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Publication numberUS20030153375 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/364,118
Publication date14 Aug 2003
Filing date11 Feb 2003
Priority date13 Feb 2002
Also published asCA2475856A1, EP1503833A1, EP1503833A4, WO2003068351A1
Publication number10364118, 364118, US 2003/0153375 A1, US 2003/153375 A1, US 20030153375 A1, US 20030153375A1, US 2003153375 A1, US 2003153375A1, US-A1-20030153375, US-A1-2003153375, US2003/0153375A1, US2003/153375A1, US20030153375 A1, US20030153375A1, US2003153375 A1, US2003153375A1
InventorsOlaf Vancura
Original AssigneeOlaf Vancura
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Casino game having player control of award level
US 20030153375 A1
Abstract
In a casino game categories are displayed to a player upon the occurrence of an event in the play of the casino game such as a bonusing event. Each category corresponds to a decision-making game and may have its own award level. The player selects one of the categories so that the player controls which decision-making game is played. The decision-making game based upon the selected category is played by the player. The decision-making game can be a knowledge-based game with a query being displayed with possible answers or any other decision-making game. The decision-making game corresponding to the selected category has at least a first possible outcome and a second possible outcome. The player is awarded based on the actual outcome and the award level for the selected category. The first possible outcome provides the player with a higher award than the second possible outcome.
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Claims(26)
I claim:
1. A method of operating a casino game comprising:
displaying in the casino game a plurality of categories to a player, each of the plurality of categories having an award level, the plurality of categories having a plurality of corresponding possible player category inputs;
receiving a category input of the plurality of possible category inputs from the player so that the player controls the selection of a category, the received category input corresponding to the selected category;
displaying in the casino game a query from a database corresponding to the category input, the displayed query having a plurality of possible player answer inputs; and
receiving at least one answer input of the plurality of possible answer inputs from the player;
awarding the player an award based on the correctness of the at least one answer input and the award level of the selected category.
2 The method of claim 1 wherein the award level for each of the plurality of categories is the same.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the award level for each of the plurality of categories is different.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the award level is a multiplier of a wager made by the player to play the casino game.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein the award level is emblematic of the award.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of categories correspond to different levels of difficulty with each different level having an award based on the difficulty of the category.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of categories correspond to different areas of subject matter with each different area having an award based on the subject matter of the category.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of categories have a unique subject matter and difficulty level.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein displaying first displays the subject matter, followed by a second display of the difficulty level;
wherein receiving a category input receives a first player input for the subject matter in response to the first display and receives a second player input for the difficulty level in response to the second display.
10. The method of claim 8, wherein displaying first displays the difficulty level, followed by a second display of the subject matter;
wherein receiving a category input receives a first player input for the difficulty level in response to the first display and receives a second player input for the subject matter in response to the second display.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein the casino game is interconnected into a wide area progressive system.
12. The method of claim 1 wherein the casino game is interconnected to the Internet.
13. A method of operating a knowledge-based casino bonus game during play of an underlying casino game of chance by a player, the method comprising:
entering the knowledge-based casino bonus from the underlying game of chance;
displaying a plurality of categories to the player, each of the plurality of categories having an award level, at least one of the award levels higher in value than the remaining award levels;
receiving a category input selecting one category of the plurality of possible category inputs from the player so that the player controls the award level by selecting a category;
displaying a query to the player in a display corresponding to the selected category, the displayed query having a plurality of possible player answer inputs;
receiving at least one answer input of the plurality of possible answer inputs in the displayed query from the player;
awarding the player based on the correctness of the at least one answer input and the award level of the selected category.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein the award level is a multiplier of a wager made by the player to play the underlying game of chance.
15. The method of claim 12, wherein the plurality of categories correspond to different levels of difficulty with each different level having an award based on the difficulty of the category, the greater the difficulty the higher the award.
16. The method of claim 13, wherein the plurality of categories correspond to different areas of subject matter with each different area having an award based on the subject matter of the category.
17. The method of claim 13, wherein the plurality of categories have a unique subject matter and difficulty level.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein displaying first displays the subject matter, followed by a second display of the difficulty level;
wherein receiving a category input receives a first player input for the subject matter in response to the first display and receives a second player input for the difficulty level in response to the second display.
19. The method of claim 17, wherein displaying first displays the difficulty level, followed by a second display of the subject matter;
wherein receiving a category input receives a first player input for the difficulty level in response to the first display and receives a second player input for the subject matter in response to the second display.
20. The method of claim 13 wherein the underlying game of chance is interconnected into a wide area progressive system.
21. The method of claim 13 wherein underlying game of chance is interconnected to the Internet.
22. A method of playing a casino game comprising:
receiving a wager from a player to play the casino game,
displaying in the casino game a plurality of categories to the player upon the occurrence of an event in the play of the casino game, each of the plurality of categories having an award level;
receiving a category input of the plurality of possible category inputs from the player, the received category input corresponding to a category selected by the player so that the player controls the award level;
playing a decision-making game based upon the category input, said decision-making game having at least a first possible outcome and a second possible outcome;
awarding the player based on the actual outcome of the decision-making game and the award level corresponding to the selected category, wherein if the actual outcome is said first possible outcome the player receives a higher award than if the actual outcome is said second possible outcome.
23. The method of claim 22, wherein the plurality of categories correspond to different levels of difficulty with each different level having an award based on the difficulty of the category, the greater the difficulty the higher the award.
24. The method of claim 23 wherein displaying visually displays to the player messages as to the ease and/or hardness associated with each level of difficulty.
25. The method of claim 22, wherein the plurality of categories correspond to different areas of subject matter with each different area having an award based on the subject matter of the category.
26. The method of claim 22 wherein the event is a bonusing event.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This non-provisional application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application entitled “Knowledge-Based Casino Game Having a Category Feature” having Ser. No. 60/356,719 filed on Feb. 13, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] This invention is related to casino games, and more particularly, to knowledge-based casino games.

