inventive television game show can play along with a game and answer a selected trivia question to win cash or prizes. For example, after the contestants remaining in a hand enter their answers to a question on their units 12, the controller 14 displays on the monitor 17 and to the home viewers that the question is a “home all play” question and also multiple choice answers to the question. The home audience then must call a premium rate telephone or text line, or access a subscription only world wide web address, and enter an answer within a predetermined time, for example, the duration of an advertisement break or an intermission in the show. The predetermined time is sufficiently short to avoid home viewers finding an answer to the question by electronic searching, such by using the search engine GOOGLE. The controller 14 then randomly selects one or more of the individuals who answer the question correctly to receive a nominal award, such as $1,000 to $10,000.
  • In a further embodiment of the television game show as a tournament, following the conclusion of the final game in the initial or semi-final rounds, home viewers can call premium rate telephone voting lines and nominate a contestant who did not become a contestant for an advanced round in the tournament for a second chance to compete as a contestant in an advanced gaming round. A contestant who can become a second chance contestant is, for example, a sixth contestant in a semi-final or final gaming round of the tournament.
  • In a further embodiment of the television game show format of the inventive game, the contestants in a gaming round are seated with respective to one another around a traditional looking poker table in a manner similar to that existing on conventional poker tournament gaming television shows, and the controller 14 selectively displays on the monitor 17 and to home viewers behind the scenes and at home video clips of the semi-finalist and finalist contestants and their families and work colleagues.
  • In another embodiment, the television game show format of the inventive game is played with a live, human dealer, who also may be the host or co-host of the game show, and who asks questions that the controller 14 displays on a monitor that is visible only to the dealer.
  • In a further embodiment, the television game show format includes one or more commentators or co-hosts who sit in a separate, sound-proofed room or glass booth and who contribute to the televised broadcast of the game by commenting on the game, and reading out statistics and facts about the contestants. In addition, the commentators or co-hosts interview contestants eliminated from the tournament within the sound-proofed room either during breaks in the game or during play of the game, and these interviews are displayed on the monitor 17 and to home viewers. Further, while the contestant is playing the game, the controller 14 displays on the monitor 17 and to home viewers an interview that the commentators or co-hosts of the show conduct with friends and family of a contestant.
  • In a further embodiment, a celebrity is the host or commentator and a gaming round or gaming tournament is played with selected celebrities as contestants and the winnings of the contestants are designated for identified charities.
  • In another embodiment of the inventive game, a question on a category requires as an answer the most popular response obtained from a survey or poll. The game is played following the rules set forth above for steps 36-50, except that step 44 is modified as follows. In a first embodiment of step 44, if two or more contestants have the same top answer, then another question (playoff question) is presented and the contestants answer without further wagering. If none of the answers provided by such contestants is one of the top five answers of the survey for the question, then a further question or questions is presented until only a single contestant responds with an answer that is one of the top five answers of the survey for the question. If more than one contestant answers the playoff question with the same answer that is an answer in the top five answers of the survey for the question, then only those contestants answer a further question or questions. Questions continue to be presented until a single contestant remains in the hand. In a further embodiment, if two or more contestants have the same highest answer of the five top answers of the survey for the question, then the amount in the betting pot is distributed evenly between or among such contestants.
  • In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the inventive game includes only a single gaming round starting from step 32 of the method 30 and terminating in step 48, such that the contestant determined to be the winner in step 48 or 50 leaves the game with an amount of money equal to the contestant's stake.
  • In an embodiment of the inventive game as a board game, the game is played substantially in accordance with the method 30 with the following minor modifications. In step 32, the contestants are not selected, but instead, are those individuals who desire to play the board game, and a minimum of two players is required for play of the game. In addition, the contestants in the hand in step 42 initially write their answers on a card, without revealing the answer to the other contestants, and then participate in a wagering round.
  • In an embodiment of the inventive game as an online game, the gaming system 10 including only the controller 14 provides for play of the game by a plurality of remotely located individuals. The individuals play the game on respective communication devices, which preferably have the same functionalities as the gaming units 12 and are communicatively coupled to the controller 14 over communication networks such as the Internet and other wired or wireless networks. FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary method 102 for play of a game of knowledge including wagering as an online game in which the controller 14 remotely controls play of the game by various contestants over communications networks.
