US20090061977A1 - Advisory system and methods for use in gaming - Google Patents

Advisory system and methods for use in gaming Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090061977A1
US20090061977A1 US11/847,893 US84789307A US2009061977A1 US 20090061977 A1 US20090061977 A1 US 20090061977A1 US 84789307 A US84789307 A US 84789307A US 2009061977 A1 US2009061977 A1 US 2009061977A1
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game
player
chance
set
cards
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US11/847,893
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Andrew Brandt
David Fox
Peter Shoebridge
Dominick Mancine
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Ebet Ltd
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SONA MOBILE
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Priority to US11/847,893 priority Critical patent/US20090061977A1/en
Assigned to SONA MOBILE reassignment SONA MOBILE ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BRANDT, ANDREW, FOX, DAVID, MANCINE, DOMINICK, SHOEBRIDGE, PETER
Publication of US20090061977A1 publication Critical patent/US20090061977A1/en
Assigned to EBET LTD. reassignment EBET LTD. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: SCHWARTZER, LENARD E.
Assigned to EBET LTD. reassignment EBET LTD. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: SONA MOBILE, 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
    • G07F17/3225Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users
    • G07F17/3227Configuring a gaming machine, e.g. downloading personal settings, selecting working parameters
    • 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
    • G07F17/3244Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes
    • G07F17/3258Cumulative reward schemes, e.g. jackpots
    • 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

Abstract

Generally, the systems and methods presented herein provide for enhanced gaming during a game of chance. For example, the utility may provide the player with the opportunity to make a more educated decision when wagering sums of money in the game of chance. In this regard, the utility may observe a player's game elements (e.g., playing cards) and determine a “best strategy” for the player to employ on subsequent cards. In other words, the utility may show the player the best achievable hand that could be attained based on the player's present hand and any other visible cards that have been dealt. Accordingly, the utility may enable the player to play perfectly (e.g., to obtain the highest expected value payout).

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • Games of chance exist in a variety of forms and, in many instances, are implemented electronically. For example, Video Poker is a common casino game based on five-card draw Poker that is played on a computerized console. Video Poker first became commercially viable when it became economical to combine a television-like monitor with a solid state central processing unit. The earliest models appeared in the mid-1970s when personal computers were produced. Although the technology used to implement those games was fairly primitive, the game itself has not significantly changed and is fairly popular to this day. Part of the reason for the popularity is due to the less intimidating nature when compared to actual card playing games.
  • In Video Poker, the game generally begins by placing a bet of one or more credits (e.g., money deposited with the machine) and then pressing a “deal” button to draw cards. The player is then given an opportunity to keep certain cards and discard others in exchange for new cards from the same virtual deck. For example, Video Poker machines are generally programmed to deal random card sequences. A series of cards is generated for each play in which five cards are dealt straight to the player's hand with the option of up to five more cards being dealt to the player if the player requests them. To obtain the additional cards, the player must discard a number of cards corresponding to the number of cards requested.
  • After the draw, the Video Poker machine offers a “payout” if the hand matches one of the winning hands in the posted pay schedule. Typically, a payout occurs when a player obtains at least a pair of jacks. Pay tables allocate the payout for hands based partially upon how rare they are, and also based upon the total theoretical return the game operator chooses to offer. For example, “full pay” Video Poker machines offer the typical maximum payback percentage for that game type. Payback percentage, on the other hand, expresses the long-term expected value of the player's wager as a percentage. In this regard, a payback percentage of 99% would indicate that, for each $100 wagered, the player would expect to lose $1.
  • Payback percentages on full-pay games are often close to or even in excess of 100%, assuming error-free perfect play. For example, a full-pay “Jacks or Better” Video Poker machine may offer a payback percentage of 99.5% when played with perfect strategy. However, a “Royal Flush” and other improbable hands are also part of that percentage. Therefore, the player generally has to play perfectly many thousands of hands to get “even”, including attaining a Royal Flush.
  • SUMMARY
  • Generally, the systems and methods (i.e., the “utility”) provide for enhanced gaming during a game of chance. For example, the utility may provide the player with the opportunity to make a more educated decision when wagering sums of money in the game of chance. In this regard, the utility may observe a player's game elements (e.g., playing cards) and determine a “best strategy” for the player to employ on subsequent cards. In other words, the utility may show the player the best achievable hand that could be attained based on the player's present hand and any other visible cards that have been dealt. And, as such, the utility may enable the player to play perfectly (e.g., to obtain the highest expected value payout).
  • To illustrate, a player may be dealt a certain five card hand during a draw Poker game. The utility may read the player's five card hand and assist the player by informing the player of which cards to discard. In this regard, the utility may determine the player's current hand and calculate the best or most likely possible hand the player could obtain when discarding certain cards and receiving new cards on the next draw.
  • The game of chance, however, is not intended to be limited to simply five card draw Poker. Rather, the game may be extended to other games of chance requiring a certain level of decision-making. For example, in Blackjack the player's cards are visible as is one of the dealer's cards. The utility may observe all of the visible cards and calculate the odds of winning the hand based thereon. In this regard, the utility may advise the player to hit, stand, split, “double down”, or even surrender the player's hand based on the calculated expected payout.
