WO2010062653A2 - Game systems and methods for remote card games using physical playing cards - Google Patents

Game systems and methods for remote card games using physical playing cards Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2010062653A2
WO2010062653A2 PCT/US2009/062376 US2009062376W WO2010062653A2 WO 2010062653 A2 WO2010062653 A2 WO 2010062653A2 US 2009062376 W US2009062376 W US 2009062376W WO 2010062653 A2 WO2010062653 A2 WO 2010062653A2
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
game
card
player
playing
system
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2009/062376
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2010062653A3 (en
Inventor
George Makhoul
Jerry Rosemeyer
Andrew Brimer
Original Assignee
Innovative Casino Games, Llc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US10898608P priority Critical
Priority to US61/108,986 priority
Application filed by Innovative Casino Games, Llc filed Critical Innovative Casino Games, Llc
Publication of WO2010062653A2 publication Critical patent/WO2010062653A2/en
Publication of WO2010062653A3 publication Critical patent/WO2010062653A3/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3202Hardware aspects of a gaming system, e.g. components, construction, architecture thereof
    • G07F17/3216Construction aspects of a gaming system, e.g. housing, seats, ergonomic aspects
    • G07F17/322Casino tables, e.g. tables having integrated screens, chip detection means
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3286Type of games
    • G07F17/3293Card games, e.g. poker, canasta, black jack

Abstract

Game systems and methods facilitate remote card games. A game system can include a game table, a card reader, a processing system, and a plurality of state indicators. The game table can receive a plurality of playing cards during a card game. The game table can have a plurality of player regions, and a first player region on the game table can comprise a card sensor for detecting a presence of one or more of the plurality of playing cards in the first player region. The card reader can detect identities of the plurality of playing cards. The processing system can automatically detect a game state of the card game based at least partially on data received from the card sensor in the first player region. The plurality of state indicators can be in communication with the processing system and can direct game play based on the detected game state.

Description

GAME SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR REMOTE CARD GAMES USING PHYSICAL PLAYING CARDS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims a benefit, under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e), of U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 61/108,986, filed 28 October 2008, the entire contents and substance of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

Various embodiments of the present invention relate generally to online gaming and, more particularly, to systems and methods for enabling remote players to participate in card games that utilize physical playing cards.

BACKGROUND

Various types of gaming, both legal and illegal, have existed in this country since its inception. Because gaming is controlled by state law, there are varying levels of legalized gaming depending on a particular state's laws. Nevada is the only state in the United States that allows legal gaming of almost every variety. Other states, such as New York, may allow gaming only in certain locations, such as dog tracks, and/or pari-mutuel and off-track betting. Still other states, like Georgia, may have state run lotteries, a kind of state run pari-mutuel betting system. Still other states prohibit gaming entirely.

The varieties of state gaming laws, coupled with the development of the internet, are among the factors that have fueled a recent, exponential growth in online gaming in the United States. Players can pursue various types of gaming from almost any computer with internet access. This can be useful, for instance, to people who live in states that do not allow gaming or do not allow certain kinds of gaming. This can also be useful for people who are physically unable to travel to casinos or other gaming facilities. Online outlets now provide countless gaming options via the internet. One can participate in online casino games, such as roulette, blackjack, and the like, with or without other players. One can also play a variety of conventional card and board games. These services are often hosted by actual casinos located around the country and around the world. Even Online bingo is provided for those who may no longer be able to make it to the local Elk lodge or VFW post.

Recently, there has been a revival in the popularity of poker. This has been fueled partly by the proliferation of televised poker tournaments on cable outlets such as ESPN. Large poker tournaments with multi-million dollar prizes are televised regularly on multiple channels. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of online poker players and, thus, the number of online poker providers. Many providers offer online poker to computers with internet access and players having credit cards or checking accounts. Players can log on from anywhere, 24 hours a day, and can play various forms of poker, such as, but not limited to, Texas hold' em or five-card draw.

Poker sites make money in a variety of ways. For example, a host of a poker site may keep a rake, i.e., a percentage of the pot or an ante, from each hand. Many sites also host tournaments. Players pay an entry fee to the site, in addition to the tournament buy- in, and then can then receive winnings based on their performance. Sites may also allow players to place side bets against the house on certain games. The odds for these side bets, as in a casino, are skewed in favor of the house and thus are profitable overall. Sites may also simply invest the monies deposited with them and profit on the float, i.e., the time between when the player deposits money and when he withdraws it. Conventionally, online poker players are "dealt" cards, more precisely given computer representations of cards, by an automated system. Players can then participate in the game by placing bets, discarding, receiving new cards, etc. After play is complete, the winner is identified by the system. The winner's account is credited for the value of the pot, the losers' accounts debited. On these systems, however, there is often concern among users that card dealing is not sufficiently random.

Non-random dealing can be used to favor the house, house-employed players, or "bots" (poker-playing software disguised as a human opponent). Non-random dealing may also be used to give more than one player in a particular hand good cards in an effort to increase the bets and hence the size of the pot and the rake. Similar strategies may also be employed to prevent new players from losing so quickly that they become discouraged and log off. In addition, many think the number of "bad beats," or high hands beaten by still higher hands, is disproportionate as compared to live games.

These services also have other shortcomings. For instance, these sites generally do not provide direct interaction with the dealer or with other players; rather, interactions are generally limited to internet chat through text messages. There is no interaction with the dealer because there is no dealer. The dealer is simply a computer program that randomly, or perhaps somewhat less than randomly, generates representations of playing cards. Moreover, while there often are multiple players participating in a particular game, no facilities are generally provided for these players to communicate with one another directly. In other words, the experience is woefully similar to playing video poker in an arcade. Players have conventionally not been able to play poker remotely on a site that uses actual playing cards. Thus far, online poker sites use only computer-generated depictions of cards. Because some players believe that these computer- generated cards can be manipulated to tip the odds of winning in favor of the house, some players are discouraged from playing remote poker. Therefore, there is a need for game systems and methods for remote poker using physical playing cards dealt by a dealer to physical positions on a game table. In an exemplary embodiment, captured images of the playing cards can be transmitted to players at remote locations. In a further exemplary embodiment, multiple card games can be based on cards dealt on a single card table. The game systems and methods can be implemented as a state machine incorporated into the game table. It is to such game systems and methods that various embodiments of the present invention or direction.