  • Referring to FIG. 4, in step 110 the controller 14 establishes a virtual table for play of the online game. The virtual table requires a minimum number, for example, two to five, of individuals to join the table for play of the game to commence; requires a minimum number of contestants to remain at the table for the game to continue; accommodates only a preset number of contestants, for example, twelve; and has defined minimum and maximum wagering amounts, for example, $1 to $10,000.
  • In step 112, individuals communicate with the controller 14 via their respective personal computers by logging onto a website operated by the controller 14, and request to join a virtual table. The controller 14 preferably displays on the website a plurality of virtual tables, each having different pre-defined minimum and maximum wagering amounts. An individual enters a request to play the online game of knowledge including wagering at a selected one of the displayed tables. In addition, the controller 14 display on the monitors or like display devices of the contestants who join the table, similarly as in the method 102, the arrangement of the contestants at the virtual table, the current stakes of the contestants, the betting pot, wagers, questions, answers, clues and any other related gaming information. After the required minimum number of contestants, or starting contestants, joins a table, step 114 is performed.
  • In step 114, each of the starting contestants selects at least one different category of knowledge from a list categories (“Display List”) stored at and displayed on the website by the controller 14, and the selected categories are added to a list of available wagering categories (“Available List”). In a preferred embodiment, a virtual table is limited to a specialized area of knowledge, such as sports, film, music, and the categories on the Display List for the table are within a subset of the knowledge area. For example, for a sports virtual table, the categories include football, tennis, rugby, cricket, basketball, etc.
  • After the starting contestants select their respective categories in step 114, in step 116 the controller 14 determines if, in the interim, any individuals requested to join the table 150. If yes, and there is room for new contestant(s) at the table, in step 118 the new contestant selects a category from the Display List for inclusion in the Available List, where the Display List does not include any categories that contestants who previously joined the table selected for the Available List.
  • Following step 116 or 118, in step 119 the controller 14 arranges the contestants presently in the game around the virtual table. When step 119 is performed for the first time for a virtual table, the controller 14 virtually seats the contestants around the table in the order in which the contestants chronologically joined the table. For purposes of illustration, a virtual table 150 is shown in FIG. 5 and the required minimum number of contestants, for example, five contestants, named A-E, for commencement of the game joined the table 150, where A was the first contestant to join the table, and was followed by contestants B-E in that order. When step 119 is performed anytime after distribution of the first betting pot for the table, any new contestant who joins the table is positioned at the table to become the last contestant to whom the bet is passed in a wagering round for the next hand. Referring again to FIG. 5, if contestant A starts the betting for a first hand, such that contestant B would start betting for the next hand after the betting pot for the first hand is distributed, and new contestants F and G then join the table in that order, F and G are positioned at the table between A and B, with G adjacent to B and F adjacent to A, such that G is the last contestant to whom the bet for the next hand is passed and F passes the bet for in the next hand to G.
  • Referring again to FIG. 4, in step 120 the contestant who joins the table earlier than any other contestants currently at the table and previously did not select a category from the Available List, selects a wagering category from the Available List. The controller 14 continuously updates the Available List to remove any categories selected therefrom by contestants.
  • Then, in step 122, the contestants at the table participate in wagering round, which preferably is of the format of step 42 of method 30 described above. Assuming that more than one contestant remains in the hand after the wagering round of step 122 is concluded, in step 124 a question from the selected wagering category is revealed. Then in step 126, the contestants remaining in the hand, on their personal computers, for example, must within a predetermined time, for example, about five to twenty seconds, after the question is revealed in step 124, enter an answer to the question and also a minimum and maximum bet range.
  • In step 128, the controller 14 ranks the contestants in the hand in lowest to highest rank order based on maximum bet, and then assigns the contestants, starting from the contestant with the lowest maximum bet, successively in order to a first group and then to a second group. Depending on whether there is an even or odd number of contestants in the hand, each group has an equal number of contestants, or the second group has one more contestant than the first group, respectively. If the maximum bet of a contestant in the first group is lower than the lowest minimum bet of a contestant in the second group, that contestant in the first group cannot continue to play the hand and would lose the amount entered into the pot for the hand, unless none of the contestants ultimately remaining in the hand correctly answers the question. The bet for the hand is the lowest maximum bet of the contestants remaining in the hand. Similarly as in step 44 of the method 30, the controller 14 in step 128 distributes the pot to the contestant(s) remaining in the hand who answer the question correctly, or alternatively rolls the pot over into the next hand if no one in the hand answers the question correctly. If the pot is rolled over in step 128, step 124 of the method 102 is performed and, if not, step 134 is performed.
