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US20090029773A1 - Poker Tournament Where Players Can Redeem Tournament Chips - Google Patents

Poker Tournament Where Players Can Redeem Tournament Chips Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090029773A1
US20090029773A1 US11781941 US78194107A US2009029773A1 US 20090029773 A1 US20090029773 A1 US 20090029773A1 US 11781941 US11781941 US 11781941 US 78194107 A US78194107 A US 78194107A US 2009029773 A1 US2009029773 A1 US 2009029773A1
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Prior art keywords
tournament
player
chips
players
level
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Abandoned
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US11781941
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Eric Cherry
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Eric Cherry
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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

Abstract

A poker tournament that allows players to cash out their tournament chips before being eliminated from the tournament. In this way, players who do not believe they can still win the tournament will not sabotage the tournament for others by playing foolishly since they can still cash out their tournament chips.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present inventive concept relates to a system, method, and computer readable storage, for implementing a poker tournament which allows players to drop out of the tournament and redeem their tournament/poker chips for cash.
  • [0003]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0004]
    Poker tournaments are a popular form of entertainment for both players and spectators. In an example tournament structure, the top thirty players will win a prize while the other players will not. Thus, players that have a small amount of chips left and are close to being “knocked out” of the tournament might play recklessly (e.g., go all in with a poor hand) since they have nothing to lose. Thus, players may also avoid playing in the hands (e.g., by folding) towards the end of the tournament to let other players knock each other out. Such reckless playing can detract from the professionalism of poker and can cause good players to not advance to the final rounds.
  • [0005]
    What is needed is a poker tournament structure which can avoid encouraging players to play recklessly.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    It is an aspect of the present general inventive concept to provide additional features to poker tournaments.
  • [0007]
    The above aspects can be obtained by a method that includes (a) allowing a group of players to participate in a poker tournament by receiving an entry fee from each player and giving each player tournament chips; (b) conducting the poker tournament, while allowing a particular player in the group of players, if the particular player chooses, to exchange the particular player's tournament chips for monetary value using an exchange rate and drop out of the tournament; and (c) after the tournament is over, paying a top winner of the tournament.
  • [0008]
    The above aspects can also be obtained by an apparatus that includes (a) a processor performing: (b) storing new player data into a database comprising a particular player; (c) receiving a redemption request by the particular player before the poker tournament is over; (d) receiving an amount of tournament chips possessed by the particular player; (e) determining an amount of cash redemption to award the particular player in exchange for the tournament chips; and (f) an output device outputting the amount of cash redemption.
  • [0009]
    These together with other aspects and advantages which will be subsequently apparent, reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    Further features and advantages of the present invention, as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the present invention, will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the preferred embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1 is flowchart illustrating a method to implement a poker tournament, according to an embodiment;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating how a prize pool is distributed, according to an embodiment;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3A is a block diagram illustrating physical components used to implement a tournament method, according to an embodiment;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 3B is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary method to implement processing of entering and exiting players, according to an embodiment; and
  • [0015]
    FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating one example of hardware than can be used to implement the tournament server, according to an embodiment.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0016]
    Reference will now be made in detail to the presently preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout.
  • [0017]
    Embodiments of the invention relate to an improved poker tournament structure. A poker tournament is where a participant pays to enter (or has his or her entry paid for them) and competes against other participants until the participant has been knocked out (lost all of his or her chips) of the tournament or has won first prize. Consolation prizes may be awarded to the player that gets knocked out last (e.g., second place), second to last (e.g., third place), etc. Once a tournament has begun, a player who is knocked out may not be allowed to enter the same tournament again. Alternatively, a tournament a player may be allowed to re-enter the same tournament by paying another entry fee (a “re-buy”). The player may only be allowed to “re-buy” up until a certain round or particular point in time in the tournament. For example, after round 1, players will not be allowed to re-buy.
  • [0018]
    Table I below illustrates an exemplary tournament schedule. The number of levels, small and big blinds, and ante, can be set somewhat arbitrarily by the tournament hosts. In this example, the tournament has 10 levels, with varying small blinds, big blinds, and ante amounts. Note that antes are not required until level 6. After level 7, all the $25 tournament chips are colored up and removed from play, and after round 11, all the $100 tournament chips are colored up and removed from play. Each level can play for a predetermined amount of time, e.g., one hour, thus for example, level 1 is played during the first hour, level 2 is played during the second hour, etc. Of course, breaks can be offered so that the levels do not need to be temporally back to back.