[0004] 2. Background

[0005] Casino games are popular with the public and over the past decade many varieties of new casino games have been introduced. These new games are implemented in standalone gaming machines, in wide area networks, and over the Internet. Casino bonusing games are also increasingly popular when placed in operation with underlying casino games such as, for example, slot machines. Such bonusing games not only attract players but provide additional gaming excitement.

[0006] Older, more traditional casino games and casino bonus games simply generate a random or pseudorandom result in a game round such as is found in a slot game. The only input from the player is to place a wager and then spin the reels. Occasionally, the player may be prompted to pick an object (within a bonus game) but with no mathematical effect one way or the other. Other casino games and casino bonus games involve decision-making game rounds that receive inputs based on a player's skill, strategy, or even knowledge. In these games a player may receive a higher award based on his/her skill, knowledge, and/or strategy. An example of a skill casino game is video poker.

[0007] In co-pending application entitled “Knowledge-based Casino Game and Method Therefor”, Ser. No. 09/372,560 commonly assigned to Mikohn Gaming Corporation, a knowledge-based casino game is set forth which presents queries to players in a bonus game and/or in an underlying game of chance. A need exists to provide a feature in the underlying casino gaming machine and/or in the casino bonus game that gives the player control over the game, for example, the difficulty level of a knowledge-based game, or the type of questions asked in a knowledge-based game. A need exists to allow the player in such knowledge-based games to make a decision as to what award level the player should play for thereby adding further player excitement. There exists a desire to offer knowledge-based games in which the player who “knows” the answer is rewarded with a greater prize than the player who “guesses” the answer. Finally, there exists a continual need to add more challenge, risk, and excitement to a casino player's experience whether in a knowledge-based casino game, in a skill casino game, in a strategy casino game, or in other casino games by giving the player control over what the award level the player seeks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention solves the aforesaid problem by providing player control of the award level such in a casino game or in a casino bonus game such as an underlying gaming machine having a casino bonus game. In the present invention, player control is increased by allowing the player to make a decision on which award level(s) to play for such as based, for example, on difficulty. In knowledge-based casino games, the player determines the types of questions that will appear in the game. The player may choose a category in a knowledge-based casino game based on the level of difficulty and the potential award. A method is set forth for providing a category choice to the player of a casino game so as to increase the player's expected value and, therefore, to win more at the casino game. During operation of a casino game, a category feature is displayed during a displayed decision-making game round under control of a processor. If the player chooses a more difficult category, the player's expected value from the casino game is increased. The displayed information may be at least one category, an associated potential award level (for a correct or incorrect answer), and/or an associated difficulty level.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009]FIG. 1a sets forth the hardware configuration of a casino gaming machine incorporating the category feature embodiment of the present invention.

