US20110039615A1 - Determination of game result using random overall outcome - Google Patents

Determination of game result using random overall outcome Download PDF

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US20110039615A1
US20110039615A1 US12542587 US54258709A US2011039615A1 US 20110039615 A1 US20110039615 A1 US 20110039615A1 US 12542587 US12542587 US 12542587 US 54258709 A US54258709 A US 54258709A US 2011039615 A1 US2011039615 A1 US 2011039615A1
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outcome
game
game outcome
winning
associated
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Abandoned
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US12542587
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John F. Acres
Jonas F. Acres
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Patent Investment and Licensing Co
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Acres-Fiore Patents
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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

Embodiments of the present invention are directed to determining a game result on a gaming device by randomly selecting the overall outcome of each game event on the gaming device. Unlike conventional gaming devices that analyze a plurality of random selections, embodiments of the present concept select the overall outcome of a game event a plurality of possible game outcomes. By utilizing the selection of an overall outcome, it may be easier to direct certain outcomes on a gaming device in response to triggering events and may provide a more flexible design platform in which to design the play of the gaming device.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This disclosure relates generally to gaming devices, and more particularly to gaming devices configured to determine game results by randomly selecting an overall game outcome.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Typically game results of gaming devices are determined by analyzing a series of random selections associated with the game. For example, in spinning reel slot machines, a reel-stop position for each reel is randomly selected. Once each random selection is made, the combination of randomly selected reel-stop positions is analyzed to determine if the combination of symbols associated with the reel-stop positions results in an award for the player. Similarly, in video poker or blackjack random cards are selected and then analyzed to see if the combination of randomly selected cards results in an award for the player.
  • The process of making a series of random selections and then analyzing the results of these selections imposes several limitations both in the capabilities of gaming devices and the design of the games on the gaming devices. For the game devices themselves, the above process requires multiple random numbers to be used each time a game is played and limits the flexibility of the machine in awarding specific outcomes resulting from other triggering events. In the slot machine example, a random number must be used for each reel to determine which reel stop or stops are to be displayed on a game outcome display. For demonstration purposes, certain reel stop combinations can programmed into the game logic to illustrate a particular bonus or jackpot win. However, during actual game play in which a player is wagering on the outcome of the gaming device, the game outcomes are often limited by the combination of randomly selected reel stops; thereby limiting the ability to dictate certain symbol combinations displayed on the reels in response to triggering events. This dictation of certain symbol combinations may be desirable to alter the payback percentage of the gaming devices, provide bonuses to the players, or guarantee that certain gaming events happen within a given time frame.
  • In addition, during the design of a gaming device having spinning reels, it is often difficult to obtain multiple exact payback percentages for a given gaming machine because of the limitations involved in assigning values to each reel stop and/or setting up reel strips. For mechanical spinning reel games, reel strips typically include twenty-two physical reel stops. Game designers may assign a certain number of virtual stops or paytable stops to each of these physical stops to allow large prizes to be given away less than once every 10,648 spins. This allocation of virtual stops can be challenging when attempting to meet multiple precise payback percentage paytables as well as difficult in setting hit frequencies of winning symbol combinations. For multi-line video slot games, the complexity of determining the number of each symbol on the reels as well as laying out the symbols on a reel strip can be complex and very time consuming.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1A is a functional block diagram that illustrates a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 1B is an isometric view of the gaming device illustrated in FIG. 1A.
  • FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C are detail diagrams of exemplary types of gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 3 is a functional block diagram of networked gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 4A is an illustrated representation of an exemplary paytable for a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 4B is an illustrated representation of exemplary reel strips for a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIGS. 5A, 5B, and 5C are functional block diagrams of a game display for a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of a method of determining a game outcome on a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 7 is a flow diagram of a method of displaying a winning outcome on a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of a method of displaying a losing outcome on a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of a method of displaying a game outcome on a multi-line gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of another method of displaying a game outcome on a multi-line gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 11 is a flow diagram of yet another method of displaying a game outcome on a multi-line gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 12 is a flow diagram of a method of displaying a game outcome on a video poker gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate example gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, a gaming device 10 is an electronic gaming machine. Although an electronic gaming machine or “slot” machine is illustrated, various other types of devices may be used to wager monetarily based credits on a game of chance in accordance with principles of the invention. The term “electronic gaming device” is meant to include various devices such as electro-mechanical spinning-reel type slot machines, video slot machines, and video poker machines, for instance. Other gaming devices may include computer-based gaming machines, wireless gaming devices, multi-player gaming stations, modified personal electronic gaming devices (such as cell phones), personal computers, server-based gaming terminals, and other similar devices. Although embodiments of the invention will work with all of the gaming types mentioned, for ease of illustration the present embodiments will be described in reference to the electronic gaming machine 10 shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B.
  • The gaming device 10 includes a cabinet 15 housing components to operate the gaming device 10. The cabinet 15 may include a gaming display 20, a base portion 13, a top box 18, and a player interface panel 30. The gaming display 20 may include mechanical spinning reels (FIG. 2A), a video display (FIGS. 2B and 2C), or a combination of both spinning reels and a video display (not shown). The gaming cabinet 15 may also include a credit meter 27 and a coin-in or bet meter 28. The credit meter 27 may indicate the total number of credits remaining on the gaming device 10 that are eligible to be wagered. In some embodiments, the credit meter 27 may reflect a monetary unit, such as dollars. However, it is often preferable to have the credit meter 27 reflect a number of ‘credits,’ rather than a monetary unit. The bet meter 28 may indicate the amount of credits to be wagered on a particular game. Thus, for each game, the player transfers the amount that he or she wants to wager from the credit meter 27 to the bet meter 28. In some embodiments, various other meters may be present, such as meters reflecting amounts won, amounts paid, or the like. In embodiments where the gaming display 20 is a video monitor, the information indicated on the credit meters may be shown on the gaming display itself 20 (FIG. 2B).
  • The base portion 13 may include a lighted panel 14, a coin return (not shown), and a gaming handle 12 operable on a partially rotating pivot joint 11. The game handle 12 is traditionally included on mechanical spinning-reel games, where the handle may be pulled toward a player to initiate the spinning of reels 22 after placement of a wager. The top box 18 may include a lighted panel 17, a video display (such as an LCD monitor), a mechanical bonus device (not shown), and a candle light indicator 19. The player interface panel 30 may include various devices so that a player can interact with the gaming device 10.
  • The player interface panel 30 may include one or more game buttons 32 that can be actuated by the player to cause the gaming device 10 to perform a specific action. For example, some of the game buttons 32 may cause the gaming device 10 to bet a credit to be wagered during the next game, change the number of lines being played on a multi-line game, cash out the credits remaining on the gaming device (as indicated on the credit meter 27), or request assistance from casino personnel, such as by lighting the candle 19. In addition, the player interface panel 30 may include one or more game actuating buttons 33. The game actuating buttons 33 may initiate a game with a pre-specified amount of credits. On some gaming devices 10 a “Max Bet” game actuating button 33 may be included that places the maximum credit wager on a game and initiates the game. The player interface panel 30 may further include a bill acceptor 37 and a ticket printer 38. The bill acceptor 37 may accept and validate paper money or previously printed tickets with a credit balance. The ticket printer 38 may print out tickets reflecting the balance of the credits that remain on the gaming device 10 when a player cashes out by pressing one of the game buttons 32 programmed to cause a ‘cashout.’ These tickets may be inserted into other gaming machines or redeemed at a cashier station or kiosk for cash.
  • The gaming device 10 may also include one or more speakers 26 to transmit auditory information or sounds to the player. The auditory information may include specific sounds associated with particular events that occur during game play on the gaming device 10. For example, a particularly festive sound may be played during a large win or when a bonus is triggered. The speakers 26 may also transmit “attract” sounds to entice nearby players when the game is not currently being played.
  • The gaming device 10 may further include a secondary display 25. This secondary display 25 may be a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD), a liquid crystal display (LCD), a cathode ray tube (CRT), a plasma screen, or the like. The secondary display 25 may show any combination of primary game information and ancillary information to the player. For example, the secondary display 25 may show player tracking information, secondary bonus information, advertisements, or player selectable game options.
  • The gaming device 10 may include a separate information window (not shown) dedicated to supplying any combination of information related to primary game play, secondary bonus information, player tracking information, secondary bonus information, advertisements or player selectable game options. This window may be fixed in size and location or may have its size and location vary temporally as communication needs change. One example of such a resizable window is International Game Technology's “service window.” Another example is Las Vegas Gaming Incorporated's retrofit technology which allows information to be placed over areas of the game or the secondary display screen at various times and in various situations.
  • The gaming device 10 includes a microprocessor 40 that controls operation of the gaming device 10. If the gaming device 10 is a standalone gaming device, the microprocessor 40 may control virtually all of the operations of the gaming devices and attached equipment, such as operating game logic stored in memory (not shown) as firmware, controlling the display 20 to represent the outcome of a game, communicating with the other peripheral devices (such as the bill acceptor 37), and orchestrating the lighting and sound emanating from the gaming device 10. In other embodiments where the gaming device 10 is coupled to a network 50, as described below, the microprocessor 40 may have different tasks depending on the setup and function of the gaming device. For example, the microprocessor 40 may be responsible for running the base game of the gaming device and executing instructions received over the network 50 from a bonus server or player tracking server. In a server-based gaming setup, the microprocessor 40 may act as a terminal to execute instructions from a remote server that is running game play on the gaming device.