  • The utility itself may be an optional feature. For example, some players may not require assistance when making a decision on subsequent cards. Accordingly, the utility is at the player's disposal. In this regard, the utility may be offered to the player as a sort of side wager. For example, when a player is dealt a certain hand and decides to employ the utility, the player may wager or pay a sum of money to receive the assistance from the utility. In one embodiment, if the player loses a hand in which the utility was employed, the utility may be offered for free on the next hand or at some other point in time so as to encourage the player to wager more money. Alternatively or additionally, the utility may be offered to a player free of charge when the player matches some predetermined betting threshold (e.g., making a bet equal to the game's maximum allowable bet).
  • In one embodiment, an advisory system for use in gaming includes a detector that detects elements of a user's game (e.g., playing cards) that are present at a first duration and a response module that is communicatively coupled to the detector to analyze the elements of the user's game and provide a response to the user that recommends an action to be made by the user.
  • The user's game may be an electronic game of chance or a physical game of chance. In a physical game of chance, the detector may include an optical recognition module for recognizing the user's playing cards. In the electronic game of chance, the detector may electronically process information pertaining to the user's playing cards.
  • The advisory system may further include a storage element that stores software instructions used in implementing the detector and the response module and a processor that, when directed by the software instructions, implements the detector and the response module. The storage element may include a lookup table that uses information pertaining to the elements of the user's game that are present at the first duration to locate a second set of game elements. Alternatively or additionally, the storage element may include an algorithm that uses the elements of the user's game that are present at the first duration as an input to determine a second set of game elements.
  • The advisory system may further include a display unit communicatively coupled to the response module to electronically display the response to the user. The response module may be configured for providing the response to the user on a first portion of the display unit. In this regard, the display unit may be further configured to provide the elements of the user's game in an electronic game of chance.
  • The response module may further be configured for computing the probability of attaining a predetermined set of playing cards. Alternatively or additionally, the response module may be further configured for computing the expected value based on a user's set of playing cards at the first duration. The advisory system is configured with an electronic gaming device used for implementing a game of chance and wherein the game of chance is configured for presenting the user with the response after the user wagers a predetermined amount of money or provides a payment to the advisory system. The game of chance may be further configured for presenting the user with a second response, in response to the user failing to attain a particular set of playing cards and in response to wagering the predetermined amount of money. For example, the particular set of playing cards may be a non-losing set of playing cards or a recommended set of playing cards.
  • The advisory system may further include a network interface configured for communicating with a server. The network interface may transfer information to the server pertaining to a sum of money apportioned to a use of the advisory system. In this regard, the sum of money may be maintained in a progressive jackpot account.
  • In another embodiment, a method of operating a game of chance (i.e., an electronic game of chance or an actual game of chance) includes providing a decision based game of chance to a player, providing a first set of game elements of the decision based game of chance to the player, and, with a detector, recognizing the first set of game elements provided to the player. The method also includes computing a second set of game elements based at least on the first set of game elements and providing information to the player that indicates a decision to be made by the player prior to obtaining the second set of game elements.
  • Providing information to the player may include configuring the information as optional information. Computing the second set of game elements may include using the first set of game elements to locate the second set of game elements within a lookup table. Alternatively or additionally, computing the second set of game elements includes using the first set of game elements as an input to a software algorithm.
  • The method may further include requiring payment by the player for receiving the information. In this regard, the method may further include retaining the payment within a progressive jackpot account that is payable to a winner after a predetermined period of time or upon occurrence of a certain event. The method may further include guaranteeing the information by offering a second opportunity, without payment, for receiving information indicative of a decision to be made by the player.
  • Recognizing the first set of game elements provided to the player may include detecting the first set of game elements with an optical recognition device in a physical game of chance. In this regard, recognizing the first set of game elements provided to the player may include processing information pertaining to the first of game elements in an electronic game of chance.
  • In another embodiment, a game of chance advisory system includes a processor that processes information of a player's first set of game cards in a game of chance (e.g., an electronic game of chance or a physical game of chance, such as Blackjack or Poker) to determine and provide advisory information to the player prior to receiving a second set of game cards. The advisory system also includes an interface communicatively coupled to the processor to communicate the advisory information to the player, wherein the game of chance advisory system is provided to the player under the control of a game of chance operator.
  • The advisory system may further include a detector that detects the player's first set of game cards. In this regard, the processor and the interface are configured with a server that receives electronic data from the detector, wherein the electronic data is representative of the player's set of game cards.
  • The advisory system may further include a network communications infrastructure that provides communications to the server from a plurality of games of chance. The advisory system may further include a detector that detects the player's first set of game cards, wherein the processor and the interface are configured with a standalone electronic game of chance computer terminal.
  • The advisory system may further include an account information reception means that authorizes use of the game of chance advisory system when account information is received. For example, the account information may be selected from a group consisting essentially of: player card information; bank account information; and credit card information. Generally, at least a portion of the account information includes a monetary sum, at least a portion of which may be transferred to a progressive jackpot account that is payable to a player after a duration of time or upon a happening of an event.
  • In another embodiment, a method of providing advisory information to a player in a game of chance is done so under control of a game of chance operator and includes observing a first set of cards that are dealt to the player in a game of chance, observing a second set of cards that are visible during the game of chance, and, based on the first set of cards and the second set of cards, automatically determining a decision for the player that provides a third set of cards to the player. The decision is then provided to the player. The method may further include observing a third set of cards that are visible during the game of chance and, based on the first set of cards, the second set of cards, and the third set of cards, automatically determining a second decision for the player that provides a fourth set of cards to the player. The second decision may then be provided to the player. Such may occur in games of chance where more than one decision is required, such as multiple hits in Blackjack and multiple bets in Texas Hold 'Em and the like.
