US20070213116A1 - Electronic gaming system and method of house collection - Google Patents

Electronic gaming system and method of house collection Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070213116A1
US20070213116A1 US11558694 US55869406A US2007213116A1 US 20070213116 A1 US20070213116 A1 US 20070213116A1 US 11558694 US11558694 US 11558694 US 55869406 A US55869406 A US 55869406A US 2007213116 A1 US2007213116 A1 US 2007213116A1
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Prior art keywords
collection
game
player
house
house collection
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US11558694
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James T. Crawford
Gehrig Henderson White
Hal Jerome Shinn
Jonathan Talmadge Lester
Kendal Boyd Ferner
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PokerTek Inc
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PokerTek Inc
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    • 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
    • G07F17/3202Hardware aspects of a gaming system, e.g. components, construction, architecture thereof
    • G07F17/3216Construction aspects of a gaming system, e.g. housing, seats, ergonomic aspects
    • G07F17/322Casino tables, e.g. tables having integrated screens, chip detection means
    • 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
    • G07F17/3202Hardware aspects of a gaming system, e.g. components, construction, architecture thereof
    • G07F17/3223Architectural aspects of a gaming system, e.g. internal configuration, master/slave, wireless communication
    • 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
    • G07F17/3293Card games, e.g. poker, canasta, black jack

Abstract

An electronic gaming system has at least one table having a plurality of electronic player interaction areas (EPIA's) spaced preferably about the table so that a gaming player may locate oneself in front of a respective EPIA to play a game. The gaming system preferably has a host console that communicates with each EPIA preferably via a server for managerial control of the plurality of tables. Preferably, a software-based administrator tool operates through a user interface for the creation of at least one gaming profile type by the deletion, editing and creation of various gaming rule parameters. A software-based house collection tool operates similarly to the administrator tool for creating a plurality of house collection profiles that may then be assigned to various game profiles. House collection methods whether performed manually through a human dealer or via the software based house collection tool, preferably include: a pot collection method that is a function of the final pot amount, preferably the betting round reached and the number of players in the game; a time collection method having the option to pay prior to each time interval or optionally pay for extended periods of time; and a hand collection method where each player pays a house collection prior to each hand.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The present application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application 60/743,436, filed Mar. 8, 2006, and is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to an electronic gaming system and, more particularly, to an electronic poker gaming system and method of house collection.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Gaming is an increasingly popular form of entertainment. Games, particularly, games of chance and skill where one or more players play and place wagers on a desired and/or predicted outcome can be played in a variety of ways and in a variety of places, including at a casino or other venue or on the Internet. Of the various forms of games that are available for play, many utilize playing cards. Of these, poker is arguably the most popular.
  • Traditionally, poker is played at a table with several players wagering paper or coin money on a series of playing cards dealt from a deck of fifty-two cards. This deck is comprised of four suits at thirteen cards per suit. This form of poker requires a human dealer to coordinate the game, including dealing, wagering, folding, and the like. In “social” card games, especially poker, the players take turns acting as the dealer, but in licensed commercial gaming establishments, such as casinos, the dealer is typically a non-playing employee.
  • For casino poker or “ring games,” a rake is typically collected as a commission fee for the casino for operating the poker game. The rake is generally five to ten percent of the pot in each poker hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount. Because casino poker is a player versus player game and the house does not wager against its players (unlike blackjack or roulette), the commission fee or rake is the principal mechanism for the casino to generate revenues. The generated revenues cover the costs involved with providing a dealer for the game and the physical building in which the game takes place.
  • During live casino orientated ring games, the house collection is typically performed manually by the dealer who removes chips from the pot while the hand is being played and sets them aside to be dropped into a secure box after completion of the hand. For tournament play and in contrast to ring game play, a rake may be a simple entrance fee. In terms of legality, government laws are known to describe the taking of a rake during poker play as being illegal when conducted without a proper gaming license and/or permits. Many such laws are written in a manner so that they do not prohibit the playing of poker for money at a private dwelling, so long as nobody is taking a rake.
  • Unfortunately, any creativity in establishing a rake is limited to that which can be easily and quickly calculated by the dealer during live play. Adjusting rake percentages and/or pre-determined amounts with the changing conditions of game play (i.e. change in the number of players, specific rakes for specific players, partial rakes dependent on partial time periods, etc.) is very much limited because such complexities can lead to human error and/or unacceptably delay the game.
  • The present invention is aimed at one or more of the problems set forth above.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • An electronic gaming system has at least one table having a plurality of electronic player interaction areas (EPIA's) spaced preferably about the table so that a gaming player may locate oneself in front of a respective EPIA to play a game. The gaming system preferably has a host console that communicates with each EPIA preferably via a server for managerial control of the plurality of tables. Preferably, a software-based administrator tool operates through a user interface for the control of at least one gaming profile type by the deletion, editing and creation of various gaming rules. A house collection tool that preferably is software based operates similarly to the administrator tool for creating a plurality of house collection profiles that may then be assigned to various game profiles. House collection methods preferably include: a pot collection method that is a function of the final pot amount, preferably the betting round reached and the number of players in the game; a time collection method having the option to pay prior to each time interval or optionally pay for extended periods of time; and a hand collection method where each player pays a house collection prior to each hand.
  • The house collection tool may be a procedure or method that instructs a human dealer or employee of the casino how to calculate and collect house rakes in poker ring games, but preferably the collection tool is executed by the electronic poker system. If so executed, the collection tool is preferably displayed on the user interface and includes a variety of collection profile choices each having selectable parameters for host input preferably from the user interface.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic illustration of a gaming system embodying the present invention and in a casino environment;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an electronic poker table of the gaming system;
  • FIG. 3 is a top view of the electronic poker table of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 4 is a plan view of a player interface of an electronic player interaction area of the system with hole cards of the electronic playing cards hidden;
  • FIG. 5 is a partial block diagram of the gaming system associated with one poker table;
  • FIG. 6 is a partial block diagram of the gaming system associated with a plurality of poker tables;
  • FIG. 7 is a block diagram of software components of the gaming system;
  • FIG. 8 is a simplified block diagram of the gaming system;
  • FIG. 9 is a block diagram of the gaming system with a host console;
  • FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a method of operating the gaming system;
  • FIG. 11 is a first table tab image displayed on a video screen of the host console;
  • FIG. 12 is a second table tab image displayed on the video screen of the host console;
  • FIG. 13 is a third table tab image displayed on the video screen of the host console;
  • FIG. 14 is a fourth table tab image displayed on the video screen of the host console;
  • FIG. 15 is a fifth table tab image on the video screen of the host console;
  • FIG. 16 is a first image display on a video system of an administrator tool and displaying a timing profile;
  • FIG. 17 is a first image display of a jackpot profile of the administrator tool;
  • FIG. 18 is an image display of a create jackpot profile prompt of the jackpot profile; FIG. 19 is a second image display of the jackpot profile;
  • FIG. 20 is a third image display of the jackpot profile having an update jackpot profile prompt;
  • FIG. 21 is a fourth image display of the jackpot profile;
  • FIG. 22 is a fifth image display of the jackpot profile having a delete confirmation prompt;
  • FIG. 23 is a create game profile prompt of an image display of a game profile of the administrator tool;
  • FIG. 24 is a first image display of a game profile of the administrator tool;
  • FIG. 25 is a first image display of an update game profile prompt of the game profile;
  • FIG. 26 is a first image display of a tournament game profile of the game profile;
  • FIG. 27 is a first image display of a create blind structure prompt of the tournament game profile;
  • FIG. 28 is a first image display of a create payout structure prompt of the tournament game profile;
  • FIG. 29 is a second image display of the create payout structure prompt;
  • FIG. 30 is a first image display of a create rake structure prompt of the ring game profile;
  • FIG. 31 is a second image display of the create rake structure prompt of the ring game profile;
  • FIG. 32 is a seventh image display of the game profile;
  • FIG. 33 is a second image display of the tournament game profile;
  • FIG. 34 is an image display of a ring game profile;
  • FIG. 35 is a collection flow chart based on pot size and executed by a house collection tool of the present invention;
  • FIG. 36 is a first portion of a collection flow chart based on time and executed by the house collection tool;
  • FIG. 37 is a second portion of the collection flow chart of FIG. 36;
  • FIG. 38 is a first portion of a collection flow chart based on hands and executed by the house collection tool;
  • FIG. 39 is a second portion of the collection flow chart of FIG. 38; and
  • FIG. 40 is a block diagram of the gaming system.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION
  • In the illustrated embodiment and as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, an electronic gaming system 10 and method of house collections embodies the present invention.
  • In U.S. Patent Application Publication number US 2005/0090304 A1, filed Sep. 13, 2004, and disclosed herein by reference in its entirety, an electronic gaming system and method of displaying and obscuring electronic playing cards is disclosed and assigned to the same assignee of the present invention. Generally, this electronic gaming system replaces the human dealer with a computer capable of simulating the deal and simulating the playing cards via video displays. The system has a plurality of tables with each table having a plurality of electronic player interaction areas or stations (EPIA's). An individual interested in playing a particular game can locate oneself in front of a particular station of a table (or can be assigned) and upon logging-in, can play the game.
  • In U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/419,905, “Administrator Tool of an Electronic Gaming System and Method of Processing Gaming Profiles Controlled by the System,” filed May 23, 2006, assigned to the same assignee as the present invention and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, an administrator tool provides a software based means to easily alter, update and create new poker game profiles by qualified casino employees. For instance, rules related to timing parameters, jackpots and distribution, and other gaming parameters can now be easily changed to meet the changing demands and wants of a player, or to satisfy the interests of the casino.
  • Unfortunately, even with the software based administrator tool, flexibility in the types and methods of house collections and/or rakes remain limited.