[0010]FIG. 1b sets an underlying casino gaming machine having a casino knowledge-based bonus game incorporating the category feature embodiment of the present invention into a separate screen.

[0011]FIG. 2 sets forth the hardware configuration of an underlying casino gaming machine having a casino knowledge-based bonus game incorporating the category feature embodiment of the present invention into a separate display.

[0012]FIG. 3 sets forth one embodiment of the method of the present invention showing the various method steps for implementing the category feature embodiment into the present invention for a casino game.

[0013]FIG. 4 sets forth another embodiment of the method of the present invention showing the various method steps for implementing the category feature into the present invention for a casino game.

[0014]FIG. 5 sets forth the player control of the award level of the present invention in a wide area progressive network.

[0015]FIG. 6 sets forth the player control of the award level of the present invention in a casino game played over the Internet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] 1. Overview

[0017] In FIG. 1a is shown a gaming machine 10 such as a video knowledge-based gaming machine modified to incorporate the present invention. The video gaming machine 10, itself, is conventional and may comprise a number of different designs. The gaming machine 10 can be any casino knowledge-based gaming machine 10 that displays a knowledge-based game 75 having a decision-making game round to a player and then receives the player's input. In order to illustrate the various embodiments of the feature of the present invention, standard components are succinctly described in the following as they are well known in the art. Furthermore, the category feature of the present invention can be implemented in software components or over networks such as wide area progressives and over the Internet as subsequently described.

[0018] The block diagram hardware components of such a gaming machine 10 as shown in FIG. 1a are illustrative only and include a processor, computer, or controller 20 interconnected 26 to a device 30 for receiving bets or wagers from players. The device 30 can be of any suitable design or construction and can be, for example, but not limited to, a bill reader, coin acceptor, credit device, credit card reader, ticket reader, smart card reader, debit card reader, or any combination thereof. How a wager is received in device 30 is immaterial to the teachings of the present invention. The processor 20 is also connected 24 to an award 40 which can be, for example, but not limited to, a display showing current available player credits and the associated separate devices for delivering payouts to the player such as: a coin or ticket dispenser, a device for delivering payout information to a smart card; etc. How an award is made to the player is also immaterial to the present invention. Furthermore, the award can be any type of an award, such as but not limited to: a monetary value, a free game play, a compensation, a physical item such as a car, etc.

[0019] The processor 20 is usually connected 28 to a random number generator (RNG) 50, which may be a separate hardware component or a software module within a memory 60. The RNG 50 is any random or pseudorandom number generator conventionally used in gaming machines. The processor 20 is interconnected 62 to the memory 60 and interconnected 72 to a display 70 a. The gaming machine 10 is shown in functional block diagrams, and conventional clocks, ports, busses, buffers, hoppers, hopper controllers, etc., are not shown.

[0020] The category feature embodiment 200 of the present invention is independent of the type of casino knowledge-based gaming machine 10 and will be used herein to illustrate the present invention.

[0021] It is to be expressly understood that the category feature 200, as shown in FIG. 1b, can also be used with a knowledge-based bonus game 140 having decision-making game rounds that is displayed in the same CRT or display 70 a as a separate display screen. The underlying game, not shown, played in display 70 a can be any suitable video casino game including, but not limited to, black jack, poker, slots, keno, etc. FIG. 1b illustrates the use of the category feature 200 during the play of a knowledge-based bonus game 140, which occurs as a separate screen in the same display 70 a. It is to be expressly understood that several variations of the present invention exist.

[0022] The category feature 200 is further shown in FIG. 2 with a conventional underlying gaming machine 100 a having a casino bonus game 100 b in a separate display 110. The underlying gaming machine 100 a is shown to be a slot machine. In FIG. 2, symbols 92 are shown which are also conventional in play of conventional slot machines. Three reels 94 a, 94 b, and 94 c are illustrated showing symbols 92 a and 92 b. Any number of reels 94 could be utilized and any number of symbols 92 can also be utilized. While one payline 90 is shown, it is to be expressly understood that conventional slot machines have a plurality of paylines and such paylines need not be linear but could, for example, zigzag over the face of the reels in various combinations.