  • Observing the first and second set cards may include optically detecting the first and second sets of cards. Alternatively, observing the first and second sets of cards may include electronically detecting the first and second sets of cards.
  • The method may further include providing the advisory information within a client/server architecture.
  • The method may further include requiring payment for the advisory information. In this regard, the method may further include transferring at least a portion of the payment to a progressive jackpot account.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an exemplary advisory system for use in a game of chance.
  • FIGS. 2 and 3 are views of an exemplary graphical user interface illustrating the use of the advisory system within a game of Video Poker.
  • FIGS. 4 and 5 are views of an exemplary graphical user interface illustrating the use of the advisory system within a game of video Blackjack.
  • FIG. 6 is a view of an exemplary graphical user interface illustrating the use of the advisory system within a multiplayer game of video Blackjack.
  • FIG. 7 is an exemplary system-level diagram illustrating the use of the advisory system within a physical Blackjack game.
  • FIG. 8 are exemplary lookup tables used by the advisory system to recommend decisions for the player.
  • FIG. 9 is a flowchart of an exemplary process implemented by the advisory system.
  • FIG. 10 is an exemplary system level diagram of an advisory system configured in a network that uses a progressive jackpot.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that it is not intended to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed, but rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope and spirit of the invention as defined by the claims.
  • Turning now to the drawings, FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an exemplary advisory system 10 for use in a game of chance. In this embodiment, the advisory system 10 is configured with a processor 11 that is communicatively coupled to a storage element 12. The storage element 12 includes software instructions that direct the processor 11 to detect a player's game elements during a game of chance so as to provide advisory information to the player when desired. For example, the software instructions 15 may include a detector software module 13 and a response module 14 that direct the processor to identify a player's game elements (e.g., playing cards) and offer the player advice on a next move. In this regard, the response module 14 may compute the decision to be made by the player that will give the player the highest expected payout. The response module 14 may do so by means of a lookup table that categorizes odds of certain hands based on playing cards that are visible. In other words, the lookup table may provide a means for associating a given player's hand to a precalculated decision that a player should make on a subsequent decision. For example, in a game of Blackjack with a seven deck shoe, the odds of attaining certain hands vary based on the cards that are visible. The response module 14 may employ a table that includes precalculated data pertaining to the odds of certain hands based on the player's current hand and possibly other visible cards to recommend a particular strategy for the player (e.g., hit, stand, double down, etc.). An example of such a lookup table is shown and described below in FIG. 8. Alternatively, the response module 14 may include an algorithm that computes the odds of various hands using the player's cards (and other visible cards) as input to the algorithm. For example, the algorithm may calculate all the possible outcomes of the player's hand based on the player's present cards, other visible cards, and the number of unseen cards in the deck to determine the highest expected value payout for the player's hand to thereby provide the player with information regarding the player's subsequent decision. The advisory system 10, in one embodiment, may even employ a hybrid highest expected value payout calculation by employing a combination of the lookup table with the highest expected value algorithm. The advisory system 10, however, is not intended to be limited to Blackjack. Rather, the advisory system 10 may be suitably adapted for use in other games of chance such as Poker, Pai Gow Poker, and the like (collectively “Poker”), where a player's decision is required.
  • Generally, the advisory system 10 needs to know the number of decks in play to make the right decisions. For example, Video Poker is a 1-deck game thus the advisory system would be automatically configured with knowledge that the game is being played with a single deck. Blackjack, on the other hand, can use any number of decks including 1 deck, 2 decks, 6 decks, 8 decks or more. Accordingly, the advisory system 24 would be configured with the number of decks being used in the Blackjack game. Additionally or alternatively, the advisory system 10 may evaluate a Blackjack hand based on its composition, not just its total value. For example, a hand of 16 made of a Jack and a Six may be treated differently than a 16 made up of eight Twos because the possible game outcomes will occur with different relative frequencies due to the different distributions of card denominations among the cards remaining in the shoe.
  • The advisory system 10 may be configured with an electronic game of chance or with a physical game of chance. For example, the advisory system 10 may be configured with a Video Draw Poker game so as to offer the player advice (e.g., discard certain cards) that enables the player to play perfectly (e.g., to play with the highest expected return), relatively speaking. In this regard, the processor 11 may also be used to implement the game of chance 17. That is, in the Video Poker game example, the game may be configured as a general purpose computer that operates to provide the game of chance 17 (e.g., Video Poker) and advisory information pertaining to the game of chance 17 via the software modules detector 13 and response module 14.
  • In this electronic game of chance embodiment, the advisory system 10 may also be configured with an interface 16 that may include various interface components. For example, the interface 16 may include an input interface 18 (e.g., a touchscreen, buttons, etc.) that allows a user to select various video playing cards for holding or discarding. The interface 16 may also include a display interface 19 that provides the advisory information to the user. For example, in a Video Poker game, playing cards are displayed to the user through a graphical user interface viewable via a computer monitor or other video means. The detector 13 may detect those cards such that the response module 14 can inform the player as to which of those cards to discard. Once a player decides which cards to discard, the player may make those selections via the input interface 18. In one embodiment, the response module 14 automatically selects or highlights the recommended cards for the player.