SUMMARY

Various embodiments of the present invention are game systems and methods, and smart game table systems into which the systems and methods can be integrated. A game system according to the present invention can enable a remote player to participate in a card game, such as a poker game, in which physical cards are dealt on a physical game table. Such a system may be used in various environments, such as, for example, in and around casinos. An exemplary game system according to the present invention can enable players using computers at remote locations from the casino floor, such as in hotel rooms, to participate in card games that use physical playing cards.

Accordingly, the casino can accommodate more players than would otherwise be accommodated on the actual floor of the casino. The remote players could be in other parts of the casino, such as the bar or their hotel rooms, thereby taking up less valuable floor space. In such an embodiment, the players could be connected to tables actually located on the casino floor, or the casino could place tables and dealers in a remote portion of the casino property that was not suitable for entertaining casino guests. Additionally, through the use of stacking, the remote players may play against other remote players using the same cards that are used on a table occupied by physical card players in the casino.

In some exemplary embodiments, the game system can comprise a game table, a card reader, a processing system, and a plurality of state indicators. The game table can receive a plurality of playing cards during a card game. The game table can have a plurality of card detecting regions, including a plurality of player regions, a dealer region, and a public region. Each of one, some, or all of these card regions can comprise a card sensor, for sensing when a card is received in that card region. A first player region can receive playing cards for a player of a card game based on the game system. The card reader can detect the identities of the playing cards dealt on the game table. For example, each of the playing cards can comprise a radio-frequency identification ("RFID") tag, and the card reader can be an RFID reader. In an exemplary embodiment, the card reader is positioned on the table in or near the dealer region, and has a small enough range so as to read the playing cards as they are dealt, without reading the playing cards already positioned in a dealer shoe or in other card detecting regions of the game table.

The processing system can automatically detect a game status of the card game related to the dealt playing cards, based at least partially on data received from the card sensors in the various player regions.

The plurality of state indicators can be in communication with the processing system and can indicate the game status of the card game, as detected by the processing system. For example, in some exemplary embodiments, the state indicators can be lights imbedded in, or otherwise attached to, the game table. In a further exemplary embodiment, at least one light can be positioned in each of the card regions of the game table, and a light is activated when its corresponding card region should receive a playing card for the card game to continue. These and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading the following detailed description of in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES Fig. IA illustrates a top view of a game system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Fig. IB illustrates a diagram of an underside of the game system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 2A illustrates a configuration of playing cards captured by a camera of the game system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Fig. 2B illustrates a second configuration of playing cards captured by a camera of the game system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 3 illustrates the game system communicating with remote players over networks, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 4 illustrates virtual game tables being based on a physical game table of the game system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 5 illustrates remote players being associated with seats at a physical game table, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 6 illustrates a flow chart of a method of operation of the game system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

To facilitate an understanding of the principles and features of the present invention, the invention is explained with reference to its implementation in illustrative embodiments. In particular, embodiments of the invention are described in the context of being a game system for remote card games. Embodiments of the invention, however, are not limited to remote card games. Rather, embodiments of the invention can be used for various remote games or other remote interactions. For example, and not limitation, an embodiment of the present invention can be used to provide remote board gaming.

The materials and components described as making up various elements of the invention are intended to be illustrative and not restrictive. Many suitable materials and components that would perform the same or similar functions as the materials described are intended to be embraced within the scope of embodiments of the invention. Such other materials can include, for example, materials developed after development of the invention.

Various embodiments of the game system 100 can enable remote players to participate in card games using physical cards without being physically located on a casino floor. While embodiments of the game system 100 can be used in many environments, the game system 100 can be particularly useful when operated by a casino for use by individuals who are in or around the casino in locations other than the casino floor. For example, and not limitation, remote players of the game system 100 can be guests at a business that is both a hotel and a casino. Using the game system 100, the remote players can participate in card games without being physically located on the crowded casino floor. Additionally, as described in detail below, because multiple virtual card games can correspond to a single game table 110 of the game system 100, the game system 100 can conserve space on the casino floor.

Referring now it the figures, in which like numerals reference like components and elements throughout the views, various exemplary embodiments of the game systems and methods will be described in detail. Figs. 1A-1B illustrate views of a game system 100, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. More specifically, Fig. IA illustrates a top view of the game system 100, and Fig. IB illustrates a diagram of an underside of the game system 100. As shown in Figs. IA- IB, an exemplary embodiment of the game system can be a smart game table system comprising a game table 110, one or more card sensors 180, one or more cameras 120, a card reader 130, a network device 140, a processing system 150, and a plurality of state indicators 160.

The game table 110 can be a table or other platform for receiving playing cards during a card game. The game table 110 can be made of a material conventionally used in game tables, such as poker tables. For example, and not limitation, the game table 110 can be at least partially composed of wood, plastic, metal, or another sturdy material capable of supporting playing cards and the force of the dealer or various players leaning against the game table 110. The game table 110 can comprise a felt or other cloth on its top surface for aesthetic appeal and for the comfort of the dealer or local players. In some exemplary embodiments, the game table 110 can be a conventional game table 110, such as those found in casinos, retrofitted with various other components of the game system 100.

The game table 110 can comprise one or more card regions on the top surface of the game table 110, including, for example, a player region 112 for each potential player of a card game, a dealer region 114, and a public region 116. In some embodiments, the game table 110 may be of a conventional design with positions for each player and the dealer, corresponding to the player regions 112 and the dealer region 114. For example, the dealer can be seated centrally at the game table 110, and can deal cards to each player region 112 as though players were actually sitting at the table.

The game table 110 can have a plurality of player seats 170 or positions, and can have a player region 112 corresponding to each player seat 170 or position. A first player region 112 can be configured to receive one or more playing cards dealt to a first seat 170, or first position, at the game table 110. The cards dealt to a particular seat 170 at the game table 110 can be private cards 310 (see Fig. 3), which are not viewable by players at other seats 170 of the game table 110. In the game of Texas hold' em, for example, the two hole cards 310 traditionally dealt to each player are private cards 310 that can be delivered to player regions 112 in the game system 100. The first player region 112 can comprise a card sensor 180. The card sensor 180 can be configured to detect when a new playing card enters the player region 112. For example, and not limitation, the card sensor 180 can be a pressure sensor having sufficient sensitivity to sense the pressure of a playing card alone or the pressure of the dealer's hand sliding the playing card over the window 190. Alternatively, the card sensor 180 can be positioned adjacent to the window 190, between the dealer region 114 and the window 190, such that the card sensor 180 is tripped as the playing card passes over the card sensor 180 before reaching the window 190.