  • The system 10 utilizes electronic cards 76 or electronic chips and electronic playing cards 76 to provide an automated card game for play by preferably at least two players. It should be noted that the description that follows is directed towards the gaming system 10 which utilizes electronic cards and chips (for wagering). However, the system 10 may also provide a non-wagering (without electronic chips) automated card game yet still have the means for house collections. Preferably, a human dealer is not required, thus the system 10 handles all dealer functions. For the purposes of illustration, the system will be described as applied to an electronic poker game known as Texas Hold'em. However, the present invention is not limited to any particular card game.
  • I. The Game
  • Referring to FIGS. 1-4, in Texas Hold'em, each player at an electronic gaming or poker table 18 is electronically dealt a number of cards, e.g., two cards, face down. These are known as a player's “hole” cards 28 of the electronic playing cards 76 and are generally placed directly in front of the respective players. A number of cards, e.g., three or five, are dealt face-up and displayed in a common display area 26. These are known as community or common cards 30. A player's hand, thus, consists of the player's hole cards 28 and the common cards 30. At the end of play of a particular hand, whichever player holds the highest poker hand is the winner of that round or hand of poker.
  • The electronic playing cards 76 may be used in any sort of electronic card game, and even in such games where the player chooses when to reveal their hole cards 28 to themselves or to the other players. The electronic poker tables 18 are preferably capable of playing any variety of card games. Each card game, whether poker or otherwise, will generally have its own set of rules, including the number of cards, how the cards are dealt, the number of betting rounds, the structure of permissible wagers, and the like. Thus, while the present invention may be described below in the context of an electronic poker game (and more specifically, with respect to a player's hole cards 28 in a Hold'em style poker game), the present invention is not limited to such a card game.
  • Furthermore, the poker or card game can be a timed game wherein the players have a predetermined time period to complete each turn. For example, the players have a set period of one minute to complete each turn. Furthermore, this period of time may vary; for instance, the first turn may have a period of completion of one minute, while the second turn may have a shorter or longer period of completion. During a given betting round, the players have a predetermined period of time to either fold, check, or make a wager. If no action is taken during the predetermined time period, a default action is taken where the player preferably must fold or check. Generally, the time period for response during a betting round will decrease as the hand of the electronic poker game progresses. Parameters, such as the predetermined time period for each betting round may be automatically modified by the system 10.
  • II. The Casino
  • Referring to FIG. 1, the gaming system 10 is preferably situated in a gaming environment, such as a casino 12. Typically, the casino 12 is divided into specialized or designated areas such as a poker room or poker area 14 each containing a plurality of tables 18, or five tables as illustrated. The poker area 14 is often cordoned off, for example, by a railing 16. While the casino 12 is one example of an environment for the gaming system 10 and method of house collection, the present invention is not limited to any such location or environment and may also include a generally virtual casino environment or any other environment that may require a house collection for the production of revenue.
  • III. The Table
  • Referring to FIGS. 2-3, each table 18 has a table top 20 supported by at least one base 42 at floor level, and a plurality of substantially vertical legs 44 projecting between the base 42 and the table top 20. The table top 20 includes a playing surface 22 and a plurality of electronic player interaction areas (EPIA) 24 for in-part the display of the respective hole cards 28. Each table 18 seats a plurality of players, and for example and as illustrated, is preferably capable of seating a maximum of ten players, hence, each table includes ten EPIA's 24A-24J and ten chairs 40 (see FIG. 1). For the game of Texas Hold'em, the table top 20 also preferably includes one central or common display area (CDA) 26 for the display of at least the common cards 30.
  • Although the EPIA's 24 and CDA 26 are generally computer generated visual displays, thus authentic playing cards are not utilized, the electronic poker tables of the gaming system 10 are aesthetically designed to convey and retain the overall sense and ambience of a standard poker room with non-electrical poker tables. The playing surface area not taken up by the EPIA's 24 and the CDA 26 is preferably covered in a traditional material such as felt having any variety of colors. Moreover, logos, game information, or other information may be printed on the material. Alternatively, the EPIA's 24 and the CDA 26 is a single display that covers a substantial portion or all of the table top 20. The EPIA's 24 and the CDA 26 can be set apart from the rest of the table top 20 by virtual or computer generated borders. The areas of the display around the EPIA's 24 and the CDA 26 are preferably used to simulate the playing surface 22 of a standard poker table by, for example, providing an electronic image of a felt material. Furthermore, logos, game information, other information, advertisements, announcements, pictures, videos, or other information may be displayed and rotated, cycled, or shown for a limited period of time on the table top 20.
  • IV. Electronic Player interaction Areas
  • Referring to FIGS. 2-4, each EPIA 24 has a player interface 54 used to convey game information directly to a player assigned to the respective EPIA 24, and to effectuate interaction or input from the player to the system 10. Each EPIA 24 can be part of one large display monitor, such as a LCD or plasma monitor, that includes the CDA 26, or the EPIA's preferably have separate and distinct monitors and preferably computers networked together as required to play the game. The player interfaces 54 are preferably implemented in a module 34 orientated on the table top 20, but may also be implemented in a module located elsewhere than a table top or in a hand-held device (not shown).
  • The player interface 54 of the EPIA 24 is preferably a touch-screen display generally framed-in by the module 34. In one embodiment, each module 34 incorporates a fully-functional computer (not shown) and is thus easily removable from the poker table 18 and replaced. The computer includes a processor capable of running an operating system, such as Windows XP or Windows CE, both available from Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash. Alternatively, the EPIA's 24 may be driven by one or more computers (not shown) located in the proximity of the table 18 with a server or server computer 50 or within the table 18.
  • a) Card Reader and Player Account:
  • Referring to FIG. 3, the module 34 preferably has a card reader 36 for reading a player tracking card (not shown). A player may log into the gaming system 10 through the EPIA 24 preferably by swiping the card through the card reader 36. Additionally, the card reader 36 may be integrated into the bezel (not shown) located around the module 34. The EPIA 24 may also require entry of a personal identification number into an attached keypad or virtual keypad displayed on the player interface 54 (see FIG. 4). Once a player's identity is established, the player can access a preferably required player account and purchase chips using an account balance communicated over a network. The player account may have an associated balance that contains a dollar amount based on an amount of money deposited by the player and/or any winnings that they have collected, either through poker or some other game. Additionally, information regarding the player's play at the table 18 may be tracked and recorded to the player's account.
  • In one aspect of the present invention, the gaming system 10 may utilize a cashless system, such as Ticket-In Ticket-Out (TITO), that is constructed and arranged into each EPIA 24. Alternatively, a preferably bar-coded ticket, magnetic card, RFID card, or some other media (jointly referred to as a TICKET) may be inserted in the EPIA 24. The TICKET may have an associated value that is either printed and/or encoded thereon or that is associated with the TICKET in the gaming system 10. Additionally, once the player decides to leave the table 18, any remaining chips they have, may be instantly converted back into dollars and stored in their player account and/or a new Ticket preferably generated at the table 18.
  • b) Visual Player Interface
  • Referring to FIGS. 4, preferably the player interface 54 includes a graphical representation 56 of a poker table. Each player in the poker game is represented by a user graphic or icon 62 that lists their names as well as their chip totals. The pot of the current hand may be represented in the center of the poker table representation 56 by stack(s) of virtual chips 64 and/or a number 66 representing the value of the current pot. Each player's contribution to the pot may be represented by stack(s) of virtual chips 68 and/or a number 70 adjacent their user graphic 62.
  • The player interface 54 preferably includes a series of player buttons 72 and a series of game buttons 74. The player buttons 72 include, for example, a sit-in button 72A, a leave table button 72B, and an options button 72C. Generally, only one of the sit in button 72A and the leave table button 72B would be active at any time. The options button 72C allows the player to access an option menu or screen (not shown) that allows the player to modify certain parameters of the player interface 54, such as for example, to choose between different formats of the player interface 54 (i.e. graphical display or text display) and/or to choose between house collection or rake options. The player buttons 72 are preferably implemented on the touch screen display 54, or alternatively, can be embodied in electromechanical switches or buttons (not shown) and as disclosed in U.S. patent application entitled “Head-To-Head Electronic Poker Game Assembly And Method Of Operation,” to be filed (Attorney Docket No. 60,667-069) and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • Regarding the leave table button 72B, a player may decide to activate this feature prior to changing seats or moving to another table altogether. For example, if another player or players have left the table 18 leaving fewer players at the table and the player does not like to play at a table with that few of players, the player may request through the EPIA 24 another seat assignment.
  • The series of game buttons 74 allow the player to signal their game play decisions to the gaming system 10 during the play of the game, and thus preferably include a fold button 74A, a call button 74B and a raise button 74C. The game buttons 74 are active when it is a player's turn in the poker game and preferably inactive when it is not. Moreover, the EPIA 24 only activates those buttons 74 that are appropriate, given the rules of the game being played, during the current turn. For example, if the maximum number of raises for a particular game has already been made, then the wager or raise button would be inactive. The raise button 74C may be replaced with one or more buttons (not shown) which allow the player to make a wager of a predetermined or allowed amount, e.g. $10. In addition or alternatively, a keypad (not shown) may be provided which allows the player to key in a wager amount.
  • Preferably, the player interface 54 also displays the common cards 30. Other information that can be displayed on the player interface include, but is not limited to, an indication (visual icon and/or audio) of the player whose turn it is to act, a total of chips for each player, any cards of the other players that are face-up, and/or messages to the player, such as advertising.
  • Moreover, in the casino 12 environment, a portion of each pot known as the house collection or rake goes to the establishment as revenue for running the poker game. The house collection is preferably displayed on each EPIA 24. The rake may be shown as an amount in dollars and may include a graphical representation of virtual chips. Similarly, the EPIA 24 preferably displays a graphical representation of the chips and/or a dollar amount indicative of the amount of chips each player at the table has remaining and the amount of the current pot.