  • Additionally, the interface 16 may be configured with a network interface 20 that allows a plurality of games to be networked. In this regard, the advisory system 10 and/or the game of chance 17 may be operable on a server that delivers such software applications to a computer terminal as part of a client/server architecture. Such a feature may also be used to implement a progressive jackpot. For example, a player may be required to pay for the use of the advisory system 10. This money may be transferred to a progressive jackpot account and paid to a winner after some duration or upon the happening of a certain event (e.g., a Royal Flush hand).
  • In a physical embodiment, the advisory system 10 may be configured as a personal computer device. However, in such an embodiment, the game of chance 17 would not be configured as a software module within the advisory system 10. For example, a player sitting at a Blackjack table may have a handheld device (e.g., PDA, cell phone, Blackberry, or the like) that offers advisory information to the player as described hereinabove. In such an embodiment, the Blackjack table may be configured with some sort of optical character/image recognition (e.g., an “intelligent shoe”) to recognize visible playing cards such that the detector 13 may process information pertaining to those cards and the response module may calculate a decision to be made by the user (e.g., stand, hit, double down, split, etc.). Optical character/image recognition and intelligent shoes are explained in greater detail below in FIG. 7.
  • Similarly, other specific embodiments, such as Video Poker and video Blackjack are explained in greater detail below. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to any particular embodiment. Rather, the various embodiments are merely provided to illustrate how an advisory system may be configured to provide gaming information to the player when a decision is necessary. In this regard, the various features and utilities of the advisory system 10 may be extended to virtually any type of game, electronic or otherwise, where a decision may be necessary.
  • FIGS. 2 and 3 are views of an exemplary graphical user interface 20 illustrating the use of the advisory system 24 within a game of Video Poker. In Video Poker, the graphical user interface 20 displays electronic playing cards 21 1 . . . 5 that are electronically “dealt” to the player. In this embodiment, the player is dealt an Ace of Spades, Jack of Spades, 10 of Spades, Queen of Spades, and an Ace of Diamonds. Typical Video Poker games do not provide any information pertaining to an expected value payout. Generally, the only information that is provided by Video Poker game is the payout table 25 which shows the various payouts of certain hands based on the number of dollars wagered. For example, if a player wagers one dollar and attains a pair of jacks, the Video Poker game will pay out one dollar. At the opposite end of the scale, a Royal Flush would pay out $4000 if the player wagered five dollars. These payouts are based on the odds of attaining certain hands. However, there is no information pertaining to how to play a hand that is dealt to the player such that the player may obtain the highest expected value payout.
  • The advisory system 24 electronically detects the player's playing cards 21 1 . . . 5 to determine which of those cards to keep and discard. In essence, the advisory system 24 provides the player with a “perfect play”. In other words, the advisory system 24 provides the player with playing card selection information in the display area 22 such that the player may attempt to obtain the highest expected value payout on the subsequent game stage. In this embodiment, the advisory system 24 recommends discarding the Ace of Diamonds, in the display area 22, even though the pair of Aces is a guaranteed win. FIG. 3 shows that, after the Ace of Diamonds was discarded, the player attained a King of Spades, thereby attaining a Royal Flush 26 that is paid out according to the payout table 25.
  • While the advisory system 24 is not guaranteed to predict such hands every time, the advisory system 24 calculates the odds of every hand the player may attain based on his present cards to thereby determine which is the best hand to attempt. However, to encourage the player to use the advisory system 24, the advisory system 24 may guarantee the information presented to the player. For example, use of the advisory system 24 may, in some embodiments, require that the player pay an additional monetary sum (e.g., similar to a side bet). If the advisory system 24 recommends a particular strategy to the player and that strategy fails to win or obtain some desirable outcome, the advisory system 24 may allow the player to use the advisory system without additional payment on one or more subsequent hands. In other embodiments, however, the advisory system 24 may be simply given to the player at no additional cost such that the player may choose at his or her option to use the advisory system. Alternatively or additionally, the advisory system 24 may be offered to a player free of charge when the player is maximizing a betting opportunity or matching some predetermined betting threshold.
  • Returning now to the particular Video Poker game of chance embodied in FIGS. 2 and 3, variations on the Video Poker game may also be suitably configured with the advisory system 24. For example, “Jacks or Better” is the most common variation of Video Poker available where payouts occur when the player attains a pair of Jacks or Better. Full pay (9/6) Jacks or Better has a theoretical return of 99.54% when played with a “perfect strategy”. In this regard, the advisory system 24 advises the player such that the player could conceivably obtain a 99.54% pay out over time. Such as illustrated in the following table:
  • Money Wagered
    Hand 1 2 3 4 5
    Royal Flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
    Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
    For a Kind 25 50 75 100 125
    Full House 9 18 27 36 45
    Flush 6 12 18 24 30
    Straight 4 8 12 16 20
    Three of a Kind 3 6 9 12 15
    Two Pair 2 4 6 8 10
    Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5
    Theoretical 98.05% 98.05% 98.05% 98.05% 99.54%
    return

    Note the gap between the payout for a Royal Flush played with 4 credits vs. one with 5 credits. The payout schedule for most Video Poker machines has a gap like this, such that players who do not play with the maximum number of credits at a time are playing with a smaller theoretical return.
  • Other variations of the basic five card draw Poker may include games such as “Deuces Wild”, where a Two serves as a “wild card” (i.e., a substitute for any card in the deck) and a jackpot is paid for four Deuces or a Natural Royal. In Deuces Wild, the payout for a Four of a Kind makes up approximately ⅓ of the payout percentage of the game, and a Four of a Kind occurs on average approximately every fifteen hands. Some Deuces Wild games offer a theoretical return as high as 100.762%, when played with perfect strategy.
