Patent application title: CASINO-TYPE WAGERING GAME WITH OPTIONAL REPLACEMENT CARD
Roger M. Snow (Las Vegas, NV, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63F100FI
Class name: Amusement devices: games card or tile games, cards or tiles therefor
Publication date: 2012-05-17
Patent application number: 20120119440
A poker style wagering game is disclosed wherein a player hand competes
against a dealer hand and at the same time, the player hand may
optionally compete for a bonus payout. The dealer receives an Ante for
play against the dealer hand and an optional Bonus bet to participate in
a bonus game. The dealer deals cards to the players and the dealer and to
at least one reserve card position. The dealer receives a Play wager from
the player, otherwise the dealer folds the hand. If a Play wager is
received, the dealer optionally receives an additional fee for the
player's use of a reserve card. The dealer makes a best poker hand from
the player's available cards. The best hand is used to resolve both the
play against the dealer hand and bonus play.
1. A method of playing a wagering game comprising: a dealer providing a
deck of cards; a dealer accepting a mandatory Ante wager from a player on
a poker game against a dealer hand; a dealer accepting an optional bonus
wager from a player on at least one predetermined winning poker hand; a
dealer dealing a hand of cards to a player from a standard deck of cards;
a dealer dealing at least one face-down playing card to a reserve card
position; a dealer dealing a hand of playing cards to the dealer; after a
player views the dealt hand, the dealer accepting a Play wager from the
player or the dealer collects the Ante wager, ending play for that
player, and when the dealer accepts the Play wager, the dealer optionally
accepts an additional fee from the player to enable the dealer to use the
reserve card as part of the player hand to make a best player poker hand;
the dealer reveals the dealer poker hand; the dealer determines the
player's best poker hand from the initial hand and also from the reserve
card when the dealer accepted the additional fee; paying the player a
payout when the player best poker rank exceeds the poker rank of the
dealer hand; and paying the player a payout when the dealer accepted an
optional wager and the player holds a predetermined winning hand.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the dealer accepts a mandatory Blind wager at the time the dealer accepts the mandatory Ante wager.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the dealer must hold a qualifying hand in order for the dealer to pay the player a payout when the player poker hand outranks the dealer poker hand.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the qualifying hand is an Ace high or better.
5. The method of claim 3, and when the dealer does not hold a qualifying hand, the dealer refunds the Ante wager to the player.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the optional bonus wager is selected from the group consisting of a bonus wager that pays a payout against at least one predetermined winning poker hand combination, wherein the payout is selected from the following types of payouts: a fixed payout amount, an odds payout amount, a progressive payout amount, and a portion of a progressive payout amount.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the optional bonus wager payout odds are paid from the following pay table: TABLE-US-00008 Hand Odds Royal Flush 500:1 Straight Flush 100:1 Four-of-a-kind 50:1 Full House 30:1 Flush 10:1 Straight 7:1 Three-of-a-kind 5:1 Two Pair 2:1 Tens Up 1:1
8. The method of claim 1, wherein exactly five physical playing cards are dealt to the player as a 5-card poker hand and exactly five physical cards are dealt to the dealer to form a dealer 5-card hand.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein a separate reserve card is dealt face down to each player position.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the dealer identifies the best player hand using the player's dealt cards and the separate reserve card.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the dealer pays the player a bonus payout when the best player hand including the reserve cards is a predetermined winning hand.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the payout is selected from the group consisting of a fixed payout amount, an odds payout amount, a progressive payout and a percentage of a progressive payout amount.
13. The method of claim 1, wherein the Play wager is 1.times. the Ante wager.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein the additional fee is 1.times. the Ante wager.
15. The method of claim 1, wherein the dealer deals one reserve card to each player.
16. The method of claim 1, wherein the dealer deals one reserve card to each reserve card position.
17. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of dealing a reserve card to the dealer position.
18. A method of playing a wagering game comprising: the dealer providing a standard deck of cards; the dealer accepting a player Ante wager on player poker hand outranking a dealer poker hand; the dealer accepting an optional Bonus wager on the occurrence of the player poker hand being a predetermined winning hand; when the optional Bonus wager has been accepted, the dealer accepting an additional optional fee for the use of a reserve card; the dealer dealing a hand of cards to a player who placed an accepted Ante wager; the dealer dealing at least one reserve card to be used to better a player's hand when the dealer accepted the additional optional fee; the dealer accepting a Play wager from each player for play to continue or taking the Ante bet, ending play for the player; and when the dealer accepts the Play wager, the dealer optionally accepting an additional Fee from the player to enable the use of the reserve card to form a best player hand; the dealer revealing the dealer hand; the dealer instructing the player's to reveal the player hand and the reserve card when the additional optional Fee was accepted; the dealer making a best poker hand from the player cards and the reserve card when the additional optional Fee was accepted; and resolving both the Ante and Bonus wagers using the best player hand.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein the dealer deals five cards to each player.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein the Bonus wager cannot exceed the Ante.
21. The method of claim 18, wherein the Play wager is 1.times. the Ante.
22. The method of claim 18, wherein the additional fee is 1.times. the Ante.
23. The method of claim 18, wherein the dealer deals each player and the dealer 5 cards.
24. The method of claim 18, wherein play is resolved by making a best 5 out of 6 card poker hand when the dealer accepted the additional optional fee.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to games, and more particularly to card-type games in a physical format or electronic virtual card format, or mixed technology base that are suitable for use in gaming establishments or on-line, and more particularly to poker-type card games that are suitable for use in gaming establishments.
 2. Background of the Art
 Casinos and leisure establishments continually require new games to offer their clientele. Such games are generally required to enable each player to play against a banker (who usually also acts as dealer) provided by the casino, rather than against other players. Alternatively, in a "card room" game, each player may have the option to act as banker, while the establishment runs the game on behalf of the banker and takes fees from the players.
 Players typically enjoy games which can be played rapidly and which offer players a plurality of choices. A plurality of choices heightens player interest in games. It would therefore be desirable to provide card games comprising a plurality of new wagering options.
 U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,685,774, 6,056,641, 6,237,916 and 6,345,823 to Webb (all assigned to Shuffle Master, Inc.) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,698,759 disclose methods for playing the game of THREE CARD POKER® games, as well as some variants of the THREE CARD POKER® game. In one popular version of the game, three cards are dealt to each player and three cards are dealt to the dealer, all face down. Initially one or two optional wagers may be made by the player. One such wager is for the "Pair Plus" bonus bet, a bet on achieving a winning combination included in a payout table. Another wager is the game Ante on which the player competes against the dealer. The Pair Plus bet in one disclosed example is a wager that the three card hand will have a rank of at least one pair or more. The hand is paid off in multiples of the bet depending upon the rank of the hand, with up to 40:1 paid out for three-of-a-kind. If the player wants to compete against the dealer's hand he places an Ante wager. After viewing the rank of the player's hand, an additional Play wager equal to the ante must be placed by the player. The dealer's hand is then exposed. If the dealer does not have a hand of at least a certain qualifying rank (e.g., at least Queen high), the dealer's hand is not in play. If the player has not made the additional wager, the ante is collected by the dealer at some point in the play of the game. If the player has made the additional wager, the ante is paid off to the player if the dealer's hand has not qualified or if the dealer's hand is not as high a rank as the player's hand. If the dealer's hand has qualified, and the dealer's hand is higher than the player's hand, then the ante and the additional wager are collected by the house. If the dealer's hand qualifies (e.g., at least Queen high) and is lower than the player's hand rank, both the ante and additional wager are paid off, with multiples payable to the ante wager for certain high ranking hands (e.g., straights, flushes, straight flushes, three-of-a-kind, etc.). The hierarchy of the various poker hands is different than in typical five card poker games.