  • [0019]
    A tournament has a single set of prizes, wherein a same player could typically not win more than one place in a single tournament (e.g., in the same tournament, a single player cannot win first place twice, or cannot win first place and third place, etc.) Each tournament has one set of winners, and the winners are determined when the tournament is over. It may be common for an entity to offer a series of multiple consecutive different tournaments (e.g., throughout a whole week), but each individual tournament is separate. A player may enter different tournaments and thus may be permitted to win each tournament that the player enters.
  • [0020]
    When a player runs out of tournament chips, he or she is eliminated from the tournament. As players are eliminated, players from different tables can be combined to create a full or more full table. This can be done during levels and/or after levels. At the end of the tournament, a predetermined number of winners are awarded prizes (e.g., 10). There can be an entry fee (e.g., $10,000) to receive $5,000 in tournament chips, and assuming there are 100 players in the tournament, the prize pool is $1,000,000. The house can take out a percentage for house commission (e.g., 20%), and the remaining $800,000 can be distributed to the top winning players. For example, the top finisher (player at the end of the tournament with the most tournament chips wins $500,000, while the second, third, and fourth finisher each win $100,000.
  • [0000]
    TABLE I
    Level Small Big Ante
    1 25 25
    2 75 150
    3 100 200 25
    4 200 400 75
    COLOR-UP $25 CHIPS
    5 300 600 100
    6 700 1600 300
    7 1000 2000 400
    COLOR-UP $100 CHIPS
    8 1500 3000 500
    9 2000 4000 600
    10  4000 8000 1000
  • [0021]
    Levels (also known as rounds) can be predefined by time duration. For example, level 1 can be from 3 pm (the beginning of the tournament) to 3:59 pm, and level 2 can be from 4 pm to 4:59 pm, etc. Levels can also considered as a discrete part in the tournament, for example, a shootout tournament could have successful levels representing a number of eliminations. For example, if 64 players play a shootout tournament, level 1 can include only 8 tables of 8 players each. At each of the tables there is only one winner, thus those one winners all advance to round 2 (level 2) which has comprises only one table of 8 players each (the 8 winners from the prior tables). Of course, a shootout tournament can have more than two levels. Tournaments can also be divided into levels, wherein each level is differentiated by any characteristic of the game and/or time and/or players, etc.
  • [0022]
    It is noted that the games that the methods described herein are not limited to Texas Hold'em Poker, but can be applied to any competitive wagering game. Other types of poker games that the methods described herein can be applied to can be for example, Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven Card Stud, Five Card Draw, etc. Blinds (e.g., big blinds, small blinds) may or may not be used depending on the rules of the poker game being played. Alternatively, instead of poker, methods described herein can be applied to other types of games as well, such as blackjack tournaments, roulette tournaments, even slot machine tournaments. Any kind of tournament can be broken up in to different rounds and the participants can be offered the option to exchange their tournament play money (e.g., tournament chips, slot tokens, etc.) for cash based on an exchange rate. The exchange rate can be static or can vary according to the current round that the participant wishes to cash out at.
  • [0023]
    Table II below illustrates one example of a redemption schedule. Of course, this is just one example, and it can be appreciated that any other numbers can be used for the redemption schedule as well. Thus for example, if after level 1 (round one), but before level 2, a player has $20,000 in tournament chips. Using the example above and Table II, if the player wishes to now drop out of the tournament, the player can redeem his or her $20,000 in tournament chips for 10% of their face value, or for $2,000. If a player has made it to the end of round 9 with $1,000 in tournament chips left, the player doesn't have a good chance to win the tournament. Thus, the player may wish to redeem his or her $1,000 in tournament chips for $700 (or 70% of their face value). Also note that this is a 10 level game, so players who make it to the tenth level will lose all their tournament chips or be the final winner. The final winner will win a predetermined top prize, and other top finishers (depending on tournament rules) may qualify for other predetermined prizes (e.g., second place wins $15,000, third place wins $5,000) but otherwise the players who make it to the tenth level but do not win such a prize cannot redeem their tournament chips in for cash (because they have been knocked out of the tournament).