[0023] In FIG. 2, the processor 20 is further interconnected over a two-way bus 22 to a display processor 120. The display processor 120 is interconnected over a two-way communication channel 124 with a display 110 and is also interconnected over a memory bus 122 with a display memory 130. It is to be expressly understood that in some designs for the hardware of the present invention, the processor 20 can drive over 22 the display 110 without using a separate display processor 120 and display memory 130. For example, in FIG. 1a, the processor operates the casino game 75 for a player in the display 110.

[0024] In FIG. 2, the conventional slot machine 100 a has a bonus condition such as the bonus symbol 80 on the payline 90. The provision of a bonus symbol(s) 80 on the payline 90 is also conventional and it is well known that slot machines 10 can have a bonus condition (whether or not on the payline) randomly appear that results in a player having the opportunity to play a bonus game 140. In FIG. 2, the processor 20 over line 22 delivers the bonus condition to the casino bonus game 100 b. When a player receives the bonus symbol 80 on the payline 90, which may be any suitable bonus condition, the player's attention is then directed to the casino bonus game 100 b having decision making game rounds.

[0025] The bonus condition can be any suitable event that occurs in the casino game and is not limited to a bonus symbol 80 appearing on the payline 90. For exemplary purposes, we assume a bonus condition has occurred in the play of the underlying game 100 a that results in play of the casino knowledge-based bonus game 100 b. When the player plays the knowledge-based bonus game 140 in display 110, the category feature 200 of the present invention, in one embodiment, appears. In many conventional slot games with a bonus game, the same CRT is used for both games. Hence, the knowledge-based bonus game 140 with category feature 200 can be implemented in the display 70 b as a second screen or as discussed above for FIGS. 1a and 1 b. This eliminates the use of a separate display processor 120 and display memory 130. In other words, the bonus game 140 is displayed as a second screen in the embodiment of FIG. 1b.

[0026] The category feature 200 of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The category feature 200 of the present invention, as will be explained in the following, creates interest and excitement for the player. The category feature 200 is itself a decision-making game round in that, as with the casino game 75 or bonus game 140, the player has a choice among possible inputs with at least one of the possible inputs increasing the expected value for the player in the play of the game round for the underlying casino game 75 or bonus game 140.

[0027] The term “casino game” is defined herein to be any gaming machine or any underlying gaming machine having a bonus game implemented with a computer-based control such as processor 20 in FIGS. 1 and 2. The present invention can be incorporated into casino table games. As will be pointed out later, the casino game can be part of a wide area progressive or played over the Internet or other online environment. Such casino games are regulated in the responsible jurisdiction by suitable gaming regulations ensuring fairness to players and casinos at a given long-term players' expected value (or house advantage from the viewpoint of the casino) over all play of the casino game based on the output of a random number generator.

[0028] The term “decision-making” game round is defined herein to mean a game round wherein the player has a choice among possible inputs with at least one of the possible inputs increasing the expected value for the player in the play of the game round for the casino game. The term “decision-making” knowledge-based game round is defined herein to mean a knowledge-based game round wherein the player has a choice among possible inputs with at least one of the possible inputs increasing the expected value for the player in the play of the knowledge-based game round for the casino game.

[0029] The term “category” is defined herein to provide a player with a choice of distinct choices for continued play of the casino game. The player is presented with the categories and based on her/his confidence (i.e., skill, knowledge, ability to strategize, etc); the player can make a decision on which category to proceed. In one embodiment, the categories are subject matter areas for queries such as trivia questions. In another embodiment, each category simultaneously provides a player not only with subject matter but also potential award levels, so that the player can choose by weighing his/her familiarity with the category with his/her desire for a high award level.

[0030] 2. Method

[0031] A method for implementing the category feature 200 of the present invention is illustrated, in one example, in FIG. 3 and can be implemented in suitable software in the gaming machine 10 of FIG. 1a or in the underlying gaming machine 100 a and the casino knowledge-based bonus games of FIG. 1b or FIG. 2.

[0032] With respect to FIG. 2, when the knowledge-based bonus game 140 is entered upon the occurrence of a condition such as the bonus symbol 80 appearing on the payline 90, the processor 20 over bus 22 causes the display processor 120 to start 300. The bonus game 140 is then displayed in display 110 (or in the same display 70 a as a separate screen as shown in FIG. 1b).

[0033] In general, the casino game whether it is the gaming machine 10 of FIG. 1 or the casino bonus game 100 b of FIG. 2 has a knowledge-based decision-making game round displayed to a player for the player to respond to. The displayed game round can be any knowledge-based decision-making casino game round under the teachings of the present invention to which a player can respond.