In an exemplary embodiment, the game table 110 can have, for example, and not limitation, nine player regions 112 corresponding to nine player seats 170, as with a conventional poker table. The other player regions 112 can be configured in the same, or a similar, manner as the first player region 112. Each player participating in the card game can correspond with a particular active player region 112. Not all player regions 112 must correspond to a player during each card game, however, as some player regions 112 can remain empty, or inactive, during a card game.

One or more of the plurality of cameras 120 can be positioned relative to the game table 110 so as to capture images of the playing cards in the player regions 112. In some exemplary embodiments, each player region 112 can comprise a window 180 through the game table. A camera 120 can be attached to an underside of the game table 110 aligned with the window 190 in each of the player regions 112. The window 190 can be a transparent or semitransparent material occupying a cutout defined by the game table 110. A playing card placed on the window 190 can be viewable from an underside of the game table 110 by the camera 120. The playing cards for a player can be dealt on the window 190 of the player region 112 corresponding to that player. The player regions 112 can optionally each include a structure, such as a card stall 192 (see Figs. 2A-2B), for catching playing cards and aligning them for viewing in the window 190. Accordingly, the cameras 120 underneath the game table 110 can capture the playing cards through the windows 190. Fig. 2A illustrates a configuration of playing cards 50 captured by a camera 120 in a player region 112, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As mentioned above, the camera 120 can be positioned at an underside of the game table 110, pointing upward toward the window 190. Playing cards 50 can be dealt face-down into the window, and can be aligned with the window 190 by the card stall 192. In some exemplary embodiments, the dealer can push each playing card 50 into its position over the window 190 and, if applicable, into the card stall 192. When the playing cards 50 are positioned in the window 190, the camera 120 can capture an image of the playing cards 50 from underneath the game table 110. The card stall 192 can be various shapes. In an exemplary embodiment, the card stall 192 includes specific locations for insertion of each of the playing cards 50, either adjacent or overlapping, as shown in Fig. 2A. However, other embodiments of the card stall 192 can be provided. For example, Fig. 2B illustrates a second embodiment of the card stall 192, resulting in a different configuration of playing cards 50 captured in the window 190.

The window 190 can have one or more light-emitting diodes ("LEDs") 195 positioned at its or around its edges. The LEDs 195 can illuminate the window 190 to enable the camera 120 corresponding to the window 190 to capture a quality image of the playing cards on the window 190. In some exemplary embodiments, the card sensor 180 of the player region 112 can be embedded under the felt or cloth of the game table 110. Alternatively, however, the card sensor 180 can be embedded in the window 190 of the player region 112, such that a card placed on the window 190 can be automatically sensed by the card sensor 180, as well as captured by the camera 120.

Remote gaming can inherently expose game players to security risks, such as cheating by hacking. To reduce exposure to security risks, the various cameras 120 of the game system 100 can have global unique identifiers ("GUIDs"), which can change periodically. A GUID of a particular camera 120 can be used by the processing system 150 to uniquely identify and communicate with that camera 120. If a GUID of a camera 120 is constant, however, a hacker who obtains that GUID, and can eavesdrop on the feed of that camera 120. Varying GUIDs of the cameras 120 on occasion can force hackers to periodically rediscover GUIDs of cameras 120 in order to continue eavesdropping. This can provide greater security than using constant GUIDs by forcing hackers to work harder to continue misusing cameras 120 of the game system 100.

In some exemplary embodiments, a security device (not shown) can be provided to interface between the processing system 150 and the cameras 120. The security device can periodically generate new random GUIDs for the cameras, and can update the processing system 150 with the new GUIDs. In some exemplary embodiments, the GUIDs of the cameras 120 can be updated every hand, every periodic or random number of hands, or at predetermined time intervals. Referring now back to Figs. IA- IB, a player region 112 can additionally comprise means for indicating or detecting whether the player corresponding to the player region 112 has the dealer button. In some exemplary embodiments, for example, the game system 100 can use a physical dealer button, and each player region 112 can comprise a dealer button sensor 113 for detecting whether the dealer button is in that player region 112. Like the card sensors 180, the dealer button sensor 113 can be a pressure sensor for detecting a pressure applied by the dealer button. Alternatively, the dealer button can be detected by other means, such as by RFID tagging or image recognition. In some other exemplary embodiments, a dedicated dealer button light within the player region 112 can indicate that the dealer button is associated with the player corresponding to that player region 112. As the game proceeds, the dealer can have the ability to move the dealer button, and therefore activate and deactivate dealer button lights in the various player regions 112.

As discussed in detail with reference to Figs. 4-5, multiple virtual card games can be based on the playing cards dealt on the physical game table 110. The position of a dealer button in a virtual game can depend on various factors, such as pacing of that particular virtual card game, which can vary as compared to a card game occurring locally at the physical game table 110. In that case, the position of the dealer button in those virtual card games can vary from one another and from a card game occurring locally on the physical game table 110. Regardless of how the dealer button is detected or physically represented on the game table 110, an image or virtual representation of the position of the dealer button within an applicable virtual card game can be transmitted to a remote player. The dealer region 114 can be a region of the game table 110 in which the dealer can perform his duties. For example, like the player regions 112, the dealer region 114 can contain a card sensor 180, which can detect when a burn card 330 (see Fig. 3) is "burned," or discarded, by the dealer, as required in some card games. The card sensor 180 can be, for example, a pressure sensor. During game play, a dealer shoe 115 can be positioned on the game table 110 in or near the dealer region 114. The dealer shoe 115 can hold the playing cards that have not yet been dealt onto the game table 110. The dealer region 114 can further comprise a dealer sensor or button, which the dealer can activate to indicate that an action has been taken, such as indicating that public cards 320 have been dealt. The public region 116 can receive public cards 320 (see Fig. 3) dealt onto the game table

110. In contrast to the private cards 310 dealt to the various player regions 112 at seats 170 of the game table 110, the public region 116 can receive cards viewable by all players in a card game. For example, in Texas hold' em, the community cards 320, such as the flop, the turn, and the river, can be public cards 320 dealt to the public region 116. Like the player regions 112, the public region 116 can comprise one or more pressure sensors for detecting when a new playing card is dealt to the public region 116. In some exemplary embodiments, a card sensor 180 can be provided for each expected public card 320. For example, in Texas hold' em, five card sensors 180 can be provided in the public region 116 for each of the three cards in the flop, for the one card on the turn, and for the one card in the river. Alternatively, however, a card sensor 180 can be provided under a plate or surface in the public region 116, and the single card sensor 180 can detect when an additional card is dealt on the plate or surface. Further alternatively, various other numbers of card sensors 180 can be provided in the public region 116 to detect when cards are dealt into the public region 116. The card sensors 180 in the public region 116 can be, for example, pressure sensors. One or more of the plurality of cameras 120 can be positioned to capture one or more images of the dealer region 114 and the public region 116. These cameras 120 can be positioned over the table or under the table, if the cards in these regions are dealt over windows 190, as in the player regions 112. In an exemplary embodiment, a camera 120 corresponding to the public regions 116 can be a pan/tilt/zoom camera 120 configured to zoom in to capture only the public cards 320 in the public region 116, and also configured to zoom out to view all or most of the game table 110. The other cameras 120 in the game system 100 can also be pan/tilt/zoom cameras 120.