 LET IT RIDE BONUS®, as disclosed in Breeding, U.S. Pat. No. 6,334,614, entitled Multi-Tiered Wagering Method And Game, the content of which is hereby incorporated by reference, and the more basic play of LET IT RIDE® casino table poker game as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,437,462 and 5,288,081 disclose a card game in which the player plays a 5 card poker game. In the base game, a player makes a three-part wager on the occurrence of one of a number of predetermined winning hands. Each player is dealt three cards, and the dealer is also dealt three cards. One dealer card is discarded, and the other two cards are placed face down on the table and serve as common cards. The player may withdraw a first portion of his bet after he has examined his partial three-card hand. Two community cards are used by each player to form a five-card hand. After the dealer turns the first community card face up, the player is given the opportunity to withdraw a second portion of his bet. The third bet must remain at risk.
 U.S. Pat. No. 7,628,689 (Snow) discloses a system and method for conducting wagering games utilizing one or more decks of standard playing cards preferably including the steps of: receiving an ante wager from a player; receiving a blind wager from the player; dealing a plurality of cards to the player to form a player's hand; dealing a plurality of cards to a dealer to form a dealer's hand; receiving a play wager from the player or the player folding; comparing the poker rank of the player's hand with the poker rank of dealer's hand to resolve the ante and play wagers, wherein the player wins the ante and play wagers if the player's hand outranks the dealer's hand; and comparing the player's hand with a predetermined winning criteria to resolve the blind wager, wherein the player wins the blind wager if the player's hand satisfies the predetermined winning criteria and outranks the dealer's hand, the blind wager pushes if the player's hand outranks the dealer's hand but does not satisfy the predetermined winning criteria, and the blind wager loses when the dealer hand outranks the player hand and the player does not satisfy the predetermined winning criteria.
 Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 7,584,966 (Snow) discloses a casino game that utilizes at least one deck of playing cards, the game comprising: each player placing at least one wager to participate in the casino game; dealing a first number of cards to a dealer, the first number of cards being greater than the number of cards to be used in determination of a poker rank hand for the dealer; dealing a second number of cards to each player, the second number of cards being greater than the number of cards to be used in determination of a poker rank hand for each player; the dealer discarding at least one card to form a resulting single dealer hand; each player discarding at least one card to form a resulting player's hand for each player, wherein the number of cards in resulting player's hands and the resulting dealer's hand are equal; and resolving each player hand against the dealer's hand according to predetermined game rules. The initial player's wagers must be at least matched with a Game Bet (or play bet) to remain in the game after players have received their cards. The Game Bet may be multiples of the initial player's wagers, for example, 1× to 5× the initial wager, or more.
 The following U.S. patents also disclose methods of play in casino table poker games in which best five-card hands from cards in excess of 5 cards for each player are used in competition: U.S. Pat. No. 7,297,057 (Gerrard); U.S. Pat. No. 7,441,778 (Waken); U.S. Pat. No. 6,602,134 (Wood); and U.S. Pat. No. 6,237,916 (Webb).
 There are many wagering games used for gambling. Such games should be sufficiently exciting to arouse players' interest and uncomplicated so they can be understood easily by a large number of players. Ideally, the games should include more than one wagering opportunity during the course of the game, yet be able to be played rapidly to a wager resolving outcome. Exciting play, the opportunity to make more than one wager and rapid wager resolution enhance players' interest and enjoyment because the frequency of betting opportunities and bet resolutions is increased.
 Wagering games, particularly those intended primarily for play in casinos, should provide players with a sense of participation and control, the opportunity to make decisions, and reasonable odds of winning, even though the odds favor the casino, house, dealer or banker. The game must also meet the requirements of regulatory agencies.
 Live table games have various limitations and disadvantages that have long plagued the casino industry, some of which are of general concern and apply to all or most live table games, while others relate to specific games and the use of playing cards and/or live dealers therein. Some of the principal concerns and problems are discussed below.
 For example, the use of playing cards at live table games typically involves several operational requirements that are time-consuming and distract from the play or the entertainment value of the game. These operations include collecting, shuffling, dealing and reading of the cards. In many card games there is also a step of cutting the deck after it has been shuffled. In the collecting operation, a live dealer typically collects the cards just played at the end of a hand of play. This is done in preparation for playing the next hand of cards. When electronic monitoring systems are used, the cards must sometimes be collected in the specific order in which they had appeared in the play of the game and must also be collected in a specific orientation, such as all cards being in a facedown or face-up condition. The cards also are typically straightened into a stack with the long sides and short sides aligned.
 These manipulations of the cards involve a break in the action of the table game and consume a significant amount of time, thus reducing the rate at which the game is played. Since the casino averages a certain percentage of wins based on the amount of hands played, any operations that reduce the amount of games that can be played over time also reduces the casino's potential earnings. As should be readily apparent, the casino industry has a keen interest in implementing devices and methods that can increase the rate at which the games are played.
 The use of high quality shuffling machines, such as those produced by Shuffle Master, Inc. (Las Vegas, Nev.) and disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,655,684; 6,651,982; 6,588,751; 6,588,750; 6,568,678; 6,325,373; 6,254,096; 6,149,154; 6,139,014; 6,068,258; and 5,695,189, among others, has greatly improved card handling operations. By automating the most time-consuming portion of the card handling operations, casinos that use these patented shuffling machines can significantly increase their revenue earning capability. However, there is still room for advancement, despite the important benefits offered by Shuffle Master's shuffling machines. In particular, there still exists the need for human operators and dealers, as well as playing cards.
 The expense associated with the purchasing, handling and disposing of paper and plastic playing cards can be significant. Casinos pay relatively favorable prices for card decks, but the decks roughly cost about $1 per deck at this time. There are also significant costs associated with handling and storing the new and worn playing cards. Sizable rooms located in the casino complexes are needed just to store the cards as they are coming and going. The cost of maintaining such facilities further exacerbates the expenses associated with paper and plastic playing cards. Furthermore, each casino uses decks for a very limited period of time, typically only one shift, and almost always less than one day. After this relatively brief life in the limelight, the decks are disposed of in a suitable manner. In some cases they are marked to show that they have been decommissioned from a casino and are sold as souvenirs. In other cases the playing cards are simply destroyed or recycled to eliminate the risk the cards will be used by card cheats. In any case, the cost of playing cards for a casino can easily run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
 One of the other significant expenditures for the casinos relates to personnel costs. Attempts have been made to reduce time requirements for not only the dealers, relief dealers, but also for the supervisors, managers, security and the other staff that are directly or indirectly involved in the operation or maintenance of games. However, as long as there are live table games played in the casino, there is no avoiding the need to assign a suitable amount of casino employees to attend thereto.
 For reasons such as those cited above, casinos have a compelling interest in providing a poker-style game with simplified betting structure and dealing procedures that provides a player with sufficient betting options to maintain player interest, and follows the rules of poker, as poker rules are well known throughout the world. Casinos also have an interest in reducing personnel costs and the potential for fraud. Thus, casinos have a need for both interesting live table games and systems for implementing such games in a manner that prohibits cheating, reduces personnel costs, and appeals to players of all experience levels at least as much as the live table game itself. Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a game and gaming systems that meets these needs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Novel methods of playing a poker-style wagering game are disclosed. According to the method, a deck of cards is provided. Preferably, a standard 52-card deck containing four suits of physical cards may be used to play the game. The game may be played on a standard casino gaming table with a printed cloth gaming surface or may be played in other formats such as a parlor game, a single player electronic gaming machine, a multiple player electronic gaming machine, a live gaming table with electronic player wagering interfaces, an internet gaming format, as a hand-held game for practice play, wireless play, practice play on a PC, on a gaming platform designed for use with an external monitor, for play on cell phones, PDA's, gaming systems designed for air travel and any other known game formats.
 According to the method, the dealer accepts a mandatory Ante wager from each player who wishes to play a poker game against a dealer hand. A preferred form of the invention is a 5-card poker game that uses standard and well known 5-card poker rankings to resolve the hand. Such well known poker rankings from highest ranking to lowest ranking are: Royal flush, straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two pair, a pair, high card. In other forms of the game that utilize fewer or more than 5 cards, other known hand ranking systems may be used to resolve hands. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,685,774 describes a well-known three card poker ranking system, and U.S. Pat. No. 7,584,966 describes a known four-card ranking system. Other ranking systems are known in the art. The content of these prior art patents are incorporated by reference in their entirety.