[0034] The processor 20 displays 310 a stored (in memory 130) first decision-making game round to a player. The first decision-making game round is a category feature 200 having, for example, but not limited to, a plurality of subject categories and potential award levels for knowledge-based queries. Other types of categories are discussed below. The plurality of subject categories corresponds to a plurality of possible inputs that the player can respond to.

[0035] The player then inputs 390 at least one input of the plurality of possible inputs which is received 315 in the knowledge-based bonus game 140 to respond to the displayed first decision-making game round 310. The received 315 at least one input from the player dictates the award level for the second decision-making game round. On the basis of the received input 315 from the player, the display processor 120 causes the display memory 130 to display in the casino bonus game 140 a second decision-making game round 320 to the player, the second decision-making game round 320 is a knowledge-based query in the selected category having a corresponding plurality of possible player inputs.

[0036] For example, in the second decision-making game round 320, the display memory 130 randomly addresses a stored trivia question, having a plurality of answers in memory 130 for display in the knowledge-based bonus game display 110. The trivia question is displayed 320 along with the plurality of answers 325 as a knowledge-based bonus game round for the player to respond to. For example, with a question with three answers, the three answers are three possible inputs that the player can respond to. The answers have values that are a function of the input received in the first decision-making game round 310.

[0037] The player then inputs 390 at least one answer from the possible answers which is received 330 in the knowledge-based bonus casino game 140 according to the method of the present invention. If the at least one answer is correct 335 (or more correct), an award 340 is given and the game ends 350. If the answer is incorrect, the casino knowledge-based bonus game 140 ends 350. Alternatively, if incorrect, the player may still receive, in one variation, a lower award 345 based on the number of answers required to be correct.

[0038] While the terms “first” and “second” decision making game rounds are used above referring to distinct parts of the bonus game, the invention is not so limited. The player first chooses the category which controls the award level and the player then responds to a knowledge-based query such as a trivia question. In one embodiment, this occurs immediately and sequentially as shown in FIG. 3. In another embodiment, the player may make the “first” decision at the beginning of play so that it remains the same selection for all subsequent knowledge-based queries. In this embodiment, the player selects the category once for all future queries until the player leaves the machine (i.e., cashes out). In a variation of this latter embodiment, the player may reset the category choice, for continued play without cashing out.

[0039] Consider the following example of a knowledge-based game in which the player is first given a choice of several categories of trivia and is shown possible award levels associated with each category. For example, in an embodiment suitable to the TRIVIAL PURSUIT® brand of game, when the first decision-making game round 310 is displayed, the player is shown six categories of trivia (for example, Sports & Leisure, Science & Nature, History, People & Places, Entertainment, Pot Luck, or any other desired categories). Each category has an associated award level as shown in Table 1 below:

TABLE 1
Award
Category level
Sports & Leisure 100x 
Science & Nature 60x
History 120x 
People & Places 80x
Entertainment 40x
Pot Luck 92x

[0040] The award levels shown correspond to the award 340 if the player correctly answers the question 320 from the designated category on the first try. For example, an award level of 100× indicates that if the player correctly answers a question from this category on the first try, the player will win an award of 100 times the amount wagered. The design of the game could also dictate to the player award levels if the player answers incorrectly on the first try. For example, the award level for an incorrect answer could be one-half the award level for the correct response, or it could be nothing. Alternatively, the award level for an incorrect answer may be fixed, for example, at 25×, regardless of the potential value of the correct award. Or, the player may win the award level shown if correct on the first try, three-quarters the award level shown if correct on the second try, and one-half the award level shown if correct on the third try, etc. In practice, it may be preferable to indicate to the player (for example, via rules of play) the award levels for both correct and incorrect answers.

[0041] The advantage of this invention is player control over the casino game. That is, the player must weigh his or her familiarity with the trivia category (hence, chance of getting the potential award) with the desired award level and make a decision. For example, a player who knows about science and nature will have to decide whether to choose the category Science & Nature (for a potential award of 60× the bet), or risk getting a question 320 in an unfamiliar area such as History (for a potential award of 120× the bet). In other words, the player must choose between comfort level (knowledge of category) and the desire for maximum win (of potential award). While the first decision round 320 adds time to the play of the game, it provides further player excitement, enthusiasm and satisfaction.

