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Publication numberUS20080176618 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/624,979
Publication date24 Jul 2008
Filing date19 Jan 2007
Priority date19 Jan 2007
Also published asCA2617560A1, EP2003631A2, EP2003631A3
Publication number11624979, 624979, US 2008/0176618 A1, US 2008/176618 A1, US 20080176618 A1, US 20080176618A1, US 2008176618 A1, US 2008176618A1, US-A1-20080176618, US-A1-2008176618, US2008/0176618A1, US2008/176618A1, US20080176618 A1, US20080176618A1, US2008176618 A1, US2008176618A1
InventorsRagnar Toompere
Original AssigneeWaterleaf Limited
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and System for Presenting Electronic Casino Games to a Player
US 20080176618 A1
Abstract
A method and system for presenting electronic casino games to a player is provided. A player will establish a subscription between a workstation and a gaming server that pertains to a single game category to receive game data pertaining only to the selected game category. The gaming server will then send data pertaining to the selected game category to the workstation at predefined or regular intervals, so as to update the game data. The workstation provides filtering options for the player so that the player can filter out instances of game play not desired. Because the workstation receives the data pertaining to the selected game category, the workstation can perform the filtering, and the player may filter through the game data of this category for as long as the subscription persists.
Images(17)
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Claims(30)
1. A method of presenting electronic casino games to a player, the method comprising:
establishing a subscription between an electronic gaming device and a gaming server, the subscription indicating requested game data by a user of the electronic gaming device that pertains to a selected game category, the requested game data indicating variants of instances of games available for play;
at predefined intervals, receiving the requested game data at the electronic gaming device that pertains to the selected game category, where the requested game data is refreshed at the electronic gaming device at subsequent intervals;
at the electronic gaming device, filtering the requested game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play that do not meet the user preferences; and
displaying instances of games available for play that meet the user preferences.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein a selected game category includes categories selected from the group consisting of ring games, sit and go tournaments, scheduled tournaments, and casino games.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the variants of instances of games available for play include games selected from the group consisting of Texas Hold'em poker, five card stud poker, seven card stud poker, Omaha poker, Omaha hi/lo poker, and five card draw poker.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein filtering the game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play comprises filtering the game data according to a type of card game.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the type of card game includes games selected from the group consisting of Texas Hold'em poker, five card stud poker, seven card stud poker, Omaha poker, Omaha hi/lo poker, and five card draw poker.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein filtering the game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play comprises filtering the game data according to a number of participants in a card game.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein filtering the game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play comprises filtering the game data according to a style of wagering in a card game.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the style of wagering in the card game includes wagering selected from the group consisting of a fixed limit wagering, a no limit wagering, and a pot limit wagering.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein filtering the game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play comprises filtering the game data according to an amount of wagering in a card game.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
providing a graphical user interface including filtering icons; and
receiving the user preferences from the user of the electronic gaming device, the user preferences including a selection of filtering icons.
11. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving the requested game data at the electronic gaming device that pertains to the selected game category at the predefined intervals for as long as the subscription to the selected game category persists.
12. The method of claim 1, further comprising providing a graphical user interface including selection tabs each associated with a respective game category, and when selected, each selection tab displays instances of games available for play, and wherein establishing the subscription between the electronic gaming device and the gaming server comprises selecting one of the selection tabs.
13. The method of claim 1, further comprising providing a graphical user interface including a slider bar that indicates a range of amounts of wagers for a game and markers positionable on the slider bar so as to bracket a desired range.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein filtering the game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play comprises:
receiving a specified range of an amount of wagers for a game defined by a bracketed range of the slider bar; and
filtering the game data according to the specified range of the amount of wagers.
15. The method of claim 1, further comprising providing a graphical user interface including wagering shortcut icons that correspond to amounts of wagers for a game, and wherein filtering the game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play comprises:
receiving a selection of one of the wagering shortcut icons; and
filtering the game data according to the amount of wagers for a game that corresponds to the selected wagering shortcut icon.
16. The method of claim 1, wherein filtering the game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play comprises filtering the game data according to one or more of the following attributes: a type of card game, a number of participants in a card game, a style of wagering in a card game, or an amount of wagering in a card game.
17. The method of claim 1, wherein establishing the subscription between the electronic gaming device and the gaming server comprises establishing a subscription indicating requested game data that pertains to a single game category.
18. A computer readable medium containing program code for causing a processor to execute the method of claim 1.
19. An electronic gaming device for playing an electronic casino game, comprising:
a processing unit;
a memory storing a client interface program for execution by the processing unit, wherein the client interface program is executable to:
establish a subscription between the electronic gaming device and a gaming server, the subscription indicating requested game data by a user of the electronic gaming device that pertains to a selected game category, the requested game data indicating variants of instances of games available for play;
at predefined intervals, receive the requested game data at the electronic gaming device that pertains to the selected game category, where the requested game data is refreshed at the electronic gaming device at subsequent intervals;
filter the requested game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play that do not meet the user preferences; and
display instances of games available for play that meet the user preferences.
20. The electronic gaming device of claim 19, wherein the client interface program is executable to filer the requested game data so as to display only a specific type of card game within the selected game category.