  • “Bonus Poker” is another Video Poker game that is suitable for configuration with the advisory system 24. Bonus Poker is based on Jacks or Better and generally offers a higher payout percentage for Four of a Kind. The player is dealt five cards and can then choose which cards to keep or discard. New cards are dealt accordingly. The final hand must consist of a pair of Jacks or higher in order to win. “Double Bonus” Video Poker is another variation of Jacks or Better with a bonus payout for four Aces. This variation offers up to a theoretical return of 100.1725%, when played with perfect strategy. “Double Double Bonus” Video Poker is yet another variation of Jacks or Better which offers bonus payoffs for different “Four of a Kinds”. Full pay Double Double Bonus can be found with pay schedules that offer up to a theoretical return of 100.067%, when played with perfect strategy. Multi-play Poker is yet another example, where the player starts with a base hand of five cards and each additional played hand draws from a different set of cards with the base hand removed.
  • FIGS. 4 and 5 are views of an exemplary graphical user interface 30 illustrating the use of the advisory system 24 within a game of video Blackjack. In this particular game of video Blackjack, the player has been dealt two Aces with playing cards 21 1 (i.e., the Ace of Spades) and 21 5 (i.e., the Ace of Diamonds). The dealer's card shows a “5” in display area 31. The advisory system 24 observes each of the shown values (i.e., the dealer's “5” and the player's two Aces 21 1 and 21 5 and calculates the best decision for the player. The advisory system 24 then provides recommended decision information for the player in the display area 22. In this example, the advisory system 24 has recommended that the player split the Aces 21 1 and 21 5, thereby creating two new hands for the player to wager on.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates the graphical user interface 30 after the player split the two Aces 21 1 and 21 5. On the subsequent deal, the player attained a 21 by drawing a Queen of Diamonds (i.e., playing card 21 7 having a value of “10”) with the Ace of Spades 21 1 having a value of 11 (e.g., after splitting aces, casinos generally preclude Blackjack as a hand). With the player's other hand, the player attained a 19 by drawing an eight of Hearts (playing card 21 8) with the Ace of Diamonds 21 5. In this instance, the player “stood” on the two resulting hands. In this regard, the player could have used the assistance of the advisory system 24 once again. For example, the advisory system 24 may have automatically informed the user to stand on the 19 combination since the player had already paid for use of the advisory system. Alternatively, the advisory system may recommend that the player double down on the Ace of Diamonds if allowed. In this example, both of the player's hands won because the dealer only attained a 17 based on the three card combination of playing cards 5, 10, and 2 and was required to stay on 17, as is typically the case in Blackjack.
  • FIG. 6 is a view of an exemplary graphical user interface 30 illustrating the use of the advisory system within a multiplayer game of video Blackjack. In this embodiment, the first player has been dealt a Blackjack consisting of the Queen of Diamonds (i.e., playing card 21 7) and the Ace of Spades (i.e., playing card 21 1). Player N (wherein N is simply referred to herein as any integer greater than 1) has been dealt a 3 or a 13 based on the Ace of Diamonds (i.e., playing card 21 5) and the Two of Hearts combination (i.e., playing card 21 9).
  • The players1 . . . N may be part of a networked game that allows players to play within the same Blackjack game. In this regard, each player may have a personal Blackjack terminal (e.g., cellular telephone, Blackberry device, PDA, etc.) for use in interacting with the network-based Blackjack game. A central computer system (e.g., a server) would, in such an embodiment, likely serve as the dealer. The advisory system 24 may, in such an embodiment, be a software application that is configured on the server so as to deliver advisory information to each player that desires it. Alternatively, the advisory system 24 may be configured directly with the players' personal Blackjack terminals.
  • Regardless of the configuration, the advisory system 24 is illustrated as providing information to player N during this particular hand. As in typical Blackjack games, player 1 has already attained a winning hand because the player attained a Blackjack and the dealer is only showing a 5. The advisory system 24 may take into account information pertaining to player N's cards as well as the dealer's 5 and player 1's Blackjack. For example, the advisory system 24 may provide information that varies from a typical Two/Ace combination when a dealer shows a 5 because the odds of attaining a winning hand may change based on knowledge of other visible cards. In this embodiment, the advisory system 24 recommends in the display area 22 that the player N double down and stand.
  • FIG. 7 is an exemplary system-level diagram 40 illustrating the use of the advisory system within a physical Blackjack game. In this embodiment, the advisory system generally includes a detector 43 and a central processor 49. The detector 43 may be configured for recognizing visible playing cards 42 1 . . . N respectively dealt to the players 41 1 . . . N as well as the dealer's visible card 47, each of which being dealt from the dealer's shoe 44 on the table 46. For example, the detector 43 may employ a form of optical character recognition (OCR) or image recognition that, in essence, takes an electronic snapshot of the cards to recognize them and convert the images into corresponding electronic data representative of the actual playing cards. This information may then be transferred to the central processor 49 such that the advisory information for the player may be calculated. Generally, the dealer 45 draws cards from the shoe 44 one at a time. In this regard, the detector 43 may be configured with the shoe 44 so as to recognize the cards as they are drawn. Such a detector configuration with the shoe 44 may be generally referred to as a smart shoe or an intelligent shoe, such as the iShoe Intelligent Shoe produced by Shufflemaster, Inc.