  • d) Audio Player Interface:
  • Preferably, the EPIA 24 includes a player sound generation device that generates sounds audible to the player assigned to the EPIA 24. The player sound generation device may be implemented as an earpiece, headphones, or one or more speakers (not shown). Player sounds are generally meant to be heard by a specific player alone and may include a reminder or indication of a player's turn, a reminder to pay a house collection, an indication of being unseated for failure to pay a house collection, an indication of the time remaining or that time is running out to act, an audible signal indicating the player's hole cards 28, or the highest hand of the player or a winning percentage associated with the player's hand. The audio signals or sounds can be any series of beeps, chimes, a simulated voice, and the like.
  • V. Central Display Area and Audio
  • As best illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 5, the CDA 26 is used to display information such as common cards 30 for all players to see and is thus located further from the players than their respective EPIA's 24. Consequently, the display of the common cards 30 is preferably larger than the display of the hole cards 28. That is, the hole cards 28 are displayed at a first predetermined ratio from the standard size playing card, and the common cards 30 are displayed at a second predetermined ratio from the standard size playing card. Preferably, the first and second ratios may be defined such that the common cards 30 are displayed larger than the hole cards 28.
  • As previously described, the CDA 26 is preferably separate from the plurality of EPIA's 24, and is implemented preferably utilizing a LCD or plasma monitor or similar device. The CDA 26 preferably indicates house collection status, which player's turn it is and which player is the designated “dealer” for the current hand. These indications are provided by respective visual signals such as an icon, arrow or the like, and/or an audio signal such as a beep, musical tone, and/or voice message. The CDA 26 indications may also be in addition to the indication provided on the respective EPIA 24. With audio indication, the CDA 26 can utilize integrated “transducer sound emitting technology” thus eliminating the need for separate speakers.
  • In other card games other than Texas Hold'em, common cards 30 may not exist, hence, during play of these games, the CDA 26 can be used to display advertising messages instead. The advertising messages may be from the casino or third parties and may consist of graphics, pictures, animations, video and/or audio. The advertising may be presented at predetermined locations on the central display 38 for varied durations as the CDA cycles through a plurality of advertising messages.
  • In general, the CDA 26 is preferably capable of displaying and/or animating:
      • blinds,
      • common cards 30,
      • bets placed and player chip stacks,
      • an indication of players who have folded and not folded,
      • winning hands,
      • winning hand percentage estimates in situations where all remaining player hold cards are exposed,
      • house collection status depending upon collection option chosen, and
      • rake in dollars or virtual chips.
  • Preferably, the gaming table 18 includes a table or system sound generation device (as oppose to the player sound generation device previously described) that is used to generate sounds audible to all the players. The table sound generation device may be implemented by one or more speakers mounted to the table 18. Alternatively, the table sound generation device may include one or more speakers adjacent to or integral with each EPIA 24 as previously described. For example, system sounds may include sounds imitating the shuffling of cards, the dealing of cards, chips thrown into the pot, sounds related to the winning of the jackpot. Player sounds may include a reminder or indication of a player's turn, various house collection status' , or if the game is timed, an indication of the time remaining or that time is running out. Generally, player exclusive sounds will not be played through the system sound generation device.
  • VI. Server Computer
  • As best illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, each EPIA 24, in the illustrated embodiment, preferably includes a dedicated computer (not shown), and the CDA 26 has a dedicated CDA computer 52. Both the EPIA computer and the CDA computer 52 for any given table 18 communicate with the server computer 50 that preferably plays/controls the card game, and preferably over an Ethernet network 48. The same server 50 communicates or is networked in a like manner to preferably all of the tables 18. One skilled in the art would now know that more than one EPIA 24 could operate off of one computer or that the computer 52 for the CDA 26 could also control the EPIA's 24 and/or replace the server 50 altogether. However, having a multitude of dedicated computers simplifies software and maintenance issues and due to the relatively inexpensive costs of computers, reduces manufacturing costs of the gaming system 10.
  • The server 50 is preferably used to implement and facilitate player tracking, ticket in ticket out (cashless) wagering, assigning player's to the seat 40 at a particular table 18, tournament play, table set-up (including turning the tables on and off and modifying table parameters), and progressive jackpots. In general, the server 50 runs the game wherein the server 50 electronically “shuffles” the playing cards, deals the cards, controls the players' turns, receives the player's inputs and acts accordingly; tracks, manages, and awards the pot, and tracks the rake. Game data is stored in a database preferably of the server 50 with each input, wager, play, and the like stored in the database. Other functions implemented by the server 50 are:
      • electronically shuffling the playing cards 76
      • dealing cards,
      • controlling players' turns,
      • receives the player's data input,
      • player tracking,
      • cashless wagering,
      • defining and modifying table parameters, including, turning the tables 18 on and off, setting the poker game being played at the table 18, setting wager parameters, and the like,
      • defining and managing jackpots, including the house percentage or rake,
      • defining and managing progressive jackpots,
      • establishing and managing a queue for players and assigning players to seats 40 and/or specific tables 18 from the queue, and
      • establishing and managing tournament play, including assigning player seats, collapsing tables, and the like.
  • In addition, other devices may be connected to the server 50 for providing additional features and/or functions. For example, a queuing system can be provided utilizing its own dedicated computer. However, in some systems these additional features or function could be provided, at least in part, by the server(s) 50.
  • VII. General Process and Software
  • With particular reference to FIG. 10, in another aspect of the present invention, a method 110 provides an electronic poker game to a plurality of players on at the electronic poker table 18 using the host console 102 and the server computer 50. In a first step 112, the host console 102 preferably configures the EPIA's 24 and the central display area 26 and establishes parameters of the electronic poker game. In a second step 114, the electronic poker game is administered by the server computer 50 using electronic or virtual cards and chips.
  • In operation, the gaming system 10 will implement a player-account based cash in/cash out system. The system 10 will create a user account for each player. Once an account is established for the player, the player is issued a Player Card having an associated personal identification number or PIN. Once the player has been issued a Player Card, their account may be funded. The Player Card is used to identify the player at the tables 18. The player may fund their account by bringing cash to a cage, where the cash is accepted and credited to the player's account. Printed receipts are given to the player and maintained by the casino 12. To bring electronic chips to the table 18, the player sits down at a seat 40, swipes their Player Card and enters their PIN. The system 10 informs the player of their account balance and allows them to convert all or a portion of the account balance to electronic chips to bring to the game.
  • Referring to FIG. 7 and from a software perspective, the gaming system 10 may be implemented using six program groups: a table server 84, a game engine 82, a table client 86, a player client 90, a table manager 88, and a cage manager 92. The table server 84 implements the network communication, control and authentication as well as inter-table functions (seat reservations, multi-table tournaments). The game engine 82 is responsible for all game functions, e.g., electronic playing card deck generation, dealing, betting, determining winners and awarding pots. The table client 86 is the graphical control for the CDA 26. The player client implements the user interface for the EPIA 24 and the logic for capturing player input and communication the player input to the table client server. The table manager 88 contains the host interface 120 for setting user, network, and game parameters, for starting, pausing, and stopping games, and for monitoring game activity and responding to system or user generated alerts. The cage manager 92 provides the ability to create and fund player accounts and to create the player cards.
  • If there are no seats 40 available, the player is placed in a queue, until a seat opens up. In one embodiment, players are taken off of the queue and assigned a seat on a first come, first served basis. However, the system 10 may allow the casino 12 to implement special rules for players to bypass the queue or list. For example, the casino may present vouchers to players under certain conditions, such as a win in a tournament, to be placed at the head of a queue.
  • In one aspect of the present invention and as stated above, the system 10 tracks each transaction, wager, card dealt in a database. The system 10 also tracks the players which are playing at each table 18. This information is stored in the database, summarized, and may be presented in any numerous forms of reporting formats. Any information regarding the player's, the games, and how each hand is played may be tracked. This available data may also be analyzed for purposes of determining the frequency of poker hands (per hour) for a table or all games in which a particular player or players played or detecting, e.g., collusion between players.
  • The system 10 allows jackpots, i.e., progressive jackpots, to be generated by and won across multiple hands and/or multiple tables. A progressive jackpot may increase based on the amounts wagered and/or won at the included tables. The progressive jackpot may continue to increase until won under a set of predetermined conditions. Alternatively, it may be active until only for a predetermined time period. The conditions for winning the jackpot that it is won by one or more players at the end of the time period.
  • The system 10 allows a progressive jackpot to be funded in multiple ways. The way in which a progressive jackpot is funded may be funded through a computer program application on the server 50 or other device. For example, the progressive jackpot may be funded by taking a set percentage from every jackpot, every other jackpot, or every nth jackpot. The amount of the progressive jackpot may be displayed on the CDA 26 and/or a remote display.
  • The progressive jackpot may be initiated randomly, under certain definable conditions, and/or for a specific event, i.e., a marketing event. The progressive jackpot may be a single hand, a predetermined number of hands at one table or across multiple hands, for a predetermined time period, and the like.
  • Preferably, after a jackpot is won by a player, one or more government reporting forms may be presented to the player on their EPIA 24. The form may accept the player's electronic signature (if permissible) or may notify the player of the requirements and direct them to a location where they can fill out the form. The device may be a personal, notebook, or tablet computer, handheld computer, PDA, or other suitable device.