21. The electronic gaming device of claim 19, wherein the client interface program is executable to filer the requested game data so as to display only card games having a desired betting scheme.
22. The electronic gaming device of claim 19, wherein the client interface program is executable to filer the requested game data so as to display only card games having selected wagering amounts.
23. A graphical interface for displaying game data associated with electronic casino games, the graphical interface comprising:
game category tabs each associated with a respective game category;
a display pane, wherein upon selection of a game category tab, instances of games available for play pertaining to the selected game category tab are displayed in the display pane; and
an option pane including:
filtering icons selectable to filter game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play that do not meet the user preferences, and
a slider bar that indicates a range of amounts of wagers for a game and includes markers positionable on the slider bar so as to bracket a desired range and filter out variants of instances of games that do not offer wagers in the desired range.
24. The graphical interface claim 23, wherein the variants of instances of games available for play include games selected from the group consisting of Texas Hold'em poker, five card stud poker, seven card stud poker, Omaha poker, Omaha hi/lo poker, and five card draw poker.
25. The graphical interface claim 23, wherein the filter icons include icons according to types of card games.
26. The graphical interface claim 25, wherein the types of card games include games selected from the group consisting of Texas Hold'em poker, five card stud poker, seven card stud poker, Omaha poker, Omaha hi/lo poker, and five card draw poker.
27. The graphical interface claim 23, wherein the filter icons include icons according to a number of participants in a card game.
28. The graphical interface claim 23, wherein the filter icons include icons according to a style of wagering in a card game.
29. The graphical interface claim 28, wherein the style of wagering in the card game includes wagering selected from the group consisting of a fixed limit wagering, a no limit wagering, and a pot limit wagering.
30. The graphical interface claim 23, wherein the filter icons include icons according to an amount of wagering in a card game.
Description
    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    The present application relates generally to a graphical interface or lobby design for online multiplayer games, such as poker, blackjack, mahjong, video slots and the like. Such online games can be played on a computer workstation communicating over a computer network such as the Internet with a central gaming server. Such games can also be played on a workstation taking the form of an electronic video gaming terminal that is installed in a casino-type environment, for example.
  • [0002]
    A lobby page of an online multiplayer poker room provides a first point of contact for a player who visits an online poker room where multiple games and tournaments are offered for play. The number of choices available to the player can be bewildering. The player first has to become accustomed as to how to navigate the lobby page and to arrive at a ring game (i.e., an instance of a virtual game) or a tournament in which the player wishes to participate. If navigation of the lobby page is complex, players may become discouraged or frustrated and may leave the online poker room, which is undesirable for an operating entity (“operator”) that owns and runs the online poker room, who will undoubtedly have incurred significant marketing and advertising expenditure in the first instance to attract such players to that poker room. An operator of an online poker room desires to have a lobby page that is simple to navigate, efficient to use, and that will allow the player to commence game or tournament play in as short a time as possible.
  • [0003]
    This has led to the use of navigation aids that are commonly found on lobby pages of online poker rooms, such as the classical tabbed display or the so-called “tree-view” display. For example, in a tree view structure, a player navigates the lobby page by first selecting a desired game and variety of the game to play (e.g., by selecting poker, and then possibly a 7-Card Stud game). Next, the player will select a desired table limit or wagering structure (e.g., possibly a fixed limit game). Following, the player selects a desired table stakes, such as a $2/$4 game (e.g., corresponding to a betting structure per round of the game). Lastly, the player selects a particular game instance to join.
  • [0004]
    A problem arises when the player wishes to change a selection criteria. Suppose, for example, that the player decides to play a different variety of poker game, e.g., a 5-Card Stud poker game. It is necessary for the player to navigate back up the tree view ladder and repeat all of the above steps to arrive at a suitable fixed-limit 5-Card Stud game with $2/$4 table stakes to join.
  • [0005]
    An example tabbed lobby page is shown in FIG. 1, which is a screen shot from an online poker room home or “lobby” page showing an example prior art arrangement for providing real time game information to a potential game player. The player accesses the gaming web site using a personal computer or other computing device with Internet access. As shown in FIG. 1, the lobby is presented on a user interface of the computing device. The lobby presents a tabbed display of eight categories or types of card games that are currently available for play via the web site. Each game type is associated with a tab:
  • [0006]
    Tab 1) Hold'em—poker games of the Texas Hold'em variety;
  • [0007]
    Tab 2) Omaha—poker games of the Omaha variety;
  • [0008]
    Tab 3) Omaha—poker games of the Omaha Hi/Lo variety;
  • [0009]
    Tab 4) 7 Stud—poker games of the 7-Card Stud variety;
  • [0010]
    Tab 5) 5 Stud—poker games of the 5-Card Stud variety;
  • [0011]
    Tab 6) Private—invitation-only poker games established by players;
  • [0012]
    Tab 7) Sit & Go—non-scheduled tournaments; and
  • [0013]
    Tab 8) MTT (Multi-Table Tournaments)—scheduled tournaments.