  • [0024]
    In an alternate way to apply table II, after the player completes a level (e.g., level 1), but before level 2 starts, the player would be entitled to the level 2 redemption (exchange) rate (15%). A player may also (or may not depending on house rules) be allowed to voluntarily drop out of the tournament during a level (e.g., if during level 1, a player wishes to drop out, the player would be entitled to a redemption of 10%). Thus, for example, the exchange rate in level 5 (30%) is higher than the exchange rate in level 2 (15%). Thus, for example, if the player had $100 in tournament chips the player wanted to redeem, in level 2 the player would receive $15 while in level 5 the player would receive $30. Note that exchange rates do not necessarily have to be presented in the form of percentages but can also be a ratio, for example: in level 1, each dollar in tournament chips can be redeemed for one dollar cash ($1 cash:$1 tournament) (an exchange rate of 1), while in level 2 each dollar in tournament chips can be redeemed for two dollars cash ($2 cash:$1 tournament) (an exchange rate of 2), etc.
  • [0000]
    TABLE II
    Level % of chip value redeemed
    1 10%
    2 15%
    3 20%
    4 25%
    5 30%
    6 40%
    7 50%
    8 60%
    9 70%
    10 0%
  • [0025]
    Table III below illustrates another example of a redemption schedule, according to an embodiment. In this example, the players are required to reach the end of level four before being allowed to redeem their tournament chips and drop out of the tournament. Also note that in Table III, the players that make it to the last level (level 10), in this embodiment, would be allowed to redeem their tournament chips during the last level and drop out voluntarily (as opposed to being knocked out by losing all of their tournament chips). For example, if a player at a final table has $5,000 in tournament chips and knows that he stands little or no chance to win a prize (since the other players at the table may have $100,000+tournament chips), the player may just wish to voluntarily drop out and redeem his tournament chips for cash. Thus, this player can redeem his $5,000 for 50% of their value ($2,500) and leave the tenth round (typically he would only be allowed to do this between hands). The other levels would require the players to complete the level before opting to drop out and redeem their tournament chips, although in an alternative embodiment, players can redeem their tournament chips before a level is over and drop out of the game (again, typically between hands).
  • [0000]
    TABLE III
    Level % of chip value redeemed
    1 0%
    2 0%
    3 0%
    4 10%
    5 20%
    6 20%
    7 30%
    8 35%
    9 40%
    10 50%
  • [0026]
    The money to pay for cash redemptions can come from the original pool of money paid for by the entrants. Any remaining money can then go to the top prize winner. For example, consider a tournament with 100 entrants, an entry fee of $10,000 wherein the player would receive $5,000 in tournament chips. Thus, $1,000,000 is collected from the players, and there is a total of $500,000 in tournament chips. A top prize of $500,000 can be awarded to the winning player. The house can receive $100,000 (10%) for hosting the tournament. Thus, there is $650,000 left to pay for redemption of tournament chips. Assuming a worst case scenario for the house, if all $500,000 tournament chips are redeemed at 50% (if Table III is applied), then $250,000 would go to pay for such redemptions. This is extremely unlikely and it assumes no player has dropped out at earlier levels. Thus, if the winner gets $650,000, and the house gets $100,000, then there is $250,000 remaining to pay for redemptions. After redemptions are paid, whatever remaining money (additional awards) there is can either go to the house or to the winning player. Alternatively, the remaining money can be divided among the top players (e.g., additional winners), but not the winning player, e.g., the money can be split between the second and third finisher. Typically, the cost of all the redemptions will not be known until after the tournament is over because there is no way to predict which players will redeem what amounts.
  • [0027]
    Thus in the previous example, assume that the chip redemptions cost $100,000 (this equals the sum of all amount paid to players who voluntarily dropped out to receive a chip redemption for the tournament chips). Thus, there is an excess fund of $250,000. This is computed by taking the entire pool collected from all of the players ($1,000,000) and subtracting the predetermined amount paid to winners ($650,000) and the amount paid to the house ($100,000). The excess fund is an excess amount of money that can be distributed (either to players or to the house). For example, the top 2-9 finishers can receive the excess fund money. It can be divided evenly, or can be done on a sliding scale (e.g., the second finisher receives 50% of the excess fund, the third finisher receives 20%, the fourth finisher receives 10%, the fifth finisher receives 6%, the sixth finisher receives 5%, the seventh finisher receives 4%, the eight finisher receives 3%, and the ninth finisher receives 2%).
  • [0028]
    Thus, by implementing such a structure, players may wish to redeem their tournament chips as opposed to continuing in the tournament. Typically, a player may wish to do this if the player feels he has a greater expected value from dropping out as opposed to continuing in the tournament. Thus, this can reduce or eliminate reckless players who don't expect to win the overall tournament and thus might play illogically figuring they have nothing to lose. A player may also play recklessly if he or she is colluding with a friend who is also in the tournament. If such a player had an incentive to drop out of the tournament, such a player may be less like to play recklessly.