  • The microprocessor 40 may be coupled to a machine communication interface (MCI) 42 that connects the gaming device 10 to a gaming network 50. The MCI 42 may be coupled to the microprocessor 40 through a serial connection, a parallel connection, an optical connection, or in some cases a wireless connection. The gaming device 10 may include memory 41 (MEM), such as a random access memory (RAM), coupled to the microprocessor 40 and which can be used to store gaming information, such as storing total coin-in statistics about a present or past gaming session, which can be communicated to a remote server or database through the MCI 42. The MCI 42 may also facilitate communication between the network 50 and the secondary display 25 or a player tracking unit 45 housed in the gaming cabinet 15.
  • The player tracking unit 45 may include an identification device 46 and one or more buttons 47 associated with the player tracking unit 45. The identification device 46 serves to identify a player, by, for example, reading a player-tracking device, such as a player tracking card that is issued by the casino to individual players who choose to have such a card. The identification device 46 may instead, or additionally, identify players through other methods. Player tracking systems using player tracking cards and card readers 46 are known in the art. Briefly summarizing such a system, a player registers with the casino prior to commencing gaming. The casino issues a unique player-tracking card to the player and opens a corresponding player account that is stored on a server or host computer, described below with reference to FIG. 3. The player account may include the player's name and mailing address and other information of interest to the casino in connection with marketing efforts. Prior to playing one of the gaming devices in the casino, the player inserts the player tracking card into the identification device 46 thus permitting the casino to track player activity, such as amounts wagered, credits won, and rate of play.
  • To induce the player to use the card and be an identified player, the casino may award each player points proportional to the money or credits wagered by the player. Players typically accrue points at a rate related to the amount wagered, although other factors may cause the casino to award the player various amounts. The points may be displayed on the secondary display 25 or using other methods. In conventional player tracking systems, the player may take his or her card to a special desk in the casino where a casino employee scans the card to determine how many accrued points are in the player's account. The player may redeem points for selected merchandise, meals in casino restaurants, or the like, which each have assigned point values. In some player tracking systems, the player may use the secondary display 25 to access their player tracking account, such as to check a total number of points, redeem points for various services, make changes to their account, or download promotional credits to the gaming device 10. In other embodiments, the identification device 46 may read other identifying cards (such as driver licenses, credit cards, etc.) to identify a player and match them to a corresponding player tracking account. Although FIG. 1A shows the player tracking unit 45 with a card reader as the identification device 46, other embodiments may include a player tracking unit 45 with a biometric scanner, PIN code acceptor, or other methods of identifying a player to pair the player with their player tracking account.
  • During typical play on a gaming device 10, a player plays a game by placing a wager and then initiating a gaming session. The player may initially insert monetary bills or previously printed tickets with a credit value into the bill acceptor 37. The player may also put coins into a coin acceptor (not shown) or a credit, debit or casino account card into a card reader/authorizer (not shown). One of skill in the art will readily see that this invention is useful with all gambling devices, regardless of the manner in which wager value-input is accomplished.
  • The credit meter 27 displays the numeric credit value of the money inserted dependent on the denomination of the gaming device 10. That is, if the gaming device 10 is a nickel slot machine and a $20 bill inserted into the bill acceptor 37, the credit meter will reflect 400 credits or one credit for each nickel of the inserted twenty dollars. For gaming devices 10 that support multiple denominations, the credit meter 27 will reflect the amount of credits relative to the denomination selected. Thus, in the above example, if a penny denomination is selected after the $20 is inserted the credit meter will change from 400 credits to 2000 credits.
  • A wager may be placed by pushing one or more of the game buttons 32, which may be reflected on the bet meter 28. That is, the player can generally depress a “bet one” button (one of the buttons on the player interface panel 30, such as 32), which transfers one credit from the credit meter 27 to the bet meter 28. Each time the button 32 is depressed an additional single credit transfers to the bet meter 28 up to a maximum bet that can be placed on a single play of the electronic gaming device 10. The gaming session may be initiated by pulling the gaming handle 12 or depressing the spin button 33. On some gaming devices 10, a “max bet” button (another one of the buttons 32 on the player interface panel 30) may be depressed to wager the maximum number of credits supported by the gaming device 10 and initiate a gaming session.
  • If the gaming session does not result in any winning combination, the process of placing a wager may be repeated by the player. Alternatively, the player may cash out any remaining credits on the credit meter 27 by depressing the “cash-out” button (another button 32 on the player interface panel 30), which causes the credits on the credit meter 27 to be paid out in the form of a ticket through the ticket printer 38, or may be paid out in the form of returning coins from a coin hopper (not shown) to a coin return tray.
  • If instead a winning combination (win) appears on the display 20, the award corresponding to the winning combination is immediately applied to the credit meter 27. For example, if the gaming device 10 is a slot machine, a winning combination of symbols 23 may land on a played payline on reels 22. If any bonus games are initiated, the gaming device 10 may enter into a bonus mode or simply award the player with a bonus amount of credits that are applied to the credit meter 27.
  • FIGS. 2A to 2C illustrate exemplary types of gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention. FIG. 2A illustrates an example spinning-reel gaming machine 10A, FIG. 2B illustrates an example video slot machine 10B, and FIG. 2C illustrates an example video poker machine 10C.
  • Referring to FIG. 2A, a spinning-reel gaming machine 10A includes a gaming display 20A having a plurality of mechanical spinning reels 22A. Typically, spinning-reel gaming machines 10A have three to five spinning reels 22A. Each of the spinning reels 22A has multiple symbols 23A that may be separated by blank areas on the spinning reels 22A, although the presence of blank areas typically depends on the number of reels 22A present in the gaming device 10A and the number of different symbols 23A that may appear on the spinning reels 22A. Each of the symbols 22A or blank areas makes up a “stop” on the spinning reel 22A where the reel 22A comes to rest after a spin. Although the spinning reels 22A of various games 10A may have various numbers of stops, many conventional spinning-reel gaming devices 10A have reels 22A with twenty two stops.
  • During game play, the spinning reels 22A may be controlled by stepper motors (not shown) under the direction of the microprocessor 40 (FIG. 1A). Thus, although the spinning-reel gaming device 10A has mechanical based spinning reels 22A, the movement of the reels themselves is electronically controlled to spin and stop. This electronic control is advantageous because it allows a virtual reel strip to be stored in the memory 41 of the gaming device 10A, where various “virtual stops” are mapped to each physical stop on the physical reel 22A. This mapping allows the gaming device 10A to establish greater awards and bonuses available to the player because of the increased number of possible combinations afforded by the virtual reel strips.
  • A gaming session on a spinning reel slot machine 10A typically includes the player pressing the “bet-one” button (one of the game buttons 32A) to wager a desired number of credits followed by pulling the gaming handle 12 (FIGS. 1A, 1B) or pressing the spin button 33A to spin the reels 22A. Alternatively, the player may simply press the “max-bet” button (another one of the game buttons 32A) to both wager the maximum number of credits permitted and initiate the spinning of the reels 22A. The spinning reels 22A may all stop at the same time or may individually stop one after another (typically from left to right) to build player anticipation. Because the display 20A usually cannot be physically modified, some spinning reel slot machines 10A include an electronic display screen in the top box 18 (FIG. 1B), a mechanical bonus mechanism in the top box 18, or a secondary display 25 (FIG. 1A) to execute a bonus.
  • Referring to FIG. 2B, a video gaming machine 10B may include a video display 20B to display virtual spinning reels 22B and various other gaming information 21B. The video display 20B may be a CRT, LCD, plasma screen, or the like. It is usually preferable that the video display 20B be a touchscreen to accept player input. A number of symbols 23A appear on each of the virtual spinning reels 22B. Although FIG. 2B shows five virtual spinning reels 22B, the flexibility of the video display 20B allows for various reel 22B and game configurations. For example, some video slot games 10B spin reels for each individual symbol position (or stop) that appears on the video display 20B. That is, each symbol position on the screen is independent of every other position during the gaming sessions. In these types of games, very large numbers of pay lines or multiple super scatter pays can be utilized since similar symbols could appear at every symbol position on the video display 20B. On the other hand, other video slot games 10B more closely resemble the mechanical spinning reel games where symbols that are vertically adjacent to each other are part of the same continuous virtual spinning reel 22B.
  • Because the virtual spinning reels 22B, by virtue of being computer implemented, can have almost any number of stops on a reel strip, it is much easier to have a greater variety of displayed outcomes as compared to spinning-reel slot machines 10A (FIG. 2A) that have a fixed number of physical stops on each spinning reel 22A.
  • With the possible increases in reel 22B numbers and configurations over the mechanical gaming device 10A, video gaming devices 10B often have multiple paylines 24 that may be played. By having more paylines 24 available to play, the player may be more likely to have a winning combination when the reels 22B stop and the gaming session ends. However, since the player typically must wager at least a minimum number of credits to enable each payline 24 to be eligible for winning, the overall odds of winning are not much different, if at all, than if the player is wagering only on a single payline. For example, in a five line game, the player may bet one credit per payline 24 and be eligible for winning symbol combinations that appear on any of the five played paylines 24. This gives a total of five credits wagered and five possible winning paylines 24. If, on the other hand, the player only wagers one credit on one payline 24, but plays five gaming sessions, the odds of winning would be identical as above: five credits wagered and five possible winning paylines 24.
  • Because the video display 20B can easily modify the image output by the video display 20B, bonuses, such as second screen bonuses are relatively easy to award on the video slot game 10B. That is, if a bonus is triggered during game play, the video display 20B may simply store the resulting screen shot in memory and display a bonus sequence on the video display 20B. After the bonus sequence is completed, the video display 20B may then retrieve the previous screen shot and information from memory, and re-display that image.