A design can be printed on the top surface of the game table 110 to guide the dealer and players during game play. For example, and not limitation, the design can distinguish the various card regions of the game table 110. For further example, images of face-down cards can be positioned where cards should be dealt for each player.

The card reader 130 can be configured to read one or more, and preferably all, of the cards dealt during the card game. The card reader 130 can read playing card indicia to identify the dealt cards. For example, and not limitation, the card reader 130 can be an RFID reader. Alternatively, the card reader 130 can read magnetic ink, bar codes, or other indicia for card identification. In an alternative embodiment, the card reader 130 can use one or more cameras 120 and software capable of recognizing conventional playing cards using image -based card recognition. The playing cards can comprise a card tag corresponding to the type of card reader 130 used. For example, if the card reader 130 is an RFID reader, the playing cards can each contain an RFID tag. A card tag for a particular playing card can identify that playing card to the card reader 130. For example, if the particular playing card is an ace of spades, the card tag of that playing card can identify the playing card to the card reader 130 as the ace of spades, or as an identification number or string corresponding to the ace of spades.

In an exemplary embodiment, the card reader 130 can be positioned on the game table 110 in or near the dealer region 114. The range of the card reader 130 can be configured to read the playing cards as they are dealt, while being a short enough range not to read the playing cards already positioned in the player regions 112 or public region 116 of the game table. In a further exemplary embodiment, the card reader's range is sufficiently small to avoid reading cards in the dealer shoe 115. Additionally or alternatively, however, the dealer shoe 115 can be composed of a material adapted to shield the playing cards in the dealer shoe 115 from the card reader 130. In some other exemplary embodiments, each card region of the game table 110 can have its own card reader 130 for reading cards dealt into that card region.

At least one network device 140 can be provided in the game system 100 to enable the game system 100 to communicate with remote players. The network device 140 can receive data from the processing system 150, transmit that data to one or more remote computing devices 350 (see Fig. 3) corresponding to remote players, receive game decisions from the remote players, and transmit the received game decisions to the processing system 150 for further processing. The network device 140 can communicate with the remote computing devices 350 over a network, such as the internet or a virtual private network.

Each remote player participating in a card game through the game table 110 can correspond to a predetermined seat 170 at the game table 110. When cards are dealt to a player seat 170, an image of those cards can be captured by the camera 120 corresponding to that seat 170. Additionally, when cards are dealt into the public region 116, an image of the public cards 320 can be captured by the camera 120 corresponding to the public region 116. These images can be still pictures or videos. The images can be communicated from the camera 120 to the network device 140, such as by way of the processing system 150. The network device 140 can then transmit those images to one or more remote players corresponding to the seat 170. Additionally, the card reader 130 can identify the cards as they are dealt to the seat 170. The detected identities of the cards dealt to the seat 170 can be communicated to the network device 140, such as through the processing system 150, and the network device 140 can transmit these identities to the remote players as well. Accordingly, a remote player can receive images of his or her private cards 310 and the public cards 320, as well as the detected identities of his or her private cards 310 and the public cards 320. The detected identities of the playing cards can be used by the processing system 150 to determine game outcome. By receiving images of the cards as well as the detected identities, the remote player can confirm that the identities of the cards being used by the processing system 150 are correct. By receiving the images of the physical cards, the remote player can also confirm that physical cards were dealt, and therefore, the cards received were dealt randomly.

In an exemplary embodiment, the network device 140 can additionally receive multimedia, such as images, videos, or audio feeds, captured by webcams or other devices of the remote players. This multimedia can be transmitted to the various players using the game system 100, such that the remote players can see the faces and hear the voices of other players in the same card game. In some further exemplary embodiments, the game system 100 can require that remote players use webcams, or can prohibit or penalize players who do not comply. Additionally, the game table 110 can comprise a video screen located at one or more player seats 170 of the game table 110 to enable the dealer and local players to interact with remote players. In some embodiments, when a remote player logs in to participate in a card game at a particular seat 170, the remote player's face can be transmitted to the video screen at that seat 170 via the network device 140. The video screen can be equipped with a speaker and microphone to enable the remote player to interact with the dealer and local players. Accordingly, the game system 100 can further simulate live game play in a casino by enabling remote players to interact with each other and, as a result, identify one another's tells.

In an exemplary embodiment, a player can access the game system, to become a remote player, from various computing devices 350, including mobile phones, Windows-based computers, and Mac-based computers. In some embodiments, the game system 100 can provide the remote user with a graphical user interface, which can be provided to the remote player by the network device 140. To initialize an account with the game system 100, the remote player can register with, and then log into, the game system 100. When registering, the remote player can provide a biometric signature, which can later be used to verify the remote player's identity during future logins. For example, the remote player can provide an image of himself, which can be on an official identification card, or can be taken via a webcam or other device upon registration with the game system 100. Additionally or alternatively, the remote player can provide a fingerprint by way of a finger print scanner. When the remote player later attempt to log into the game system 100, the remote player can be required to provide the game system 100 with a webcam photograph or fingerprint scan, which the game system 100 can match to the biometric signature to verify the remote player' s identity. After having registered and logged into the game system 100, the remote player can be placed in a card game of the game system 100. When participating in the card game, the remote player can bet with credits. The credits can be or represent various objects of monetary or non- monetary value, including chips, virtual currency, or actual currency. Actual currency or other credits having monetary value should only be used in the game system 100 if such use is legal given the environment in which the game system 100 is operated, such as inside a casino. When registering with the system, the remote player can automatically be granted an amount of credits, or the remote player can provide a source of credits to be used during betting.