 According to the invention, the dealer may accept an optional Bonus wager from a player who wishes to wager on the occurrence of the player being dealt at least one predetermined winning poker hand. In one form of the invention, the lowest ranking winning bonus hand is a pair of 10's or better. The dealer deals a hand of cards to each player from the standard deck of cards. For example, the dealer may dispense exactly five cards to each player. Either before, during or after dealing each player a hand of cards, the dealer deals at least one card face down to a reserve card position. In examples of the invention, there is a separate reserve card position for each player.
 The dealer deals a hand of playing cards to the dealer position. Preferably, the dealer receives the same number of cards as the number of cards dealt to each player (less the reserve card). The dealer may or may not have the use of a reserve card. In a preferred form of the invention, the dealer does not have the use of a reserve card to make a best poker hand.
 After a player views the dealt hand, the dealer accepts a Play wager from the player or the dealer collects the Ante wager, ending play for that player. The Bonus bet remains in play, but for all practical purposes, that wager is lost if the hand was too low ranking for the dealer to have received a Play wager.
 When the dealer accepts the Play wager, the dealer may optionally accept an additional fee from the player to enable the dealer to use the reserve card as part of the player hand to make a best player poker hand. Preferably, the dealer deals a separate reserve card to a reserve card position in each designated player area. However, it is not essential that a reserve card area is printed on the layout.
 According to the invention, the dealer reveals the dealer poker hand. The dealer must then determine the best dealer hand, and the best player poker hand from the initially dealt player cards, as well as the reserve card when the dealer received the additional fee.
 The dealer pays the player a payout when the player best poker rank exceeds the poker rank of the dealer hand. The dealer also pays the player a bonus payout when the dealer accepted an optional wager and the player holds a predetermined winning hand.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
 FIG. 1 is a gaming table surface pattern for play of games of the present invention in the format of a live casino game.
 FIG. 2 is an expanded view of a single player position of the table surface pattern shown in FIG. 1.
 FIG. 3 is a top plan view of an implementation of the present method, practiced on a chipless gaining table.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Games of the present invention are poker style games that may be played in a casino environment in the form of a live casino table game with a dealer, using an automatic card shuffler, gaming chips and physical cards. Other suitable formats for practicing games of the present invention include the following alternate formats: a single player electronic wagering game, a multi-player electronic wagering game, play on an internet gaming site, practice play on a hand-held device, software for practice play on a PC, software for practice play on a cell phone or PDA, as a wireless game, on a remote gaming terminal, software for play on a gaming platform for play that connects to an external monitor, and the like.
 The broadest form of the present invention may be characterized as a method of playing a wagering game, the method including a step of providing a deck of cards. The deck of cards may be a conventional, physical deck of cards or may be a virtual deck of cards displayed on a display device. The deck may be a conventional 52-card deck, with four standard suits (hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds), with or without jokers, and with or without wild cards or promotional cards. The deck may be multiple decks of cards, such as a double deck to allow for more interesting and less frequent poker hand combinations and higher payouts. Examples of poker hands that are only possible with more than one deck include five-of-a-kind, for example. The deck could also be a "special deck" which is a standard deck with certain cards removed, such as a Canasta deck or a Spanish 218 blackjack deck.
 According to the method, a dealer accepts a mandatory Ante wager from a player on a poker game against a dealer hand. The wager may be in the form of casino chips, currency, credits or other known wager. Currency value may be electronically transferred from a bank account, ticket associated with a player account, credit card or other known means of transferring credit to a gaming device or platform. In some embodiments, non-monetary credits are wagered, in the case of "practice play" formats for play on a PC, on a cell phone, PDA, or on a gaming platform such as a Sony® Play Station®, Wii®, or other gaming platform that is used in connection with an external monitor.
 The dealer may optionally accept a bonus wager from a player on the occurrence that the player will hold a hand with a ranking that is at least one predetermined winning poker hand. The bonus wager may be made on a single winning outcome with a single payout possibility, or may be on a plurality of winning outcomes and corresponding payouts, such as a pay table wager, with a plurality of predetermined winning hands with corresponding payout odds. Such bonus wagers are commonly referred to as proposition or "prop" wagers.
 According to the method, the dealer deals a hand of cards to a player from a deck of cards, and preferably from a standard 52 card deck of cards. Preferably, exactly five cards are dealt to each player, but other numbers of cards are contemplated, such as 3, 4, 6 or 7 card hands. Either before dealing player cards, during dealing player cards or after dealing player cards, the dealer deals at least one face-down playing card to a reserve card position. That reserve card position may be in the form of a printed area and each player area may have its own reserve card position. In other embodiments, the reserve card is dealt as a common card and there is a single reserve card position for use by all players who qualify to use the card. In other embodiments, the dealer deals a reserve card to a dealer reserve card position. In yet other forms of the invention, the dealer may have use of the common reserve card under some conditions. For example, in preferred play, the dealer must hold a qualifying hand of Ace-high to qualify to play the game against the player hand. In some embodiments, the dealer may be given the use of a reserve card if the dealer hand did not initially qualify to possibly improve the hand. This reserve card can be a dealer reserve card, or a community reserve card.
 It is generally more preferred to supply separate reserve cards to each player position because using common cards in single deck poker games tends to increase game volatility. However, some gamblers prefer more volatile games. It is within the scope of the present invention to provide games with flexible rules to meet the requirements of the casino customers. Games of the present invention may be played with common reserve cards, as well as player and/or dealer-assigned reserve cards.
 According to the method of the present invention, the dealer must also deal a hand of playing cards to the dealer. In one preferred form of the invention, the dealer does not have a reserve card and in another embodiment, the dealer also has access to a reserve card. In yet another embodiment, the dealer has access to a common reserve card used by the eligible players. When the dealer does not have a reserve card, the dealer is typically dealt one more card than the player cards and that card must be burned. This is the case when an automatic card shuffler is used to deliver an equal number of randomized cards to each player and the dealer.
 According to the method, after a player views the dealt hand, the dealer accepts a Play wager from the player or the dealer collects the Ante wager, ending play for that player. If the dealer does not receive a Play wager from the player, it means that the hand is so weak that it cannot qualify for a bonus payoff amount so when the dealer sweeps the Ante wager, the dealer also sweeps any Bonus wagers made and play ends for the player.
 According to the invention, when the dealer accepts the Play wager, the dealer may optionally accept an additional fee from the player to enable the dealer to use the reserve card as part of the player hand to make a best player poker hand. In a preferred form of the invention, the fee is equal to the Ante in amount. In other forms of the invention, the fee may be a fixed amount, or may be a multiple other than 1× the Ante wager. For example, the fee could be 2×, 3× or 1.5× the Ante wager.
 In a preferred method, when the Play wager comes into play, it must be equal to 1× the Ante. When the Play wager has been received by the dealer, a fee in the amount of 1× the Ante is optionally received by the dealer to enable the use of the reserve card to make the highest ranking player hand. When the fee is received, the amount is confirmed by the dealer to be equal to 1× the Ante, or that the amount confirms to an alternate game rule. Once the fee amount is confirmed, the fee is taken by the dealer and added to the chip tray. When the fee is not received by the Dealer, the dealer instead removes the reserve card and play continues with the initially dealt cards.
 The dealer makes the best player poker hands from the available player cards, including the initially dealt hand of cards plus the reserve card if the dealer received the fee. In one embodiment, the dealer hand must qualify with a certain minimum hand ranking or better to play against the player hand. A preferred qualifying hand is an Ace high or better. Other qualifying hands such as 10 high, King high or a pair, such as 2-2 is contemplated. If the dealer does not hold a qualifying hand, the Ante wagers are returned to the player. All other wagers remain in play.