  • [0029]
    Further, by implementing such a structure which allows players to voluntarily drop out of the tournament in exchange for a redemption of their tournament chips, this can allow for increased skill by the player. In addition to requiring the skill in actually playing in the poker tournament, players will also have to have the skill to know when to stay in the tournament or drop out. Typically, if the player's expected value of winning the tournament (probability of winning the tournament multiplied by the prize) is lower than the current cash redemption value of the player's tournament chips, then the player may wish to drop out. Of course such a determination is difficult to make and a skillful player may make such determinations better than a novice player. Player's will also typically try to stay in the tournament as long as possible since, the longer they stay in (the later round they reach), the higher their redemption rate will be.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 1 is flowchart illustrating a method to implement a poker tournament, according to an embodiment.
  • [0031]
    The method can start with operation 100, which receives buy-ins for the tournament and distributes tournament chips. Each player that wishes to play in the tournament pays to enter the tournament and in exchange receives a predetermined amount of tournament chips to start. Typically, the tournament chips are not standard casino chips which can be directly redeemable for their face value. Typically, tournament chips have no cash value, although as described below they may be redeemed for cash under certain circumstances. In operation 100, all players buy in and receive their tournament chips. In some tournaments, some players may not have to buy in (by paying cash) but may have earned an entry into the tournament via another method (e.g., by winning an online poker tournament or receiving a promotion from a casino).
  • [0032]
    From operation 100, the method can proceed to operation 102, wherein the players in the tournament play the first level.
  • [0033]
    From operation 102, the method can proceed to operation 104, which determines whether any of the players after the first level wish to quit the tournament and cash out. Each player themselves can make this determination.
  • [0034]
    If the player in operation 104 decides to continue playing, then the method can proceed to operation 106, which plays the next level of the tournament. Typically, a player does not need to pay any additional fee in order to be permitted to play in the next level of the tournament (since the player has typically paid the initial tournament entry fee before the tournament started).
  • [0035]
    From operation 106, the method can proceed to operation 110, which determines if the tournament is over. This can be done according to tournament rules. For example, if the tournament is over after a predetermined number of levels (e.g., 10), or a predetermined time (e.g., 10 hours), or if there are only a predetermined number of live players (players with tournament chips) left in the tournament. If the tournament is not over, then the method returns to operation 104.
  • [0036]
    If in operation 110 it is determined that the tournament is over, then the method can proceed to operation 112, which awards prize(s) to the winner(s) of the tournament. The prizes award would be according to tournament rules. For example, for a particular tournament, there could be only one winner who wins a particular prize (e.g., $1,000,000).
  • [0037]
    If the determination in operation 104 determines that the player wishes to cash out, then the method can proceed to operation 108, which determines whether the player has a cash redemption available. For example, some redemption schedules may only allow a player to redeem his or her tournament chips for cash after a certain level. Thus, if the current level that the player wishes to drop out of the tournament is a level that qualifies for a cash redemption, then there would be a cash redemption available, otherwise there would not. If all levels in a redemption schedule qualify for a redemption, then operation 108 is not necessary.
  • [0038]
    From operation 108, if the player is entitled to redeem his or her tournament chips, then the method can proceed to operation 110, which would allow the player to redeem his or her tournament chips for cash at an exchange rate based on the current level that the player has dropped out at.
  • [0039]
    From operation 108, if the player is not entitled to redeem his or her tournament chips, then the method can proceed to operation 112, wherein the player has dropped out of the tournament but has not received any cash for his or her tournament chips. If the player does not qualify to redeem his or her tournament chips, then the player would probably not want to drop out but instead continue playing (e.g., go to operation 106 from operation 104) since the player would have nothing to gain by dropping out.
  • [0040]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating how a prize pool is distributed, according to an embodiment.
  • [0041]
    Players 200, 202, 204 each pay an entry fee into a pool 206 in order to participate in a poker tournament. The pool 206 is further split into different parts. A house commission 208 is an amount that the house (or sponsor of the tournament) receives for sponsoring the tournament. The awards for winners 210 is an amount set aside to pay the winner(s) of the tournament. For example, a tournament can award a predetermined amount (e.g., $100,000) to only the one winner of the tournament. Thus, the awards for winners 210 amount would be $100,000. The house commission 208 and awards for winners 210 are typically known before the tournament starts (assuming it is known how many participants there will be) The chip redemption amounts 212 are the amount that is set aside for chip redemptions when players wish to voluntarily drop out of the tournament in order to redeem their tournament chips for a cash value. While the original amount set aside for chip redemption can be predetermined, the actual amount to be distributed for chip redemptions is not known ahead of time since this depends on many random factors (such as how many players wish to redeem their tournament chips and at what exchange rate).