  • Also, as mentioned above, the video display 20B may allow various other game information 21B to be displayed. For example, as shown in FIG. 2B, banner information may be displayed above the spinning reels 22B to inform the player, perhaps, which symbol combination is needed to trigger a bonus. Also, instead of providing a separate credit meter 27 (FIG. 1A) and bet meter 28, the same information can instead be displayed on the video display 20B. In addition, “soft buttons” 29B such as a “spin” button or “help/see pays” button may be built using the touch screen video display 20B. Such customization and ease of changing the image shown on the display 20B adds to the flexibility of the game 10B.
  • Even with the improved flexibility afforded by the video display 20B, several physical buttons 32B and 33B are usually provided on video slot machines 10B. These buttons may include game buttons 32B that allow a player to choose the number of paylines 24 he or she would like to play and the number of credits wagered on each payline 24. In addition, a max bet button (one of the game buttons 32B) allows a player to place a maximum credit wager on the maximum number of available paylines 24 and initiate a gaming session. A repeat bet or spin button 33B may also be used to initiate each gaming session when the max bet button is not used.
  • Referring to FIG. 2C, a video poker gaming device 10C may include a video display 20C that is physically similar to the video display 20B shown in FIG. 2B. The video display 20C may show a poker hand of five cards 23C and various other player information 21C including a paytable for various winning hands, as well as a plurality of player selectable soft buttons 29C. The video display 20C may present a poker hand of five cards 23C and various other player information 21C including a number of player selectable soft (touch-screen) buttons 29C and a paytable for various winning hands. Although the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3C shows only one hand of poker on the video display 20C, various other video poker machines 10C may show several poker hands (multi-hand poker). Typically, video poker machines 10C play “draw” poker in which a player is dealt a hand of five cards, has the opportunity to hold any combination of those five cards, and then draws new cards to replace the discarded ones. All pays are usually given for winning combinations resulting from the final hand, although some video poker games 10C may give bonus credits for certain combinations received on the first hand before the draw. In the example shown in FIG. 2C a player has been dealt two aces, a three, a six, and a nine. The video poker game 10C may provide a bonus or payout for the player having been dealt the pair of aces, even before the player decides what to discard in the draw. Since pairs, three of a kind, etc. are typically needed for wins, a player would likely hold the two aces that have been dealt and draw three cards to replace the three, six, and nine in the hope of receiving additional aces or other cards leading to a winning combination with a higher award amount. After the draw and revealing of the final hand, the video poker game 10C typically awards any credits won to the credit meter.
  • The player selectable soft buttons 29C appearing on the screen respectively correspond to each card on the video display 20C. These soft buttons 29C allow players to select specific cards on the video display 20C such that the card corresponding to the selected soft button is “held” before the draw. Typically, video poker machines 10C also include physical game buttons 32C that correspond to the cards in the hand and may be selected to hold a corresponding card. A deal/draw button 33C may also be included to initiate a gaming session after credits have been wagered (with a bet button 32C, for example) and to draw any cards not held after the first hand is displayed.
  • Although examples of a spinning reel slot machine 10A, a video slot machine 10B, and a video poker machine 10C have been illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2C, gaming machines and various other types of gaming devices known in the art are contemplated and are within the scope of the invention.
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating networked gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention. Referring to FIG. 3, multiple electronic gaming devices (EGMs) 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, and 75 may be coupled to one another and coupled to a remote server 80 through a network 50. For ease of understanding, gaming devices or EGMs 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, and 75 are generically referred to as EGMs 70-75. The term EGMs 70-75, however, may refer to any combination of one or more of EGMs 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, and 75. Additionally, the gaming server 80 may be coupled to one or more gaming databases 90. These gaming network 50 connections may allow multiple gaming devices 70-75 to remain in communication with one another during particular gaming modes such as tournament play or remote head-to-head play. Although some of the gaming devices 70-75 coupled on the gaming network 50 may resemble the gaming devices 10, 10A, 10B, and 10C shown in FIGS. 1A-1B and 2A-2C, other coupled gaming devices 70-75 may include differently configured gaming devices. For example, the gaming devices 70-75 may include traditional slot machines 75 directly coupled to the network 50, banks of gaming devices 70 coupled to the network 50, banks of gaming devices 70 coupled to the network through a bank controller 60, wireless handheld gaming machines 72 and cell phones 73 coupled to the gaming network 50 through one or more wireless routers or antennas 61, personal computers 74 coupled to the network 50 through the internet 62, and banks of gaming devices 71 coupled to the network through one or more optical connection lines 64. Additionally, some of the traditional gaming devices 70, 71, and 75 may include electronic gaming tables, multi-station gaming devices, or electronic components operating in conjunction with non-gaming components, such as automatic card readers, chip readers, and chip counters, for example.
  • Gaming devices 71 coupled over an optical line 64 may be remote gaming devices in a different location or casino. The optical line 64 may be coupled to the gaming network 50 through an electronic to optical signal converter 63 and may be coupled to the gaming devices 71 through an optical to electronic signal converter 65. The banks of gaming devices 70 coupled to the network 50 may be coupled through a bank controller 60 for compatibility purposes, for local organization and control, or for signal buffering purposes. The network 50 may include serial or parallel signal transmission lines and carry data in accordance with data transfer protocols such as Ethernet transmission lines, Rs-232 lines, firewire lines, USB lines, or other communication protocols. Although not shown in FIG. 3, substantially the entire network 50 may be made of fiber optic lines or may be a wireless network utilizing a wireless protocol such as IEEE 802.11a, b, g, or n, Zigbee, RF protocols, optical transmission, near-field transmission, or the like.
  • As mentioned above, each gaming device 70-75 may have an individual processor 40 (FIG. 1A) and memory 41 to run and control game play on the gaming device 70-75, or some of the gaming devices 70-75 may be terminals that are run by a remote server 80 in a server based gaming environment. Server based gaming environments may be advantageous to casinos by allowing fast downloading of particular game types or themes based on casino preference or player selection. Additionally, tournament based games, linked games, and certain game types, such as BINGO or keno may benefit from at least some server 80 based control.
  • Thus, in some embodiments, the network 50, server 80, and database 90 may be dedicated to communications regarding specific game or tournament play. In other embodiments, however, the network 50, server 80, and database 90 may be part of a player tracking network. For player tracking capabilities, when a player inserts a player tracking card in the card reader 46 (FIG. 1A), the player tracking unit 45 sends player identification information obtained on the card reader 46 through the MCI 42 over the network 50 to the player tracking server 80, where the player identification information is compared to player information records in the player database 90 to provide the player with information regarding their player account or other features at the gaming device 10 where the player is wagering. Additionally, multiple databases 90 and/or servers 80 may be present and coupled to one or more networks 50 to provide a variety of gaming services, such as both game/tournament data and player tracking data.
  • The various systems described with reference to FIGS. 1-3 can be used in a number of ways. For instance, the systems can be used to track data about various players. The tracked data can be used by the casino to provide additional benefits to players, such as extra bonuses or extra benefits such as bonus games and other benefits as described above. These added benefits further entice the players to play at the casino that provides the benefits.
  • Embodiments of this concept are directed to determining game outcomes based on the outcomes themselves instead of making a series of random selections and analyzing those selections to determine the game outcome. For example, in a spinning reel slot machine, the outcome of three bar-type symbols (Any Bars) may be directly selected from a list or table of possible outcomes instead of determining that the first reel stopped on a single bar symbol, the second reel stopped on a triple bar symbol, and the third reel stopped on a single bar symbol, where a further analysis must be done to determine that these reel stops result in an any bar award.
  • While the direct selection of a game outcome may require slightly fewer microseconds for a processor to determine the game outcome, this advantage may be relatively small in traditional game play since the speed and capacity of the processors used in recent game devices is usually adequate to perform either method in well less than a second. However, embodiments of the present concept allow for much more flexible design of the gaming device and may be easily modifiable by a casino operator or even dynamically during game play to alter the paytable, and hence the feel, of the game. For example, as discussed above, a game designer is typically tasked with determining how many physical and/or virtual symbols to place on each reel and then create a reel strip that conforms to those symbol parameters. For a physical 3-reel slot machine, there is typically not much flexibility in minutely altering payback percentages because the addition or subtraction of a single virtual stop generally has a significant affect on the overall payback percentage of the gaming device. For a 5-reel video slot machine, each symbol that is added to a reel generally needs to be fit into that reel strip. With reel lengths that often times are greater than seventy or eighty symbols, it can take a lot of time and talent to arrange all of the symbols on each of the reel strips.
  • Additionally, in either type of gaming device, it is nearly impossible to alter or modify a paytable during a gaming session to change the game performance between gaming events because the addition or subtraction of a symbol necessarily requires the creation of new reel strips. In contrast, since embodiments of this concept select game outcomes from a list or table, a modification of this table or list during game play can easily alter the paytable and game characteristics without the need to modify the reel strips or other aspects of the game device. These advantages and others will be discussed below in the following examples and embodiments of this concept. Although spinning reel gaming devices are often discussed for purposes of providing examples, embodiments of this concept can be used with any type of gaming device.
  • FIG. 4A is an illustrated representation of an exemplary paytable for a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention. FIG. 4B is an illustrated representation of exemplary reel strips for a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention. The exemplary gaming device to be used with the described paytable and reel strips is a spinning reel slot machine similar to the ones illustrated in FIGS. 2A or 2B, but with three spinning reels instead of five spinning reels and a single payline in the center of the game display.