  • The central processor 49 may be configured for providing advisory information to each of the players 41 seated at the table 46. For example, the central processor 49 may observe all of the visible cards on the table 46 and compute advisory information for the players 41 according to their individual hands 42. In this regard, the central processor 49 may be configured with software instructions 50 used for computing the decisions for each of the players 41 (e.g., should they desire to use such information). The software instructions 50 may employ a lookup table that includes precalculated information based on visible cards and the number of decks being used in the shoe 44. An example of such is illustrated in tables 60 and 61 of FIG. 8. Additionally or alternatively, the software instructions 50 may be used to perform “on-the-fly” calculations or employ a hybrid algorithm that performs on-the-fly calculations in combination with lookup tables to determine each player's best play.
  • In FIG. 8, the lookup table 60 illustrates the advisory information corresponding to the dealer's visible card 47 and the hand 42 1 . . . N of any particular player 41 1 . . . N at the table 46 in a game of Blackjack using a single-deck shoe 44 based on certain Blackjack rules (e.g., dealer stays on 17, the player may double down after splitting pairs, no surrendering a hand, and the dealer “peeks” for a Blackjack on his own hand). The lookup table 61 illustrates similar advisory information; however, the lookup table 61 is based on an eight-deck shoe. As is readily visible, the lookup tables 60 and 61 are conducive to single player Blackjack such as those implemented in video Blackjack games. Returning to FIG. 7, the central processor 49 may, however, be readily configured to provide advisory information based on all of the visible cards through, for example, an odds calculation algorithm.
  • The central processor 49, after computing the advisory information, may convey the information to the players 41 via display devices 48 1 . . . N. For example, the display devices 48 may be devices configured as input/output “pucks” that are physically embedded within the table 46 so as to electronically receive the advisory information from the central processor 49 through radio or network communication means for display to a player 41. These input/output pucks may also be configured to receive information directly from the player regarding the player's hand. Alternatively or additionally, the devices 48 may be personal communication devices, such as a cell phone, PDA, or the like, that become communicatively connected to the central processor 49 once within range of the central processor. In this regard, the advisory system may include software that is delivered to the personal communication devices of the players to communicate information between the central processor 49 and the personal communication device.
  • The invention is not intended to be limited to any type of communication scheme for the physical Blackjack game embodied in FIG. 7. Rather, virtually any type of communication scheme may be employed with the illustrated Blackjack game. For example, instead of the detector 43 optically recognizing each of the visible playing cards on the table 46, a player 41 may alternatively communicate his hand information to the central processor 49 via the device 48.
  • FIG. 9 is a flowchart of an exemplary process 70 implemented by an advisory system as described hereinabove. Additionally, a player is presented with a decision based game of chance that has a plurality of game elements, such as playing cards, in the process element 71. Those game elements which are visible (e.g., “face up” playing cards) are observed, in the process element 72. For example, an advisory system may be configured with a detector that detects playing cards that are visible to at least one player in the game. In a Blackjack game, all of the players' cards are visible as well as the dealer's “up card”. In this regard, the detector may observe each of these visible cards and convert those observations into electronic data that is representative of the visible playing cards. In a physical Blackjack game, the detector may include an optical recognition module (e.g. configured with a dealer's shoe and/or some other optical capture) that takes a snapshot of the actual playing cards and converts the snapshot to the electronic data. In an electronic Blackjack game, the detector may be a software module that receives data pertaining to virtual playing cards that are dealt to the player. In a Video Poker game with multiple players, such as Texas Hold 'Em, the detector may be operable to only detect a hand of playing cards dealt to the player. For example, the advisory system may be configured to individually provide advisory information to the Poker players. In this regard, the detector would detect electronic cards such that the advisory system may only offer advisory information to a player based on that player's hand and possibly other visible cards, as with a Video Poker game. In a physical embodiment, the detector may be configured as an optical detector in a physical Poker game, as described hereinabove such that the advisory system may provide advisory information based only on the respective hands and possibly any other visible cards.
  • Regardless of the means of detection, the advisory system calculates a decision for a player based on observed game elements, in the process element 73. For example, a response module, such as the response module 14 of FIG. 1, may process the electronic data representative of the visible playing cards to calculate a decision for the player on a subsequent game stage during a hand of a particular game of chance. The decision may then be offered to the player, in the process element 74, giving the player the choice of accepting the decision or proceeding with the player's own strategy.
  • In the process element 75, the advisory system determines whether the player actually did accept the decision. If the player did not accept the decision (e.g., the advisory information), the game of chance may proceed by providing a second set of game elements to the player, in the process element 78. For example, if the player chose to employ his own strategy, a second set of playing elements may be provided to the player. In Draw Poker, this would mean that the player has made the decision as to which cards to discard. In Blackjack, this would mean that the player has made the decision to hit, stand, split, double down, etc. without the assistance of the advisory system. Thereafter, it is determined whether the player attained a preferable set of game elements (e.g., a winning hand or some other hand such as a hand corresponding the information of the advisory system hereinabove), in the process element 79.
  • If, on the other hand, the player chooses to accept the assistance of the advisory system, the player acts accordingly to the advisory information and a second set of game elements is provided to the player, in the process element 76. In one embodiment, the advisory system may require payment for the use of the advisory system, as described hereinabove, for various uses, such as a progressive jackpot. After receiving the advisory information and the second set of game elements, the advisory system may observe additional visible game elements of the game of chance, in the process element 77. For example, the advisory system may detect the playing cards of the player's hand on the subsequent game stage. Thereafter, the process 70 moves to the process element 79 to determine whether the player attained a preferable set of game elements and potentially to the process element 71 to present the player with another round of the decision based game of chance.