[0042] Clearly, too, the amount the player wins if incorrect will also play a part. If an incorrect answer still pays the player one-half the potential win, then in the example above, the player has no additional risk in choosing History over Science & Nature. This is because even a wrong answer in History pays 60× the wager (equal to ½ of 120× the bet), which is the same amount paid if the correct answer is input for Science & Nature. On the other hand, if a wrong answer pays nothing, then the situation is quite different yet again. It should be clear that the instant invention is robust in accommodating different manners of awarding for right and wrong responses, while retaining the player decision involved in weighing familiarity vs. desired award level.

[0043] While the foregoing has been described in terms of explicit award levels for being right on the first guess, the instant invention is not limited to this implementation. The award levels depicted may be those associated with being wrong (as opposed to being right), or any other measure associated with the trivia round. Indeed, the award levels need not be numerical. Instead, they may simply be emblematic of the potential award, as in Jumbo, High, and Low, for example. What is important is that the player is given some indication of how. much the question will be worth, whether explicitly or indirectly.

[0044] In another example, the present invention may also be applied to “difficulty” categories corresponding to the category feature. For example, when the first decision-making game round 310 is displayed, the player is shown four categories of difficulty (for example, easy, medium, hard, “killer,” or any other desired categories). Each difficulty category has an associated award level as shown in Table 2 below:

TABLE 2
Difficulty Award
category level
Easy 40x
Medium 60x
Hard 80x
“Killer” 150x 

[0045] Again, the player is presented with interesting choices to make a decision on. In the casino game, when the first decision-making round is displayed 310, the player is presented with a display showing the plurality of difficulty categories 310 rather than defined subject categories. In the display are messages (such as words, numbers, icons, graphics, etc.) indicating to the player the degree of easiness or hardness. For example, a difficulty category of “easy” with an award level of 60× indicates that if the player correctly plays a game from this “easy” category, the player will win an award of 60 times the amount wagered. When, for example, the “easy” category is input 390 by the player, the second decision-making round will then display a game 320 considered “easy” to play. The player must weigh her/his skill, stratagem, and/or knowledge, in playing the decision-making game corresponding to the selected category with the desire of winning the most money.

[0046] Knowledge-based casino games represent one embodiment of the present invention. As another embodiment, consider a die game in which a die is rolled and the number rolled dictates the award. In the Easy version of the game, a roll of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 results in a pay of 70, while a roll of 1 results in a pay of 10. The expected value for this game is therefore ⅚ (70)+⅙ (10)=60. A Hard version may have a roll of 6 resulting in a pay of 300 and a roll of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 resulting in a pay of 0, for an expected value of ⅙ (300)+⅚ (0)=50. The Easy and Hard designations, in this case, apply as to probability of success in the die game, which is not a decision-making game.

[0047] Another example of a decision-making game is a variation of a blackjack casino game. The player is presented with two categories of blackjack. An Easy version may be traditional blackjack, while a Hard version may always begin with the dealer having a Ten as the upcard (thus hurting the player's chance of success). The player is given a choice and makes a decision as to which game version to play. To compensate, the player winning the Hard version would be awarded more than the player winning the Easy version. The categories are casino game variations based on difficulty and any casino game can be utilized.

[0048] Returning to the knowledge-based embodiment set forth above, alternatively, the second decision-making round can display a question 320 considered “easy” to answer.

[0049] The two knowledge-based examples above can also be combined to lead to a greater challenge for the player. For example, as shown in Table 3 below and in FIG. 4, the player is presented 320 with both a subject category feature and an associated difficulty category feature. Each combination of categories has an associated award level:

TABLE 3
Subject Difficulty Award
Category Category level
Sports & Leisure Medium 120x 
Science & Nature Medium 60x
Sports & Leisure Easy 100x 
People & Places “Killer” 80x
Entertainment Easy 40x
Entertainment Hard 92x

[0050] For example, as shown in FIG. 3, in the first decision-making game round displayed 310 to a player, the first decision-making game round 310 can display a category feature 200 having, for example, but not limited to, a plurality of subject categories and associated award levels as shown in Table 3. The player inputs 390 one which is received 315.

[0051] In FIG. 4 a variation occurs wherein the categories are displayed 310 and the player inputs 390 one category which is received 315. The machine then displays 360 and the player inputs 390 one award level which is received 385. A question matching the selected category at the selected award level is then randomly selected from a question database. It is to be understood that the award levels could first be selected, followed by the selection of categories.