  • VIII. Host Console
  • With particular reference to FIGS. 5-6 and 9, the system 10 preferably has a host console 102 in electrical communication with the server computer 50 for configuring the EPIA's 24 and/or the CDA 26 and for establishing parameters of the electronic poker game. Preferably, the host console 102 is embodied in a separate computer, such as a personal computer, connected or networked (wired or wirelessly) to the server computer 50. The host console 102 may be integrated into a console, such as a kiosk. The host console 102 may also be embodied in any type of suitable device, such as a handheld computer, a personal digital assistant (PDA), notebook or laptop computer, or tablet computer. Preferably, the host console 102 provides interaction with a host or floor manager of the casino 12 via a host interface 120 of the host console 102 that is preferably a touch-screen similar to the player interface 54.
  • In general, the host console 102 is an administration device that can be used to create and edit game profiles including setting the method of house collection, game type, limits, play timing, and/or number of required players. The host console 102 allows the host or casino employee to start, pause, and stop games and to monitor table play. Additional electronic tables 18 can be activated or opened, and ring or tournament games (see below) can be easily started. Preferably, the host console 102 provides the ability to turn any one or all of the poker tables 18 on and off by communicating with the EPIA computers and CDA computer 52 via the server 50.
  • The host console 102 may enable a casino employee or host to:
      • select or change one of the plurality of poker games to be played on one or more of the electronic poker tables 18,
      • select the betting or wager structure to be used (For example, the poker games may have one of a limit, no-limit, or pot-limit wagering structure. The host console 102 enables the employee set the wagering structure for a given electronic poker table 18.),
      • select or change other parameters of the electronic poker games, including, but not limited to time parameters, wager limits, amounts associated with a big blind and a little blind,
      • select whether the electronic poker game is a timed game or a non-timed game,
      • modify the predetermined time period for each betting round in a timed game,
      • monitor the number of drinks ordered by a player through the EPIA 24,
      • add notes with information related to a specific player,
      • initiate a replay of a previous hand graphically, textually or numerically,
      • lock out and remove one of the players from the electronic poker table 18,
      • adjust the stack of electronic chips for one or more of the players (Possibly for correcting any deficiencies and/or settle any disputes with regard to operation of the electronic poker table 18 or play of one of the other players)
      • control house collections
  • Referring to FIG. 11, the host console 102 is programmed with two main sections referred to on the touch screen 120 of the host console 102 as a table tab 122 and a wait list tab 124. When activating or booting-up the host console 102, or when the host selects the table tab 122 if the console is already activated, a default or home screen of the system 10 generally depicts graphically the tables 18 (not shown). This depiction generally marks the beginning of all the table pages or table tab images 126 generally programmed under the table tab 122 option. Selection of the wait list tab 124 displays a wait list page (not shown). Generally, each one of the pages 126 on the touch-screen 120 provides a multitude of options for the host to select. When selected, the home pages 126 will generally change the display configuration providing additional information for the host and often additional options to choose from. For the sake of explanation, and although each page 126 may have a multitude of screen displays, all the screen displays with respect to the table tab 122 will be referred to as one common table page 126.
  • With particular reference to FIG. 11, each table 18 may be selected and diagnostic information and options are shown on the table page 126 that includes a table component list 130, a component parameter list 132, a reset connection button 134, a restart software button 136, a reboot button 138, a calibrate screen button 140, a back button 142, and a refresh button 144. Because the table page 126 is preferably one of many screen displays linked to that illustrated in FIG. 11, the back and refresh buttons 142, 144 provide the host with the ability to generally scroll through various screen displays of the table page 126 such as that also illustrated in FIG. 12.
  • The table component list 130 includes a list of substantially all components of the selected table 18, each personal computer or server 50 (i.e., the “Table Client”) and each module 34 (i.e., the individual seats). Selection of one of the components of the table 18 in the table component list 130 displays information regarding the selected component in the component parameter list 132.
  • The table component list parameter list 132 preferably includes a:
      • 1. Description Field (e.g., “Table 13, Seat 4”);
      • 2. Client Type Field (e.g., Player or Table);
      • 3. Client Status: (Active or Inactive);
      • 4. Connection Status: (Connected or Disconnected);
      • 5. Seat Number (where appropriate);
      • 6. Seat Status (e.g., Open, Reserved, Active);
      • 7. Player Name (when available);
      • 8. Player Status (e.g., Active or In-Active); and
      • 9. House Collection Option (if available to player).
  • The table page 126 also includes a stop/pause parameter selection area 146, a move game button 148, a pause game button 150, a stop game button 152, an auto deal check button 154, a closed seating check button 156, a use wait list check button 158, an information/status area, a pair of navigation buttons, and a clear alert button 164. The stop/pause parameter selection area 146, located toward the lower left hand corner of the screen, is used with either of the pause game button 150 or the stop game button 152 if the host wants to pause a game or electronic table 18 to make a change or perform some other function. The stop/pause parameter selection area 146 includes the three options of “No Delay,” “Minutes,” and “Hands.” The game or table will be resumed when the host is finished. A stopped game ends the play at the table typically at the end of the day.
  • In the lower right hand corner of the screen illustrated in FIG. 11, the auto deal check button 154, the closed seating check button 156, and the use wait list check button 158 are used to turn on/off the corresponding function. The information/status area 160 provides additional information about the selected component or a just completed action. The navigation buttons 162 may be used to cross between messages in the information/status area 160. The clear alert button 164 is used to clear alerts generated by players at their respective EPIA's 24A-24J.
  • Referring to FIG. 12, the table page 126 also displays information regarding the game being played at the selected table of the plurality of tables 18A-18J. Preferably, the tables 18A-18J are used to provide a variety of electronic card games, such as poker, and the host console 102 provides a list of the predefined or selected card games. When providing game information, the table page 126 preferably has a general section 168, a game play section 170, a rake section 172, and a live action setting section 174. The general section 168 includes the current game and a description of the current game being played on the selected table of the plurality of tables 18A-18J and any other needed information associated with the current game. In FIG. 12, the selected game is “Limit Hold'em $1/$2”. The general section 168 includes: type, variation, stakes, and jackpots. The game play section 170 describes parameters that affect game play. In the illustrated embodiment, the game play section 170 includes: maximum raises per hand, action time limit, minimum number of players, and maximum number of players. The rake section 172 includes information regarding the current rake or house collection. The live action section 174 includes information regarding wagering. For example, the defined game is “Limit Hold'em $1/$2” and the live action section 174 includes information related to the blinds, permissible wagers, and the minimum and maximum stakes allowed.
  • Referring to FIG. 13 and more particularly to pausing and/or stopping a game via the host console 102, the stop/pause parameter selection area 146 is used to select how the game will be stopped or paused. To do so, there are three options: “no delay,” “by minutes,” and “by hands.” If “no delay” is first selected, then if the pause button 150 or the stop game button 152 is selected, the game is immediately paused or stopped, respectively. Once a game has been paused, the pause button 150 (see FIG. 12) will be replaced with a resume button 151 (see FIG. 13). Alternatively, if “by minutes” is selected, then a minute dialog or virtual keypad (not shown) is displayed. The minute dialog allows the host to enter when the game will be paused or stopped (in minutes) after the appropriate buttons are selected. Yet again, if “by hands” is selected, then a hands dialog or virtual keypad (not shown) is displayed. The hands dialog allows the host to enter when the game will be paused or stopped (in number of hands of play) after the appropriate buttons are selected.
  • Referring to FIG. 14, a player who has left the table to take or break or for any reason may return as long as they pay any missed blinds and potentially any missed house collections. However, the other players may want another player to sit in. The unseat button 206 of one of the table pages 126 allows the host to remove a player from the table after the player has left their seat for an amount of time or a number of hands (without logging out).
  • With particular reference to FIG. 15, a tournament chop page 218 of the host interface 120 is preferably used only during tournaments and allows the host to stop tournament play prematurely, i.e., before only one player is left, and split the remaining pot or table stakes. The tournament chop page 218 includes a series of check boxes 220 that allow the host to designate how the pot or jackpot will be split. In the illustrated embodiment, there are three options: split manually, split even, or split by table stakes. If split manually is chosen, the corresponding amounts are entered in a virtual key pad 222. The tournament chop page 218 may also include a refund rake check box 224. A cancel button 225 allows the employee to cancel the current operation and return to a previous screen. A stop & chop now button 226 stops the current tournament and splits the pot as designated.
  • Additional features of the host console 102 are described in the following U.S. patent applications all of which are assigned to the same assignee of the present invention and are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety:
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/419,908, filed May 23, 2006;
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/419,910, filed May 23, 2006;
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/419,899, filed May 23, 2006;
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/419,902, filed May 23, 2006;
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/419,903, filed May 23, 2006; and
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/419,915, filed May 23, 2006.
    IX. Administrator Tool
  • Referring to FIGS. 15-33, the gaming system 10 preferably has a administrator tool 300 that is software or controller based or a computer readable media and communicates with the host console 102 and server 50 for configuring the settings of the electronic poker tables 18 and games. The administrator tool 300 enables, for instance, a floor manager of the casino 12 to conveniently and quickly adapt to the constant changes that occur within the poker room or area 14, because new games can be created, configured and stored for easy access. Preferably, the administrator tool 300 is accessed by selecting an administrator tool icon (not shown) from a dedicated computer with a dedicated interface, monitor, electronic tablet or screen 301 and preferably a mouse or touch screen. Alternatively, the administrator tool 300 could be run from the game computer 94 (see FIG. 8), the host console 102, or the sever computer 50 (see FIG. 9). Access to the administrator tool icon is preferably limited to a pre-approved floor manager or employee of the casino 12 who may or may not be a host employee. This depends upon internal security and operational procedures of the casino.