  • If it was determined that the player did not attain a preferable set of game elements, such as a winning hand or the hand recommended by the advisory system, the advisory system may offer the advisory information on a subsequent game of chance. In this regard, the process 70 may proceed to the process element 71 to again present the player with a decision based game of chance. Alternatively or additionally, the advisory information may be offered to a player free of charge when the player matches some predetermined betting threshold.
  • The process 70 as mentioned previously may be implemented in an electronic game of chance, such as Video Poker or video Blackjack, or other physical casino games of chance. The process 70, therefore, is not intended to be limited to any particular configuration for a game of chance. Nor is the process 70 intended to be limited to the process elements hereinabove. For example, alternative or additional features may be configured with the process 70 that complement the utility of the advisory system described herein. In one embodiment, the utility also provides for the implementation of the progressive jackpot account, as described below.
  • FIG. 10 is a system level diagram of an exemplary advisory system 82 configured in a network that uses a progressive jackpot (e.g., progressive jackpot account 86). For example, the system 80 may be configured as a client/server architecture having a central processor 83 (e.g., a backroom server) configured for communicating instructions and/or information with games of chance 81 1 . . . N (e.g., clients implemented as computer terminals, personal communication devices, or the like). The advisory system 82 may be configured with the central processor 83 to deliver advisory information to the players 88 1 . . . N. Alternatively, the advisory system 82 may be configured with the games of chance 81 1 . . . N in such a way so as to communicate information between the central processor 83 and the players 88 1 . . . N.
  • In this embodiment, the advisory system 82 is configured to provide advisory information to players 88 1 . . . N to assist the players in their respective games of chance 81 1 . . . N as described hereinabove. Additionally, however, this embodiment illustrates how the players 88 1 . . . N may wager on their respective games of chance 81 1 . . . N while also providing payment for use of the advisory system 82. In this regard, the players 88 1 . . . N may wager on their respective games of chance 81 1 . . . N using player card information, account information, and/or wager information. For example, casinos often provide player cards to their casino players. These player cards are often used as rewards cards that reward a player after a certain amount of gambling. A player 88 may enter a player card into a game of chance 81 (e.g., a video game machine). The central processor 83, communicatively connected to the game of chance 81, may identify the player card and determine how many times and/or the amount of money the player has wagered on the game of chance 81. The central processor 83 may present the player 88 with certain rewards (e.g., complimentary rooms, complimentary drinks, complimentary meals, etc.) after a certain level of wagering has been attained by the player.
  • These player cards may also be configured with monetary account information that allows the player 88 to deduct money from a personal monetary account (e.g., a bank account, credit account, or the like) such that the player 88 may wager on the game of chance 81. This monetary information is transferred to the central processor 83 via an interface 85 that is configured with the central processor. The processor 84, among other things, then determines the amount of money wagered by the player. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to a particular type of wagering. For example, many video gaming machines additionally or alternatively allow players to insert various forms of currency that may be implemented in this embodiment.
  • As mentioned above, the advisory system 82 may require payment from the player 88 for access to the advisory information therefrom. For example, a player 88 may wager a monetary sum on a game of chance 81. To assist the player 88 in a particular game of chance 81, the player may use advisory information provided by the advisory system 82. The advisory system 82 may require payment in exchange for the information. The player 88 may then provide the monetary sum to the central processor via the game of chance 81 to receive the information.
  • In one embodiment, the money provided for the advisory information is used in a progressive jackpot. For example, the central processor 83 may include a progressive jackpot account 86 that is used to retain a portion of the proceeds from gambling throughout the various networked games of chance 81. All or a portion of the payment for use of the advisory information from the advisory system 82 may be deposited into the progressive jackpot account 86. The progressive jackpot account 86 may pay to a player 88 of a game of chance 81 after some period of time or upon some event (e.g., a player who attains a certain card hand, such as a Blackjack, Royal Flush, or the like).
  • While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, such illustration and description is to be considered as exemplary and not restrictive in character. For example, certain embodiments described hereinabove may be combinable with other described embodiments and/or arranged in other ways (e.g., process elements may be performed in other sequences). Accordingly, it should be understood that only the preferred embodiment and variants thereof have been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.

Claims (43)

1. An advisory system for use in gaming, including:
a detector that detects elements of a user's game that are present at a first duration; and
a response module that is communicatively coupled to the detector to analyze the elements of the user's game and provide a response to the user that recommends an action to be made by the user.
2. The advisory system of claim 1, wherein the elements of the user's game are playing cards.
3. The advisory system of claim 2, wherein the user's game is an electronic game of chance or a physical game of chance.
4. The advisory system of claim 3, wherein the detector includes an optical recognition module for recognizing the user's playing cards in the physical game of chance.
5. The advisory system of claim 3, wherein the detector electronically processes information pertaining to the user's playing cards in the electronic game of chance.
6. The advisory system of claim 1, further including:
a storage element that stores software instructions used in implementing the detector and the response module; and
a processor that, when directed by the software instructions, implements the detector and the response module.
7. The advisory system of claim 6, wherein the storage element includes a lookup table, wherein the lookup table uses information pertaining to the elements of the user's game that are present at the first duration to locate a second set of game elements.
8. The advisory system of claim 6, wherein the storage element includes an algorithm that uses the elements of the user's game that are present at the first duration as an input to determine a second set of game elements.