Through the game system 100, the remote player can remotely participate in a card game taking place on the physical game table 110, or alternatively, can participate in a virtual card game that uses the same cards as those dealt on the game table 110. Once logged in, the remote player can select, or be assigned to, a virtual card game or the card game occurring on the game table 110. Unless the selected or assigned card game enforces certain stakes, the remote player can select his own stakes as well. The remote player can also select, or be assigned to, a particular seat 170 of a card game. If desired, the remote player can choose to participate in multiple card games simultaneously. In some embodiments, the remote player does not have access to all card games of the game system 100 at once, and can only participate in card games to which he has access. To avoid collaboration between players, the game system 100 can periodically switch the card games to which each remote player has access. As the remote player's one or more card games proceed, the remote player can view and interact with the dealers and other players of the card games in real time. If the remote player is assigned to a virtual card game, the remote player can receive the same private cards 310 as those received by a local player physically sitting in the corresponding seat 170 at the game table 110. The remote player, however, is independent of the corresponding local player, and need not make the same game decisions as that local player. For example, and not limitation, the local player may fold, while the remote player may continue to play his hand. If the local card game being played on the game table 110 ends before all cards are dealt, the game system 100 can prompt the dealer to continue dealing playing cards onto the game table 110 until all virtual card games based on those cards have ended. As a result, the remote player and the corresponding local player need not have the same game results, although they are dealt the same hand. Through the graphical user interface, the remote player can place bets, fold, discard, ask for cards, and select other game decisions and player tasks during the card game. The network device 140 can communicate the game decisions to the processing system 150, which can eventually determine the size and winner of the pot. In some embodiments, the game system 100 can support third-party advertising. In these embodiments, the graphical user interface can display advertisements to remote players.

The processing system 150 can be configured to process various data related to the game system 100, and to coordinate various components of the game system 100. The processing system 150 can be in communication with the network device 140, the card sensors 180, the card reader 130, and the cameras 120. The processing system 150 can be or comprise a computing device, including a computer processing unit and a computer-readable medium, such as a storage device. The computer processing unit can execute instructions stored on the computer-readable medium for performing operations of the game system 100.

In some embodiments, the processing system 150 can determine the winning player in each hand using data collected by the card reader 130. In some other embodiments, the winner may be determined by the dealer at the conclusion of each hand. After a winner is determined, the game system 100 can then credit the winner and debit the losers either automatically or at the dealer's behest.

The processing system 150 can be further configured to pay consolation or "bad beat" prizes, i.e., prizes to players with very high hands who lose to an even higher hand. This can include an ability of the processing system 150 to track the size of the bad beat pot and determine when players should receive the consolation prize. The bad beat pot can be a percentage of the buy-in for a card game or can be an ante before each hand.

Additionally, the processing system 150 can track how often and how long players participate, and to reward frequent player points. Frequent player points can be redeemed to purchase merchandise, pay entry fees, and the like.

The processing system 150 can implement a state machine comprising one or more states, which can represent statuses of one or more card games occurring through the game system 100. The state machine can transition between states based on the processing system's identification of transitioning events, which can be based on status changes of the card games. The state indicators 160 can indicate to the dealer the current status of the one or more card games based on the game system 100. In some exemplary embodiments, the state indicators 160 can be a plurality of lights. In a further exemplary embodiment, each player region 112 can have a state indicator 160, such as a light. The dealer region 114 and the public region 116 can also each have one or more state indicators 160. Each state indicator 160 can have an active state and an inactive state. In the case of the light, the active state can occur when the light is on, and the inactive can occur when the light is off. The lights can have one or more active states corresponding to various colors of the lights, such as red, green, yellow, and/or other colors. As a group, the state indicators 160 can be activated in various configurations, such that each configuration can indicate a status of the card games and, therefore, an action that the dealer should take to allow one or more of the card games to proceed. For example, a first state of the state machine can be a deal state and, more specifically, a deal state in which the dealer button is at seat one, or some other specified seat 170 at the game table 110. This state can occur when one or more card games of the game system 100 cannot proceed until at least one playing card is dealt. The deal state be indicated to the dealer by activating the state indicator 160 at seat one, or the other specified seat 170. Another state can be a burn state, in which it is expected that the dealer will "burn," or discard, a burned playing card 330 before dealing additional cards. This state can be indicated, for example, by activating a state indicator 160 in the dealer region 114. Yet another state can be a public card state, in which it is expected that the dealer deal a public card 320 into the public region 116 of the game table 110. Yet another state can be a misdeal state, in which the processing system 150 detects that a misdeal has occurred. This state can be indicated, for example, the activating multiple state indicators 160. If the state indicators 160 are lights, the lights can flash repeatedly, such as in a predetermined color, when the game system 100 is in a misdeal state. Additionally, the game system 100 can lock itself when in the misdeal state. In some embodiments, the game system 100 can be unlocked from the misdeal state only by someone having a physical or virtual unlock key, such as a code. For example, if the game system 100 is operated in a casino, a pit boss or other security-cleared individual may be automatically notified when the system enters a misdeal state. Upon clearance, the pit boss can unlock the game system 100, so that game play can continue upon correction or beginning of a new hand. The game system 100 can be an intelligent sensor network, in that the processing system

150 can identify states and transitioning events of the state machine, based at least partially on data received from the various card sensors 180 in the game system 100. The card sensors 180 can provide data to the processing system 150 indicating which cards have already been dealt on the game table 110. From this data, the processing system 150 can determine a state of the state machine, which can determine which card should be dealt next. If the next card dealt is dealt to the incorrect region, as can be determined based on the current game, then the processing system 150 can detect a misdeal and can transition into a misdeal state. Upon entering the misdeal state, the state indicators 160 can indicate this state, such as by flashing red.

Identification of states and transitioning events can also be partially determined by data received from the network device 140. For example, after the flop in Texas hold'em, or at other points in Texas hold'em or other games, the players generally place bets. During bet-placing, the game system can be in a betting state, and bets and other game decisions can be received from remote users through the network device 140. Based on data received from the network device 140, the processing system 150 can determine when a round of betting closes. The closure of a round of betting can be a transitioning event, which, upon detection by the processing system 150, can cause the processing system 150 to transition to another game state. If the previous cards dealt were the flop, then the next game state after betting can be a burn card game state, during which the dealer can be prompted to burn a card before dealing the turn card.

Because the dealer can be prompted based on the state indicators 160, some embodiments of the invention need not require a human dealer. A robotic dealer can alternatively be used, and can perform the duties of a dealer as directed by the current state of the game system 100.