  • [0014]
    When any of the first five tabbed categories or types is selected, a player is presented with a list of all tables with poker games of that particular variation that are currently active. See FIG. 1, which has Tab 1 selected and shows the tables for the Hold'em game. For each active game instance (virtual table) in the list, the following attributes are displayed:
  • [0015]
    a) Table Name: name of the table (typically, fanciful names to spark player interest, but may also be in the form of a number or index);
  • [0016]
    b) Stakes: table stakes in the format—Small Blind/Big Blind (e.g., wagering structure);
  • [0017]
    c) Players: number of Participating Players/Max number of Players that can be accommodated;
  • [0018]
    d) Limit: whether the table is a no limit table, a pot limit table or a fixed limit table in terms of betting limits;
  • [0019]
    e) Av/Pot: average size of pots at that table;
  • [0020]
    f) Plrs/Flop: average number of players who have not yet folded at the flop stage of the game;
  • [0021]
    g) Wait: number of players waiting to join the table; and
  • [0022]
    h) Hnds/Hr: number of hands played per hour.
  • [0023]
    The lobby illustrated in FIG. 1 also has a scroll feature 10 that a player can use with a slide bar 12 to show additional virtual tables in the Hold-em category, for example. Note that there may be dozens, potentially hundreds, of tables available under this category. The user scrolls down to see all the available tables. This scroll feature is typically found in each of the game categories or tabs of FIG. 1.
  • [0024]
    Other games may display additional or different attributes. For example, if Tab 7 is selected for Sit & Go Tournaments, which are single or multi-table poker tournaments that have no pre-set start time and that commence when a prescribed number of players required for the tournament have entered the tournament, a player is presented with a list of all Sit & Go tournaments that are either active or are pending. For each Sit & Go tournament in the list, the following attributes may be displayed:
  • [0025]
    a) a tournament identification code;
  • [0026]
    b) a name of the tournament;
  • [0027]
    c) a type of poker game played in the tournament;
  • [0028]
    d) whether the tournament is a no limit, pot limit or fixed limit tournament;
  • [0029]
    e) number of seats available in the tournament; and
  • [0030]
    f) the current size of blinds for active tournaments, and the number of players already entered for pending tournaments.
  • [0031]
    As another example, if Tab 8 is selected for MTT, which are poker tournaments that have a scheduled start time where players are required to enter the tournament and to be available to commence play in time for the scheduled start of the tournament, a player is presented with a list of all MTT tournaments (same instances) that are either active or are pending. For each MTT tournament in the list, the following attributes may be displayed:
  • [0032]
    a) a tournament identification code;
  • [0033]
    b) a name of the tournament;
  • [0034]
    c) a type of poker game played in the tournament;
  • [0035]
    d) buy-in rules;
  • [0036]
    e) number of entrants for the tournament; and
  • [0037]
    f) a current size of blinds for active tournaments and a scheduled start time for pending tournaments.
  • [0038]
    With the tabbed organization shown in FIG. 1, not only does this setup lack ease of use and navigation, but also this setup places a large load requirement on the gaming server. Information displayed on each player's lobby screen is dynamic since players are continually joining and dropping out of games, and table statistics constantly change. For example, if a table that appears in FIG. 1 has one or more vacant “seats,” dozens if not hundreds of persons may attempt to join the table within a span of a few minutes, especially in a period of high demand. As a result, vacant seats may be taken up in a matter of seconds. Similarly, the statistics on pot size, average payout, number of hands played per hour, etc., will change constantly. As a result, it is important that the lobby information presented to players accessing and using online gaming software be both current and accurate, and remain so on an ongoing basis.
  • [0039]
    Every player that is logged on to the online poker room is presented with all the data that can be displayed on the lobby page, as described above FIG. 1. The data on the lobby page is obtained from a central gaming server and transmitted to a player's client computing device by means of the Internet. The data is dynamic, since players may enter and leave non-tournament poker games at any time, new poker tables may be spawned by the poker server during periods of high player demand and may be collapsed and consolidated during times of low player demand. Further, tournaments commence and terminate, and numbers of players entered in tournaments change over time. Thus, fresh data is re-transmitted from the gaming server to each computing device periodically. The data is, ideally, real-time (or substantially real-time), giving the player an accurate snapshot of the state of the poker network. Further, it is not uncommon for several thousand players to be connected and playing simultaneously during peak periods.
  • [0040]
    The net result of this situation is that the gaming server can be swamped by the load placed upon the server by updating the lobby data tables to the computers of all of the logged in players. Such an overload may cause responsiveness of the gaming server to degrade, slow down or even crash. The update frequency of the lobby data on each computer workstation consequently decreases, which results in unfortunate consequences such as, for example, a player wishing to join a poker table or a tournament on the basis of stale lobby data that indicates that a vacant seat exists at the poker table or tournament but at which, in reality, no vacancies exist as the last remaining seat has already been taken.
  • [0041]
    The problem of timely and accurate updating of client computers as to game or tournament information and game statistics, without degradation of gaming server performance, is one of scalability. Moreover, the more players that join the network, the more load that is placed on the central gaming server to provide updates. As more players join and the overload problem becomes worse, the result may be that players stop playing or go elsewhere to play. Thus, this problem presents a bottleneck that limits the ability of the online poker room operators to accommodate more players. The inability to accommodate more players diminishes the potential revenue of the poker room operators.