[0052] For example, in the display of the question 320, the display memory 130 addresses a stored question, having a plurality of answers in memory 130 for display in the bonus game display 110. The question is displayed 320 along with the plurality of answers 325. For example, with a question with three answers, the three answers are three possible inputs that the player can respond to. The answers have an award level that is a function of the input received 385.

[0053] The player then inputs 390 an answer from the possible answers which is received 330 in the bonus casino game 140 according to the method of the present invention. If the answer is correct 335 (or more correct), an award 340 is given and the game ends 350. If the answer is incorrect, the casino bonus game 140 ends 350. Alternatively, if incorrect, the player may still receive, in one variation, a lower award 345.

[0054] The above examples are based upon award levels that are multiples of the wager. Any suitable award level could be provided including: coins, credits, money, objects, free plays, etc.

[0055] 3. Wide Area Progressive

[0056] The category feature 200 can also be used in a wide area progressive. For example, in one variation of the present invention, the category feature 200 is used during play of the casino gaming machines interconnected into a wide area progressive 800 as shown in FIG. 5. In such wide area progressive systems 800, a central controller 810 is used to control the wide area progressive. The method of the present invention can be implemented into the central controller 810 of a casino gaming machine in a plurality of casino gaming machines GM all interconnected over a bus 820 in a wide area progressive 800. As shown in FIG. 1, a port 150 interfaces the processor 20 to the bus 820.

[0057] It is to be expressly understood that there are a variety of wide area progressive system configurations 800 and that such system configurations can be adapted to include an island of gaming machines, gaming machines spread across a casino, gaming machines interconnected together amongst a variety of casinos or a progressive system connected over a network or over the Internet. Again, the topological configuration of a wide area progressive system 800 does not affect the teachings of the subject choice feature 200 of the present invention.

[0058] 4. Internet

[0059] In another variation of the present invention, the casino gaming machine is a player's own personal computer PC interconnected to a central computer 900 over the Internet 910. It is immaterial whether the casino game is being played in the software in the player's personal computer PC or whether the player's personal computer PC operates as an input/output device for the casino game being operated by software in the central computer 900.

[0060] In FIG. 6, the computer 900 is located at a remote location and communicates 910 a over the Internet 910 to a plurality of personal computers PC 1-PC j. The communication links 910 are conventional and use of the Internet 910 to establish such communication links is well known and not material to the present invention. In the same fashion, as discussed above for the wide area progressive 800, the computer 900 randomly causes a category feature 200 to appear on a personal computer PC while a player is playing a casino game. Again, if the player correctly responds to this random display, the player receives an award and, if incorrectly responds, the game continues.

[0061] In summary, one embodiment for a method of operating a casino game has been set forth having the following method steps. Displaying in the casino game a plurality of categories to the player with each of the displayed categories having an award level. The player looks over the displayed categories and makes a decision as to which category to select. In the variation of this method where the award level is higher for certain subjects or difficulty, then, if the player is confident, the player can decide on a category (and/or subject matter category) that provides a higher award level. If not confident, the player decides on a less difficult category and a lower possible award. Whether the award levels are the same or differ for each category, the player has control (based on the player's preference or confidence) over the selection and what happens next in the play of the casino game. The casino game receives a category input for one of the plurality of possible category inputs from the player. The casino game in response displays a query (in the case of a knowledge-based casino game) from a database corresponding to the category input having a plurality of possible player answer inputs. The casino game receives at least one answer input of the plurality of possible answer inputs from the player and awards the player with an award based on the correctness of the at least one answer input and the award level of the selected category.

[0062] In summary of another embodiment of the method of the present invention, a knowledge-based casino bonus game during play of an underlying casino game of chance by a player has the following method steps. The knowledge-based casino bonus is entered from the underlying game of chance upon the occurrence of a bonus event. A plurality of categories is displayed to the player with each of the plurality of categories having an award level. At least one of the award levels being higher in value than the remaining award levels. The bonus game receives a category input selecting one category of the plurality of possible category inputs from the player so that the player controls the award level by selecting a category. The bonus game displays a query to the player in a display corresponding to the selected category, the displayed query having a plurality of possible player answer inputs. The bonus game receives at least one answer input of the plurality of possible answer inputs in the displayed query from the player. The player is awarded based on the correctness of the at least one answer input and the award level of the selected category.