One, some, or all of the cameras 120, the card reader 130, the network device 140, the processing system 150, and the state indicators 160 can be attached to or integrated with the game table 110. For example, in an exemplary embodiment, the card reader 130 and the state indicators 160 can be imbedded in the game table 110. For further example, the cameras 120 corresponding to the player regions 112, the network device 140 and processing system 150 can be attached to a harness on the underside of the game table 110.

The game system 100 and associated methods can overcome the problems in the art by providing online poker games using physical playing cards that are randomly shuffled and dealt by a live dealer to the physical player regions 112 on the game table 110. Therefore, embodiments of the game system 100 can provide a gaming experience analogous to a conventional casino, in contrast to the conventional method of providing computer generated hands. In this manner, the game system 100 can allay players' fears that certain computerized gaming systems are manipulated in favor of the house.

Remote gaming through the game system 100 can enable remote players to participate in card games despite card tables on a casino floor being full. Through use of the various cameras 120 and the graphical user interface, remote players can experience the feel of being at a live casino poker table from other parts of the casino, from their hotel rooms, or even from the convenience of their homes. Additionally, while playing remotely, a player can participate in multiple card games, enabling the remote player to multitask and possibly win bigger than the remote player could if the remote player were limited to a single card game, as in a physical casino. Enabling remote game play can also lessen crowds in a casino, thereby allowing other players physically located in the casino to have greater access to card tables.

Fig. 3 illustrates the game system 100 communicating with remote players over various networks 370, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As shown in Fig. 3, the game system 100 can further comprise a server 360 for providing the graphical user interface to remote users at remote computing devices 350, and for performing various other functions of the game system 100. Through the graphical user interface, the remote users at remote computing devices 350 can interact with the game system 100. In some exemplary embodiments, the network device 140 and all or part of the processing system 150 can be integrated into the server 360. The server 360 can be integrated into, or otherwise physically attached to, the game table 110.

The server 360 can communicate with remote players, such as through the network device 140, over one or more networks 370. Networks 370 over which the server 360 can communicate can include, without limitation, local area networks ("LANs"), VPNs, and the Internet. In particular, a VPN can provide beneficial security features for remote players to interact with local players and the dealer, which can minimize cheating in some instances. A VPN or LAN can be operated within a limited area, so as to limit the area in which remote players can be located while accessing the game system 100. For example, and not limitation, a LAN or VPN over which the game system 100 communicates can be limited to a casino or hotel. A VPN or LAN can also require remote players to provide an access code, so as to limit the game system 100 to users approved by the operator of the game system 100.

The graphical user interface provided by the server 360 to a remote player at a remote computing device 350 can enable the remote user to effectively participate in a card game of the game system 100. As discussed above, the remote player can receive one or more images of his playing cards and, optionally, detected identities of his playing cards through the user interface. Also through the user interface, the remote user can indicate game decisions, which are then transmitted to the server 360 and executed in the remote player's card game. Such game decisions can include decisions to fold, raise, check, call, or various other decisions that the remote player may have to make during a card game. The graphical user interface can also indicate one or more aspects of the current status of the card game in which the remote player participates. For example, the graphical user interface can display a virtual dealer button proximate a representation of the player who would have the dealer button if the game were to occur at a physical game table.

An additional feature of the game system 100 is that, as illustrated in Fig. 4, one, two, or numerous virtual game tables 410 can be based on the cards dealt on the physical game table 110. Although only three virtual game tables 410 are illustrated, various numbers of virtual game tables 410 can be based on the physical game table 110. In some exemplary embodiments, three to ten virtual game tables 410 can be based on the physical game table 110, but other numbers of virtual tables 410 can be provided as well. The number of virtual tables is theoretically unlimited, but may be practically bound by server capacity and a desired speed of game play. As a result of providing multiple virtual game tables 410, multiple card games can occur based on the dealt cards.

In an exemplary embodiment, each virtual seat 470 of a virtual table 410 can correspond to a physical seat 170 and player region 112 of the physical game table 110. As shown by line 450, cards that are dealt to a first seat 170 of the physical game table 110 can be presented through the graphical user interface to a remote player at a virtual seat 470 corresponding to the first seat 170. Further, multiple virtual games can occur based on the physical game table 110, so multiple virtual seats 470 at different virtual game tables can correspond to a single physical seat 170 at the physical game table 110. Fig. 5 illustrates how multiple remote players can play cards corresponding to a single physical seat 170. Additionally, a local card game can take place at the physical table 110, and virtual card games can take place using the same cards as those dealt at the physical table 110 during the local card game. Further additionally, local players can be integrated into card games with remote players.

Because multiple card games can be based on cards dealt in the game system 100, it can be important to provide a sufficient separation between the players of the multiple games. For example, a first player at a first seat 170 in a first card game should not be able to see how a second player at the same seat 170 of a second card game bets. To that end, the various cameras 120 of the game system 100 can be configured to zoom in on the public cards 320, dealer region 114, or other portions of the game table 110 being transmitted to the remote players, so that remote players cannot observe betting occurring by local players at the game table 110. In some instances, two or more card games based on a single set of dealt cards on a physical game table 110 may proceed at different speeds, based on the various betting speeds of the players in the card games. Accordingly, the processing system 150 can be configured to enable card games of various speeds to be based on the same physical game table 110. For example, the game system 100 can remain in a betting state until all bets are received from all card games, so as to avoid dealing additional cards viewable by players who have not yet finished betting.

Alternatively, the current state of the state machine of the game system 100 can correspond to a game status of a card game locally occurring on the game table 110 or, if no local game exists, according to the fastest or other selected virtual card game. In that case, video feeds, images, and other data related to continuation of the physical card game can be delayed in their transmission to remote players participating in slower card games. When a slower card game is ready to proceed, only then may data related to a next step of the card game be transmitted to the remote players of that slower card game. This can enable two or more card games to proceed at their own paces, while both card games are based on a single set of dealt cards.