  • Referring to the paytable shown in FIG. 4A, nine possible game outcomes are listed in the left column of the paytable under the heading “Outcome.” As defined in this application, a winning outcome is any outcome that is associated with an award, prize, or other incentive given to the player as a result of the outcome. On the other hand, a losing outcome is an outcome that is not associated with an award, prize, or other incentive. For the listed outcomes, “X” represents a blank or any symbol. Hence, the outcome “X X X” is a generic losing outcome that encompasses any outcome other than the other eight winning game outcomes also listed. The pay for each outcome is located in the adjacent column labeled “Pay.” The generic losing outcome is associated with a pay of zero, thereby reflecting that the player is not awarded anything for this outcome. The next listed outcome, “CH CH CH” represents a cherry symbol landing on a payline for each of the three reels. This outcome is associated with a pay of 2 credits. The next outcome of “any bars,” represents outcomes where three bar-style symbols land on the payline, but do not all match each other. A single bar outcome, a double bar outcome, a triple bar outcome, and a sevens outcome are listed next. The “X X BN” outcome represents an outcome where the symbols on the first two reels could be anything, but the symbol landing on the payline on the third (last) reel is a bonus symbol. This bonus outcome may trigger a secondary screen bonus, a wheel-spin bonus, a fixed prize bonus, or any other type of bonus. The credit value of 60 is associated with this bonus outcome and represents the average pay of the bonus. Since the bonus may include many different outcomes ranging from a small award or even no award, to a very large award, the paytable need only reflect the average value of these awards. Finally, three jackpot symbols pay a top award of 100 credits when they appear on a payline.
  • The “Paytable Weight” column provides a number range for each of the outcomes that determines how often that outcome occurs. The “Hit Frequency” column reflects what percentage of spins will result in a corresponding wager. The hit frequency is simply determined by dividing the associated paytable weight by the total of all of the paytable weights, which in this example is “2246.” For example, the single bar outcome of “BAR BAR BAR” has an associated Paytable weight of “50,” and a hit frequency of 2.23%. This means that a player is expected to hit a “BAR BAR BAR” outcome about every 45 games. The paytable weight is an important element in determining hit frequency, payback percentage, and volatility of the game. When developing a game paytable, a game designer can alter the types of winning outcomes, the pay of the winning outcomes, and the weight of the paytable weight of an outcome to produce the play characteristics of the gaming device. However, once the determination is made about what symbol combinations will be winning outcomes and what award each of those winning outcomes should pay, the main variable in altering the play characteristics of the gaming device is the paytable weight associated with each outcome. Unlike traditional games, the games associated with embodiments of this concept allow the game designer to control the hit frequency of specific game outcomes by manipulating the paytable weights associated with those game outcomes. Additionally, the overall hit frequency of a gaming device and the volatility of the gaming device can be quickly shaped using the paytable weights. In the example paytable illustrated in FIG. 4A, the overall game hit frequency is 19.86%, which is the sum of the hit frequencies of the winning outcomes, or 100% minus the hit frequency of the generic losing outcome.
  • The “Contribution” column is achieved by multiplying the value in the “Pay” column with the value in the “Hit Freq” column. This contribution relates to the relative or normalized weight each outcome has on the payback percentage of the game. The sum of these contributions results in the overall payback percentage of the game, which in this example is 97.95%. The hold percentage of a gaming device is simply 100% minus the payback percentage. Thus, in this example, the hold percentage of a gaming device using this paytable would be 2.05%. The contribution column provides a method of determining what portion of a paytable is directed to a particular outcome.
  • Referring to the reel strips illustrated in FIG. 4B, each reel of this three reel gaming device includes twenty two reel stop positions. The odd reel stops are not associated with an illustrated symbol and are referred to as “blanks.” The even reel stops are associated with particular symbols involved in the game. For example, the illustrated reel strip for “Reel 1” includes a cherry symbol at reel stop 2 followed by a bar symbol, a “7,” a double bar, a jackpot symbol, a triple bar, another bar symbol, another cherry symbol, another double bar, another “7,” and another triple bar with blanks interspersed in between each of the illustrated symbols. The reel strips for “Reel 2” and “Reel 3” are similarly set up although the actual number and order of the symbols varies. Note that the bonus symbol “BN” only appears on the third reel.
  • In this embodiment, operation of the gaming device includes obtaining a random number or indicator once the player has pulled a game handle or pressed a game initiating button, and normalizing this random number to match one of the ranges associated with the paytable weights for each outcome. These ranges may be determined by using the paytable weights from the paytable illustrated in FIG. 4A. For example, the range associated with the generic losing outcome (“X X X”) may be 0-1799, the range for the three cherries may be 1800-1999, the range for the three any bars may be 2000-2149, etc. The final range for the three jackpot symbols may be 2245-2245 (i.e., only one number). The random number may be a random decimal value selected between zero and 1. This number would be normalized to the paytable outcome ranges by multiplying the random decimal value by 2245 and rounding to the nearest integer number. This would generate a random outcome number between 0 and 2245. Once the random outcome number is obtained, it can be matched within the ranges related to specified game outcomes. For example, if the random number was 0.56879845, the random outcome number would be 1277, which would fall between 0 and 1799, and hence correspond to the generic losing outcome. If the random number was 0.98265689, the random outcome number would be 2206, which would fall between 2200 and 2224, and hence correspond to an outcome of three double bars.
  • Although the embodiment discussed above selects an outcome using a randomly obtained number or indicator, other outcome selection methods or processes may be used in different embodiments. For instance, certain gaming events on the gaming device may trigger the selection of a particular gaming outcome or type of gaming outcome. In one example, a gaming device may be configured to provide a “CH CH CH” award if a winning outcome has not been reached in twenty consecutive games. In this example, the selection of the “CH CH CH” outcome would be the result of a device instruction rather than a result associated with a randomly obtained indicator. Many other circumstances exist in which a particular outcome or a type of outcome, such as a winning outcome, may be selected or determined without an element of randomness.
  • Once an outcome has been determined, the gaming device selects the reel stops corresponding to the outcome to display to the player. The reels are then spun and the selected reel stops are displayed on the payline. As noted above, the reel strips will often include multiple instances of a symbol. Hence, the actual determination of which symbol to display may involve a selection process. This selection process may include a random selection, an alternating selection, or another type of selection process to determine which of the reel stops associated with a particular symbol to display. For a losing outcome, the gaming device may again use a selection process to select a losing outcome to display. There are many variations of how to select a proper winning outcome and how to select a losing outcome. Some of these variations are discussed in detail below with respect to FIGS. 6-12.
  • One advantage of this method of determining a game outcome is that paytables can be easily changed between game events. For example, it may be desirable to alter the characteristics of a paytable for one or more games in response to a triggering event. For instance, a player may experience fifteen consecutive losing outcomes, which triggers a change in the paytable for next two games. This change may include temporarily altering the paytable weights associated with each outcome. In one instance, the paytable weight for the generic losing outcome may be reduced to 1000 and 800 extra paytable “weight points” may be added to the cherry, any bar, and single bar outcomes, thereby giving the player a better than 50% chance of having a winning outcome for the next to games. Infinite different variations exist for many different triggering conditions and alterations of the paytable. However, unlike traditional method of determining a game outcome, embodiments of the present conceptual method provide a simple way to alter the paytable, chance game characteristics, or emphasize certain results without completely changing how a gaming device operates or significantly modifying its virtual and/or physical reel strips.
  • The above description has focuses on a spinning reel gaming device having a single payline. However, other embodiments of this concept are adapted to work with multi-line gaming devices. For less complex multi-line gaming device a similar calculation method as described above can be used. FIGS. 5A-5C introduce examples of some of these methods. For more complex multi-line gaming devices, various techniques may be employed to facilitate the direct selection of a game outcome from a list or table, some of which are discussed further 10 below with reference to FIGS. 9-11. One of the significant issues in accommodating multi-line gaming devices is that a player playing multiple pay lines is essentially placing a wager on each of the paylines and an outcome determined on one payline may not correspond to the symbols needed for another outcome on another played payline.
  • FIGS. 5A, 5B, and 5C are functional block diagrams of a game display for a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIGS. 5A, 5B, and 5C, a gaming display is shown for a three reel slot machine, such as the one described above for use with the paytable and reel strips of FIGS. 4A and 4B. These gaming displays include a result area that displays three adjacent symbols for each of the three reels. Hence, there are nine symbols shown on the gaming display, which are represented in FIG. 4A as Sym 1 through Sym 9. Although these nine symbol positions may be the only positions “in play,” the player is often able to see one or more symbol positions above and below the nine symbols shown on the gaming display. The primary pay line (“Line 1”) is the payline overlying Sym 2, Sym 5, and Sym 8 in FIG. 4A. In a single payline game, the single payline usually corresponds to this center position. When a player of multi-line game chooses to play only one payline, they typically are given this primary payline as their single payline for play. The second payline (“Line 2”) is the payline overlying Sym 1, Sym 4, and Sym 7. The third payline (“Line 3”) is the horizontal payline overlying Sym 3, Sym 6, and Sym 9.
  • Three operational examples will now be described with reference to FIGS. 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, and 5C.
  • EXAMPLE 1
  • For the purposes of this first example, a player is playing a single payline gaming device or only playing one line of a multi-line gaming device. After a wager is received and the game initiated, a random number is obtained that corresponds to the outcome of three cherry symbols (“CH CH CH”). As described above, this determination of the game outcome may be done immediately after an input to initiate a game is received. Thus, although the game outcome may be determined at this time, the player is not aware of the outcome as it has not yet been displayed. The reels may also be triggered to begin spinning in response to the activation of the game initiating player input.