  • [0042]
    A system that presents and updates information to players engaged in on-line gaming and that lessens the overload problem and allows new levels of scalability to be achieved is described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/159,051, filed Jun. 21, 2005, the entire contents of which are herein incorporated by reference as if fully set forth in this description. The '051 application is not admitted as describing prior art.
  • [0043]
    The system of the '051 application includes a gaming server that transmits game lobby pages to a multitude of distributed computing devices accessing an online poker room or poker rooms over a network such as the Internet. To overcome the above mentioned scalability problems, game data in the lobby displays is transmitted as individual pages along with icons by which players can request additional pages for display. Updates are performed for only the displayed pages. This approach provides a significant improvement in server and network performance over other techniques in which all game statistics for a particular type of game are sent to each workstation and the workstation would scroll through the entire data set as necessary to view all the game data.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 2 is a screen shot from an on-line poker room home or “lobby” page showing an arrangement for providing real-time game information as disclosed in the ‘051 application. As shown in FIG. 2, the lobby presents a tabbed display of seven categories or types of card games that are currently available for play via the web site. Each game type is associated with a tab, for example, as follows:
  • [0045]
    Tab 14) Hold'em—poker games of the Texas Hold'em variety;
  • [0046]
    Tab 16) Omaha—poker games of the Omaha variety;
  • [0047]
    Tab 18) 7 Card Stud—poker games of the 7-Card Stud variety;
  • [0048]
    Tab 20) 5 Card Stud—poker games of the 5-Card Stud variety;
  • [0049]
    Tab 22) 1 On 1—poker games of the Heads-Up variety;
  • [0050]
    Tab 24) Sit & Go—non-scheduled tournaments; and
  • [0051]
    Tab 26) Multi Table—scheduled tournaments.
  • [0052]
    When any of the first four tabbed categories or types is selected, a player is presented with a list 28 of all tables with poker games of that particular variation that are currently active. FIG. 2 shows the tables for the Hold'em variation (Tab 14). In contrast with the lobby page of FIG. 1, there is no scroll feature by which the player may view additional tables in the Hold'em category. Instead, page icons 30 are displayed, and a player can select additional lobby pages displaying additional tables in the Hold'em category by selecting one of the page icons 30.
  • [0053]
    When a particular lobby page such as that shown in FIG. 2 is displayed, the page is periodically updated. The updating can be on a fixed period or it can be when there is any change in the underlying data, or both, and there is no need or occasion to update data for instances of the games that are not currently displayed. Accordingly, when the server sends the update page to the computing device displaying lobby pages, there is no updating of game information for non-displayed instances of games as there would be if scrolling were done as in FIG. 1 to view all the instances of the selected game type. As a result, the processing burden on a gaming server continuously updating hundreds or thousands of computers all at the same time is reduced, enabling improved server and poker network performance to increase.
  • [0054]
    Although the system disclosed in the '051 application addresses the problem of scalability and server efficiency, a player is still faced with the problem of having to select pages and filter displayed game data, whether in scrollable or paged format, in an unstructured manner to locate a suitable on-line, real-time poker game to join that suits the player's requirements or playing style. For example, the player may wish to join only a high stakes poker game, or may wish to join a poker game that has a larger number of participating players, or a game in which the pots for which the players compete are large relative to the table stakes. Such unstructured filtering can be time-consuming and tedious for a player, irrespective of whether the lobby game data displayed to the player in a scrollable window or by means of separate selectable pages of game data.
  • [0055]
    One other system that enables players engaged in on-line gaming to search through displayed lobby data is described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/260,020 filed Oct. 26, 2005, the entire contents of which are herein incorporated by reference as if fully set forth in this description. The system of the '020 application includes a gaming server that transmits game lobby data to a multitude of distributed computing devices accessing an online poker room, or poker rooms, over a network. To overcome the above problem of unstructured filtering of game data, the game lobby display includes a search engine that can be invoked by a player and configure search parameters relating to a type of online real-time game that the player wishes to play. Once a player has configured the search parameters, a search engine operated by the gaming server screens all available instances of the online game to locate a subset thereof including those game instances that match the search parameters. The subset of games located by the search engine is displayed to the player, and the player is then able to select one of the game instances in the displayed search results in order to join the game. The '020 application also provides for an instant start feature in which the player is automatically admitted to a first instance of the game that is located by the search engine and which matches the search parameters.
  • [0056]
    The solution presented in the '020 application has been successful in that it allows a player to locate a suitable instance of an online game from all available instances of the game more quickly than can be achieved by means of an unstructured search through raw game data, whether in scrollable or in paged format. Despite this, however, inefficiencies still exist. For example, if the player's preferences change during a playing session, it becomes necessary for the player to re-invoke the search facility on the computing device and to reconfigure the search parameters. The search engine on the gaming server will then be required to re-screen the entire set of game data and to display to the player a subset thereof that match the amended search parameters, which is tedious. There remains a need for a more efficient and more discriminating way of locating an instance of an online game from all available instances of the game. Keen poker players wish to spend more time playing the game and less time searching for a suitable game to join.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0057]
    Disclosed herein are embodiments of a method and system for presenting electronic casino games to a player. The method includes establishing a subscription between an electronic gaming device and a gaming server that indicates requested game data by a user of the electronic gaming device. The requested game data pertains to a selected game category and indicates variants of instances of games available for play. The method also includes, at predefined intervals, receiving the requested game data at the electronic gaming device that pertains to the selected game category so that the requested game data is refreshed at the electronic gaming device at subsequent intervals. The method further includes at the electronic gaming device, filtering the requested game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play, and displaying instances of games available for play that meet the user preferences.