  • For example, referring to FIG. 5, if contestants A-E are in a hand and at step 126 they enter the minimum and maximum bets of $150 and $250; $400 and $700; $100 and $200; $600 and $900; and $500 and $1200, respectively, then the bet would be $700 and contestants A and B could not continue to play the hand and would lose the amount they wagered, unless no other contestant wins the hand. If none of the contestants remaining in the hand correctly answers the question, then the pot carries over to the next hand, as in the method 30.
  • In one embodiment, if in step 128 the pot rolls over to the next hand, an individual who requested to join the table cannot join that table until after the rollover pot is distributed to a contestant already at the table. A contestant at a table is eligible to participate in a rollover pot only if he (i) wagered during the previous hand; or (ii) remained in the previous hand until the answer to the question had been revealed.
  • Following step 128 when the pot does not roll over, the controller 14 in step 134 determines whether to continue the game. For example, if a contestant at the table 150 has not selected a wagering category from the available wagering categories, the game continues and step 116 is performed. Alternatively, whether the game continues is based on whether a predetermined number of hands have been played, or betting pots have been distributed at the table, or play at the table has continued for a predefined time after which the play of the game ceases and any contestants at the table at that time leave the game with their current stake.
  • In another embodiment of the method 102, play of the game ceases in step 134, based on any preset criteria set by the controller 14 and displayed on the website to the contestants, and the method 102 proceeds to step 136 where the controller 14 determines the contestant with the highest stake at the table as the winner of the table. In the event of a tie in step 136, a tie breaker round is played in step 138, similarly as in step 50 of the method 30.
  • In another embodiment of the method 102, even if all of the contestants at the table have selected a category from the Available List, the game continues in step 116 for a predetermined time or for as long as categories are in the Available List. Further, in the event the Available List is empty, the controller 14 repopulates the Available List with the categories that the contestants presently at the table have previously selected.
  • In another embodiment, a contestant can decided to leave the table (game) with his current stake in step 134. When a contestant leaves the game, any wagering category added to the Available List by such contestant, and still remaining on the Available List, is removed.
  • Referring again to FIG. 4, following step 136 or 138, in step 140 the winning contestant decides whether to participate in an advanced gaming round, such as in a Let It Ride or Double or Quits round as described above for the method 30.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the method 102, the winning contestant in step 140 participates in a final Double or Quits game where the contestant answers one or more question(s), with or without clues, derived from a random category or one of the contestant's selected categories, and can double, treble or quadruple his current stake. In a preferred embodiment, the questions are revealed with multiple choice answers.
  • In a further embodiment of the method 102, the advance gaming round played in step 140 is similar to the Let It Ride round of step 52 of the method 30, and questions of varying difficulty and corresponding betting odds are displayed for each category from which the contestant can select. In one embodiment, during play of the round in step 140, the contestant selects up to 3 questions without clues from a category, where the category any random category or one the contestant previously selected when playing the game at the table, and where the questions include odds, for example, of 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, 5-1, 6-1, 7-1, 8-1, 9-1, and 10-1, the more difficult questions having greater odds.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the method 102, a wagering round similar to the wagering round 122 is performed between step 119 and 120.
  • In a further embodiment of the method 102, a hand includes multiple questions from a selected wagering category, with or without the revelation of a clue for each question, and a wagering round is performed after a question alone or with a clue is revealed, similarly as described above for the modified embodiment of the method 30. When multiple questions are presented in a hand, the multiple questions may or may not have related answers.
  • In another embodiment of the method 102, in step 124 a question is revealed with multiple choice answers from which contestant needs to choose.
  • In a further embodiment of the method 102, the questions relate to answers obtained from a survey of the general public and a contestant wins a hand by having the most popular answer, or an answer that is more popular than the answer provided by another contestant in the hand. In the event more than one contestant in the hand supplies the most popular answer, the pot is distributed between or among these contestants. Also, in the event none of the contestants in the hand supply an answer included in the survey results for the question, the pot rolls over and step 124 is performed, preferably with another survey question.