  • Because multiple cherry symbols (CH) exist on each of the reel strips, a game outcome display needs to be determined. Cherry symbols are included at reel stops 2 and 16 on the first reel strip, at reel stops 12 and 22 on the second reel strip, and at reel stops 14 and 22 on the third reel strip. Thus, the following combination of reel stops shown in table A may be used as a game outcome display to show the determined game outcome of three cherry symbols.
  • TABLE A
    Reel Stops For Reel Stops For Reel Stops For
    Reel 1 Reel 2 Reel 3
    2 12 14
    2 12 22
    2 22 14
    2 22 22
    16 12 14
    16 12 22
    16 22 14
    16 22 22
  • In some embodiments, these combinations may be predetermined and coded into the memory of the game device so that they may be quickly accessed and used when an associated outcome is determined to be a game outcome. The game processor may randomly choose one of these eight possible game outcome displays as the game outcome display to show, or the game processor may cycle through each of the possible game outcome displays when the three cherry symbol outcome is determined to be the game outcome. In other embodiments, the game processor may randomly select one of the corresponding reel stops for each reel. Thus, the game processor may select between stops 2 and 16 for reel 1, between stops 12 and 22 for reel 2, and between stops 14 and 22 on reel 3. Here instead of calculating out all of the possible outcome combinations, these embodiments only require that the identity of each symbol on the reel strip be recorded in the gaming code and identifiable to match a symbol needed for a determined game outcome. Alternate methods of determining the game display outcome are also possible.
  • Once a game outcome display is selected, the game can stop each of the reels on the selected reel stops to show the determined game outcome display. FIG. 5B illustrates an example display of this game outcome. After each of the reels has been stopped and the game outcome display has been shown to the player, the game may award the player a prize of two credits, which corresponds to the game outcome of three cherries.
  • EXAMPLE 2
  • For the purposes of this second example, a player is playing all three lines of a multi-line gaming device illustrated in FIG. 5A. As described above, play of multiple lines on a single game is similar to playing multiple games with a single payline. In the present example, the gaming device uses three random numbers to determine three game outcomes for each of the played paylines. The first random number may correspond to an outcome received on the first payline, the second random number may correspond to an outcome received on the second payline, and the third random number may correspond to an outcome received on the third payline. Since the play of a multi-line game essentially gives the player multiple chances at obtaining a winning combination (i.e., multiple different ways that arrangements of symbols appearing on the game display can be configured into winning outcomes), the exemplary method of this embodiment gives the player three chances at receiving a winning outcome. In cases where more than one winning outcome is received from the three randomly obtained numbers, the gaming device will display and award the highest paying of the outcomes.
  • For purposes of Example 2, after a wager is received and the game initiated, a first random number corresponding to the first payline is obtained that is associated with the outcome of three cherry symbols (“CH CH CH”), a second random number is then obtained that is associated with the generic losing outcome, and a third random number is obtained that is also associated with the outcome of three cherry symbols (“CH CH CH”). Obviously, it would be impossible to have the have the physical spinning reels display three cherries on the first payline and the third payline at the same time. Since the gaming device awards the highest paying of the outcomes in situations where multiple outcomes are present, the game would indicate that a winning outcome of three cherries is to be displayed on the first payline. Note that since the outcome of three cherries received on the third payline was not associated with an award value greater than the outcome for payline 1, it does not replace the outcome for the first payline. A display technique similar to one of the game outcome display techniques described above in Example 1 may then be used to display the game outcome of three cherries as shown in FIG. 5B.
  • EXAMPLE 3
  • For the purposes of this third example, a player is again playing all three lines of a multi-line gaming device illustrated in FIG. 5A. This time, after a wager is received and the game initiated, a first random number corresponding to the first payline is obtained that is associated with the outcome of three any bars (“AB AB AB”), a second random number is then obtained that is associated with the generic losing outcome, and a third random number is obtained that is also associated with the outcome of three single bar symbols (“BAR BAR BAR”). Again, it would be impossible to have the have the physical spinning reels display three any bars on the first payline and three bars on the third payline at the same time. Since the gaming device awards the highest paying of the outcomes in situations where multiple outcomes are present, the game would initially indicate a winning outcome of three any bars is to be displayed on the first payline, but would replace that initial winning outcome determination with a winning outcome of three bars on the third payline when the third random number was obtained. This is due to the fact that three bar symbols pays five credits while three any bars only pays three credits.
  • Next the game device would use one of the above-described methods of displaying the winning outcome of three bars on the third payline. In this instance, the reel stop positions of 4, 14, and 16 are respectively chosen as being displayed on the third payline. This displayed outcome is shown in FIG. 5C. As illustrated in this figure, the selection of these reel stop positions also causes three cherry symbols to appear on the second payline. Although the second random number associated with the second payline corresponded to the generic losing outcome, a second winning combination has been achieved by virtue of the reel stop selections for the winning outcome on the third payline. Hence, the game in this example would pay seven credits, five for the three bars received on the third payline and two for the three cherries received on the second payline.
  • Although these examples are used to illustrate some basic embodiments of the present concept, many other variations and alternatives exist in implementing principles of this concept.
  • FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of a method of determining a game outcome on a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, an example flow 200 begins by receiving a wager from a player to play a game at a gaming device (210). A game initiating input is then received in process (212) to initiate the game for which the previous wager was received. As discussed above, the player may select a specific amount to wager on the game device and separately press a game initiation button (e.g., a SPIN button), or a player may press a single button (e.g., a MAX BET button or a REPEAT BET button) that both places the desired wager and initiates a game using the desired wager. In process (214), an outcome selecting indicator in obtained. In some embodiments, this outcome selecting indicator is a single Random Number Generator (RNG) value. The RNG value may be obtained from a dedicated random number generator either on the gaming device or on a remote server, or may be obtained from a microprocessor 40 (FIG. 1A) in the gaming device. Additionally, the RNG value may be obtained from a software or firmware algorithm or application, or from any other source known in the art. In other embodiments, the outcome selecting indicator may include a directive from the game processor, from a remote server, or from another control source. This directive may specify the selection of a certain outcome or a certain type of outcome as discussed above.
  • The outcome for the game is then determined from the outcome selecting indicator in process (216). Because most game devices utilize many possible outcomes, a few of which are winning outcomes, the outcome selecting indicator may be preferably used to determine if the outcome is a losing outcome or one of a plurality of winning outcomes. That is, as described above with respect to FIG. 4A, an RNG value being used as the outcome selecting indicator may be mapped to either a generic losing outcome, or one of the winning outcomes specified in the paytable. Therefore, unlike conventional gaming devices that utilize several random numbers to determine game output characteristics, such as reel stop positions or cards from a virtual deck, and require further analysis to determine the game outcome, process (216) directly utilizes the single RNG value obtained to determine if the game outcome is a winning outcome, and if so, which winning outcome is to be awarded.
  • After a game outcome has been determined in process (216), display characteristics of the game outcome are determined in process (218). This process involves determining how to display the game outcome determined in process (216). If a winning outcome is determined as the game outcome in process (216), the display characteristic determination may include identifying reel stop numbers or card values corresponding to the winning outcome and selecting which of the identified reel stop numbers or card values to display as the game outcome. This process is more fully discussed below with respect to FIG. 7. If a losing outcome is determined as the game outcome in process (216), the display characteristic determination may include choosing an outcome and confirming that the chosen outcome is indeed a losing outcome. This process is more fully discussed below with respect to FIG. 8.
  • The game event is then displayed to the player in process (220). The display of the game event may have begun upon receiving a wager (210) or upon initiation of the game (212), but does not conclude until the game outcome display has been determined in process (218). For example, in a spinning reel gaming device, the reels may have begun to spin prior to the determination of the game outcome display, but the reels will not stop until it is determined where they are going to stop so that they properly show the determined game outcome. In another example, the display of a game event for a video poker gaming device may include displaying a dealt hand, receiving one or more player inputs to hold and draw cards, and displaying a final poker hand.
  • At the conclusion of the game event, the game outcome will be displayed to the player in process (222). Depending on the type of gaming device being played, the display of the game outcome may include the stopped positions of game reels, a final poker hand, a complete keno number reveal, a blackjack dealer's hand, etc. If the game outcome is associated with a bonus, play of the gaming device may transfer to a bonus mode to allow the player to play a bonus and/or receive a bonus award. If the game outcome is a winning game outcome, the award associated with the winning outcome and any other displayed winning combination is paid in process (224).
  • FIG. 7 is a flow diagram of a method of displaying a winning outcome on a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 7, an example flow 205 begins by determining that the game outcome is to be a winning game outcome in process (230). This process may be accomplished, for example, by determining that an obtained random number corresponds to one of a plurality of game outcomes associated with an award value. With reference to FIG. 4A, a game outcome may be determined to be a winning outcome when a random number is obtained that corresponds to a random outcome value of 1800 or greater. Additionally, the specific winning combination of symbols is determined in process (230). With reference again to FIG. 4A, this specific winning combination of symbols is determined by identifying a range created by the paytable weights for which a random outcome corresponds.
  • After a winning outcome has been determined, the reel stop positions associated with the symbols of the winning outcome are identified in process (232). For example, in the three reel slot machine example discussed with reference to FIGS. 4A and 4B, where a winning outcome is determined to include three double bars (“DB DB DB”), reel stops 8 and 18 would be identified for reel 1, reel stops 6 and 18 would be identified for reel 2, and reel stops 4 and 18 would be identified for reel 3. In a video poker example, where a heart flush was determined as the game outcome, each heart card may be identified in process (232).