  • [0042]
    The amount left over from the amount set aside for chip redemption can be considered excess funds (or an excess pool) because this is money that still needs to be distributed. It can be distributed to the house (or sponsor of the tournament), split amongst winning player(s), etc.
  • [0043]
    Thus the following formula can be used: total pool=house commission+awards for winners+chip redemption. Further, chip redemption=actual amount used to redeem tournament chips+excess funds.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 3A is a block diagram illustrating physical components used to implement a tournament method, according to an embodiment.
  • [0045]
    A chip redemption center 302 is an area of the tournament in which players can bring their respective tournament chips in order to redeem them for cash. The chip redemption center 302 can be staffed by a tournament employee that has access to a tournament server 300 (either directly or using a computer which is connected to the tournament server 300 using a computer communications network). The tournament server 300 can record all participants in the tournament and can record all redemptions to each participant. The tournament server 300 can also calculate how much each player is entitled to receive from their tournament chips. For example, if a player wishes to redeem $250 in tournament chips, the tournament server can receive the last level (e.g., 3) and use a table to determine the redemption rate (e.g., 20%), upon which it can output the redemption amount (e.g., $50).
  • [0046]
    FIG. 3B is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary method to implement processing of entering and exiting players, according to an embodiment.
  • [0047]
    The method can begin with operation 304, which receives an entry fee from a new player. This is typically a predetermined amount in order to participate in the tournament.
  • [0048]
    From operation 304, the method can proceed to operation 306, which enters the new player in the tournament database. The tournament database can be the same computer as the tournament server 300 or it can be connected to the tournament server 300. The tournament database can be any kind of database system, such as SQL, etc.
  • [0049]
    From operation 306, the method proceeds to operation 308, which distributes a predetermined amount of tournament chips to the new player. The tournament chips are not typical casino chips which can be cashed at a cashier cage at a casino but can only be redeemed at the redemption center 302 for the tournament. The tournament chips typically have no cash value, and only have a cash value upon redeeming the chips as in operations 110, 318.
  • [0050]
    From operation 308, the method can proceed to operation 310, which determines whether there are new players to add (to buy into the tournament to participate). If there are additional players to add, then the method can return to operation 304, which receives an entry fee from another new player.
  • [0051]
    If the determination in operation 310 determines that there are no more players to add to the tournament, then the method can proceed to operation 312, which conducts the tournament. Tournaments can be conducted as known in the art, for example see publication number 20050215300, or U.S. Pat. No. 6,093,100, both of which are incorporated by reference herein in their entireties. Texas Hold'em is a popular type of poker tournament which can used with the methods described herein.
  • [0052]
    From operation 312, the method can proceed to operation 314, which determines whether a player drops out to redeem tournament chips. A player can indicate his or her desire to drop out of the tournament to redeem tournament chips by verbally indicating this information to the other players at the table. The player can also stand up (after a hand is over) and walk over to the redemption center 302 to present his tournament chips to receive his cash redemption.
  • [0053]
    If the determination in operation 314 determines that a player does not wish to drop out and redeem tournament chips, then the method can return to operation 312 which continues the tournament.
  • [0054]
    If the determination in operation 314 determines that a player wishes to drop out to redeem his or her tournament chips, then the method can proceed to operation 316, which determines whether the player is entitled to redemption. This can be based on the tournament rules/schedule. For example, the redemption schedule in Table III does not provide for redemption in the first three levels. Thus, if a player presents his or her tournament chips for redemption after any of the first three levels (but not after the fourth level), the player will be refused redemption. At this point, the player may not even be allowed to return to the tournament since he has left his table and may just have to leave the tournament empty handed. Alternatively, if the level the player is currently playing (or recently completed) is a level that the current redemption schedule allows for redemption, then the player would be entitled to a redemption. The player may be permitted to drop out during a level (but would have to finish his or her hand out first), or alternatively the player may be permitted to drop out only after the current level has ended (but before the next level has begun). Which of the latter two options applies would depend on house rules.