  • [0058]
    In another embodiment, an electronic gaming device for playing an electronic casino game is provided that includes a processing unit and a memory storing a client interface program for execution by the processing unit. The client interface program is executable to establish a subscription between the electronic gaming device and a gaming server that indicates requested game data by a user of the electronic gaming device that pertains to a selected game category and indicates variants of instances of games available for play. The client interface program is also executable to receive the requested game data at the electronic gaming device that pertains to the selected game category at predefined intervals so that the requested game data is refreshed at the electronic gaming device at subsequent intervals. The client interface program is further executable to filter the requested game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play, and display instances of games available for play that meet the user preferences.
  • [0059]
    In still another embodiment, a graphical interface for displaying game data associated with electronic casino games is provided. The graphical interface includes game category tabs each associated with a respective game category, and a display pane. Upon selection of a game category tab, instances of games available for play pertaining to the selected game category tab are displayed in the display pane. The graphical interface also includes an option pane with filtering icons and a slider bar. The filtering icons are selectable to filter game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play, while the slider bar indicates a range of amounts of wagers for a game and includes markers positionable on the slider bar so as to bracket a desired range and filter out variants of instances of games that do not offer wagers in the desired range.
  • [0060]
    Other aspects of the present disclosure will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, certain principles of described embodiments.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0061]
    FIG. 1 is an example screen shot from an online poker room home or lobby page showing a prior art arrangement for providing real time game information to a potential game player.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 2 is another example screen shot from an on-line poker room home or lobby page showing an arrangement for providing real-time game information.
  • [0063]
    FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating one example of a system for providing an electronic gaming to participants.
  • [0064]
    FIGS. 4-6 are example screen shots from an online poker room home or lobby page showing an arrangement for providing real time game information to a potential game player according to exemplary embodiments.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 7 illustrates a flowchart depicting one example of functional steps for presenting electronic casino games to a user according to exemplary embodiments.
  • [0066]
    FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating a portion of the system in FIG. 3 in a more detailed manner.
  • [0067]
    FIGS. 9-11 are more example screen shots from an online poker room home or lobby page showing an arrangement for providing real time game information to a potential game player according to exemplary embodiments.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 12 is an example illustration of a slider bar that indicates wagering amounts.
  • [0069]
    FIGS. 13-16 are still more example screen shots from an online poker room home or lobby page showing an arrangement for providing real time game information to a potential game player according to exemplary embodiments.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0070]
    The present disclosure provides for new methods that enable a player to locate and join a desired on-line real-time game from a multitude of available on-line games that are coordinated by a gaming server and that are accessible through an on-line gaming site. A player will establish a subscription between a workstation and a gaming server that pertains to a single game category to receive game data pertaining only to the selected game category. The gaming server will then send data pertaining to the selected game category to the workstation at predefined or regular intervals, so as to update the game data. The workstation provides filtering options for the player so that the player can filter out instances of game play not desired. Because the workstation receives the data pertaining to the selected game category, the workstation can perform the filtering, and the player may filter through the game data of this category for as long as the subscription persists.
  • [0071]
    A system and method for playing games, such as card games, over a computer network is described in published PCT application WO 03/093921, published Nov. 13, 2003. The entire contents of WO 03/093921 are incorporated by reference herein, as if fully set forth in this description. The system of the '921 PCT publication includes a central gaming server accessible over the Internet and enables participation in games, such as poker games, by individuals accessing diverse portal websites (gaming websites). In one embodiment, the methods of the present application are implemented in a system of the type disclosed in the published PCT application WO 03/093921.
  • [0072]
    Particularly, referring now to FIG. 3, one example of a system for providing an electronic gaming to participants is illustrated. The system includes electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 each coupled through a communication network 106 to a server 108. The electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 allow participants (or users, more generally) to play casino games by, for example, presenting the participant a display of game-play. In addition, the electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 may receive user input and transmit the user input through the communication network 106 (such as the Internet) to the server 108 via a wireline or wireless interface, for example. Thus, the electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 may be a slot machine at a live casino, for example, or a personal computer allowing a user to participate in online gaming. One skilled in the art of computer systems will understand that the example embodiments are not limited to any particular class or model of computer employed for the electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 and will be able to select an appropriate system. Further, of course, more electronic gaming devices may be coupled to the server and may allow more players to participate in casino gaming as well.
  • [0073]
    In one embodiment, the system illustrated in FIG. 3 may be in the form of an online casino, and in that instance, the electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 are client workstations and the server 108 is a gaming server remote from the electronic gaming devices 102 and 104, but linked thereto by the communication network 106, such as the Internet. One or more casino games are then executable by selection of a user of the online casino. Each game offered by the casino includes a server process, which is executable in the gaming server, and a client process, which is executable in the client workstation. The server process generates, upon request of the client process, one or more random events upon which an outcome of the casino game depends. Such random events can correspond, for example, to the roll of a die, the spin of a roulette wheel or the deal of a playing card, depending on which particular casino game is being played by the player. The client process, on the other hand, presents to the user or player a simulation of the casino game being played. The client process also enables the player to place wagers on, and to control the progress of, the casino game, and displays to the player the outcome of the game as a function of the random events generated by the server process.