  • Referring generally to FIG. 15, when the icon (not shown) is initially selected, the administrator tool 300 displays three options or settings designated as gaming profile types 302, table setup 304 and host administration 306 in an option field 308 preferably at the left of the screen 301. The option field 308 is adjacent to an information field 310 on the right and a tool bar 312 preferably toward the top of the screen 301. By selecting a “+” symbol adjacent to gaming profile types 302, the list is expanded and a plurality of profile types or headings are displayed; they preferably are: timing profiles heading 314, jackpot profile heading 316 and game profile heading 318. The timing profiles heading 314 is associated with events in a game that are timed, and thus determines how fast or how slow the game proceeds within the system 10. The jackpot profile heading 316 enables adjustment of various amounts of money or awards regarding jackpots, and the game profiles heading 318 allows the creation and saving of games each with unique parameters.
  • a) Jackpot Profile:
  • The jackpot profile heading 316 can be added to any game profile and further functions to perform the following:
      • create a new jackpot profile,
      • edit an existing jackpot profile, and
      • delete a jackpot profile.
  • Referring to FIGS. 17-18, when the administrator tool 300 is used to create anew jackpot profile, the “+” symbol adjacent the profile types 302 is selected and the jackpot profile heading 316 is selected or highlighted from the subsequent drop-down list. Once highlighted, the administrator automatically reveals a jackpot list 368 in the information field 310. The floor manager then selects the new icon 322 in the tool bar 312 that causes a jackpot profile overlay window or jackpot prompt 370 to appear (see FIG. 18).
  • Preferably, the jackpot prompt 370 has the following fields for the floor manager to enter data:
      • description field 372
      • minimum pot field 374
      • fee percent field 376
      • fee increment field 378
      • maximum fee field 380
      • fixed fee amount field 382
      • jackpot account field 384
      • payout amount field 386
      • jackpot rule field 388
      • minimum players field 390
  • The description field 372 assigns a name to the jackpot profile such as for example “Royal Flush” or “Bad Beat.” The minimum pot field 374 determines the minimum amount required in the pot before it is awarded, and assigns that amount in the space provided. If a casino fee or house collection is desired, the fee percent field 376 takes a percent of each pot. If a fee percent is desired, the fee increment field 378 is used to enter an incremental fee amount preferably in dollars. Preferably, the fee increment would match a chip value such as fifty cents or one dollar. The maximum fee field 380 sets a cap on the dollar amount taken out of each pot, if so desired. The fixed fee amount field 382 sets a specific cents or dollar amount fee for each pot. Use of field 382 alleviates use of fields 376, 378 and 380. The jackpot account field 384 is the name of the account where the funds established by field 376 or field 380 is deposited. This field preferably has a default name of jackpot. The minimum players field 390 sets the minimum number of players that must be playing for a jackpot to be awarded.
  • With the jackpot profile heading 316 chosen, each of the fields 372-390 are listed as column headings 392 of the jackpot list 368 in the information field 310. When all applicable fields 372-390 of the prompt 370 are filled in by the floor manager, an “o.k.” box 394 of the prompt 370 is selected and the jackpot profile is then available for selection when updating or creating a game profile.
  • Referring to FIGS. 19-20, when the administrator tool 300 is used to edit a jackpot profile, the “+” symbol adjacent to profile types 302 is first selected by the floor manager. This causes the administrator to reveal the plurality of profile types or headings, which preferably are the timing profiles heading 314, the jackpot profile heading 316 and the game profile heading 318. The jackpot profile heading 316 is then highlighted or selected by the floor manager from the plurality of profile types 302 in the options field 308. This selection causes the administrator tool 300 to display the jackpot list 368 in the information field 310. From the jackpot list 368, the floor manager chooses the appropriate jackpot profile for editing.
  • Referring to FIG. 20 and by way of illustrative example, a ring bad beat jackpot profile 396 of the jackpot list 368 is selected by the floor manager. This selection causes the administrator tool 300 to display an update jackpot profile prompt 398 that preferably has the same fields 372-390 as the create jackpot prompt 370 (see FIG. 42). When all desired fields for editing are changed by the floor manager, the floor manager selects an “o.k.” box 400 of the prompt 398 thus completing the editing process of a jackpot profile.
  • Referring to FIGS. 21-22, when the administrator tool 300 is used to delete a jackpot profile, the “+” symbol adjacent to profile types 302 is first selected by the floor manager. This causes the administrator tool 300 to reveal the plurality of profile types or headings 314, 316 and 318. The jackpot profile heading 316 is then highlighted or selected by the floor manager from the plurality of profile types 302 in the options field 308. This selection causes the administrator tool 300 to display the jackpot list 368 in the information field 310. From the jackpot list 368, the floor manager chooses the appropriate jackpot profile for deletion.
  • From the information field 310, the floor manager, by way of illustrative example, then selects or highlights the jackpot profile identified as “ring bad beat” 396. Once selected, the floor manager selects the delete icon 362 in the tool bar 312 causing the administrator tool 300 to automatically reveal an overlay window or delete confirmation prompt 402 that requests confirmation of the selected deletion (see FIG. 22). Once the floor manager confirms the deletion by selecting a “yes” box 404 in the prompt 402 the deletion process is completed.
  • b) Game Profiles:
  • Referring to FIGS. 23-24, the game profiles provides the floor manager with the ability to create and save games with each game having a unique set of parameter. These parameters may include such setting as:
      • game type (ring or tournament)
      • stakes (limit or no limit)
      • betting requirements (small and big blind values)
      • rake amount identifier (i.e. a chosen house collection method)
        For example, the floor manager can create two different game profiles for Texas Hold'em with different small and big blind values. A game profile is preferably assigned to an electronic table 18 before starting the game with the specific game profile at that table.
  • The game profiles heading 316 further functions to perform the following:
      • create a new game profile,
      • edit an existing game profile,
      • clone an existing game profile, and
      • delete a game profile.
  • When the administrator tool 300 is used to create a new game profile, the game profiles heading 318 in the expanded list under profile types 302 is first highlighted by the floor manager preferably without selecting the “+” symbol adjacent to the timing profiles heading 314. The floor manager then selects the new icon 322 in the tool bar 312 that causes a create or update game profile prompt 406 to appear (see FIG. 23). Preferably, the game prompt 406 has the following fields for the floor manager to enter data and make selections:
      • description field 408
      • game field 410
      • wait lists field 412
      • time out field 414
      • ring field 416
      • single table tournament field 418
      • multi-table tournament field 420
      • hi field 422
      • hi/low field 424
      • ante field 426
      • bring in field 428
      • small blind field 430
      • big blind field 432
      • small wager field 434
      • big wager field 436
      • limit field 438
      • pot limit field 440
      • no limit field 442
      • minimum stakes field 444
      • suggested field 446
      • maximum stakes field 448
      • maximum raises field 450
      • minimum rebuy field 452
      • minimum rejoin field 454
      • rejoin timeout field 456
      • minimum players field 458
      • maximum players field 460
      • time limit field 462
      • auto deal field 464
      • game timing field 466
      • zero balance timeout field 468
      • number of tables field 470
      • buy-in field 472
      • initial stakes field 474
      • increment field 476
      • unit field 478
      • rake account field 480
      • available jackpot profiles field 482
      • assigned jackpot profiles field 484
  • Many of the above fields are described in previously referenced U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/419,905. However, with regards to rakes and jackpots, the rake account field 480 allows entry of an account in which the rake is deposited. As illustrated in FIG. 23, the current rake account is “houserake.” The available jackpot profiles field 482 is preferably a scrolling list of available jackpot profiles. One or more of these profiles can be selected by the floor manager and upon selection of arrow key 486 of the prompt 406, the selected jackpot profile(s) are eligible whenever the game profile is being played. The assigned jackpot profiles field 486 is a scrolling list of jackpot profiles assigned to the game profile. Selection of any one of the assigned jackpot profiles and selection of arrow key 488 will remove the selected, assigned, jackpot profile from the assigned jackpot profiles field 486.
  • When all applicable fields 408-484 of the create game profile prompt 406 are filled in by the floor manager, a “save” box 490 of the prompt 406 is selected and the game profile is saved for future use.
  • Referring to FIGS. 24-25, the administrator tool 300 can edit a game profile at any time. However, any game profile changes preferably will not affect a game being played at the time of the change. When the administrator tool 300 is used to edit a game profile, the “+” symbol adjacent to profile types 302 is first selected by the floor manager. This causes the administrator to reveal the plurality of profile types or headings, which preferably are the timing profiles heading 314, the jackpot profile heading 316 and the game profile heading 318. The gaming profiles heading 318 is then highlighted by the floor manager from the plurality of profile types 302 and the adjacent “+” symbol is selected to reveal a listing of available game profiles 492 in the options field 308. The game profile 492 that requires editing is then highlighted or selected causing each of the fields 408-484 as previously described for prompt 406 to be listed as column headings 494 in the information field 310 and the previously entered parameters/data 496 of the selected game profile 492 to appear in the information field 310 below the associated column headings 494.
  • When the floor manager selects an update icon 498 in the tool bar 312, an update game profile prompt 500 appears (see FIG. 25). Prompt 500 is substantially the same as the previously described create game prompt 406 (see FIG. 23), hence, like fields shall have the same identifying numerals. Once displayed, the floor manager makes the desired changes to any one of the fields 408-484. When finished, the floor manager selects a “save” box 502 of the prompt 500 and the updated game profile can then be assigned to an electronic table 18.
  • c) Tournament Game Profiles
  • Tournament game profiles are created generally as any other game profile is created and as previously described. As best shown in FIGS. 22-23, selection of the single table tournament field 418 of create game profile prompt 406 designates a game profile as a tournament game. Generally from the option and information fields 308, 310 the floor manager may modify a tournament game profile in terms of creating:
      • a blind structure 510 (see FIGS. 26 and 27),
      • a payout structure 512 (see FIG. 29), and
      • a rake structure 514 (see FIG. 31, also applicable for ring game profiles).