  • Once the reel stop positions (or other winning indicia) associated with the game outcome have been identified (232), the gaming device selects among the identified reel stop positions to determine the reel stops for the game outcome display. In the three reel slot example, the gaming device may select reel stops 8, 18, and 18 as the reel stops of the double bars to display as the game outcome. In the video poker example, the gaming device may select the 2, 5, 8, Jack, and Ace of hearts to display as the game outcome. This selection process may include randomly selecting among the identified reel stop positions or cards in some embodiments. Alternatively, the selection process may sequentially choose between the reel stops and cards, or use another selection technique.
  • In process 236, the gaming device determines whether there are any further reels (or cards) to determine for the displayed winning outcome. For example, if the three reel slot device selected the bonus (“X X BN”) as the winning outcome, the second reel stop of the third reel would be selected to display the winning outcome. However, since the win only requires a bonus symbol to land on the payline of the third reel for a bonus win, the outcomes displayed on the first two reels do not affect this winning outcome. In such a case, the gaming device would select two other reel stop positions for reels 1 and 2 to complete the game outcome display in process 238. In a five reel slot device, wins are typically given for three and four symbol combinations the fall on a payline from left to right. Hence, if a winning outcome was selected for a three symbol win on a five reel game, reel stops for the other two reels would be selected in process 238. In the above video poker example, after the five heart cards were selected, five other cards would be selected to complete the possible dealt and draw hands in process 238. These additional selections of process 238 may be made randomly or by another selection technique.
  • If there are extra reels or cards to determine, after these other reel stops or cards have been determined, the gaming device insures that these additional selections do not affect the game outcome in process (240). In the three reel example, it would make no difference which reel stops were selected for reels 1 and 2. However, in the five reel example where a three symbol winning outcome was selected, process (240) would insure that a fourth symbol matching the symbol of the winning outcome did not fall on the same payline for the fourth reel since this four symbol win would be significantly greater than the winning outcome that was determined by the in process (216) of FIG. 6.
  • When it is determined that either no additional reels need to be determined or that the additional reels that have been determined do not affect the outcome, the determined game outcome is displayed to the player in process (242). For the spinning reel examples, the display of this outcome is described above. Further details of methods of displaying a video poker outcome are discussed below with respect to FIG. 12. Process (244) then awards the prize or prizes associated with the determined winning outcome.
  • FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of a method of displaying a losing outcome on a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 8, an example flow 208 begins by determining that the game outcome is to be a losing game outcome in process (250). This process may be accomplished, for example, by determining that an obtained random number corresponds to the generic losing outcome. With reference to FIG. 4A, a game outcome may be determined to be a losing outcome when a random number is obtained that corresponds to a random outcome value of 1799 or less.
  • After a losing outcome has been determined, the game device may determine whether the losing outcome is to be a near-miss outcome in process (252). Near-miss outcomes are outcomes that initially appear to be headed toward a large prize only to nearly miss the prize at the last moment. For instance, in the three-reel gaming device example described above, a near miss outcome may be a jackpot symbol landing on the payline for the first reel, a jackpot symbol landing on the payline for the second reel, and a blank adjacent to the a jackpot symbol landing on the payline for the third reel. Since the first reel stops first, followed by the second reel stopping, the player may become excited thinking they have a good chance at winning the jackpot award. When the third reel finally stops, they may be disappointed about not winning the jackpot, but they will typically be more excited about “nearly missing” the jackpot than had they received a losing outcome with three blank symbols even though neither result pays any credits.
  • A determination of whether a losing outcome is a near-miss outcome in process (252) may include a separate determination from the initial determination of the game outcome in process (216) of FIG. 6, or near-miss outcomes may be built into the paytable shown in FIG. 4A. Since there is no award associated with a near miss outcome, a portion of the 1800 paytable weight for the losing outcome may be allocated to one or more categories of near miss outcomes, which can be explicitly included in the paytable. Alternatively, a single near-miss outcome may be included in the paytable and a separate list of possible near-miss outcomes may be stored in the memory of the gaming device. If near-miss outcomes are not included in the game paytable, a separate determination may be made as to whether the losing outcome is a near-miss outcome such as randomly selecting a number between 1 and 20, where a selection of “20” would result in the selection of a near-miss outcome from a list of possible near-miss outcomes. Various other alternative embodiments are also possible. Additionally, some embodiments may not include a separate process for determining if a losing outcome is a near-miss outcome; thus, any near-miss outcome would simply be the result of the selection of the losing outcome.
  • If a near-miss outcome is selected in process (252), the actual near-miss outcome to be displayed is determined in process (258). If near-misses are included in the game paytable, this process (258) would include identifying which of the near-miss outcomes specified in the paytable was selected. If a separate list of near-miss outcomes is used, process (258) may include selecting, randomly or otherwise, one of the specified near-miss outcomes to display.
  • If the gaming device does not include a near-miss outcome option, or when it is determined that the losing outcome is not a near-miss outcome, the gaming device selects a game outcome to display in process (254). For a spinning reel gaming device, this process may include selecting reel stops for each of the reels. For a video poker gaming device, this process may include selecting cards to display. Since there are typically a very large number of possible losing outcomes, the selection process may randomly select reel stops or cards to display as the losing outcome. However, other selection methods may be employed to determine the reel stops or cards. After this selection has taken place, the gaming device determines whether the selected outcome is a losing outcome in process (256). That is, process (256) insures that a selected outcome to display is not associated with an award. If the selected outcome is determined to be associated with an award, the outcome selection in process (254) is repeated until a selected outcome is determined to be a losing outcome. After a losing outcome to display is determined, or a near-miss outcome is selected, the gaming device displays this outcome to the player in process (260).
  • As alluded to above with respect to FIGS. 5A-5C, multi-line games usually present additional complications over a single-line gaming device. Some simple multi-line games may just take into account possible reel stop combinations that award multiple prizes, such as those shown in FIGS. 5A-5C. However, this method could become very cumbersome and complex for most multi-line games, especially for those that utilize four or more reels and reel strips with adjacent symbols (i.e., no “blanks” between the symbols). FIGS. 9-11 discuss several methods of utilizing this game outcome determination concept on these more complex multi-line gaming devices. However, the inventive concept is not limited only to these example embodiments; rather, this concept includes all similar methods of determining game outcomes on multi-line gaming devices using an overall randomly determined outcome.
  • FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of a method of displaying a game outcome on a multi-line gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 9, an example flow 300 begins by receiving a wager and game initiation input from the player in process (310). For purposes of this embodiment, assume that a player is playing each line of a five line video spinning reel gaming device such as the gaming device illustrated in FIG. 2B. In process (312), the gaming device selects an outcome for the next line played. In the above example, the gaming device would select an outcome for the first payline here. The gaming device then determines whether the selected outcome is a winning outcome in process (314). If it is a winning outcome, the gaming device stores this winning outcome in memory as a winning outcome associated with the first payline in process (316). It is then determined if another line has been played by the player in process (318). If another line is being played by the player, the gaming device selects an outcome for the next payline in process (312) and repeats the processes of determining whether this newly selected outcome is a winning outcome (314) and storing the winning outcome in memory if the newly selected outcome is a winning outcome (316). This procedure is repeated for each of the paylines played by the player. In the above example, the player has played all five paylines. Thus, this procedure repeats five times where a selected outcome is determined for each of the five played paylines.
  • After determining a outcome for each payline, the gaming device determines if any winning outcomes have been stored in memory in process (320). If no winning outcomes have been determined, the gaming device selects a losing outcome in process (330). This selection process (330) may include the process steps of selecting a losing outcome discussed in FIG. 8. The losing outcome is then displayed to the player in process (332) and the gaming device waits for further input (334). If one or more winning outcomes are determined as having been stored in memory (320), the gaming device selects a winning outcome display for the next stored winning outcome in process (322). Process (322) may include the process steps of selecting a winning outcome described above with respect to FIG. 7. If in the above five line example winning outcomes were determined for paylines 2 and 5, two winning outcomes would be stored in memory. A winning outcome display for the winning outcome on payline 2 would be initially selected by process (322).
  • The winning outcome display determined in process (322) would then be displayed to the player in process (324) and prizes associated with this winning outcome would be awarded to the player in process (326). In some embodiments, the payline for which the winning outcome is associated with may be highlighted prior to the reels being spun so that the player focuses on the symbols landing on that payline. Winning combinations incidentally appearing on other paylines not associated with the highlighted payline would not be paid. If additional winning outcomes are stored in memory as determined in process (328), processes (322), (324), and (326) are repeated for each of these stored winning outcomes. In other embodiments, each winning outcome display may be determined (322) prior to displaying any of the outcomes (324) or awarding any prizes (326). Essentially, these embodiments would move process (328) up in flow 300 so it was between processes (322) and (324). This process may be exciting for a player because each spin of the gaming device results in a winning outcome. Thus, with each additional spin, the player may become more excited. In some embodiments, the stored winning outcomes may be displayed sequentially be payline number. Hence, a win on payline 2 would be displayed before a win on payline 5. In other embodiments, the stored winning outcomes may be rearranged so that the winning outcomes are displayed from smallest award amount to largest award amount. For example, if the award associated with the winning outcome on payline 2 is greater than the award amount associated with the winning outcome on payline 5, the winning outcome on payline 5 may be displayed first. These embodiments may build further excitement for a player as each additional spin will not only result in another win, but likely a larger win. Each iteration of displaying a winning outcome and providing an award to the player may be done without further player interaction.