 The dealer reveals the dealer poker hand, either before, during or after making and revealing the best possible player poker hands from the available cards. Preferably, the dealer reveals his hand after all best player hands are determined. The dealer pays all players a payout when the player's best poker rank exceeds the poker rank of the dealer hand. Preferably, the payout is 1:1 on the Ante and Play wagers when the player wins. In other embodiments, different payout amounts are made. In electronic versions of the present method, it is not necessary for the payout odds to be whole numbers. Payouts of 3:2 can easily be made when the player is wagering credits and the gaming device is issuing credit payouts. When the dealer hand outranks the player hand, the dealer takes the Ante and Play wagers. In the event of a tie, the Ante and Play wagers are returned to the player. Other tie rules are contemplated, such as: paying 1:1 on the ante and returning the Play wager, paying 1:1 on the Play wager and returning the Ante, returning the Ante and taking the Play wager and taking the play wager and returning the Ante.
 According to the method, the player may receive an additional bonus payout when the dealer accepted an optional wager and the player holds a predetermined winning hand. Bonus payouts may be in the form of a fixed amount bonus, an odds payout amount, a progressive payout amount, a portion of a progressive payout amount or combinations thereof. A preferred payout structure consists of a pay table containing multiple predetermined winning hand combinations and corresponding payout odds.
 In some alternate embodiments, the dealer may also accept a mandatory Blind wager at the time the dealer accepts the mandatory Ante wager. The Blind wager pays an odds payout for certain predetermined player hands. The Blind wager may be resolved in a number of ways. The Blind wager may push if the dealer hand does not qualify. The Blind wager may also be lost when the dealer does not qualify. The Blind wager may pay only if the player hand beats the dealer hand and the player hand ranking is at least a minimum predetermined rank. The Blind wager may pay an odds payout, or a 1:1 payout, depending upon game rules.
 In one example of the invention, the optional bonus wager payout odds are as follows:
TABLE-US-00001 Hand Odds Royal Flush 500:1 Straight Flush 100:1 Four-of-a-kind 50:1 Full House 30:1 Flush 10:1 Straight 7:1 Three-of-a-kind 5:1 Two Pair 2:1 Pair of 10's 1:1
 A more preferable form of the method of the present invention is in the form of a five-card poker game played with a standard deck of cards, with four standard suits. Exactly five physical playing cards are dealt to the player as a 5-card poker hand and exactly five physical cards are dealt to the dealer to form a dealer 5-card hand. One reserve card is dealt face-down to each player position at the same time the player hands are delivered. When the dealer receives a Play wager and pays the fee, the dealer forms a best 5 card player hand from the five initial player cards and the reserve card.
 When an automatic shuffler such as the I-DEAL® shuffler, manufactured by Shuffle Master, Inc. is used to deliver cards for a five card game, the machine is set up to deliver six card packs, so that one of the six cards can be delivered to each reserve card position and the other five cards can be delivered to each player. The dealer also receives six cards and a top card is burned, leaving the dealer with five cards in his or her hand.
 One preferred form of play excludes the Blind wager. During betting, players preferably place the mandatory Ante wager and optional Bonus wager at the same time. After these wagers are made, the dealer distributes the cards. The dealer then receives a Play wager from the player based on a review of the player cards. When the dealer does not receive a Play wager, play ends for the player and the dealer sweeps the player cards and all player bets. When the Play wager is received, the dealer optionally receives a fee from the player to "rabbit hunt". If the fee is not received, the dealer sweeps the reserve card from the layout. If the fee is received, the dealer confirms that the fee amount is within the game rules, (i.e. 1× the Ante, 2× the Ante, a fixed fee amount, etc.), takes the fee and puts the fee in the chip tray. The dealer then reveals the player reserve card and makes a best five card hand from the six available cards.
 In other embodiments of the invention, the dealer may accept the fee even when the player did not make a Play wager. For example, the rules could allow the player to check, rather than making a Play wager. In that case, the dealer could accept a fee from the player in exchange for the use of the reserve card. In this embodiment, the player stays in the game and cannot fold.
 In one form of the invention, the Play wager and Fee are both equal to 1× the Ante. In other embodiments, other multiples are contemplated such as 2× and 3×, with the Ante and Fee multiples being equal or unequal. Preferably both are equal. The Bonus bet in a preferred form of the invention is equal to the Ante, but can be less than the Ante. It is preferred that the Bonus wager not exceed the Ante to assure that the game will favor the house.
 Bonus wagers may be made on predetermined winning five-card poker hand combinations, or other combinations when the number of cards in the final hand is a number other than 5. The present invention contemplates offering 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 card poker games, although a five card game is preferred. Five card poker rankings are well known and easily understood. In addition, the most unlikely winning 5-card hand (a Royal Flush) can pay relatively high payout odds while still maintaining a house edge.
 The dealer may pay the player a bonus payout when the best player hand, which may or may not include the reserve card is a predetermined winning hand. Suitable payouts may be fixed payouts, odds payout amounts, progressive payout amounts, a fraction of a progressive payout amount or combinations thereof.
 Reserve cards of the present invention may be dealt to individual player reserve card areas, to a common reserve card area, to a dealer reserve card area or to combinations thereof. Preferably, each player receives an assigned reserve card but the dealer does not receive a reserve card, nor does the dealer have access to a reserve card. When the reserve card is dealt to a player, the card is placed in a predetermined printed area of the layout designated for this purpose.
 In a less preferred embodiment, the dealer deals a reserve card to a dealer reserve card area, and that card may be used to determine a best poker ranking of the dealer hand.
 The present invention may also be characterized as a method of playing a wagering game comprising the steps of: a dealer providing a standard deck of cards, the dealer accepting a player Ante wager on the occurrence of a player poker hand outranking a dealer poker hand; and the dealer accepting an optional Bonus wager on the occurrence of the player poker hand being a predetermined winning hand. The dealer deals a hand of cards to a player who placed an accepted Ante wager, the dealer dealing at least one reserve card to be used to better a player's hand face-down. This card is available to better the player hand when the dealer has accepted the additional optional fee. Preferably a hand of five cards each is dealt to the players and the dealer. The dealer accepts a Play wager from each player for play to continue or the dealer takes the Ante bet, ending play for the player and causing the player to fold. When the dealer accepts the Play wager, the dealer may also optionally accept an additional Fee from the player to enable the use of the reserve card to form a best player hand. The dealer reveals the dealer hand, and instructs the player to reveal the player hand, considering the reserve card when the additional optional Fee was accepted. The dealer makes a best poker hand from the player cards and the reserve card when the additional optional Fee is accepted. Both the Ante and Bonus wagers are resolved using the best player hand ranking of the same hand.
 Preferred examples of the present method include dealing five cards to each player and to the dealer, plus dealing one reserve card to each player position. This dealing procedure may be most easy accomplished by forming random six-card packs of cards within a shuffler, and delivering these packs to each player position, transferring the top card to the reserve card area. The dealer also must burn a top card in the pack of cards, leaving five cards to play the game.
 The Bonus wager in one embodiment may not exceed the value of the Ante. In other embodiments, the amount of the Bonus wager is more than the amount of the Ante. The Play wager and the additional fee are multiples of the Ante and are preferably equal and are 1× the Ante, but can be other multiples, such as 2× and 3× and need not be equal.
 Games of the present invention may be linked together to form a progressive jackpot. Progressive systems are well known in the art and can be used to link identical games, or similar games with identical bonus structures. For example, a 5-card embodiment of the present method may be linked to another 5-card poker style game with a similar or identical bonus payout structure. Examples of other 5-card poker games with progressive payouts that could be linked to the same jackpot system are: Caribbean Stud® Poker, and Let it Ride® Progressive.