  • [0074]
    In order to communicate with the gaming server of the online casino, the electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 operate under control of casino client interface programs 110 and 112. The client interface programs 110 and 112 include a menu subsystem or menu selection system that displays to the player a menu of casino games that are offered by the particular online casino. The electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 may present a graphical user interface (“GUI”) including the menu selection system to the players. The players are then able to select any one of the games that they wish to play. When selecting a particular game for the first time, the casino client interface programs 110 and 112 cause a software program corresponding to the client process for the particular casino game to be downloaded from the gaming server 108 to the electronic gaming devices 102 and 104, where the program is stored locally on a storage device, such as a hard disk drive. Once downloaded, the player can then install the software program on the electronic gaming devices 102 and 104. Once the client process for a particular casino game has been downloaded and installed in this manner, the casino game can be played without the necessity for a further download.
  • [0075]
    Many of the games presented by the client interface programs 110 and 112, such as video slots and video poker, generally have a pay table comprising one or more game outcomes, each that have a corresponding payout for a wager on the game. The payouts are generally inversely proportional to the probability of occurrence of the game outcomes, the top payout being commonly referred to as a jackpot prize. The jackpot prize may be a fixed amount or may be a progressive jackpot prize which is funded by a predetermined portion of each eligible wager made by a player of the game. The progressive jackpot prize may be funded by wagers of players playing the game at a single establishment, or may be a wide area progressive jackpot prize that is funded by wagers of players playing the same game at competing establishments. Examples of the operation of wide area progressive jackpot games are disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/532,850, which is entirely incorporated herein by reference, as if fully set forth in this disclosure.
  • [0076]
    Players may also participate in tournament games, which comprise a multiplayer game. Each participating player in a tournament game is presented with an identical graphical user interface (GUI) on his respective electronic gaming device. The GUI presents to the player a suitable display of game-play with appropriate activatable icons that enable the player to make his own desired game play decisions and to monitor the progress of the multiplayer game by viewing the game play decisions of the other participating players in the same instance of the game.
  • [0077]
    The server 108 monitors and controls game play within a multiplayer wagering tournament game. For example, the server 108 may operate a clearing account facility that has a clearing account corresponding to each online casino website or casino game to which the server 108 corresponds. Analogously, each online casino website or casino game may include a corresponding credit account facility with a credit account corresponding to each player who participates in a game offered by the online casino. To participate in the electronic multiplayer tournament, the player is required to pay a tournament entry fee, of which a portion is a contribution to tournament prize money and the remaining portion being a fee for the organizers of the tournament. The prize money contributions from all the participating players in the tournament are pooled to form the tournament prize money.
  • [0078]
    The server 108 can manage receipt of the tournament entry fee from the player by debiting the individual credit account of the player by an amount equivalent to the tournament entry fee. Upon debiting the player's credit account, the server 108 may receive an indication of receipt of the tournament entry fee from the player. Each player may fund their associated credit account prior to their participation in the game. For this purpose, each online casino, casino game, or the server 108 may include credit-dispensing means (not shown) capable of dispensing credit to any player who wishes to participate in the game. The player may purchase credit by means of conventional credit or debit card payment facilities that are well known in the art and which will not be described here in detail. Whenever a player purchases credit from the credit-dispensing means, the corresponding online casino or server 108 credits that player's credit account with an amount equivalent to the quantity of credit purchased by the player.
  • [0079]
    In the last several years, systems have been commercialized such as described in the published PCT application WO 03/093921 where a gaming website provides a facility for online game playing, particularly online poker playing. Such systems have become quite popular and gaming sites may host hundreds, even thousands of players at a time. In online poker, the success of an online poker room is directly related to the magnitude of a pool of would-be players who desire to play a game of online poker. Simply put, the larger the pool of players, the more virtual poker tables (i.e., poker games each accommodating a maximum of 8 players, for example) the online poker software can spawn, thereby increasing the overall liquidity of the online poker room and increasing its attractiveness to other would-be players.
  • [0080]
    To maximize the size of poker rooms, some online poker rooms operate under a centralized topology, in which there is a single operating entity (“operator”) that owns and runs the gaming web site and the player pool is homogeneous (i.e., all players are registered with, or “belong to”, this single operator). The operator makes money by charging a proportion (a “rake”) of the collective wagers (“the pot”) of all players participating in each game of poker that is played in the online poker room. Under a centralized topology, a player will always be playing only with other players who are registered with the same operator. Settlement of player wagers is straightforward—the operator deducts its rake from the pot; the balance is paid to the player that won the game; and the next game starts and the process repeats.
  • [0081]
    Other online poker rooms may operate under a distributed topology (also referred to, in the art, as a network topology). Under this topology, the player pool is heterogeneous, as players registered with different operators are pooled together to maximize liquidity of the collective player pool. This means that players registered with different operators could find themselves playing in the same poker game. In this instance, settlement of player wagers is more complex than in the centralized topology as situations invariably arise in which funds have to be transferred, or “cleared,” between different operators whose players are playing on the poker network involving a multitude of operators. Principles underlying a distributed topology are set forth in the above-referenced patent application WO 03/093921.