  • Blind structures 510 are a way of increasing blinds associated with the hand or minute increments previously entered in field 476 and field 478 of the create game profile prompt 406 (see FIG. 23). Payout structures 512 generally designate an amount or percent of money paid out to players at the end of a tournament and dependent upon their final placement with regards to the other tournament players. For instance, a player who wins first place will likely receive a greater award than a player who wins second place. The rake structure 514 preferably applies to both tournament and ring game profiles and generally varies the percent of a pot or percent of a buy-in dependent upon the pot size or total buy-in amount collected for a particular tournament.
  • Referring to FIGS. 32 and 26, when the administrator tool 300 is used to create a blind structure 510 for a tournament game profile 492, the “+” symbol adjacent to profile types 302 in the option field 308 is first selected by the floor manager, then the “+” symbol adjacent to the game profiles heading 318 is selected. Selection of heading 318 causes the drop-down listing of game profiles 492 to appear. The floor manager then selects the tournament game profile to be modified. When the “+” symbol adjacent to the tournament game profile is elected, the administrator tool 300 reveals a drop-down listing that preferably lists optional selections 516 for the blind structure 510, the payout structure 512 (see FIG. 29) and the rake structure 514 (see FIG. 31).
  • Selection of the blind structure 510 of the selections 516 for a particular tournament game profile 492 causes blind structure information to be listed in the information field 310. The floor manager then selects the new icon 322 in the tool bar 312 that causes a create blind structure prompt 518 to appear (see FIG. 27). Preferably, the blind structure prompt 518 has the following fields for the floor manager to enter data:
      • level field 520,
      • ante field 522,
      • bring-in field 524,
      • small blind field 526,
      • big blind field 528,
      • small wager field 530, and
      • big wager field 532.
  • Referring to FIGS. 29, 32 and 33, when the administrator tool 300 is used to create a payout structure 512 for a tournament game profile 492, the “+” symbol adjacent to profile types 302 in the option field 308 is first selected by the floor manager, then the “+” symbol adjacent to the game profiles heading 318 is selected. Selection of heading 318 causes the drop-down listing of game profiles 492 to appear. The floor manager then selects the tournament game profile to be modified. When the “+” symbol adjacent to the tournament game profile is elected, the administrator tool 300 reveals another drop-down listing that preferably lists the optional selections 516 for the blind structure 510, the payout structure 512 and the rake structure 514.
  • Referring to FIGS. 30, 31 and 34, when the administrator tool 300 is used to create a rake structure 514 for a tournament or ring game profile 492, the “+” symbol adjacent to profile types 302 in the option field 308 is first selected by the floor manager, then the “+” symbol adjacent to the game profiles heading 318 is selected. Selection of heading 318 causes the drop-down listing of game profiles 492 to appear. The floor manager then selects the ring game or tournament game profile to be modified. As best shown in FIG. 33, when the “+” symbol adjacent to a tournament game profile is selected, the administrator tool 300 reveals another drop-down listing that preferably lists the optional selections 516 for the blind structure 510, the payout structure 512, and the rake structure 514. As best shown in FIG. 34, when the “+” symbol adjacent to a ring game profile is selected, the administrator tool 300 reveals another drop-down listing that preferably lists only the rake structure 514.
  • Selection of the rake structure 514 of the selections 516 for a particular tournament or ring game profile 492 causes the listing of rake structure information 546 in the information field 310 if any exists at the time (see FIG. 34). The floor manager then selects the new icon 322 in the tool bar 312 that causes a create rake structure prompt 548 to appear (see FIG. 30). Preferably, the rake structure prompt 548 has a pot size field 550 and a rake amount field 552 for entry of data by the floor manager.
  • The pot size field 550 and the rake amount field 552 of the rake structure prompt 548 preferably corresponds to column headings 554 in the information field 310. For a tournament game profile, the floor manager enters the total buy-in amount for all the players into the pot size field 550. For a ring game profile and as illustrated in FIGS. 34, the floor manager creates the rake structure for each increment of the rake. For example, if the pot size is ten dollars, the rake may be one dollar, if the pot size is twenty dollars, the rake may be two dollars, and so on. The rake structure 514 may depend then on the maximum possible pot size and/or the maximum amount raked.
  • For each rake increment of the ring game profile 492, the floor manager enters the pot size in the pot size field 550 of the rake structure prompt 548, then the amount to be raked is entered into the rake amount field 552. As illustrated in FIG. 31 for example, the floor manager is creating a ninth record or increment for a pot size of $55.50 and a rake amount of $6.00. The floor manager then selects a “save” box 554 of the rake structure prompt 548 to save the settings. The process is generally completed after this first iteration for tournament game profiles, and is repeated beginning with the selection of the new icon 322 for each increment of a ring game profile.
  • X. House Collection Tool
  • Referring generally to FIGS. 35-39, the gaming system 10 preferably has a house collection tool 600, and like the administrator tool 300, the house collection tool is software based or is a computer readable media that generally communicates with or is operated by the host console 102 and server or controller 50 for configuring a variety of house collection methods applied to the electronic poker tables 18 and games. The house collection tool enables, for instance, a floor manager of the casino 12 to conveniently and quickly adapt to the constant changes that occur within the poker room or area 14, because new different house collection methods can be created, configured and stored for easy access. Preferably, the house collection tool 600 is accessed by selecting a house collection tool icon (not shown) from a dedicated computer with a dedicated interface, monitor, electronic tablet or screen 301 and preferably a mouse or touch screen. Alternatively or additionally, the house collection tool 600 could be run or executed from the game computer 94 (see FIG. 8), the host console 102, or the sever computer 50 (see FIG. 9). Access to the house collection tool icon is preferably limited to a pre-approved floor manager or employee of the casino 12 who may or may not be a host employee. This depends upon internal security and operational procedures of the casino. Moreover, a host employee having access to the administrator tool 300 may not have the necessary security clearance for access to the house collection tool 600.
  • Although the administrator tool 300 may provide limited capability in adjusting house rakes for various game profiles as previously described, the house collection tool 600 provides substantially greater flexibility in house collections and/or rakes for both the player and the casino establishment. Preferably, and with regards to house collections, the administrator tool 300 is the slave to the house collection tool 600, which is the master.
  • More specifically, and referring to FIG. 40, the house collection tool 600 provides the means in which a variety of house collection profiles can be created, appropriately named and/or identified, and listed from a computer database. When creating a game profile via the administrator tool 300, a list 601 of house collection profiles previously created can be accessed and a specific collection profile can be selected for a specific game profile. The game computer 94 receives the game and house collection profile data preferably from the administrator tool 300 for the execution of both the game and house collection profiles.
  • The house collection tool 600 is capable of creating variations of a variety of house collection methods or profiles. Three such methods or profiles are: a pot collection profile 602, a time collection profile 604, and a hand collection profile 606. The pot collection profile 602 is generally based on the pot amount reached and, unlike traditional collection methods, on the number of players and the betting round reached. By defining a pot collection criteria that reduces the house collection with a reduction in the number of players and/or a reduction in the betting round reached, players are provided with an incentive to play short-handed. Moreover, the pot collection profile 602 may also factor in a house collection from side pots. The time collection profile 604 is based on collections from each player at configurable time intervals, wherein the time intervals expire at a common moment for all the players (i.e. top of the hour). The hand collection profile 606 is generally a collection of a house rake at the beginning of each hand and before the system 10 deals the virtual cards. Other factors that may affect any of the collection profiles 602, 604, 606 are pot amount reached, number of active players at the beginning of the hand, and the betting round reached (i.e. pre-flop, flop, turn, river).
  • a) Pot Based Collection:
  • Referring to FIG. 35, the pot collection method or profile 602 may be applied by a human dealer, however, the profile is preferably executed by the house collection tool 600 of the system 10. The pot collection profile 602 preferably follows traditional pot collection methods by taking a percentage from each pot at the end of hand play for casino revenue. However, the pot collection profile 602 also factors in the number of players and preferably the betting round reached of each hand to establish maximum or limits to the house collection per hand. When the poker game is being played with the pot collection profile 602 of the house collection tool 600, the system 10 first recognizes and records 608 the number of players at the beginning of each hand. The hand is then played-out 610 by the system 10 and the final pot amount is noted 612. Utilizing a pre-selected pot collection percentage, the system then calculates a preliminary collection amount 614. The hand is then reviewed by the system to determine if the hand ended prior to the first flop betting round 616. If the hand ended after the pre-flop betting round and before the flop betting round, the system 10 determines if the preliminary collection amount is greater than a pre-selected minimum house collection amount 618. If it is not greater, the system preferably collects 620 the preliminary collection amount from the final pot amount. If the preliminary collection amount is greater than the pre-selected minimum house collection amount, then the system 10 only collects 622 the minimum house collection amount. Preferably, the minimum house collection amount is pre-established regardless of the number of players.
  • If play of the hand has continued at least through the flop betting round, the system determines 624 if the preliminary collection amount is greater than a pre-selected maximum house collection amount. If not greater, then the system collects 626 the preliminary collection amount from the final pot. If the preliminary collection amount is greater than the pre-selected maximum house collection amount, the system collects 628 the maximum house collection amount from the final pot. Preferably, the maximum house collection amount is dependent at least in-part upon (i.e. is a function of) the number of players at the beginning of the hand. The maximum house collection amount may also be a function of the number of betting rounds conducted after the pre-flop betting round.
  • With this understanding of the pot collection method 602, an employee of the casino 12, for instance, having security access to the house collection tool 600 can construct a pot collection profile in a way similar to that of constructing a game profile, as previously described. Parameters that are preferably entered by the host or employee may include:
      • a percentage for calculating the preliminary collection amount,
      • a minimum house collection amount,
      • a maximum house collection amount based on two players and the game ending after the second betting round,
      • a maximum house collection amount based on three players and the game ending after the second betting round,
      • a maximum house collection amount based on four players and the game ending after the second betting round, (and so on with increasing players)
      • a maximum house collection amount based on two players and the game ending after the third betting round,
      • a maximum house collection amount based on three players and the game ending after the third betting round,
      • a maximum house collection amount based on four players and the game ending after the third betting round (and so on with increasing players and an increase in betting rounds),
      • an identifier or name for the specific pot collection profile, and
      • the rake account identification 480.