Five Card Game Embodiment
 Referring now to FIG. 1, a gaming table surface 10 is provided for the play of the game known as the RABBIT HUNTER® game, distributed by Shuffle Master, Incorporated of Las Vegas, Nev. Six player positions 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 are provided. A standard deck of 52 cards may be verified as complete, the cards imaged, shuffled and delivered in pre-formed randomly arranged sets of six cards each to the players using a shuffler such as the I-DEAL® shuffler, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,766,332 and assigned to Shuffle Master, Inc. The content of this patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. Alternately, the game can be hand shuffled and dealt, but this is less preferable because the game is less secure and more vulnerable to being beaten by card cheats. The shuffler is capable of confirming the hand composition in the event the player is entitled to a large payout amount. Shufflers of this type also verify the deck is complete and that no additional cards have been added.
 A rule banner 24 on the gaming table surface provides that the dealer qualifying hand is an Ace-high and if the dealer hand does not qualify, the Ante wager is a push. Above the rule banner 24 is an additional rule 26 that indicates that the "Tens Up" Bonus bet cannot exceed the Ante wager in amount. The "Tens Up" wager is the bonus wager. A game name designation 28 may also appear on the gaming table surface.
 All of the player positions 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 are identical, so only position 16 will be described in detail, as shown in FIG. 2. Player position 16 includes a wagering area 30 for receiving an Ante wager, and a "Tens Up" bonus bet area 32 for receiving a bonus wager. The "Tens Up" bonus bet is really a pay table proposition bet on the occurrence of one of a plurality of winning card combinations and corresponding payout odds. An exemplary pay table 36 is printed on the layout and is also reproduced below:
TABLE-US-00002 Hand Odds Payout Royal Flush 300:1 Straight Flush 100:1 Four-of-a-Kind 50:1 Full House 30:1 Flush 10:1 Straight 7:1 Three-of-a-kind 5:1 Two Pair 2:1 Tens or Better 1:1
 An alternate pay table may also be used:
TABLE-US-00003 Hand Odds Royal Flush 500:1 Straight Flush 100:1 Four-of-a-kind 50:1 Full House 30:1 Flush 10:1 Straight 7:1 Three-of-a-kind 5:1 Two Pair 2:1 Pair of 10's 1:1
 After the initial mandatory Ante and optional "Tens Up" wager is made, the dealer deals five cards to each player and to the dealer position. The shuffler is set up to deliver six cards each, so the top card (or alternately another card) in the pack is delivered by the dealer, face down to each player's individual reserve card position 40. The dealer burns his sixth card before play begins. All hands are resolved using standard, well known 5-card poker rankings.
 The dealer optionally receives a Play wager in betting area 34. In one embodiment, the Play wager is equal to 1× the Ante wager. If no Play wager is received, the dealer folds the hand. All cards and bets are taken. Only when the dealer receives the Play wager is the dealer able to receive an additional fee called a "Rabbit Hunting Fee" in area 38. In a preferred embodiment, this fee is equal to 1× the Ante also. When the dealer does not receive a Rabbit Hunting fee, the sixth card is removed from play. When the dealer receives the Rabbit Hunting Fee, the amount of the wager is verified as correct and the wager is removed from area 38 and placed in the tray. In other words, no payouts are made on this amount, because the amount is a fee and not a wager.
 In order to win a bonus payout amount, the best player hand must be a pair of tens or better. A novel aspect of the present invention is that the player can purchase an extra card to better a hand that competes against a dealer hand and simultaneously competes for bonus payouts. In other embodiments, a player can purchase a card to better a hand that competes against a dealer hand that has also received an extra card, while at the same time competes for bonus payouts.
 The casino table layout as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is used to play a 5-card poker style wagering game as follows. An exemplary bonus pay table below is used to resolve the bonus wagers.
TABLE-US-00004 Hand Odds Royal Flush 300:1 Straight Flush 100:1 Four-of-a-kind 50:1 Full House 30:1 Flush 10:1 Straight 7:1 Three-of-a-kind 5:1 Two Pair 2:1 Pair of 10's 1:1
 Three players are at a table against a dealer, Players A, B and C. The players are located at positions 12, 16 and 17, respectively.
 Each of the players make a set of wagers as follows:  A makes an Ante wager of $10 but waives the optional bonus wager.  B makes an Ante wager of $25, and an optional bonus wager of $10 against a paytable that offers bonus payouts on hands with a final rank of at least a pair of 10's.  C makes an Ante wager of $20 but waives the optional bonus wager.
 The dealer provides each player with an initial 5-card poker hand and one face down player reserve card, and a dealer hand (face down or with one card face up and four cards face down) as follows:
 A hand--5.diamond-solid., 6 , 7, 8, 5 X reserve card  B hand--J, J, 2, 2, 4.diamond-solid. Y reserve card  C hand--K , Q , Q, J , 10 Z reserve card
 Player A does not have a clearly strong hand or a winning hand (a pair of 5's), but has a basis for continuing play. The player will therefore make a Play wager to stay in the game. The dealer optionally receives a fee from the player to make the reserve card available. Looking at the hand of player A, there are two strategies: 1) keep the pair of fives and discard the 6 or 7 or 8, 2) discard a 5 and try for the open-ended straight (receiving a 4 or 9 of any suit). A straight is a stronger hand and is more likely to beat a dealer hand so Player A elects to discard the 5 and makes a Play wager that is equal to 1× the Ante wager. Player A then pays a fee equal to 1× the Ante to use the reserve card. According to the invention, the player makes his best 5-card hand from the available cards.
 Player B already holds two pair, which is a very strong hand. Player B should make a Play wager equal to 1× the Ante. The player may wish to strengthen his hand by throwing away the 4 and paying the fee to use the reserve card, hoping to get another J or 2 card and holding a full house. However, it will cost the player 1× the Ante and since the player is already likely to beat the dealer hand with two pairs, the dealer does not receive a fee from player B to use the reserve card. The reserve card is therefore removed from play by the dealer.
 Player C has a strong pair and a possibility of drawing a flush or straight flush. Player C would definitely make a Play wager, and then pay the fee equal to 1× the Ante for use of the reserve card. The dealer receives the fee from the player because the player hopes to draw an Ace or 9 of hearts.
 After Players A and C have paid for the reserve card, the player's hands are seen as:  A hand--5.diamond-solid., 6 , 7, 8, 5 (7.diamond-solid. X reserve card)  B hand--J, J, 2, 2, 4.diamond-solid. (no reserve card)  C hand--K , Q , Q, J , 10 (8 Z reserve card)
 The dealers hand is then revealed as 9, 9.diamond-solid., 6, 6, A
 The payout from these final hands would be as follows:
 Player A--The player holds two 5's and two 7's, while the dealer holds two 9's and two 6's. The dealer's high pair outranks the player's high pair so player A loses. Ante wager and Play wagers lose, and the dealer takes the Ante and Play wagers. Player A loses a $10 Ante wager and a $10 play wager. Player A did not make a Bonus wager. Player A also paid a $10 fee for a net loss of $30.
 Player B--The player holds a pair of Jacks and a pair of 2's, while the dealer holds a pair of 9's and a pair of 6's. The player wins since the highest pair of the player his higher than the highest pair of the dealer. Player B made an Ante wager of $25 and a bonus wager of $10. He further made a Play wager of $25. He wins 1:1 on the Ante and Bonus or $50, and he wins a bonus payout of $20, which is 2:1 on his Bonus bet of $10 for a total win of $70. Player B also gets his initial $35 back. Player B did not reduce his earnings by paying a fee.
 Player C--The player holds a pair of Queens. The dealer holds two pair, so the player loses the Ante and Play wagers, or $40. Plus player C paid a $20 fee for a total loss of $60. Player C did not make a bonus bet wager.
Three Card Poker Embodiment
No-Fold, No Blind, Common Player Reserve Card
 In another example of the invention, the dealer receives an Ante wager from each player participating in the game, and optionally receives a "Pair Plus" bonus wager, which is a proposition wager against a pay table of multiple winning hand combinations and payout odds. A preferred pay table pays for a pair or better. There is no Blind wager in this preferred embodiment. The dealer sets the I-DEAL® shuffler to deliver randomized packs of three cards each. The dealer delivers a pack of cards to each participating player and to the dealer. The dealer removes an additional pack of cards and moves one of the cards to a common reserve card position, and returns the remaining cards to the infeed tray of the shuffler. The dealer may receive a Play wager that is equal to the Ante wager from each participating player. If the dealer does not receive a Play wager, play continues. The Ante wager in this embodiment is a mandatory wager. In other embodiments, the Ante wager is optional. However, it is preferable that when the reserve card feature is incorporated into the game, the Ante wager is mandatory.