  • [0055]
    If in operation 316 the player is determined to be entitled to a redemption, then the method can proceed to operation 318, wherein the player receives cash in exchange for the entire amount of tournament chips that the player currently possesses. The player can be paid in cash, check, etc. The redemption rate can be computed (based on the level) by the tournament server 300 and the redemption center 302 would then inform the player how much cash the player is entitled to. The player may also be presented with a written receipt evidencing the amount of tournament chips the player exchanged and how much cash the player had received in exchange.
  • [0056]
    Thus, for example, consider Mike, John, Bill, and Fred enter a poker tournament (among many other players). Assume the redemption schedule in Table III is used. The entry fee is $500 and each player receives $200 in tournament chips. There are only 100 participants in the tournament for a prize pool of $50,000 and the top winner wins $30,000. There are $20,000 in tournament chips distributed ($200 times 100 participants). The house takes $10,000 for sponsoring the tournament. Thus, there is $10,000 remaining for chip redemption. In the scenario where the maximum possible chip redemption occurs, then all players would redeem their tournament chips at the 50% rate, which means $10,000 is the upper limit as to how much would have to be paid out for chip redemption. Of course, for the entire $10,000 to be paid out for chip redemption is extremely unlikely (all players would have to make it to the final level and then all choose to drop out). In addition to Mike, John, Bill, and Fred, the other 96 participants play as well.
  • [0057]
    The tournament begins and continues to level 3. During level 3 Mike has $5 in tournament chips left and wishes to drop out and does so. Since according to Table III, level 3 does not qualify for a redemption Mike drops out but does not receive any cash. Mike would have been better off staying in the game and playing recklessly since he would have nothing to lose. Had Mike made it to level 5 Mike (with the same $5 in tournament chips) Mike could then have redeemed his $5 in tournament chips for 20% ($1.00).
  • [0058]
    The tournament continues now to the end of level 7 (but before level 8 starts). The redemption rate is 35%. John has $1,000 in tournament chips and decides he wishes to drop out. Thus, John would receive $350 in cash in exchange for his tournament chips, for an overall loss of $150 (since John paid $500 to enter the tournament). If John wanted to start level 8 he could also drop out during level 8 for the same 35% redemption rate.
  • [0059]
    The tournament continues now to level 10. The redemption rate is now 50%. Bill and Fred are the only two players remaining in the tournament, Bill has $6,000 in tournament chips and Fred has $7,000 in tournament chips. Either player could drop out and receive their 50% redemption for the tournament chips. However, both players want to try to knock the remaining player out to win the $30,000 prize for the top winner. Since there are only $13,000 tournament chips currently in play, and there were $20,000 in tournament chips originally distributed, then $7,000 in tournament chips were redeemed by players. In order to know exactly how much cash was paid to all of the players for the redemptions, it would need to be known how many tournament chips were redeemed at each level (so the exchange rate is known).
  • [0060]
    Ultimately, Bill knocks Fred out and wins the tournament and finishes with $13,000 in tournament chips, while Fred has $0 in tournament chips. Bill wins the $30,000 prize. Assuming that the average exchange rate for the $7,000 in tournament chips that were redeemed is 40%, then $2,800 was used to redeem tournament chips which leaves $7,200 in excess funds (since there was $10,000 set aside for chip redemptions). Thus, Bill also wins the $7,200 in excess fund for a total award of $37,200.
  • [0061]
    In an alternative embodiment, the additional winners (not the top winner but other top finishers, e.g., second place (Fred), third place, etc.) can receive the excess fund. For example, Bill could still win $30,000, while Fred wins $7,200. Alternatively, Bill wins $30,000, while Fred wins $5,400 (75% of the excess fund) while the third place additional winner wins 25% of the excess fund for $1,800. Alternatively, Bill can get an additional 50% of the excess fun ($3,600) in addition to his prize money ($30,000) for $33,600, and the remaining $3,600 can go to Fred. The tournament sponsors are free to set the distribution rules and amounts as they see fit (typically done before the tournament begins).
  • [0062]
    Alternatively, the house can also keep all or a portion of the excess funds, in addition to dividing it up among winners. For example, the house can keep 10% of the excess fund (in addition to the $10,000 they already received in this example), the top winner (Bill) can get 50% of the excess fund, while the second finisher (Fred) can get 40% of the excess fun.
  • [0063]
    It is noted that the rules, schedules, and examples provided herein are merely examples to illustrate the concept however the sponsors of the tournament are free to choose any parameters they wish for their tournaments. Such parameters which may be set can comprise (but not limited to) amount of players in the tournament, cost to participate in the tournament, amount of tournament chips received, number of levels, game rules for each level, redemption schedules, how the payouts are divided among winners, etc.