  • In other embodiments, outcomes may be selected and displayed for each of the lines played. In these embodiments, loses may be only briefly displayed while wins are displayed for a longer period of time as described in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/204,633, filed Sep. 4, 2008, entitled GAMING DEVICE HAVING VARIABLE SPEED OF PLAY, the teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of another method of displaying a game outcome on a multi-line gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 10, an example flow 305 includes many similar processes to the example flow 300 illustrated in FIG. 9. However, instead of storing and displaying winning combinations for each winning outcome determined in process (312), embodiments related to flow 305 only stores a winning outcome with largest associated award. Thus, after determining that an outcome is a winning outcome in process (314), the gaming device determines if the newly selected winning outcome is associated with an award greater than the award of any previously stored outcome in process (315). If the newly selected winning outcome is associated with a larger award (or it is the first winning outcome to be stored), the newly selected winning outcome replaces the old stored winning outcome if any in process (317). Here, a winning outcome is selected for each of the lines played in processes (312), (314), and (318).
  • If it is determined that a winning outcome has been stored in process (320), the gaming device selects a winning outcome to display in process (321) and confirms that this outcome display does not include a winning combination with an award value greater than the award value of the selected winning outcome in process (323). The reason for this confirmation process (323) is to prevent a relatively low winning award repeatedly bringing up a much larger jackpot award since this would significantly nullify the weighted values in the paytable. However, additional lower paying awards may be allowed to be paid as one of the benefits of playing multiple lines. Once a winning outcome display has been selected and confirmed, the winning outcome is displayed on the associated payline in process (324) and the award from the winning outcome and any other winning combinations appearing on other played paylines are paid to the player in process (326).
  • FIG. 11 is a flow diagram of yet another method of displaying a game outcome on a multi-line gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 11, an example flow 308 begins by receiving a wager and game initiation input from the player in process (350). In process (352), the gaming device selects an outcome for the initiated game. The gaming device selects only one game outcome regardless of whether the player is playing one payline or multiple paylines. However, the paytable (such as the paytable illustrated in FIG. 4A) may be modified depending upon how many paylines the player elects to play. That is, if the player is playing a single payline, the paytable weights may be different than if the player is playing five paylines. In some embodiments, the higher the number of paylines played, the more paytable weight is shifted from the generic losing outcome to some of the winning outcomes. This ensures that a player playing more paylines, and making a greater wager, is more likely to receive a winning outcome than a player playing only one payline.
  • In process (354), it is determined whether the selected outcome is a winning outcome. If it is a losing outcome, an outcome to display is determined in process (356) and it is confirmed that this outcome to display is a losing outcome and does not provide a winning combination on another played payline in process (358). Once the displayed outcome is determined to be a losing outcome, the losing outcome is displayed in process (360). Since it doesn't matter on which payline the losing outcome is displayed, the reel stops associated with the losing outcome may be displayed on a central payline, which is usually the first payline.
  • If process (354) determines that the selected outcome is a winning outcome, the gaming device selects among reel stop positions associated with the winning outcome to determine the reel stop positions to display in process (370). The gaming device then chooses which of the played lines to display the determined reel stops associated with the winning outcome in process (372). The selection of the payline to display the game outcome in process (372) may be a random selection, a sequential selection through the paylines, or another type of selection. Once the reel stops are known and the payline on which they will be displayed is known, the game device analyzes the other reel positions to determine if any of the other paylines include a winning combination in process (374). Unlike the example flow 305 illustrated in FIG. 10, if a symbol combination with an award larger than the award of the winning outcome is determined to be present on a played payline, that award is paid along with the award for the winning outcome and any other winning awards. For this reason, the change in the paytable weights between different numbers of played lines may not be that drastic. Rather, only a few of the paytable weight values for the generic losing outcome may be transferred to some of the lower valued winning outcomes to increase the overall hit frequency of the gaming device while still allowing for additional wins to be accumulated for secondary winning symbol combinations present when a winning outcome is determined and displayed. Afterwards, the reels are spun until the selected reel stops appear on the selected payline, and the award associated with the winning outcome and any other awards from other winning symbol combinations appearing on played paylines are paid to the player in process (376). The gaming device may then wait for further player input in process (380).
  • The multi-line selection methods described above focus on gaming devices that may have fixed reel strips. That is, reel strips that correspond to each reel of the game device and do not change between games. However, for gaming devices that use individual reel strips for each symbol position on a gaming display (“super spin” games) or for gaming devices that use flexible reel strips, alternative multi-line techniques may be available. Super spin games and flexible reel strip games have the ability to select a symbol for every displayed symbol position on a gaming display. Thus, more detailed selection processes may be used in choosing the symbols to display on the screen. In one example, a multi-line game may select an outcome for each played line where the game locks in winning outcome symbol positions for paylines that are determined earlier. That is, if a player is playing a five line game (FIG. 2B) and a three bar winning outcome is selected on the first payline (the horizontal middle payline), the first three symbols on that payline are “locked in” with bar outcomes. If the outcomes on the fourth or fifth payline are selected such that they require a symbol different than a bar symbol in the second position on the payline (where the left-most cherry is in FIG. 2B), the gaming device may select another outcome until an outcome is compatible with the bar symbol or employ one of the multi-line techniques discussed above. Alternatively, once a winning outcome is “locked in,” the remaining outcomes on other paylines may be selected from a subset of the possible outcomes that correspond to the previously selected locked-in outcome.
  • In another example, a multi-line game may select a single award value and apportion this award value between multiple outcomes displayed on played paylines. That is, if an award value of 150 credits was selected, an outcome associated with a 100 credit award may be selected for payline 1, an outcome associated with a 40 credit award may be selected for payline 3, and an outcome associated with a 10 credit award may be selected for payline 5. In addition, other symbols may be selected for the symbol positions not involved in the selected outcomes that cause near-miss outcomes to appear on other played lines. This may give the player the feeling that they almost won additional credits.
  • As discussed above, this concept is not limited only to slot machine gaming devices. Rather, this outcome determination concept can be used with a variety of different gaming device types or themes. For example, this concept may be used with keno, video blackjack, video poker, etc. FIG. 12 is provided as an example of how this concept may be implemented on one of these “other” types of gaming devices, in this case video poker.
  • FIG. 12 is a flow diagram of a method of displaying a game outcome on a video poker gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 12, an example flow 400 begins by receiving a wager and game initiation input from the player in process (410). In process (412), the gaming device selects an outcome for the initiated game, randomly or otherwise, and then determines if the outcome is a winning outcome in process (414). One of the main differences between this embodiment and the spinning reel embodiments discussed above is in the method of how to display the winning and losing outcomes since video poker includes a dealt hand, player input to hold cards in the dealt hand, and then draw cards for any card not held from the dealt hand. There is total possibility of ten cards being used for a single game if the player does not hold any cards from the dealt hand. To account for the player's ability to hold cards and draw cards in creating a final hand, the gaming device has to make certain assumptions about what the player will do. In the example discussed here, the gaming device assumes that the player will use the strategy that is theoretically most likely to result in the best paying hand (also referred to here as a “best strategy”). Other assumptions may be made in different embodiments.
  • If the selected outcome is not determined to be a winning outcome in process (414) (i.e., it is a determined to be a losing outcome), a group of dealt cards and possible draw cards are selected in process (420) and confirmed to result in a losing hand using the best strategy assumptions in process (425). For example, if the dealt hand includes 4H, 6S, 8D, 10C, and QD, the best strategy would be to hold the QD and draw four cards. Process (425) would ensure that that another Q or another winning combo did not exist in the next four draw cards. However, assume that the player held the 8D and the draw cards included 8S and 8H in the next four draw cards. The player would actually win here, even though a losing outcome was selected since the player was not using the best strategy assumed by the gaming device. Other embodiments may ensure that no win is possible when it is determined that the outcome is a losing outcome.
  • If the selected outcome is determined to be a winning outcome in process (414), the gaming device selects the winning cards, randomly or otherwise, in process (430) and the other cards to fill out the dealt and draw hands in process (432). For example if the winning hand was determined to be a three of a kind, three kings may be selected as the winning outcome and seven other cards may be selected as the remaining cards. The gaming device then confirms that the other cards do not result in a win larger than the win associated with the selected winning outcome (e.g., a fourth king is not selected among the other seven cards) in process (434). Once the other cards are confirmed as being acceptable, all of the cards are shuffled and separated into a dealt hand and draw cards in process (436). It is then determined whether the winning hand would be reached from the dealt hand by a player using the best strategy in process (438). For example, if the dealt hand included only one king and four other cards of different matching suit such as four hearts and king of spades, the best strategy would be the hold the four hearts and not the king. Here, the cards would be reshuffled in process (436) until it was determined that the winning hand was reachable by a player using the best strategy.
  • Once a dealt hand and draw card order has been set for either the winning or losing hands, the dealt cards are displayed to the player in process (440). The gaming device waits for the player's input to hold cards and request a draw in process (442). The gaming device then displays a final poker hand and awards any prizes associated with the final poker hand in process (444). The gaming device may than wait for further player input in process (446).
  • Some embodiments of the invention have been described above, and in addition, some specific details are shown for purposes of illustrating the inventive principles. However, numerous other arrangements may be devised in accordance with the inventive principles of this patent disclosure. Further, well known processes have not been described in detail in order not to obscure the invention. Thus, while the invention is described in conjunction with the specific embodiments illustrated in the drawings, it is not limited to these embodiments or drawings. Rather, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents that come within the scope and spirit of the inventive principles set out in the appended claims.