 When the dealer does not receive a Play wager, play continues, and the dealer may or may not receive a fee in an amount of 2× the Ante to obtain the use of the reserve card. The fee may be 1× the Ante, 0.5× the Ante, or a fixed amount. When a fee is received, the dealer places a lammer on the player position and sweeps the fee. If no fee is received, the dealer does nothing. Play then continues. To resolve the hands, the common reserve card is revealed by the dealer and the dealer combines the card with player hands that are marked with the lammer. When a fee is received, the dealer confirms that the fee amount is appropriate (i.e. 2× the Ante), sweeps the fee and places the chips in the chip tray.
 Play is resolved by comparing the dealer three card hand to each best 3-card player hand. When the player hand beats the dealer hand, the player wins 1:1 on the Ante and Play wager, if made. When no Play wager is made, the player wins 1:1 on the Ante. When the dealer hand beats the player hand, the player loses the Ante and also loses the Play wager, if made. Preferably the dealer must qualify with a Queen high or better to play. If the dealer does not qualify, the Ante is returned to the player and the Play wager pays 1:1. Or the Play wager is returned (if made) and 1:1 is paid on the Ante. When the player and dealer tie, the Ante and Play wagers push. The "Pair Plus" wager may be resolved according to the following exemplary pay table:
TABLE-US-00005 Hand Payout Odds Straight Flush 40:1 3-of-a-Kind 30:1 Straight 6:1 Flush 4:1 Pair 1:1
 This game may also pay an Ante bonus for certain high ranking hands. An exemplary pay table for the Ante bonus is as follows:
TABLE-US-00006 Hand Payout Odds Straight Flush 4:1 3-of-a Kind 3:1 Straight 1:1
 The Ante bonus preferably pays even if the dealer hand does not qualify and even if the dealer hand beats the player hand.
 Although the present invention has been described in terms of a live casino style game played with cards, chips and optionally an automatic card shuffler, it can be appreciated that the game may be offered in other formats, some well known, and other newer formats. Some non-limiting examples of other formats for offering games of the present invention include: live gaming tables that use physical cards and other game pieces and that enable credit wagering, electronic single player gaming machines, electronic multi-player gaming machines, hybrid gaming systems with physical game pieces and/or components for determining game outcome but that enable credit wagering such as the Rapid® gaming systems distributed by Shuffle Master, Inc., games for practice play (i.e.--no monetary wagering) on cell phones, gaming stations, PC's, wireless gaming platforms, hand held game devices, parlor games, and the like and some emerging gaming opportunities including but not limited to Internet gaming and gaming on systems designed specifically for use on aircrafts, etc.
 Some alternate formats for performing game play method steps of the present invention are described in more detail below.
 Methods of the present invention may be implemented in computer hardware, software, or computer hardware and software. A most common form of computer implementation is a stand-alone, single player electronic gaming machine with electronic player controls and one or more video output screens.
 In computer-based embodiments, the gaming device preferably includes at least one processor, such as a microprocessor, a microcontroller-based platform, a suitable integrated circuit or one or more application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC's) or Field Programmable Gated Arrays (FPGA's). The processor is in communication with or operable to access or to exchange signals with at least one data storage or memory device, and/or a player monitor or monitors. In one embodiment, the processor and the memory device reside within the cabinet of a gaming device. Multiple gaming devices are typically connected to a casino information network.
 The memory device stores program code and instructions, executable by the processor, to control the gaming device. The memory device also stores other data such as image data, event data, player input data, random or pseudo-random number generators, pay-table data or information, House Ways distributions and applicable game rules that relate to the play of the gaming device. In one embodiment, the memory device includes random access memory (RAM): which can include non-volatile RAM (NVRAM): magnetic RAM (MRAM), ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM), and other forms as commonly understood in the gaming industry. In one embodiment, the memory device includes read only memory (ROM). In one embodiment, the memory device includes flash memory and/or EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read only memory). Any other suitable magnetic, optical, and/or semiconductor memory may operate in conjunction with the gaming device disclosed herein.
 In one embodiment, part or all of the program code and/or operating data described above can be stored in a detachable or removable memory device, including, but not limited to, a suitable cartridge, disk, CD ROM, DVD, or USB memory device.
 In other embodiments, part or all of the program code and/or operating data described above can be downloaded to the memory device through a suitable network. In one embodiment, an operator or a player can use such a removable memory device in a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a portable computing device, or another computerized platform to implement the present disclosure. In one embodiment, the gaming device or gaming machine disclosed herein is operable over a wireless network, for example part of a wireless gaming system. The gaming machine may be a hand-held device, a mobile device, or any other suitable wireless device that enables a player to play any suitable game at a variety of different locations. It should be appreciated that a gaming device or gaming machine as disclosed herein may be a device that has obtained approval from a regulatory gaming commission or a device that has not obtained approval from a regulatory gaming commission. It should be appreciated that the processor and memory device may be collectively referred to herein as a "computer" or "controller."
 In one embodiment, as discussed in more detail below, the gaming device randomly generates awards and/or other game outcomes based on probability data. In one such embodiment, this random determination is provided through utilization of a random number generator (RNG), such as a true random number generator, a pseudo random number generator, or other suitable randomization process. In one embodiment, each award or other game outcome is associated with a probability and the gaming device generates the award or other game outcome to be provided to the player based on the associated probabilities. In this embodiment, since the gaming device generates outcomes randomly or based upon one or more probability calculations, there is no certainty that the gaming device will ever provide the player with any specific award or other game outcome.
 In one embodiment, described in more detail below as a "chipless gaming platform", the gaming device includes one or more display devices that are mounted into a gaming table surface and are controlled by the processor in addition to or separately from the individual player monitors. The display devices are preferably connected to or mounted into the table structure. This may include a central display device which displays a primary game, dealer images, jackpot information, or information that is not specifically related to the game, such as sports information or winning events at other tables. This display device may also display any suitable secondary game associated with the primary game as well as information relating to the primary or secondary game (e.g., side bets, bonuses, jackpots and the like).
 An alternative embodiment may include a central horizontal game display device and a vertically oriented virtual dealer display device as in Shuffle Master, Inc.'s Table Master® gaming system. The central display device may display the primary game, any suitable secondary game associated or not associated with the primary game and/or information relating to the primary or secondary game. These display devices may also serve as digital glass operable to advertise games or other aspects of the gaming establishment. The gaming device includes a credit display 20 which displays a player's current number of credits, cash, account balance, or the equivalent. In one embodiment, the gaming device includes a bet display displays a player's amount wagered. In one embodiment, as described in more detail below, the gaming device includes a player tracking display which displays information regarding a player's play tracking status.
 In yet another embodiment, at least one display device may be a mobile display device, such as a PDA or tablet PC that enables play of at least a portion of the primary or secondary game at a location remote from the gaming device. The display devices may include, without limitation, a monitor, a television display, a plasma display, a liquid crystal display (LCD) a display based on light emitting diodes (LEDs), a display based on a plurality of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), a display based on polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs), a display based on a plurality of surface-conduction electron-emitters (SEDs), a display including a projected and/or reflected image, or any other suitable electronic device or display mechanism.
 In one embodiment, as described in more detail below, the display device includes a touch-screen with an associated touch-screen controller. The display devices may be of any suitable size and configuration, such as a square, a rectangle or an elongated rectangle. The display devices of the gaming device are configured to display at least one and preferably a plurality of game or other suitable images, symbols and indicia such as any visual representation or exhibition of the movement of objects such as mechanical, virtual, or video reels and wheels, dynamic lighting, video images, images of people, characters, places, things, faces of cards, images of dealers and the like.