9. The advisory system of claim 1, further including a display unit communicatively coupled to the response module to electronically display the response to the user.
10. The advisory system of claim 1, wherein the response module is configured for providing the response to the user on a first portion of the display unit and wherein the display unit is further configured to provide the elements of the user's game in an electronic game of chance.
11. The advisory system of claim 1, wherein the response module is further configured for computing a probability of attaining a predetermined set of playing cards.
12. The advisory system of claim 1, wherein the response module is further configured for computing a probability of attaining the predetermined set of playing cards based on a user's set of playing cards at the first duration.
13. The advisory system of claim 1, wherein the advisory system is configured with an electronic gaming device used for implementing a game of chance and wherein the game of chance is configured for presenting the user with the response after wagering a predetermined amount of money or providing a payment to the advisory system.
14. The advisory system of claim 13, wherein the game of chance is further configured for presenting the user with a second response, in response to the user failing to attain a particular set of playing cards and in response to wagering the predetermined amount of money.
15. The advisory system of claim 14, wherein the particular set of playing cards is a non-losing set of playing cards or a recommended set of playing cards.
16. The advisory system of claim 13, further including a network interface configured for communicating with a server.
17. The advisory system of claim 16, wherein the network interface transfers information to the server pertaining to a sum of money apportioned to a use of the advisory system, wherein the sum of money is maintained in a progressive jackpot account.
18. A method of operating a game of chance, including:
providing a decision based game of chance to a player;
providing a first set of game elements of the decision based game of chance to the player;
with a detector, recognizing the first set of game elements provided to the player;
computing a second set of game elements based at least on the first set of game elements; and
providing information to the player that indicates a decision to be made by the player prior to obtaining the second set of game elements.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein the game of chance is an electronic game of chance or an actual game of chance.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein providing information to the player includes configuring the information as optional information.
21. The method of claim 18, wherein computing the second set of game elements includes using the first set of game elements to locate the second set of game elements within a lookup table.
22. The method of claim 18, wherein computing the second set of game elements includes using the first set of game elements as an input to a software algorithm.
23. The method of claim 18, further including requiring payment by the player for receiving the information.
24. The method of claim 23, further including retaining the payment within a progressive jackpot account, wherein the progressive jackpot account is payable to a winner after a predetermined period of time or upon occurrence of a certain event.
25. The method of claim 23, further including guaranteeing the information by offering a second opportunity, without payment, for receiving information indicative of a decision to be made by the player.
26. The method of claim 18, wherein recognizing the first set of game elements provided to the player includes detecting the first set of game elements with an optical recognition device in a physical game of chance.
27. The method of claim 18, wherein recognizing the first set of game elements provided to the player includes processing information pertaining to the first of game elements in an electronic game of chance.
28. A game of chance advisory system, including:
a processor that processes information of a player's first set of game cards in a game of chance to determine and provide advisory information to the player prior to receiving a second set of game cards; and
an interface communicatively coupled to the processor to communicate the advisory information to the player,
wherein the game of chance advisory system is provided to the player under the control of a game of chance operator.
29. The game of chance advisory system of claim 28, further including a detector that detects the player's first set of game cards, wherein the processor and the interface are configured with a server that receives electronic data from the detector, wherein the electronic data is representative of the players for set of game cards.
30. The game of chance advisory system of claim 29, further including a network communications infrastructure that provides communications to the server from a plurality of games of chance.
31. The game of chance advisory system of claim 28, further including a detector that detects the player's first set of game cards, wherein the processor and the interface are configured with a standalone electronic game of chance computer terminal.
32. The game of chance advisory system of claim 28, further including an account information reception means that authorizes use of the game of chance advisory system when account information is received.
33. The game of chance advisory system of claim 32, wherein the account information is selected from a group consisting essentially of: player card information; bank account information; and credit card information.
34. The game of chance advisory system of claim 32, wherein at least a portion of the account information includes a monetary sum, at least a portion of which is transferred a to progressive jackpot account that is payable to a player after a duration of time or upon a happening of an event.
35. The game of chance advisory system of claim 28, wherein the game of chance is electronic game of chance or a physical game of chance.
36. The game of chance advisory system of claim 28, wherein the game of chance is Poker or Blackjack.
37. A method of providing advisory information to a player in a game of chance, wherein the advisory information is provided to the player under control of a game of chance operator, including:
observing a first set of cards that are dealt to the player in a game of chance;
observing a second set of cards that are visible during the game of chance;
based on the first set of cards and the second set of cards, automatically determining a decision for the player that provides a third set of cards to the player; and
providing the decision to the player.
38. The method of claim 37, wherein observing the first and second sets of cards includes optically detecting the first and second sets of cards.
39. The method of claim 37, wherein observing the first and second sets of cards includes electronically detecting the first and second sets of cards.
40. The method of claim 37, further including providing the advisory information within a client/server architecture.
41. The method of claim 37, further including requiring payment for the advisory information.
42. The method of claim 41, further including transferring at least a portion of the payment to a progressive jackpot account.
43. The method of claim 37, further including observing a third set of cards that are visible during the game of chance;
based on the first set of cards, the second set of cards, and the third set of cards, automatically determining a second decision for the player that provides a fourth set of cards to the player; and
providing the second decision to the player.
US11/847,893 2007-08-30 2007-08-30 Advisory system and methods for use in gaming Abandoned US20090061977A1 (en)

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