  • [0082]
    In one embodiment, the methods of the present application are implemented in a system of the type disclosed in the published PCT application WO 03/093921, and in either a centralized or distributed topology. For example, methods of the present application are performed using a centralized gaming server and a number of workstations, one for each player that wishes to participate in an instance of a multiplayer poker game. Each workstation communicates with the centralized gaming server by means of a communication network such as the Internet.
  • [0083]
    Each workstation will present a menu selection system to the players that includes a list of games available for play at an online casino. The menu includes a name of a corresponding game, as well as salient details and rules associated with the game. The server 108 may categorize each one of the different casino games available on the server 108 into one or more different categories. The categorization can include categories of casino games, namely favorites, which are games that are preferred by the player, and recommended games. Any casino game can be categorized into more than one different category. For example, a particular game may be classified as a video poker game, as well as being categorized as a jackpot game. The client interface programs 110 and 112 can then present the menu selection system including the categorized casino games to the user using any type of GUI or other display techniques.
  • [0084]
    Each workstation can execute the gaming client application that includes a search facility in the form of a filter that is dynamically configurable by a player to locate a subset of all available instances of an online real-time game that are coordinated by the centralized gaming server and that conform to a set of criteria defined by the player.
  • [0085]
    In particular, when a player logs in to the centralized gaming server, the gaming client application may display a lobby page 400 as shown in FIG. 4, which is the lobby page of a multiplayer poker room. The lobby page in FIG. 4 is only one example of many different types of menu selection systems that may be presented to a player.
  • [0086]
    The workstation can establish a subscription with the centralized gaming server to obtain game data therefrom. The gaming server then downloads all the requested game data to the workstation and repeats the download at regular intervals, for example, 10-second intervals, for as long as the subscription persists. In order to minimize the load on the gaming server imposed by this periodic downloading of game data, the game data is segmented and the subscription established by the workstation is for game data relation to a single game format. The game data can be segmented according to the following different game formats:
  • [0087]
    Ring Games (Tab 402 on FIG. 4, labeled “RING GAMES”);
  • [0088]
    Sit & Go Tournaments (Tab 404 on FIG. 4, labeled “SIT & GO”);
  • [0089]
    Scheduled Tournaments (Tab 406 on FIG. 4, labeled “SCHEDULED”);
  • [0090]
    In this example, the gaming client application on the workstation subscribes to game data relating to only a single game format. The subscription established by the workstation relates only to game data that corresponds to a single one of the game formats selected by the player using the tabs 402, 404 and 406, and continues until the player selects a different game format using the tabs 402, 404 and 406. In this manner, less load is placed on the server by only subscribing to game data that relates only to a single game format. In order to provide a one satisfactory experience for the player when logging in to the centralized gaming server, the gaming client application establishes an initial subscription with Ring Games as a default game format, as shown in FIG. 4.
  • [0091]
    The lobby page 400 of FIG. 4 also contains two further tabs, 408 and 410, labeled “QUICK START” and “CASINO”, respectively. FIG. 5 illustrates one example view of details shown by selecting the QUICK START tab 408. When selected, a lobby page 500 is provided to a player with an instant start feature similar to that described in the '020 application discussed above. The player is automatically admitted to a first instance of the game tournament that is located by a search engine and which matches the player's search parameters as configured in an options pane 502 of the lobby page 500. Alternatively, the player can be automatically admitted to a first instance of a Sit & Go tournament that is located by the search engine and that matches the player's search parameters as configured in options pane 504 of the lobby page 500. Tab 408 may present other functions to the player as well.
  • [0092]
    FIG. 6 illustrates one example view of details shown by selecting the CASINO tab 410 in FIG. 4. As shown, a lobby page 600 is provided to the player and includes a menu 602 of single-player casino games that the player can play simultaneously with the with the multiplayer poker game described above, or alternatively thereto.
  • [0093]
    The workstation will, at any given time, only be displaying one of the lobby pages corresponding to one of the tabs 402, 404, 406, 408 and 410. As mentioned, upon selection of one of the tabs, the workstation then establishes a subscription with the centralized gaming server to obtain corresponding game data therefrom. The gaming server then downloads all the requested game data to the workstation. Because the game data includes information pertaining to instances of game play, the game data will change constantly. Thus, the gaming server will repeat the download of game data to the workstation, at regular intervals, for example, for as long as the subscription to the particular category of game data persists. The intervals may be any predefined time limit, such as 10-second intervals, for example.
  • [0094]
    Thus, as long as a player is viewing the ring games tab 402, for example, the subscription to the ring games data with the gaming server will continue, and the gaming server will continue to periodically send game data to the workstation pertaining to the ring games category. The periodic sending of data effectively updates the game data to the workstation. Further, because the gaming server is only downloading and sending data pertaining to ring games (instead of data pertaining to all the tabs 402-410), the load on the gaming server is minimized. The game data is segmented due to the subscription established by the workstation for game data related to a single game format.