  • [0064]
    The standard type of tournament, is where players continue to play until players are eliminated (lose all their chips), upon which players are consolidated. In addition to this type of tournament, the methods described herein can also be applied to a “shoot-out” type of tournament. A “shoot-out” is where players are all divided into different tables (first round or level), and the winner of each table (either by knocking out all of the other players or has the most in chips after a predetermined period of time), then plays the other winners (second round or level). The winners of the second round/level tables then all play each other in a third round/level. Eventually, the progression ends with a single final table of all the winners of the previous round. The levels described herein can also be applied to levels/rounds of a shoot-out type of tournament.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating one example of hardware than can be used to implement the tournament server, according to an embodiment.
  • [0066]
    A processing unit 400 (e.g., a microprocessor) can be connected to an output device 402 (e.g., plasma display, CRT, etc.), an input device 404 (e.g., touch screen, keyboard, etc.), a network unit 406 to connect the processing unit 400 to a computer communications network (e.g., LAN, Internet, etc.), a ROM 408, a RAM 410, and an other unit 412 which can be any additional unit known in the art needed for such a system. A computer readable storage (not pictured) such as a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, flash card, etc., can be used to store a program which controls a computer (e.g., the processing unit 400) to perform methods described herein (e.g., FIG. 3A).
  • [0067]
    Further, the order of any of the operations described herein can be performed in any order and wagers can be placed/resolved in any order. Any operation described herein can also be optional. Any embodiments herein can also be implemented in electronic form and programs and/or data to control a computer to perform any embodiments can be stored on any type of computer readable storage medium (e.g. CD-ROM, DVD, disk, etc.)
  • [0068]
    The descriptions provided herein also include any hardware and/or software known in the art and needed to implement the operations described herein. All components illustrated herein may also optionally communicate with any other illustrated or described component.
  • [0069]
    The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed specification and, thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention that fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

Claims (19)

  1. 1. A method to play a poker tournament offered by a tournament sponsor, the method comprising:
    allowing a group of players to participate in a poker tournament by receiving an entry fee from each player and giving each player tournament chips;
    conducting the poker tournament, while allowing a particular player in the group of players, if the particular player chooses, to exchange the particular player's tournament chips for monetary value using an exchange rate and drop out of the tournament; and
    after the tournament is over, paying a top winner of the tournament.
  2. 2. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the exchange rate for round A is higher than the exchange rate for round B, wherein round A is a later round than round B.
  3. 3. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the exchange rate varies depending on a round of the tournament the particular player drops out of.
  4. 4. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein money used to exchange the player's tournament chips comes from a pool of entry fees.
  5. 5. The method as recited in claim 4, wherein some or all excess money in the pool not exchanged for tournament chips is distributed to the top winner of the tournament.
  6. 6. The method as recited in claim 4, wherein some or all excess money in the pool not exchanged for tournament chips is distributed to additional winner(s) of the tournament aside from the top winner.
  7. 7. The method as recited in claim 4, wherein some or all excess money in the pool not exchanged for tournament chips is distributed to the tournament sponsor.
  8. 8. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the player is allowed to drop out during a level.
  9. 9. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the player is allowed to drop out only between levels.
  10. 10. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the exchange rate varies based on how far the tournament has progressed.
  11. 11. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein as the tournament progresses, the exchange rate for tournament chips increases such that given a fixed amount of tournament chips, the fixed amount of tournament chips can be exchanged for greater cash value later on in the tournament than if the fixed amount of tournament chips were to be exchanged at an earlier point in the tournament.
  12. 12. An apparatus to process a poker tournament, the apparatus comprising:
    a processor performing:
    storing new player data into a database comprising a particular player;
    receiving a redemption request by the particular player before the poker tournament is over;
    receiving an amount of tournament chips possessed by the particular player;
    determining an amount of cash redemption to award the particular player in exchange for the tournament chips; and
    an output device outputting the amount of cash redemption.
  13. 13. The apparatus as recited in claim 12, wherein the processor further performs computing an amount of excess funds not awarded to players after the tournament is over.
  14. 14. The apparatus as recited in claim 13, wherein the amount of excess funds is equal to a total amount of entry fees from all players minus a house commission amount minus awards to top finishing players minus chip redemption amounts.
  15. 15. The apparatus as recited in claim 14, wherein the processor further performs dividing the excess funds among additional awards for each additional winner.