  • b) Time Based Collection
  • The time collection method or profile 604 may be applied by a human dealer, however, the profile is preferably executed by the house collection tool 600 of the system 10. The time collection profile 604 is preferably employed primarily to take a fixed collection amount at regular time intervals. Pot size, minimum number of players and the betting round are preferably disregarded as collection criteria because these values are hand-dependent. The time interval is preferably common amongst all players in any particular game in that the time span is of an equivalent number of minutes for each player and the intervals begin and end at a common moment in time. For instance, for a sixty minute time interval, the interval may begin and end at the top of the hour for every player in the particular game.
  • Referring to FIGS. 36 and 37, a player may enter a poker game at the beginning or anytime time during play and even midway into a time interval when the time collection profile 604 is being applied. When a player selects 630 a table 18 where a poker game is being played with the time collection profile 604 of the house collection tool 600, the player is preferably provided with an option to select 632 a door charge option or select 634 a time interval collection option. This option may be integrated into options button 72C of the player interface 54. If the player selects 632 the door charge option, the system 10 will provide 636 an extended period of play without reference to substantially shorter time intervals.
  • If the player selects 634 the time interval collection option, the player is then preferably offered a sub-option of choosing 638 to de-select an autopost collections feature. If the player does not choose this sub-option or until the player does select this sub-option, the system 10 defaults 640 to the autopost collections feature. If the player has chosen 638 to de-select, the system 10 calculates the amount of the initiating interval collection based on the time remaining in the time interval. The system 10 then prompts 642 to pay the calculated collection amount. This system prompt 642 may be accomplished as a visual indicator (not shown) on the player interface 54 and/or on the CDA 26. Audio alerts may also be applied.
  • After the prompt 642, the system 10 initiates 644 an internal clock providing the player with a pre-determined amount of time to pay the house collection. This response period is of a duration that gives the player a reasonable amount of time to react, yet is not so long as to unduly delay play of the game. If the player opts 646 not to pay the interval collection during the prescribed response period, the system 10 forces 648 the player to quit the game.
  • With the player removed 648 from the game, the system verifies 650 that more than one player or a predetermined minimum number of players remain in the game. If more than one player or more than the predetermined minimum number of players remain, the game continues 652. If only one player remains in the game or less than the minimum number of players remain, the system 10 determines 654 if the remaining player(s) have paid the interval collection. If the remaining player(s) have paid the interval collection, the system 10 refunds 656 the remaining player(s) and the game ends 658.
  • After a player pays 643 for a time interval, the system 10 preferably graphically displays 645 the collection on the CDA 26. If the player then decides to leave 647 the table 18 and later returns 649 during the same pre-paid time interval, the player is not collected from again 651 for the same time interval. The system 10 is ideal for tracking and treatment of players in this way that would otherwise be difficult for an employee dealer to coordinate.
  • With this overall understanding of the time collection method 604, an employee of the casino 12, for instance, having security access to the house collection tool 600 can construct a time collection profile similar to that of constructing a game profile as previously described. Parameters that are preferably entered by the host or employee may include:
      • a duration of time preferably in minutes for the time interval,
      • a duration of time preferably in seconds for the response period,
      • a collection amount for each time interval,
      • a minimum number of players needed to play the game,
      • a duration of time preferably in hours for the door charge option,
      • a collection amount for the door charge option,
      • an identifier or name for the specific time collection profile, and
      • the rake account identification 480.
  • Preferably, the time intervals are defined as fifteen, thirty, or sixty minutes or any value in increments of thirty minutes for intervals greater than one hour. The clock used for controlling the time intervals is preferably integrated into the server or controller 50. As previously described, partial collections may be taken from players entering a game, however, the dollar amount is preferably rounded up to the nearest fifty cents. Preferably, the system 10 only takes collections from the player's table stakes, and the players do not have the option to pay collections directly from their house accounts.
  • c) Hand Based Collection
  • The hand collection method or profile 606 may be applied by a human dealer, however, the profile is preferably executed by the house collection tool 600 of the system 10. The hand collection profile 606 is preferably employed primarily to take a fixed collection amount per player and prior to each hand played. Pot size, minimum number of players and the betting round are preferably disregarded as collection criteria because these values are hand-dependent. Preferably, only one house collection per hand is conducted for the game profile utilizing the hand collection profile 606.
  • Referring to FIGS. 38 and 39, a player first selects 660 a table 18 with a game profile utilizing the hand collection profile 606. After selecting 660 the table, the player sufficiently funds 662 the table stakes as previously described and the system 10 may automatically take 664 the first fixed collection from the player's table stakes. This house collection is then preferably represented 666 on the CDA 26. Once all players have anted and paid the house collection, the system 10 designates 668 a dealer preferably by the virtual placement of a dealer button. The system 10 then deals 670 the hand.
  • Upon end of play 672 of the hand, a player has the options to quit 674 and sit-out 676, designating themselves as “inactive” thus not having to pay the house collection for the next hand. Preferably, the player(s) must opt to quit or sit-out prior to the system dealing the first card and/or prior to the system designating the dealer. For the remaining players, the system verifies 678 the amount of the remaining table stakes for each player. they each have sufficient table stakes. If a player is verified by the system 10 to have insufficient 680 table stakes remaining, the under funded player is dealt out of 682 the next hand. The player can then choose to quit 682, choose to reserve a seat 684, or choose to rebuy 686. If the under funded player has chosen either to reserve a seat 684 or rebuy 686, the system 10 initiates an internal zero balance timer 688 that begins a time period in which the player has to keep the seat reserved and/or to rebuy. If the player does not return to their seat funded and/or does not rebuy to refund their table stakes before the time period expires 690, the system 10 will automatically unseat 692 the player.
  • If the system verifies 678 that the player(s) have sufficient 694 table stakes, the system makes the collection for the next hand and preferably represents 696 the collection graphically on the CDA 26. The system will then designate a dealer 698 by placement of a virtual dealer button, and then deal 700 the next hand. If the hand is aborted 702, the host operator or employee is provided 704 the option to manually refund the house collection for the aborted hand.
  • With this understanding of the time collection method 604, an employee of the casino 12, for instance, having security access to the house collection tool 600 can construct a hand collection profile in a way similar to that of constructing a game profile as previously described. Parameters that are preferably entered by the host or employee may include:
      • a minimum number of players needed to play the game
      • an amount to be collected from each player per hand,
      • a total amount to be collected per hand (in the alternative of entering an amount to be collected from each player per hand),
      • a time period in which the player has to refund their table stakes,
      • a minimum table stakes amount (may also be represented as a ratio making it a function of the house collection per hand amount),
      • an identifier or name for the specific hand collection profile, and
      • the rake account identification 480.
  • d) Dependency Between the House Collection Tool and the Administrator Tool:
  • The house collection tool 600 is preferably accessed through the host console 102. More specifically, the house collection tool 600 may be accessed in any variety of ways including from the table page(s) 126 of the user interface 120, through an icon in the tool bar 312 of the administrator tool 300, and/or through any number of prompts including the game profile prompt 406 of the administrator tool 300.
  • In some instances, the house collection tool 600 may generally derive some of the needed data from the administrator tool 300 or vice-versa depending upon which tool and in which circumstance is the slave of the other. Such sharing of information may generally include:
      • the player status field in the component parameters list 132 of the table page 126 (see FIG. 11),
      • the pause game button 150 affecting the time collection profile 604,
      • the stop game button 152 affecting house collection refunds of preferably any collection profile,
      • stop/pause parameter selection area 146 affecting the time intervals of the time collection profile,
      • rake section 172 (see FIG. 12),
      • the fee fields 376, 378, 380, 382 of the create jackpot profile prompt 398 (see FIG. 20),
      • the minimum players field 390 of the create jackpot profile affecting when a game is halted and possible refunds of house collections,
      • the rake account identification 480 of the game profile prompt 406 affecting where a house collection is deposited (see FIG. 23),
      • the minimum rebuy field 450,
      • the rejoin timeout field 456,
      • the minimum players field 458,
      • the minimum stakes field 444,
      • the create payout structure prompt 512 (see FIG. 29), and
      • the create rake structure prompt 514 (see FIGS. 31 and 34).
  • As another preferred embodiment, the house collection tool 600 may be integrated completely into the administrator tool 300. Thus each game profile when created would include the creation of a house collection profile including the ability to select one of at least the three collection profiles 602, 604, 606 or any variations thereof. Any customizing to any one of the collection profiles can be made during the creation of each game profile. For simplicity, all or a substantial portion of the parameters can default to preferred values until the host or employee makes an actual change. Moreover, because each player registers into the system, house collections may be adjusted for individual players in a common game. For instance, for a pot collection profile 602, one player may contribute a higher percentage toward the house than another player.
  • XI. Tournament Play
  • The system 10 and thus the house collection tool 600 facilitates tournament play. In a tournament, a predetermined number of tables 18 having a predetermined number of players are involved. A buy-in, e.g., $100 is required. Typically, after a player loses all of their money, they are eliminated from the tournament.