 Other forms of the invention are in the form of game software that is implemented in a variety of formats, such as internet gaming, PC practice play, hand-held game devices, wireless gaming devices and the like.
Chipless Gaming Table Implementation
 One enabling system useful in the practice of the present invention is a system marketed under the name i-TABLE® by Shuffle Master, Inc. of Las Vegas, Nev. That system includes: a) a physical gaming table; b) player monitors at each player position; c) a playing card reading and delivery system (e.g., commercially available shufflers and playing card delivery shoes with reading capability as sold under the Trade names of One2Six® shuffler, Ace® shuffler, I-DEAL® shuffler, I-SHOE® delivery shoe, etc.); d) a processor receiving information (numbers of cards, rank of cards, suits of cards, etc.) from the card reading and delivery systems; e) communication connectivity (hardwired or wireless) between necessary combinations of the card reading/delivery systems and the processor, the processor and the individual player monitors, and/or the card reading/delivery systems and the video monitors; and f) software in the processor that defines predetermined advantage for distributions of playing cards into multiple hands, game rules, hand history, and the like.
 With regard to software f), it is understood in the practice of the present technology that this is not complex software that reads individual player hand cards and determines advantageous card distributions for a first time by extensive calculations. Rather, the entire range of possibilities of hands (e.g., all possible five card sets dealt to players in poker-style games) are known in poker style games.
 By way of non-limiting example, the following is directed to a live table game--electronic platform hybrid, marketed as SMI's I-TABLE®. FIG. 3 shows an exemplary chipless gaining table 100 system for playing live card games with physical playing cards dealt from an automatic card shuffler 102 according to technologies enabled and disclosed herein. Gaming table 100 can be a variety of common constructions or configurations as are typically used as the structural components of gaming table in the industry. The typical gaming table has a tabletop or playing surface 104 and a perimeter pad or armrest (not shown) which extends at least about the portion of the table periphery facing players. The relatively straight back portion of the periphery 110 is used by the dealer (not shown) and can be partly or wholly padded as may vary with the particular table chosen. Six player display/input systems 112a-112f are shown. Other numbers of systems can alternately be provided. Each of the player input systems 112a-112f has a processor (not shown) and a touch screen entry surface 116a-116g. The table includes a dealer chip tray 120, even though players make credit wagers and not gaming chip wagers.
 There is also a game controller, CPU or casino computer 128 whose location at the table system 100 is relatively unimportant, but which must be in direct (hardwired or wireless or networked) communication with each individual player processor 114a-114g, a card reading and/or delivery system 102, and a dealer input 130. The communication is represented graphically as broken lines 132 on the drawing. In a preferred form of the invention, the game controller 128 resides beneath the gaming table surface within a layer of the gaming table top structure. Layered gaming table tops enable the system to house all of the necessary electronics yet rest on a standard set of table legs and appear very similar to a standard gaming table to the untrained eye.
 A preferable card handling device for administering a poker-style game is a hand-forming shuffler with integrated card recognition technology, from which playing cards are supplied, with a least a rank/count (and preferable also suit) of individual packs of cards are known before the cards are removed and delivered to player positions and/or the dealer position. The card delivery system 102 is in communication with the controller 128 by wired or wireless communication methods. Communication between the various system components is not limited to electronic or electrical signals, but may include optical signals, audio signals, magnetic transmission or the like.
 An electronic player display (not shown) may be mounted on a pole and supported by pole support 134. The player display (not shown) may be a double-sided table sign. The side opposite the side viewable by the player is viewable by pit personnel. The player display is also in communication with game controller 128 and may provide information on the specific game being offered, historical player game results, game outcome trends, game rules, game play advice, advertisements and a variety of other information useful or entertaining for players.
 Dealer display 130 includes data input capability and may be used by the dealer to input "buy in" amounts, to confirm game play results, to provide the dealer with game play instructions such as instructions on how to set the highest ranking hand, and the like. A random number generator may be included as part of the processing capability of the dealer display 130 and be used to determine which player receives a first hand, or for other purposes. In an alternate embodiment, the dealer display 130 resides on the card dispensing device 102 or as a separate keypad (not shown).
 The individual player position processors (not shown) are preferable graphics processors and not full content CPUs as a cost saving, space saving, and efficiency benefit. With the reduced capacity in the processor as compared to a CPU, there is actually reduced likelihood of tampering and fraudulent input.
 The betting chip rack 120 is provided to allow the dealer to conveniently store betting chips used by the dealer in cashing players in and out of the game. A money drop slot (not shown) is further included to allow the dealer to easily deposit paper money bills therein when players purchase credits.
 An exemplary chipless table system is disclosed in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 12/218,583, filed Jul. 15, 2008 and U.S. application Ser. No. 12/231,759, filed Sep. 5, 2008 which are herein incorporated by reference in the entireties.
Multi Player Platform Implementation
 FIG. 4 shows an example of an automated table system 101a useful to practice the game play methods of the present invention. This system is fully disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication 2005/0164759 A1. The content of this application is incorporated by reference in its entirety. The system 140 has an upright dealer display cabinet 142 with a top 144 and a virtual dealer viewing screen 146 which may be any form of display screen such as a CRT, plasma screen, liquid crystal screen, LED screen or the like. The common player area has a common player display screen 148 on which images of cards being dealt 150, bets wagered (not shown) and touch screen player input controls 152 are located. Other player input functions may be provided on a panel 154 which might accept currency, coins, tokens, identification cards, player tracking cards, ticket in/ticket out acceptance, and the like.
 FIG. 5 shows an electronic/processor schematic for a MultiPlayer Platform (MPP) gaming system. The MPP Game engine (dealer) comprises a Heber Pluto 5 casino game board 200 (Motorola 68340 board) operating off the PC Platform Pentium® 4 MPP Game Display processor 202. The game display processor operates on a Windows XP platform. The respective subcomponents on the Pentium 4 processor are labeled to show the apportionment of activity on the motherboard and the component parts added to the board. As is shown, the game engine has an Uninterruptible Power Supply 204. The game display processor directs activity on the Speakers, directs activities onto the MPP Game Service panel, and the Plasma Monitor Card Table display. It is important to note that all communications are direct from the game display processor, freeing up resources available to the game engine processor.
 FIG. 6 shows the electronic/processing schematics of the MPP Player Station Intelligence board (Heber Pluto 5 Casino, Motorola 68340), each of which player stations (one for each player position) is in direct connection to the MPP Game Engine (Dealer), which is in turn directly connected to the PC Platform (not shown in this Figure). Each Intelligence board receives information for all player input systems specific to that player station, such as the shown Coin Acceptor, Coin Hopper, Bill Validator, Ticket Printer, Touch Screen and/or Display Button Panel, Dual Wire Ticket-in-Ticket-Out Printing and SAS System (SAS is one exemplary standard communications protocol used by a number of casinos central computer systems.) A significant benefit resides in the use of the independent Intelligence boards at each player position being in direct communication with the MPP Game Engine 300, as opposed to each individual player position button panel being dead or inactive until authorized by the main game processor, as previous automated gaming systems were constructed.
 With the player intelligent boards, the main game PC can receive packets of information from each player station as events occur rather than having to poll each player position on a regular basis 100 times to gain the specific information for each player input that may be made.
 The following is a discussion of exemplary hardware components that can be used in a multi-player gaming platform that enables play of games of the present invention.
 A description of the Heber Board, (an exemplary board that can be used as a player station processor and/or game engine processor) a commercially available intelligent processing board is as follows. The Heber Board is known for its reliability and flexibility, especially for the Pluto 5 family of gaming products. The Pluto 5 is the controller of choice for the global gaming industry. Flexibility comes from a set of features built into the Pluto 5 (Casino) controller, and from the choice of optional add-on boards that can be used to adapt the Pluto family to best suit individual applications. In the area of interfacing, there are three distinct boards, each of which serves a particular function in helping the Pluto 5 to connect with the world outside:
 RS485 is an industrial-grade board for linking multiple systems in unforgiving circumstances for centralized information gathering. The Heber RS485 board is fully opto-isolated to provide complete circuit safety when used within `electrically noisy` environments. The RS485 board uses a single RS232 connection to the Pluto 5 board and all necessary power is also derived through this link. Two header connectors may be provided for the RS485 channel to allow daisy chain connections between multiple systems.