  • In another embodiment, the controller 14 translates play of the online game according to the method 102 into one of a plurality of languages selected by a contestant when joining the virtual table for play of the game.
  • Further, the controller 14 enters into arrangements for commercial sponsorship of virtual tables and displays sponsorship information on the virtual table displayed on the personal computer gaming units of the contestants who join the virtual table.
  • In an embodiment of the inventive game played as a casino game, the gaming system 10 including the controller 14, the gaming units 12, the monitor 17 and the camera 25 provides for play of the game. Contestants play the casino game on respective gaming units 12, which are arranged around a physical table having a configuration similar to, for example, the table 100. The table on which the casino game is played is located in a secure, restricted access area of a casino, where access to the area is limited to contestants and select, authorized individuals. In a preferred embodiment, the casino gaming table is in a sound-proofed room at least partially encircled by one way mirrored glass, or positioned a sufficient distance from a spectator area to avoid spectators from prompting the contestants.
  • Play of the inventive as a casino game substantially follows the format of the online game discussed above in connection with the method 102, with the following differences and additions. The controller 14 is associated with a plurality of physical tables, each having wagering ranges and restrictions, such as a maximum bet limit, and minimum and maximum contestants for play. For each table, the controller 14 displays the Display List and the Available List on the units 12 at the table, or a monitor 17 visible to all of the contestants at the table. In addition, step 126 is modified such that when the contestant in a hand supply an answer, a wagering round is performed similar to the format conventional in the game of poker.
  • In an alternative embodiment of the casino game, a croupier or dealer operates a gaming unit 12, which is the only gaming unit at the table. The controller 14 displays gaming information, such as categories and questions, in real time on the unit 12, and the dealer reads aloud the displayed information and also enters onto the unit 12 any data, such as answers, wagers, category selections, etc., supplied by the contestants at the table for play of the game.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the casino game, spectators for any casino game table are provided with gaming units 12 coupled to the controller 14, and can wager in the same manner as the contestants at the table which the spectators are observing. Alternatively, the controller 14 provides that the spectators can, using their units 12, wager on the success or failure of any contestant playing at a table.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the casino game, the controller 14 is located within a casino and supplies new questions to the tables in the casino from a remotely located, secure central or dedicated server with which the controller 14 is communicatively coupled. After a question from a category is revealed during any game played at a table in a casino, the question is replaced with another question from the same category. The revealed question is either deleted forever from the server or tagged at the server for supply at a much later date either to a different casino also having tables on which the inventive game is played or to the same casino. In a preferred embodiment, any revealed question is not revealed again at any casino for a minimum of twenty-four months
  • In another embodiment of the casino game, the casino game is in the format of a tournament in which contestants compete against one another in preliminary gaming rounds, similarly as discussed in connection with the method 30. Each preliminary gaming round is played for a pre-determined time or until a single contestant accumulates all or a substantial fraction of the sum of the starting stakes for the contestants, where the starting stake of each of the contestants is the same as in the method 30. Although in this embodiment a contestant can wager only a fixed amount at the table, a contestant can enter into side betting arrangements with other contestants in the event his stake dwindles, and the controller 14 facilitates such betting arrangements on the unit 12. A predetermined number of contestants from a preliminary gaming round, for example, one, two or three per table, qualify for an advanced gaming round of the tournament. In one embodiment, the controller 14 provides a contestant, who did not qualify for an advanced gaming round in a preliminary gaming round, with an option to purchase (buy-in) an opportunity to become a contestants at a table at which an advanced gaming round is played. The tournament preferably follows the format of the tournament described in connection with the method 30 or variations thereof.
  • Advantageously, the inventive game of knowledge combines intellectual intelligence or knowledge and emotional intelligence, i.e., knowing how to read someone's body language or thoughts, into a game played in accordance with the traditional wagering format of the game of poker, and substitutes knowledge of, for example, trivia, for the part of the game of poker corresponding to obtaining the best hand of cards. The portion of the game of poker associated with discarding cards and obtaining new cards to obtain the best hand of cards is often the most complicated part of the game of poker for a novice poker player. The inventive game includes the wagering elements of the game of poker but eliminates the difficult portion, thereby making the inventive game readily accessible and desirable to a greater portion of the general public. The wagering portion of the inventive game is relatively easy to learn, and the element associated with bettering one's hand of cards by deciding whether to discard some of the cards already dealt for the hand and draw replacement cards from a deck, which many individuals may be unfamiliar with and otherwise find disfavorable because of the element of luck, is absent from the inventive game.
  • Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described and illustrated, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications may be made without departing from the principles of the invention.

Claims (34)

1. A method for playing a game comprising:
assigning a starting stake to each of a plurality of players;
selecting, by at least a first of the players, at least a first category from a plurality of categories;
revealing at least one question from the selected category;
performing at least one wagering round, wherein the wagering round generates a betting pot including amounts wagered;
in the event a plurality of players remain in the game following the wagering round, answering of the question by each of the players remaining in the game following the wagering round; and
distributing an amount from the betting pot to (i) a player who is the only player remaining in the game after completion of a wagering round, or (ii) each of the players who remain in the game following the wagering round and answer the question correctly.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the wagering round is performed at least one of (i) before the at least first of the players selects the category; (ii) after the at least first of the players selects the category; and (iii) after the at least one question from the selected category is revealed.
3. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
revealing a clue for the at least one question; and
performing a wagering round after the revealing of the clue and before the answering of the at least one question.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein a hand corresponds to the at least one question and an opportunity to answer the at least one question, wherein the wagering round is performed for a first hand after the at least one question is revealed and before the at least one question corresponding to the first hand is answered by any of the players, wherein the wagering round requires an ante by any player who desires to participate in wagering and remain in a hand, wherein a maximum bet in the wagering round does not exceed the stake of any of the players remaining in a hand, and wherein the wagering in the wagering round includes passing, raising or folding.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the players are contestants on a television game show including at least one gaming round as part of a gaming tournament played before a studio audience and broadcast to a home viewing audience, the method further comprising:
providing each member of the studio audience with an electronic data entry device for entering data and communicatively transmitting the data to a gaming controller;
displaying a question to each member of the studio audience; and
selecting as the contestants for the game show a predetermined number of the members of the studio audience who entered a correct answer to the question in the corresponding communication device.
6. The method of claim 5 further comprising:
distributing a deal card to one of the contestants;
performing the wagering round after the at least one question for the selected category is revealed and before any of the contestants answer the at least one question, wherein a hand corresponds to the at least one question revealed and an opportunity to answer the revealed at least one question, wherein wagering during the wagering round for a hand comprises:
establishing a betting pot including an ante from each of the contestants who have a remaining stake and decide to play the hand;
the contestant with the deal card beginning the wagering round and betting or passing the bet to a second of the contestants;
the second contestant passing, raising or folding, depending upon previous wagers in the hand; and
after the second contestant passes, raises or folds, any other contestant who decided to play the hand passes, raises or folds, depending upon previous wagers in the hand;
wherein (i) if a contestant folds during a round of wagering for a hand, the contestant does not answer the at least one question for the hand; (ii) if a single contestant who decides to play the hand remains in the hand at the conclusion of the wagering round, then the stake of the single contestant increases by the amount of the betting pot for the hand; and (iii) if a plurality of the contestants remains in the hand at the conclusion of the wagering round, then the plurality of the contestants proceeds to answer the at least one question.
7. The method of claim 6 further comprising:
distributing the amount in the betting pot to the at least one contestant remaining in the hand who answers the at least one question correctly, wherein if the at least one question includes a plurality of questions, the pot is distributed to the at least one contestant remaining in the hand who answers the greatest number of the at least one questions correctly.
8. The method of claim 7 further comprising:
assigning the deal card to at least a selected second of the contestants at the conclusion of a hand, wherein the second of the contestants has a remaining stake;
selecting, by the second contestant, a second category different from a previously selected category;
revealing at least one question from the second category;
performing at least one wagering round for a hand corresponding to the at least one question from the second category, wherein the second contestant begins wagering in the wagering round for the hand for the at least one question from the second category by passing or raising and, after the second contestant wagers, any contestant who decides to play the hand for the at least one question from the second category passes, raises or folds, depending upon any previous wagers in the hand.
9. The method of claim 8 further comprising:
after a predetermined number of hands are completed, identifying the contestant having the largest remaining stake as a winner.