[0063] In yet the summary of another embodiment of the method of the present invention, a method of playing a casino game having the following is set forth. A wager is received from a player to play the casino game. In the casino game a plurality of categories is displayed to the player upon the occurrence of an event in the play of the casino game such as, but not limited to a bonusing event. Each of the plurality of categories having an award level, the award level a function of the category. A category input corresponding to one of the plurality of possible category inputs is received from the player so that the player controls the award level. A decision-making game based upon the category input is then played by the player. The decision-making game can be a knowledge-based game with a query being displayed with possible answers. The decision-making game can be a strategy game with a strategy component such as a puzzle being displayed with possible stratagem outcomes. The decision-making game can be a skill game such as hitting an object. The decision-making game can be another casino game such as blackjack being played at different difficulty levels. The decision-making game corresponding to the selected category has at least a first possible outcome and a second possible outcome. The player is awarded based on the actual outcome and the award level for the selected category. The first possible outcome provides the player with a higher award than the second possible outcome.

[0064] The above disclosure sets forth a number of embodiments of the present invention. Those skilled in this art will however appreciate that other arrangements or embodiments, not precisely set forth, could be practiced under the teachings of the present invention and that the scope of this invention should only be limited by the scope of the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US699780519 Aug 200414 Feb 2006Mikohn Gaming CorporationMulti-reel, multi-line bonus game for a casino base game having game features and method therefor
US71923435 Jan 200620 Mar 2007Progressive Gaming International CorporationMulti-reel, multi-line bonus game for a casino base game having game features and method therefor
US789674116 Oct 20061 Mar 2011IgtProgressive controller
US793499325 Jan 20073 May 2011IgtSecure progressive controller
US82021589 Nov 200719 Jun 2012Wms Gaming Inc.Apparatus to pass a value based parameter for a wagering game
US837682922 Apr 200819 Feb 2013Etasse LimitedSlot machine game with respin feature which identifies potential wins
US850462126 Oct 20076 Aug 2013Microsoft CorporationFacilitating a decision-making process
US86789079 Nov 200725 Mar 2014Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering game with dynamically added sub-symbols
WO2008060459A2 *9 Nov 200722 May 2008Peter R AndersonApparatus to pass a value based parameter for a wagering game
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/11
International ClassificationG07F17/32
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3262, G07F17/3295
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32P8, G07F17/32M2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
22 Jul 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: GAMES OF NEVADA, INC., NEVADA
Owner name: MGC, INC., NEVADA
Owner name: MIKOHN INTERNATIONAL, INC., NEVADA
Owner name: MIKOHN NEVADA, NEVADA
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:ABLECO FINANCE LLC;REEL/FRAME:021266/0403
Effective date: 20080627
Owner name: PRIMELINE GAMING TECHNOLOGIES, INC., NEVADA
Owner name: PROGRESSIVE GAMES, INC., NEVADA
Owner name: PROGRESSIVE GAMING INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, NEVA
Owner name: VIKING MERGER SUBSIDIARY, LLC, NEVADA
Owner name: GAMES OF NEVADA, INC.,NEVADA
Owner name: MGC, INC.,NEVADA
Owner name: MIKOHN INTERNATIONAL, INC.,NEVADA
Owner name: MIKOHN NEVADA,NEVADA
Owner name: PRIMELINE GAMING TECHNOLOGIES, INC.,NEVADA
Owner name: PROGRESSIVE GAMES, INC.,NEVADA
Owner name: PROGRESSIVE GAMING INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION,NEVAD
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:ABLECO FINANCE LLC;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100420;REEL/FRAME:21266/403
Owner name: VIKING MERGER SUBSIDIARY, LLC,NEVADA
24 May 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: ABLECO FINANCE LLC, AS AGENT, NEW YORK
Free format text: PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:PROGRESSIVE GAMING INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION;MIKOHN NEVADA;MGC,INC.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:017663/0288
Effective date: 20060420
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Free format text: PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:PROGRESSIVE GAMING INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION;MIKOHN NEVADA;MGC,INC. AND OTHERS;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100420;REEL/FRAME:17663/288
11 Feb 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: MIKOHN GAMING CORPORATION, NEVADA
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Effective date: 20030210