  • Under predetermined rules, players may register for a tournament and be assigned to seats at a table. During play, under predetermined rules, tables may be broken down and the players distributed to other tables. The system 10 facilitates the tournament by providing one or more of the following features:
      • a) registration,
      • b) tracking tournament information,
      • c) display of tournament information on central display and/or remote display,
      • d) tournament set-up, e.g., buy-in,
      • e) rebuy-in,
      • f) tournament jackpot, cash or entry voucher for entry another tournament (specific tournament or expiration date),
      • g) Process for breaking tables:
        • (1) message that table is breaking
        • (2) convey new seat assignment
        • (3) determination of breaking order
        • (4) display of breaking order,
      • h) display information on status of other tables and players at other tables
      • i) System to monitor and adjust hands per hour of an individual table during a tournament: During a poker tournament it is important that each table play roughly the same number of hands per hour as all other tables. This can be accomplished by pausing a game and/or slowing a game down with out pausing,
      • j) multi-site tournaments,
      • k) system for automatically paying players tournament winnings based on tournament pay tables and their final position in the tournament,
      • l) automatic posting of blinds and method to turn on and off of automatic posting of blinds/missed blinds,
      • m) method for automatically calculating allowed bet amounts in pot-limit and no-limit betting structures,
      • n) automatic varying of rake based upon number of players, time of day, type of game and/or other criteria preferably via the house collection tool 600,
      • o) ability to offer rake discounts to individual players preferably by way of the house collection tool 600,
      • (p) transferring a player from one seat to another at the same table, or to another: Situations exist where are forced to (“must move”) or desire to move seats. This feature provides automatic notification and movement of player information from one seat to another,
      • q) database and network architecture allowing single and multi-site networking and management of a plurality of automated poker,
      • r) tracking and reporting of player statistics: Data and method of display over the internet and/or other methods for player to analyze their previous play statistics. In another embodiment date and method of display is utilized to determine player rankings for a given game and/or over a given time period,
      • s) ability to view available tables and register for live tables and/or tournaments via a remote connection such as the internet or an automated voice response unit,
      • t) options adjust speed of play(speed of card shuffling, dealing, discarding, betting, etc.),
      • u) electronically transfer money from an account to the table,
      • v) electronically transfer money to another,
      • w) use of “cash card” to bring money to the table,
      • x) ability for operator to view details of any and all tables, and
      • y) ability for operator to view details of any and all players.
    XII. Alternative Embodiments
  • While the forms of the invention herein disclosed constitute presently preferred embodiments, many others are possible. For instance, the house collection tool 600 may apply any variety and/or combination of profiles 602, 604, 606. It is not intended to mention all the possible equivalent forms or ramifications of the invention. It is understood that the terms used herein are merely descriptive rather than limiting, and that various changes can be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.

Claims (34)

  1. 1. An electronic gaming system for control of a plurality of games being selectively played by a plurality of players, the system comprising:
    at least one game table having a plurality of electronic player interaction areas for player communication and player input, wherein each one of the plurality of players is located adjacent to a respective one of the plurality of electronic player interaction areas;
    a game computer being in communication with the plurality of electronic player interaction areas, and a user interface for managerial control of the at least one game table; and
    a software based house collection tool being operated through the user interface for the creation of house collection profiles including a pot collection profile, a hand collection profile and a time collection profile.
  2. 2. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 1 further comprising a software based administrator tool operated through the user interface for the creation of at least one gaming profile type associated with at least gaming rules, and wherein the software based house collection tool is inter-dependent with the administrator tool through the user interface.
  3. 3. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 2 wherein a host with a first security clearance has access to the administrator tool and a host with a second security clearance has access to the house collection tool.
  4. 4. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 2 wherein the house collection tool is accessed from the administrator tool.
  5. 5. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 2 wherein the administrator tool is slave to the house collection tool with respect to house collection profiles.
  6. 6. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 1 wherein the pot collection profile has a minimum collection amount for comparison to a predetermined percentage of a final pot amount when a hand of poker does not progress beyond a pre-flop betting round.
  7. 7. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 6 wherein the pot collection profile has a maximum collection amount for comparison to the predetermined percentage of a final pot amount when a hand of poker progresses beyond the pre-flop betting round.
  8. 8. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 1 wherein the time collection profile has a time interval that begins and ends commonly with the plurality of players of a poker game.
  9. 9. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 8 wherein the time collection profile has a door charge option for providing an extended period of play for an opting player without reference to the time intervals, and wherein any one of the time intervals is substantially shorter than the extended period of play.
  10. 10. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 1 wherein the hand collection profile automatically removes a predetermined house collection amount from the table stakes of each player prior to play of each hand of a poker game.
  11. 11. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 10 wherein the house collection amount is displayed graphically on a central display area.
  12. 12. The electronic gaming system set forth in claim 2 further comprising:
    a computer having the user interface for receiving input for the creation of the house collection profiles and the creation of gaming profiles; and
    wherein the game computer executes play of the game profiles and house collection rules.
  13. 13. A house collection method utilized in connection with the game of poker, the house collection method comprising the steps of:
    recognizing a number of players at the beginning of a poker hand;
    completing play of a poker hand;
    establishing the final pot amount;
    calculating a preliminary collection amount based on the final pot amount;
    comparing the preliminary collection amount to a pre-selected minimum house collection amount if betting rounds of the poker hand do not proceed beyond a pre-flop betting round;
    collecting the preliminary collection amount from players of the game if the preliminary collection amount is less than the minimum house collection amount; and
    collecting the minimum house collection amount from the players of the game if the minimum house collection amount is less than the preliminary collection amount.
  14. 14. The house collection method set forth in claim 13 comprising the further steps of:
    calculating a maximum house collection amount base on at least in-part the recognized number of players;
    comparing the preliminary collection amount to the maximum house collection amount if betting round proceed beyond the pre-flop betting round;
    collecting the preliminary collection amount from players of the game if the preliminary collection amount is less than the maximum house collection amount; and
    collecting the maximum house collection amount from the players of the game if the maximum house collection amount is less than the preliminary collection amount.
  15. 15. The house collection method set forth in claim 14 wherein the calculation of the maximum house collection is also a function of a number of betting rounds.
  16. 16. The house collection method set forth in claim 13 wherein the method is executed via a software based house collection tool.
  17. 17. The house collection method set forth in claim 14 wherein the method is executed via a software based house collection tool.
  18. 18. A house collection method utilized in connection with the game of poker, the house collection method comprising the steps of:
    initiating a first response time period;
    taking a house collection from a first player without any intervention from the first player;
    expiring of first response time period;
    initiating a first time interval period;
    commencement of poker play;
    expiring of first response time period; and
    initiating a second response time period.
  19. 19. The house collection method set forth in claim 18 comprising the further steps of:
    opting not to pay interval collection by a second player during the first response time period; and
    removing the second player from the game prior to initiating the first time interval period.
  20. 20. The house collection method set forth in claim 19 comprising the further steps of:
    determining that at least a pre-determined minimum number of players remain in the game; and
    commencement of poker play if at least the pre-determined minimum number of players remain in the game.
  21. 21. The house collection method set forth in claim 20 comprising the further steps of:
    opting not to pay interval collection by at least one player of the plurality of players;
    removing the at least one non-paying player from the game;
    determining that the pre-determined minimum number of players do not remain in the game;
    determining whether any of the remaining players have paid the interval collection;
    refunding the interval collection to the remaining players that paid; and
    termination of poker play.
  22. 22. The house collection method set forth in claim 21 wherein the house collection method is controlled by a software based house collection tool.
  23. 23. The house collection method set forth in claim 22 wherein the house collection method is executed by a game computer.
  24. 24. The house collection method set forth in claim 23 comprising the further step of selecting between an auto-post collection process and a prompted collection process by a player.
  25. 25. The house collection method set forth in claim 24 comprising the further steps of:
    leaving the poker game by a player of the plurality of players during a given time interval;
    return of the player of the plurality of players prior to termination of the given time interval; and
    resuming play by the player without further house collection toward the given time interval.
  26. 26. The house collection method set forth in claim 21 comprising the further steps of:
    entering the game by a new player during a given time interval;
    calculating a proportionate house collection based on the time remaining in the given time interval; and
    payment of the proportionate house collection by the new player.
  27. 27. The house collection method set forth in claim 23 comprising the further steps of:
    entering the game by a new player during a given time interval;
    calculating a proportionate house collection based on the time remaining in the given time interval by the game computer; and
    payment of the proportionate house collection by the new player.
  28. 28. The house collection method set forth in claim 23 comprising the further steps of:
    selecting between a door charge option and a time interval collection option by a player; and
    selecting between an auto-post collection process and a prompted collection process by the player if the player pre-selected the time interval collection option.
  29. 30. A house collection method utilized in connection with the game of poker, the house collection method comprising the steps of:
    pre-determining a fixed house collection;
    collecting the fixed house collection from each one of a plurality of players;
    dealing a hand of poker;
    verifying sufficient table stakes from each one of the plurality of players;
    dealing-out a player having insufficient table stakes from the next hand;
    providing the dealt-out player an option to quit or refund table stakes; and
    initiating a zero balance timer if the dealt-out player opts to refund table stakes.
  30. 31. The house collection method set forth in claim 30 comprising the further steps of:
    expiring the zero balance timer prior to the dealt-out player refunding table stakes; and
    un-seating the dealt-out player.
  31. 32. The house collection method set forth in claim 30 comprising the further steps of providing the dealt-out player with the additional option of reserve seat; and
    initiating a zero balance timer if the dealt-out player opts to reserve seat.
  32. 33. The house collection method set forth in claim 30 wherein the house collection method is controlled by a software based house collection tool.
  33. 34. The house collection method set forth in claim 32 wherein the house collection method is controlled by a software based house collection tool.
  34. 35. A method of operating a house collection tool for controlling revenue collection from hosting a card game, the method comprising the steps of:
    activating a computer of a gaming system;
    displaying the house collection tool on a user interface of the computer;
    selecting one of a plurality of house collection profiles displayed on the user interface;
    selecting a unique house collection profile of one of the plurality of house collection profiles; and
    assigning the unique house collection profile to a game profile.
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