10. The method of claim 9 further comprising:
in a supplemental round, revealing a plurality of questions within a predetermined time interval, wherein, for each of the questions revealed, the winner wagers no more than the winner's current stake that the winner will correctly answer the question;
updating the stake of the winner after each question is answered during the supplemental round; and
after completion of the supplemental round, determining if the stake of the winner exceeds the sum of the starting stakes assigned to the contestants for the gaming round and
if yes, having the winner decide whether to proceed to an advanced gaming round of the tournament or leave the tournament with an amount equal to the stake; and
if no, awarding the winner with an amount equal to the winner's current stake.
11. The method claim 10, wherein if the winner decides to proceed to the advanced gaming round, having the winner decide to convert to a cash award any portion of the stake exceeding the sum of the starting stakes assigned to the contestants for the gaming round.
12. The method of claim 9 further comprising:
revealing two double or nothing questions to the winner in succession; and
the winner answering at least one of the two double or nothing questions correctly to proceed to the advanced gaming round, wherein the winner is required to wager the entire amount of the winner's current stake on any of the double or nothing questions the winner decides to answer, and wherein the winner proceeds to the advanced round after answering at least one of the two double or nothing questions and the winner's stake exceeds a predetermined double or nothing amount.
13. The method of claim 5 further comprising:
displaying to the home viewers a communication address for entering an answer to a question revealed during the game; and
awarding a prize to at least a first viewer who enters a correct answer to the question at the communication address.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein the communication address is a premium address requiring payment of a fee for access.
15. The method of claim 9 further comprising:
displaying to the home viewers a communication address for entry of a name of a contestant who did not win the gaming round.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein the communication address is a premium address requiring payment of a fee for access.
17. The method of claim 1, wherein the game is at least one of a board game, an online game, a PC game, a DVD game, a casino game and a game played on a mobile device.
18. The method of claim 5 further comprising:
providing for display of information relating to play of the game on at least one of a monitor (i) visible by the studio audience and (ii) of a viewer in the home viewing audience.
19. A system for playing a game comprising:
a plurality of first gaming units for use by a respective plurality of contestants;
a gaming controller coupled to the first gaming units, wherein the controller assigns a starting stake to each of the contestants;
wherein at least a first of the contestants uses a first of the gaming unit to select at least a first category from a plurality of categories revealed by the controller;
wherein the controller reveals at least one question from the selected category for a hand, wherein a hand corresponds to an opportunity to answer a question revealed from a category;
wherein the controller performs at least one wagering round for the hand, wherein the wagering round includes any of the contestants having a remaining stake and generates a betting pot including amounts wagered;
wherein, in the event a plurality of players remain in the hand following a wagering round occurring before the at least one question is revealed, each of the plurality of players remaining in the hand answers the at least one question; and
wherein the controller distributes an amount from the betting pot to (i) a player who is the only player remaining in the hand after completion of a wagering round, or (ii) each of the players who answer the at least one question correctly, wherein if the at least one question includes a plurality of questions, the pot is distributed to the at least one contestant remaining in the hand who answers the most of the at least one questions correctly.
20. The system of claim 19, wherein the wagering round is performed at least one of (i) before the at least first of the contestants selects the category; (ii) after the at least first of the contestants selects a category; and (iii) after the at least first question from the selected category is revealed.
21. The system of claim 20, wherein the controller reveals a clue for the at least one question; and performs a wagering round after revealing the clue and before any of the contestants answer the at least one question.
22. The system of claim 19, wherein a hand corresponds to the at least one question and an opportunity to answer the at least one question, wherein the wagering round is performed for a first hand after the at least one question is revealed and before any of the contestants answer the at least one question for the first hand, wherein the wagering round requires an ante by any contestant who desires to participate in wagering and remain in a hand, wherein a maximum bet in the wagering round does not exceed the stake of any of the contestants remaining in a hand, and wherein the wagering in the wagering round includes passing, raising or folding.
23. The system of claim 19, wherein the contestants are on a television game show including at least one gaming round as part of a gaming tournament played before a studio audience and broadcast to a home viewing audience, the system further comprising:
a plurality of electronic data entry devices coupled to the gaming controller and for entering data, wherein each member of the studio audience is provided with a corresponding entry device; and
wherein the controller displays a question to each member of the studio audience and selects as the contestants for the game show a predetermined number of the members of the studio audience who enter a correct answer to the question in the corresponding communication device.