  16. 16. The apparatus as recited in claim 15, wherein the output device further outputs the additional awards and respective additional winner.
  17. 17. The apparatus as recited in claim 12, wherein the amount of cash redemption is determined based on a variable exchange rate.
  18. 18. The apparatus as recited in claim 17, wherein the exchange rate varies based on how far the tournament has progressed.
  19. 19. The method as recited in claim 17, wherein as the tournament progresses, the exchange rate for tournament chips increases such that given a fixed amount of tournament chips, the fixed amount of tournament chips can be exchanged for greater cash value later on in the tournament than if the fixed amount of tournament chips were to be exchanged at an earlier point in the tournament.
US11781941 2007-07-23 2007-07-23 Poker Tournament Where Players Can Redeem Tournament Chips Abandoned US20090029773A1 (en)

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US20090093296A1 (en) * 2005-01-14 2009-04-09 Ignacio Gerson Slot Machine Game That Allows Player to Purchase Reel Re-spins
US20090286586A1 (en) * 2008-05-16 2009-11-19 Jorge Heymann Icon Selection Bonus Game with Replaceable Icons
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US8690664B2 (en) 2006-09-25 2014-04-08 Etasse Limited Slot machine game with additional award indicator
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US20090093296A1 (en) * 2005-01-14 2009-04-09 Ignacio Gerson Slot Machine Game That Allows Player to Purchase Reel Re-spins
US8376829B2 (en) 2005-01-14 2013-02-19 Etasse Limited Slot machine game with respin feature which identifies potential wins
US8690664B2 (en) 2006-09-25 2014-04-08 Etasse Limited Slot machine game with additional award indicator
US9165419B2 (en) 2006-10-23 2015-10-20 Etasse Limited Slot machine bonus game providing awards for manual dexterity
US20080119261A1 (en) * 2006-10-23 2008-05-22 Jorge Heymann Slot machine bonus game providing awards for manual dexterity
US8337292B2 (en) 2006-11-10 2012-12-25 Etasse Limited Slot machine game with side wager on reel order
US8702493B2 (en) 2007-11-09 2014-04-22 Etasse Limited Slot machine game with award based on another machine
US20090286586A1 (en) * 2008-05-16 2009-11-19 Jorge Heymann Icon Selection Bonus Game with Replaceable Icons
US20100004048A1 (en) * 2008-07-07 2010-01-07 Melisa Brito Slot Machine Game With Symbol Lock-In
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WO2011116261A2 (en) * 2010-03-19 2011-09-22 Davis Malcolm B Method and apparatus for settlement of processor based tournament competition
WO2011116261A3 (en) * 2010-03-19 2012-02-02 Fredrik Dahl Method and apparatus for settlement of processor based tournament competition
US8579700B2 (en) 2010-03-19 2013-11-12 Malcolm B. Davis Method and apparatus for settlement of processor based tournament competition
US20120123566A1 (en) * 2010-11-05 2012-05-17 Aamon Cade Ross Systems and methods for recording and displaying gaming metrics for players and products incorporating the same
US20130053115A1 (en) * 2011-08-26 2013-02-28 CEM International Limited Game show with specialized voting procedure
US8678899B2 (en) * 2011-08-26 2014-03-25 CEM International Limited Game show with specialized voting procedure
WO2014096899A2 (en) * 2011-08-26 2014-06-26 CEM International Limited Game show with specialized voting procedure
WO2014096899A3 (en) * 2011-08-26 2014-08-21 CEM International Limited Game show with specialized voting procedure
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US20130059644A1 (en) * 2011-09-02 2013-03-07 Gregory Turocy Community card poker game
US8795043B2 (en) 2012-07-10 2014-08-05 CEM International Limited Game show with special vote counting method
US20140179389A1 (en) * 2012-12-06 2014-06-26 Dennis Nadeau System and method for administering online poker tournaments
WO2015035207A1 (en) * 2013-09-06 2015-03-12 Jack Ten Suited Method and apparatus for electronic gaming
US20150072747A1 (en) * 2013-09-06 2015-03-12 Jack Ten Suited Method and Apparatus for Electronic Gaming
US9600977B2 (en) * 2013-09-06 2017-03-21 Jack Ten Suited Method and apparatus for electronic gaming
US20170178461A1 (en) * 2013-09-06 2017-06-22 Jack Ten Suited Method and Apparatus for Electronic Gaming
US9846994B2 (en) 2014-06-20 2017-12-19 Malcolm B. Davis Method and system for heads up game tournament

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