 This board specializes in communicating with industry standard note/coin acceptors and payout hoppers. Equipped with dual communication channels, each port is configurable to use either the HII format to connect with Mars® coin/note acceptors or the ccTalk format for Money Controls® hoppers. Both channels are controlled via a single RS232 connection to the Pluto 5 board and all necessary power is also derived through this link. The Heber FastTrack® package contains modular library functions for passing information via these channels.
Four Channel Relay Board
 The relay board allows control of medium-level to high-level loads such as solenoids, without risk of damage or interference to the Pluto 5 circuitry. Four power-switching channels are available with absolute isolation from the Pluto 5 control signals. Each relay is capable of switching direct or alternating currents of up to 7 A at a maximum voltage of 250V.
 Like the Pluto 5 board itself, its modular options have been used extensively so that their designs are fully developed and entirely stable. The options that are specified are consistently provided in mass quantities. As with all Pluto products, programming for the modular options is straightforward. This is enhanced with the use of the Pluto 5 Enhanced Development Kit and also the FastTrack® package. Between them, these kits contain all of the low level and high level programming tools and library functions needed for gaming applications. These systems can be provided through a Pluto 5 Enhanced Development Kit datasheet 80-15353-7 (Heber Limited, Belvedere Mill, Chalford, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 8NT, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1453 886000 Fax: +44 (0) 1453 885013 www.heber.co.uk. Specifications for the various boards are identified below.
 RS232 connection to Pluto 5/Pluto 5 Casino
 All power provided via RS232 link from host system
 Dual four-way Molex 0.1'' KK headers for daisy chaining purposes
 80×61 mm (3.14×2.4'')
Opto-isolated RS485 board
 RS232 connection to Pluto 5/Pluto 5 Casino
 All power provided via RS232 link from host system
 Single or dual 10 way header connectors
 101.6×69.85 mm (4×2.8'')
 Dual channel HII/ccTalk board
Four Channel Relay Board
 Connection to Pluto 5/Pluto 5 Casino via ribbon cable using four standard output lines
 All power provided via ribbon cable link from host system
 Up to 250V AC or DC @ 7 A maximum per channel
 80×61 mm (3.14×2.4'')
 Four channel relay board
 One proposed hardware configuration uses a "satellite" intelligent processor at each player position. The player station satellite processor is substantially the same as the primary game engine processor, a Heber Pluto 5 Casino board. The satellite processors receive instruction from the primary game engine but then handle the communications with player station peripherals independently. Each satellite processor communicates with only the peripherals at the same player station. Thus each player station has a dedicated satellite processor communicating with only the peripherals at the same player station and with the casino's central computer system. The peripherals are, but not limited to: Slot accounting Systems, Bill Validator, Ticket Printer, Coin Acceptor, Coin Hopper, Meters, Button panel or LCD touch screen and various doors and keys.
 The satellite processors run proprietary software to enable functionality. The player station software is comprised of two modules, the first being an OS similar to the game engine Operating System and the second being station software that handles peripheral communications. The software may be installed on EPROMs for each satellite processor. The primary method of communication between the satellite processors and the primary game engine is via serial connectivity and the previously described protocol. In one example, information packets are prepared by the satellite processors and are sent to the game engine processor on the happening of an event.
 The proposed game engine provides communication to the player stations to set the game state, activate buttons and receive button and meter information for each player station. Communication is via a serial connection to each of the stations. The new protocol for communication between the game engine, game display and player stations is an event driven packet-for-packet bi-directional protocol with Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) verification. This is distinguished from the Sega system that used continuous polling. This communication method frees up resources in the same engine processor because the processor no longer needs to poll the satellites continuously or periodically.
 The new protocol uses embedded acknowledgement and sequence checking. The packet-for-packet protocol uses a Command Packet, Response Packet and a Synchronization Packet as illustrated below. The protocol uses standard ASCII characters to send data and a proprietary verification method.
Format of Command Packet
 TABLE-US-00006 STX SEQ DATA LENGTH DATA CRC-16 ETX 1 1 3 3-999 5 1
Format of Response Packet
 TABLE-US-00007 STX SEQ DSP PRV ETX 1 1 1 1 1
Format of Synchronization Response Packet
 TABLE-US-00008 STX MTS MRS ETX 1 1 1 1
Legend for Figures
 TABLE-US-00009 STX Start of Packet Character SEQ Sequence # (Cycles from `0` thru `9`) LEN Length of Data Area (`003` thru `999`) DATA ASCII Data Fields Separated with `|` Character CRC CRC-16 Value (`0000` thru `65535`) Cyclic Redundancy Check ETX End of Packet Character DSP Disposition Code (`A` ACK, `N` NAK, or `I` Invalid Sequence) PRV Sequence Number of Last ACK'ed Packet (0 thru 9) MTS Main's Current Transmit Sequence Number MRS Main's Current Receive Sequence Number.
 The Command Packet and Response Packet are used during primary game communications. The protocol uses redundant acknowledgement. For example: The packet is initially acknowledged when first received by the recipient. The same recipient will resend anther acknowledgement in the next communication. This second acknowledgement is the `PRV` data in the response packet.
 The communications between the Game Engine and the Player Station intelligence is preferably a transaction-based protocol. Either device can start a transaction, which is why it is essential that there be an intelligent board at each player position. All packets of information may be sent in any acceptable format, with ASCII format preferred as a matter of designer choice. All command packets usually contain a sequence number that is incremented after each successful packet exchange. The Game Engine and the Player Station intelligence use sequence numbers that are independent of each other. The sequence number keeps the communications in synchronization. This synchronization method is described later.
 The command packet is used to send various commands such as Inputs, Lamps, Doors, Errors, Chirp, Game Results, player input, coin acceptance, player identification, credit acceptance, wagers, etc. The command packet format may be, by way of a non-limiting example:  <STX><Sequence number><Data Length><Data><CRC-16><ETX>
 The data format with in the command packet may be:  <Address><Command><Field 1>|<Field 2>|<Field n>|
 The response packet format may be:  <STX><Sequence number><Disposition><Previous ACK><ETX>
 The sync request packet format may be:  <SYN>
 The sync response packet format may be:
TABLE-US-00007 <STX><Mains Current Transmission Sequence><Mains Current Receive Sequence><ETX>
 A major strength of the protocol is its resilience of the Game Protocol and its ability to free up resources within the game engine. Those resources can in turn be used to provide more intricate games, and multi-media affects.
 The satellite and host must become synchronized in order to provide for reliable communications using packet numbers. To facilitate this, a novel protocol synchronization method that is used. Upon applying power to the satellite, or after a communications failure, the satellite automatically enters into synchronization mode. In the synchronization mode the satellite sends out the ASCII SYN (0x16) character about every second. It is expecting a special response packet containing transmit and receive packet sequence numbers to be used from that point on. After receiving the special response packet, the sequence numbers are used as-is, and not incremented until a successful packet exchange is completed. After communications is synchronized, the sequence numbers are incremented after each packet is successfully sent or received.
 As was noted before, the main game processor may contain information, data, programming and other necessary functions to enable the play of multiple games off the same machine. For example, the main game engine may have rules and commands that will enable play of high and low games of the present invention and other card games. The system may be controlled so that different games may be played at different times on command of the casino or players.
 The scope of the invention shown in this example is intended to be only a specific embodiment within the generic concepts taught and claimed in this patent.
Patent applications by Roger M. Snow, Las Vegas, NV US
Patent applications in class CARD OR TILE GAMES, CARDS OR TILES THEREFOR
Patent applications in all subclasses CARD OR TILE GAMES, CARDS OR TILES THEREFOR