Claims (42)

  1. 1. A method of determining a game outcome on a gaming device, the method comprising:
    receiving a game initiating input;
    selecting a single random number;
    determining if the single random number corresponds to a winning game outcome;
    displaying the winning game outcome corresponding to the single random number when the single random number corresponds to a winning game outcome; and
    displaying a losing game outcome when the single random number does not correspond to a winning game outcome.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein displaying a losing game outcome includes selecting a losing game outcome from a plurality of losing game outcomes to display.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, wherein displaying a losing game outcome includes:
    selecting a game outcome display;
    determining if the selected game outcome display corresponds to a losing game outcome display;
    displaying the selected game outcome display when the selected game outcome display corresponds to a losing game outcome display; and
    selecting another game outcome display until a selected game outcome display corresponds to a losing game outcome display when the selected game outcome display corresponds to a winning game outcome display.
  4. 4. The method of claim 3, wherein selecting a game outcome display includes randomly selecting reel stops for a spinning reel gaming device.
  5. 5. The method of claim 3, wherein selecting a game outcome display includes randomly selecting cards to display in a video poker gaming device.
  6. 6. The method of claim 1, wherein displaying a losing game outcome includes displaying a near-miss losing outcome when a determination indicates that a near-miss losing outcome is to be displayed.
  7. 7. The method of claim 6, wherein displaying a near-miss losing outcome includes randomly selecting one of a plurality of near-miss losing outcomes to display.
  8. 8. The method of claim 1, wherein determining if the single random number corresponds to a winning game outcome includes:
    normalizing the single random number to correspond to a numerical format of an outcome table;
    matching the normalized single random number with an entry in the outcome table; and
    determining if the matched outcome table entry is associated with a winning game outcome.
  9. 9. The method of claim 1, wherein displaying the winning game outcome corresponding to the single random number includes:
    determining reel stops associated with symbols corresponding to the winning game outcome; and
    spinning game reels to the determined reel stops.
  10. 10. The method of claim 9, wherein determining reel stops associated with symbols corresponding to the winning game outcome includes randomly selecting one of a plurality of reel stops that correspond to the symbols.
  11. 11. The method of claim 9, wherein determining reel stops associated with symbols corresponding to the winning game outcome includes selecting a next reel stop from a plurality of reel stops that correspond to the symbols.
  12. 12. The method of claim 1, wherein determining if the single random number corresponds to a winning game outcome includes determining if the single random number corresponds to a winning video poker hand.
  13. 13. The method of claim 12, wherein displaying the winning game outcome corresponding to the single random number includes:
    selecting cards associated with the winning poker hand;
    selecting additional cards to complete a set of cards used in a dealt hand and a reserved draw hand;
    rearranging a presentation order of the winning cards and the additional cards to form the dealt hand and the reserved draw hand;
    determining if the winning game outcome would be reached by a player using a best strategy;
    repeating the rearranging of the card presentation order process and determination process until it is determined that the winning outcome would be reached using a best strategy;
    thereafter, displaying the dealt hand to the player;
    receiving at least one player input to manage the dealt hand and draw additional cards from the reserved draw hand if desired; and
    displaying a final poker hand to the player.
  14. 14. The method of claim 13, wherein selecting additional cards to complete a set of cards used in a dealt hand and a reserved draw hand includes:
    determining if a combination of the winning poker cards and the selected additional cards result in a larger winning hand than the determined winning game outcome; and
    selecting another set of additional cards until the combination of cards does not result in a larger winning hand than the determined winning game outcome.
  15. 15. A method of determining and displaying a game outcome on a gaming device, the method comprising:
    receiving a game initiating input;
    obtaining a game outcome indicator;
    selecting one of a plurality of possible outcomes as the game outcome using the game outcome indicator, wherein the plurality of possible outcomes includes a plurality of winning game outcomes associated with a prize and a generic losing outcome;
    when the selected game outcome is associated with a prize:
    determining display characteristics of the game outcome,
    displaying the game outcome using the determined display characteristics, and
    awarding the prize associated with the game outcome; and
    when the selected game outcome is associated with the generic losing outcome:
    selecting an outcome to display,
    determining if the selected outcome is associated with a losing result,
    repeating the selection of an outcome until the selected outcome is associated with a losing result, and
    displaying the selected outcome associated with a losing result.
  16. 16. The method of claim 15, wherein the plurality of possible outcomes further includes at least one near-miss losing outcome.
  17. 17. The method of claim 16, further comprising when the selected game outcome is associated with a near-miss losing outcome:
    determining display characteristics of the game outcome; and
    displaying the game outcome using the determined display characteristics.
  18. 18. The method of claim 15, wherein the gaming device is a multi-line gaming device.
  19. 19. The method of claim 18, wherein when the selected game outcome is associated with a prize, the method further comprises:
    identifying each of the played paylines; and
    selecting one of the played paylines to display the game outcome.
  20. 20. The method of claim 19, wherein when the selected game outcome is associated with a prize, the method further comprises:
    determining if any additional winning combinations appear on a played payline other than the payline chosen to display the game outcome; and
    awarding prizes for any additional winning combinations determined as appearing on a played payline.
  21. 21. A method of determining and displaying a game outcome on a multi-line gaming device, the method comprising:
    receiving a game initiating input;
    determining a game outcome for each played payline;
    when at least one of the game outcomes is associated with a prize:
    separately displaying each of the game outcomes, and
    awarding the prize associated with each displayed game outcome; and
    when all of the game outcomes are associated with a losing outcome:
    selecting a losing outcome to display, and
    displaying the losing outcome.
  22. 22. The method of claim 21, wherein determining a game outcome for each played payline includes:
    determining a game outcome for a first played payline;
    storing the game outcome in memory if the game outcome is associated with a prize; and
    repeating the determination and storage processes until a game outcome has been determined for each played payline.
  23. 23. The method of claim 21, wherein separately displaying each of the game outcomes when at least one of the game outcomes is associated with a prize includes spinning game reels to display a determined game outcome for each of the game outcomes associated with a prize.
  24. 24. The method of claim 23, wherein each game outcome is displayed on a common payline.
  25. 25. The method of claim 23, wherein each game outcome is displayed on a played payline corresponding to the game outcome.
  26. 26. The method of claim 25, wherein reel stop positions corresponding to the played payline corresponding to a game outcome are highlighted prior to the game reels spinning.
  27. 27. A method of determining and displaying a game outcome on a multi-line gaming device, the method comprising:
    receiving a game initiating input;
    determining a game outcome for each played payline;
    storing a game outcome having the largest associated prize in memory when at least one of the determined game outcomes is associated with a prize;
    storing a selected losing outcome in memory when none of the game outcomes are associated with a prize; and
    displaying the stored game outcome.
  28. 28. The method of claim 27, wherein storing a selected losing outcome in memory when none of the game outcomes is associated with a prize includes:
    randomly selecting a losing outcome; and
    storing the randomly selected losing outcome in memory.
  29. 29. The method of claim 27, wherein storing a game outcome having the largest associated prize in memory if at least one of the determined game outcomes is associated with a prize includes:
    comparing a prize amount for a determined game outcome with a prize amount for a previously stored game outcome; and
    replacing the previously stored game outcome with the determined game outcome when the prize amount for the determined game outcome is larger than the prize amount for the previously stored game outcome.
  30. 30. The method of claim 27, further comprising awarding a prize associated with a stored game outcome when the stored game outcome is associated with a prize.
  31. 31. A game device comprising:
    a player interface panel including at least one game initiation device;
    a memory to store a plurality of possible outcomes including each outcome associated with an award and a generic losing outcome;
    a processor configured to determine a game outcome from the plurality of possible outcomes and configured to determine display parameters of the game outcome; and
    a game display to show the game outcome having the determined display parameters.
  32. 32. The gaming device of claim 31, wherein the processor is configured to determine the display parameters of a game outcome associated with an award by selecting reel stops corresponding to the game outcome.
  33. 33. The gaming device of claim 31, wherein the processor is configured to determine the display parameters of a losing game outcome by selecting reel stops and confirming that the selected reel stops do not result in a winning outcome.
  34. 34. The gaming device of claim 31, wherein the processor is configured to determine the display parameters of a game outcome associated with an award by selecting cards corresponding to the game outcome.
  35. 35. The gaming device of claim 34, wherein the processor is further configured to rearrange an order of the selected cards and confirm that the rearranged order will result in the game outcome using a best strategy.
  36. 36. The gaming device of claim 31, wherein the processor is configured to determine the display parameters of a losing game outcome by selecting cards and confirming that the selected cards do not result in a winning outcome when using a best strategy.
  37. 37. The gaming device of claim 31, wherein the plurality of possible outcomes includes each outcome associated with an award and only one generic losing outcome.
  38. 38. The gaming device of claim 37, wherein each of the plurality of possible outcomes has a corresponding table range with which it is associated.
  39. 39. The gaming device of claim 38, wherein the table ranges of each outcome is associated with the hit frequency of that game outcome.
  40. 40. The gaming device of claim 39, wherein the memory is modifiable by a casino operator to alter the table ranges of each outcome.
  41. 41. The gaming device of claim 39, wherein the table ranges stored in the memory are modifiable based on game events occurring on the game device.
  42. 42. The gaming device of claim 39, wherein the table ranges stored in the memory are modifiable based on characteristics of a player.
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