24. The system of claim 23, wherein the controller distributes a deal card to one of the contestants and performs the wagering round after the at least one question for the selected topic is revealed and before any of the contestants answer the at least one question, wherein wagering during the wagering round for a hand comprises:
establishing a betting pot including the ante from each of the contestants who have a remaining stake and decide to play the hand;
the contestant with the deal card entering data into the corresponding gaming unit to begin the wagering round, wherein the data is a bet or pass of the bet to a second of the contestants;
the second contestant entering data into the corresponding gaming unit to pass, raise or fold, depending upon a previous wager in the hand; and
after the second contestant passes, raises or folds, any other contestant who decides to play the hand entering data into the corresponding gaming unit to pass, raise or fold, depending upon a previous wager in the hand;
wherein (i) if a contestant folds during a round of wagering for a hand, the contestant does not answer the at least one question for the hand; (ii) if a single contestant who decides to play the hand remains in the hand at the conclusion of the wagering round, then the stake of the single contestant increases by the amount of the betting pot for the hand; and (iii) if a plurality of the contestants remains in the hand after a wagering round occurring before the question is to be answered, then the plurality of the contestants proceeds to answer the question.
25. The system of claim 24, wherein the controller assigns the deal card to at least a selected second of the contestants after a hand concludes, wherein the second of the contestants has a remaining stake;
wherein the second contestant on the corresponding gaming units selects a second category different from a previously selected category;
wherein the controller reveals at least one question from the second category; and
wherein the controller performs at least one wagering round for a hand corresponding to the at least one question from the second category, wherein the second contestant begins wagering in the wagering round for the hand for the at least one question from the second category by entering data on the corresponding gaming unit to pass or raise and, after the second contestant wagers, any contestant who decides to play the hand for the at least one question from second category enters data on the corresponding gaming unit to pass, raise or fold, depending upon any prior wagers for the hand.
26. The system of claim 19, wherein the controller provides for display of information relating to play of the game on at least one of a monitor visible by (i) the studio audience and coupled to the controller and (ii) a viewer of the home viewing audience.
27. A method for playing a game comprising:
providing a table for play of the game by a plurality of contestants;
selecting by the contestants, from a display list, categories for inclusion on an available category list;
positioning contestants about the table in accordance with the time that each contestant requests to join the table;
selecting a category from the available list by a contestant who joins the table earlier than other contestants at the table and who previously had not selected a category from the available list;
performing at least one wagering round, wherein the wagering round generates a betting pot including amounts wagered;
revealing the question from the currently selected category;
answering of the question and entering an accompanying wager by any of the contestants in a hand when the question is revealed; and
distributing an amount from the betting pot to each of the contestants in the hand following the wagering round who answer the question correctly.
28. The method of claim 27, wherein the table is at least one of (i) a virtual table accessible over a communication network; and (ii) a physical table.
29. The method of claim 27, wherein the accompanying wager includes minimum and maximum bets.
30. The method of claim 29, wherein a first contestant answering the question remains eligible for distribution of the betting pot based on the amount of the maximum bet of the first contestant relative to the maximum bets of the other contestants answering the question.
31. The method of claim 27, wherein the table on which the game is played determines the categories in the display list, limits on wagering, minimum and maximum number of contestants for play of the game on the table and limits on the duration of the game.
32. The method of claim 31, wherein the duration of the game at the table is a function of at least one of (i) elapsed time; (ii) number of questions revealed; and (iii) number of betting pots distributed.
33. The method of claim 27, wherein a contestant joining the table after a first betting pot is distributed is the contestant to whom a bet is passed last in a wagering round for a hand associated with a subsequent second betting pot.
34. A method for playing a game by a plurality of players comprising:
revealing at least one question;
performing at least one wagering round in connection with the revealed question to generate a betting pot, wherein the wagering round includes wagering in accordance with rules of poker;
answering of the question by the players; and
distributing an amount from the betting pot to each of the players who remains in the game following the wagering round and answers the question correctly.
US11/680,201 2006-02-28 2007-02-28 Method and System for a Game of Knowledge For Multiple Players Including Wagering Abandoned US20070202937A1 (en)

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