As another option for pacing multiple card games based on a single game system 100, the processing system 150 can track the timing of the various players of the card games of the game system 100. Based on the players' betting speeds, the processing system 150 can manually or automatically swap players between seats 170 or between card games to produce desirable pacing. Swapping can be implemented in an attempt to set the multiple card games to similar overall betting times per betting round, to place players with similar betting speeds at the same table, to place players with similar betting speeds in the same seat, or to achieve some combination of these or other pacing goals. In addition to various other benefits, facilitating multiple card games based on a single physical game table 110 can enable effective tracking of player skill levels. For example, if two players occupy the same seat 170 in the game system 100 and, therefore, receive the same cards, their winnings can be compared to each other to gain an idea of which player is the better player. Over time, these comparisons can be used to rank players who utilize the game system 100. Fig. 6 is a flow chart of a method 600 of operation of the game system 100, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The flow chart illustrates various states of an exemplary state machine 605 of the game system 100, as well as transitions between these states. The method 600 of Fig. 6 is an example presented for illustrative purposes only, and does not limit the various embodiments of the game systems 100 or methods 600. A game method 600 according to the present invention can have various actions, which, in some embodiments, can include those actions depicted in Fig. 6. Other actions not pictured in Fig. 6, however, can also be provided, and the order of actions within the game method 600 can vary between embodiments of the invention.

The game method of Fig. 6 applies to a game system 100 configured to provide a game of Texas hold'em poker. As shown in Fig. 6, an exemplary embodiment of a game method 600 of the present invention can initialize at 610. Initialization can be prompted in various fashions, such as by actuation of a power switch, or by the dealer's pressing a dealer sensor device, such as a card sensor 180 in the dealer region 114. After initialization, the game system 100 can transition to a WaitingForDeal state 615, from which dealing can begin. The game system can then transition to a CheckContinueDealing state 620, in which the game system 100 can determine whether a playing card should be dealt, based on which cards have already been dealt. If the current status of the game suggests that cards should be dealt, the game system 100 can prompt the dealer to begin dealing. At that point, the dealer can remove a playing card from the dealer shoe 114 and can slide the playing card across the card reader 130, which can enable the game system 100 to identify the playing card, and can also cause the game system 100 to transition to a CheckCardDestination state 630.

In the CheckCardDestination state 630, the game system 100 can determine where the playing card should be delivered. When the current game status suggests that the dealer deal a hole card 310, the game system 100 can transition to a DealNextSeat state 635. In this state 635, a state indicator 160 in the player region 112 to which the playing card should be dealt can be activated to indicate to the dealer where to deliver the playing card. The game system can then transition to a WaitingForCard state 640.

Alternatively, if the game system 100 determines that hole cards 310 have all been dealt previously and it is time for community cards 320 to be dealt, the game system 100 can transition to a DealCommunity state 645. In the DealCommunity state 645, the game system 100 can activate a state indicator 160 in the public region 116 to indicate that the playing card should be dealt to that region 116. Additionally, in the DealCommunity state 645, one or more cameras 120 associated with the public region 116, can zoom in to the public region 116, so that remote players can see an image of the community cards 320 without seeing the faces or expressions of local players at the game table 110. After the community cards 320 have been dealt, the game system 100 can transition to a BurnCard state 650. In the BurnCard state 650, the game system 100 can activate a state indicator 160 in the dealer region 114 to indicate that the dealer should discard a burn card 330.

As directed by the state indicator 160 to deal a hole card 310, a community card 320, or a burn card 330, the dealer can slide or otherwise place the playing card into the applicable region, which can be detected by a card sensor 180 in that card detecting region 112, 144, or 116. After the playing card is detected by the card sensor 180, the game system 100 can transition to a CardDealt state 640. If however, the playing card passes over the card reader 130 while the game system 100 awaits delivery of the playing card, the game system can transition into a CardRead state 660, in which the identity of the playing card is detected and recorded, before transitioning to the CardDealt state 655 when delivery of the card is detected. In the CardDealt state 655, the game system 100 can determine whether the newly dealt playing card was delivered as expected. More specifically, in some embodiments, the game system 100 can determine whether the playing card was read by the card reader 130, delivered to a card detecting region, and further, delivered to the correct card detecting region 112, 114, or 116. If the game system 100 determines that the playing card 100 was appropriately delivered, the game system 100 can transition to a SuccessfulDeal state 665. From the SuccessfulDeal state 665, the game system can return to the WaitingForDeal state 615, and then to the CheckContinueDealing state 620 to determine whether dealing should continue.

If, in the CardDealt state 655, the game system 100 determines that the playing card was not delivered appropriately, the game system 100 can transition to a CardReadError state 670, if the card reader 130 did not read the playing card, or to a CardDealError state 675, if the playing card was not delivered to the correct card detecting region 112, 114, or 116. From either of these states 670 or 675, the game system 100 can transition to a FaultedDeal state 680. In the FaultedDeal state 680, the state indicators 160 can indicate a misdeal or other applicable error. For example, if the state indicators 160 are lights, they can flash red to warn the dealer of the error. The game system 100 can be disabled in the FaultedDeal state 680, and the current hand cannot continue. In some exemplary embodiments of the game system 100, the game system 100 can remain locked until unlocked by an authorized individual. After being unlocked, the game system 100 can transition to a Final state 685. At that point, the dealer can begin dealing a new hand.

In the CheckContinueDealing state 620, the game system may determine that the current game state suggests that players should now place their bets. The game system 100 can then transition to a ProcessBets state 625, in which players make bets and communicate their game decisions to the game system 100. The state indicators 160 can indicate that the dealer should wait for the betting cycle to complete. For example, if the state indicators 160 are lights, they can flash to notify the dealer that betting is in progress. After the betting cycle closes, the game system 100 can return to the CheckContinueDealing state 620. If no more cards can be dealt in the current hand, then the game system 100 can transition to a DealComplete state 690, and then to a Calculate Winner state 695.

In the Calculate Winner state, the game system 100 can determine which player that has not folded has the best hand, and can deem that player to be the winner of the hand. The game system 100 can indicate the winner in various ways, such as by activating the state indicator 160 in the winner's player region 112, or by flashing the LEDs 195 around the window 190 of the winner's player region 112. Because the winner of a virtual card game can differ from the winner of a local card game on the physical game table 110, remote players can receive an indication of the winner in the graphical user interface provided to them by the game system 100. The game system 100 can transfer all or a portion of the pot into the winner's account and, in some embodiments, can publish the identity of the winner. Them the game system 100 can then transition to the Final state 685, from which a new hand can begin.

Accordingly, as described above, various embodiments of the game system 100 can enable remote players to participate in card games using physical playing cards. As a result of various features of the game system 100, the game system can simulate live casino play while conserving space within a casino and allowing players to participate from remote locations.

While exemplary embodiments of the invention have been disclosed, many modifications, additions, and deletions can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and its equivalents, as set forth in the following claims.

Claims

CLAIMSWhat is claimed is:
1. A game system comprising: a game table for receiving a plurality of playing cards during a card game, the game table having a plurality of player regions, and a first player region of the game table comprising a player card sensor for detecting a presence of a subset of the playing cards in the first player region; a card reader for detecting identities of the plurality of playing cards; a processing system configured to automatically detect a game state of the game system based at least partially on data received from the player card sensor in the first player region; and a plurality of state indicators for directing game play on the game table based on the detected game state.
2. The game system of Claim 1, further comprising a first camera, and a window through the game table in the first player region, the first camera being configured to capture an image of the subset of the playing cards through the window.
3. The game system of Claim 2, further comprising a network device configured to transmit the image of the subset of the playing cards to a first remote computing device.
4. The game system of Claim 3, the first player region being associated with a first player in a first card game at the first remote computing device, and further being associated with a second player in a second card game a second remote computing device, wherein the network device transmits the image of the subset of the playing cards to both the first player and the second player.
5. The game system of Claim 1, the game table further comprising a dealer region comprising a dealer card sensor for detecting a presence of one or more of the plurality of playing cards in the dealer region.
6. The game system of Claim 1, the processing system configured to detect a misdeal of the plurality of playing cards based at least partially on data received from the player card sensor.
7. The game system of Claim 1, the state indicators being configured to indicate when a dealer should deal.
8. The game system of Claim 1, the state indicators being lights imbedding in the game table.
9. The game system of Claim 1, the player card sensor comprising a pressure sensor.
10. A game system comprising: a game table system comprising a plurality of card detecting regions for detecting positions of a plurality of playing cards dealt in a card game; a processing system in communication with the game table system and configured to identify a transitioning event based at least partially on the detected positions of the playing cards, the processing system implementing a state machine having a plurality of states representative of the card game, and the state machine transitioning from a previous state to a current state based on the transitioning event; and a plurality of state indicators in communication with the processing system, and being configured to automatically indicate the current state of the state machine.
11. The game system of Claim 10, the processing system being physically attached to the game table system.
12. The game system of Claim 10, the plurality of card detecting regions comprising a player region for receiving a subset of the playing cards representative of playing cards dealt to a player in the card game.
13. The game system of Claim 12, further comprising a camera for capturing an image of the subset of the playing cards in the player region.
14. The game system of Claim 12, further comprising a card reader for detecting identities of the subset of the playing cards in the player region.
15. The game system of Claim 14, further comprising a camera for capturing an image of the subset of the playing cards in the player region, and a network device for transmitting the image and the identities of the subset of the playing cards to a remote computing device.
16. The game system of Claim 10, the state machine transitioning to a misdeal state when at least of the playing cards is positioned in an incorrect card detecting region
17. A game system comprising: a game table having a first player region for receiving a first set of playing cards; a network device for transmitting a representation of the first set of playing cards to a first player at a first remote location, and to a second player at a second remote location, and for receiving a first game decision from the first remote location, and a second game decision from the second remote location; and a processing system for applying the first game decision to a first card game, and for applying the second game decision to a second card game.
18. The game system of Claim 17, further comprising a plurality of state indicators in communication with the processing system, wherein the processing system implements a state machine, and the state indicators indicate a current state of the state machine.
19. The game system of Claim 17, further comprising a camera configured to capture an image of the first set of playing cards, wherein the network device is further configured to transmit the image to the first player at the first remote location.
20. The game system of Claim 19, the processing system being further configured to delay transmission of the image to the second player at the second remote location.
21. A method for facilitating one or more card games associated with a game table, the game table comprising a plurality of card detecting regions, the method comprising: activating one or more state indicators in a first configuration to prompt a dealer to deal a first playing card into a first card detecting region of the game table; and detecting receipt of the first playing card in one of the card detecting regions of the game table.
22. The method of Claim 21, further comprising selecting the first configuration for the state indicators based at least partially on data received from the card detecting regions.
23. The method of Claim 22, further comprising determining an updated status of the card games based on the detected receipt of the first playing card.
24. The method of Claim 23, further comprising activating the state indicators in a second configuration based on the updated status of the card games.
25. The method of Claim 21 , further comprising: detecting receipt of the first playing card in a second card detecting region; and determining that the first card game is in a misdeal state based on the first playing card being delivered into an incorrect card detecting region.
26. The method of Claim 21, further comprising: detecting receipt of the first playing card in the first card detecting region; and determining that the first playing card is positioned correctly on the game table.
27. The method of Claim 21, the game table further comprising a card reader configured to detect an identity of the first playing card.
28. The method of Claims 21, further comprising providing a camera configured to capture an image of one or more of the playing cards in the first card detecting region.
29. The method of Claim 21, further comprising simultaneously virtualizing two or more card games based on the a plurality of playing cards dealt onto the game table.
30. The method of Claim 29, further comprising associating playing cards in the first card detecting region with a player in each of the plurality of card games.
31. The method of Claim 21, further comprising virtualizing a first card game based on a plurality of playing cards dealt on the game table.
32. The method of Claim 31, further comprising virtualizing a second card game based on the plurality of playing cards dealt on the game table, wherein a first player in the first card game and a second player in the second card game receive the same private playing cards.
33. A method for facilitating one or more card games associated with a game table, the game table comprising a plurality of card detecting regions, the method comprising: activating one or more state indicators in a first configuration to prompt a dealer to deal a first playing card; identifying the first playing card; detecting receipt of the first playing card in the first card detecting region of the game table; associating the first playing card with a first player of a first card game; identifying a second playing card; detecting receipt of the second playing card in a second card detecting region of the game table; associating the second playing card with a second player of the first card game; receiving game decisions from the first player and the second player during a betting cycle; activating the state indicators in a second configuration to indicate that the betting cycle has ended; and determining a winner of the first card game.
34. The method of Claim 33, further comprising: associating the first playing card with a third player in a second card game; associating the second playing card with a fourth player in the second card game; receiving game decisions from the third player and the fourth player; and determining a winner of the second card game.
35. The method of Claim 34, the second card game being a virtual card game that uses the playing cards dealt in the first card game.
36. The method of Claim 34, the third player participating in the second card game remotely over a network.
37. The method of Claim 34, further comprising transmitting an image of the first playing card to the third player.
PCT/US2009/062376 2008-10-28 2009-10-28 Game systems and methods for remote card games using physical playing cards WO2010062653A2 (en)

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