  • [0095]
    Within exemplary embodiments, upon establishing a subscription with a particular lobby page, the lobby page provides filtering mechanisms that can be configured by a user to display only games that have desired characteristics. Using a filtering mechanism lessens the load or subscriptions needed by the server, and also provides a more user-friendly selection system for the players.
  • [0096]
    FIG. 7 illustrates a flowchart depicting functional steps for presenting electronic casino games to a user according to embodiments disclosed herein. Initially, the workstation and the gaming server will establish a subscription pertaining to a selected category of games, as shown at block 702. For example, a user may select a game category tab, such as tab 402 for ring games as shown in FIG. 4, to establish a subscription with the gaming server to receive game data pertaining to “ring games.” The requested game data will include variants of instances of games available for play by the user.
  • [0097]
    Next, the workstation will receive the requested game data that pertains to the selected game category at predefined intervals, as shown at block 704. For example, the gaming server may send the game data to the workstation every 10 seconds, where the requested game data is refreshed at the workstation at subsequent intervals so as to update the game data.
  • [0098]
    The game data can then be filtered at the workstation according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play, as shown at block 706. The game data can be filtered in many ways, as described below. Importantly, because the workstation is receiving game data pertaining to only a single category of games, the game data can be filtered more quickly than if the workstation were to display all game data pertaining to all categories of games. Finally, the instances of games available for play that meet the user preferences are displayed at the workstation, as shown at block 708.
  • [0099]
    FIG. 8 illustrates a portion of the system in FIG. 3 in a more detailed manner that shows one embodiment of the filtering mechanisms. For example, the client interface program 110 includes filter icons 114 and a search engine 116 each of which couple to a GUI interface 118. The filter icons 114 are displayed within each lobby page and can be used to filter type of games presented to the user or other details regarding the game play. The filter icons 114 (discussed more below) can be selected by the user to indicate which games the user desires to view. The search engine 116 may be any program used by the workstation that performs the filtering of data.
  • [0100]
    In FIG. 8, the server 108 is shown to include electronic games data 120, a subscription interface 122 and a search engine/filter 124. The electronic games data 120 includes all data pertaining to the games that may be presented to the user. Alternatively, the server 108 may not store such data, but rather will connect to other gaming apparatus or other databases that store such data. The subscription interface 122 coordinates a connection with the workstation 102 and particularly, notes the user's information and configurations of whom is operating the workstation 102. For example, the subscription interface 122 can receive the user's selections, such as a selected tab within the lobby page, and provide the information to the search engine 124. The search engine 124 will then search for casino game data that meets the selected tab requirements, and the server 108 can then provide the data to the workstation 102.
  • [0101]
    Using the system in FIG. 8, the server 108 only sends data pertaining to a single game category to the workstation 102, and the workstation 102 can then apply the filtering selections of the user to the game data. Examples of the filtering selections are described below.
  • [0102]
    FIG. 9 illustrates an example view of the RING GAMES tab 402 being selected. For example, upon selecting tab 402, a subscription will be established between the workstation and the gaming server so that the gaming server sends only game data pertaining to the “ring games” category to the workstation. The gaming server will do so at periodic intervals so as to update the game data. Upon receiving the game data, the workstation will display a lobby page 900 that contains a display pane 902 in which a list of game data relating to a plurality of active instances of multiplayer games appear. For each active game instance (virtual table) in the list, the following attributes are displayed:
  • [0103]
    a) Table Name: name of the table (typically, fanciful names to spark player interest, but may also be in the form of a number or index);
  • [0104]
    b) Game Type: a variety of poker game that is played at that table (either Texas Hold'em, 7-Card Stud, 5-Card Stud, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, or 5-Card Draw);
  • [0105]
    c) Limit: wagering limits applicable at that table (either No Limit, Pot Limit or Fixed Limit);
  • [0106]
    d) Stakes: table stakes in the format: Small Blind/Big Blind;
  • [0107]
    e) Waiting: number of players waiting to join the table; and
  • [0108]
    f) Seats: number of Participating Players/Max number of Players that can be accommodated at the table.
  • [0109]
    The lobby page 900 contains a search options pane 904 that contains a plurality of filter icons that the player can use to dynamically filter the game data received from the gaming server. The filter icons include a first set of five Table Seat icons 906, 908, 910, 912 and 914 that the player uses to display tables only having a desired number of seats. The filter icons also include a second set of three Wagering Limit icons 916, 918 and 920 that the player can use to display tables only having desired wagering limits. The filter icons further include a third set of six Game Variety icons 922, 924, 926, 928, 930 and 932 that a player uses to display only tables at which desired varieties of poker games are played, and a toolbar 934 for displaying only tables having desired table stakes.
  • [0110]
    The filter icons are used by the player to display only instances of games that meet the user's preferences. When a player activates a filter icon, the workstation will filter out game data that does not pertain to the requested data. For example, when the player activates Table Seat icon 906, a list of game instances displayed in display pane 902 of the lobby page 900 will be limited to only those game instances that have two seats, i.e. head-to-head tables. Similarly, Table Seat icons 908, 910, 912 and 914, when activated, will cause game instances with 5, 6, 8 and 10 seats, respectively, to appear in the display pane 902 of the lobby page 900. The player can activate one, two or more Table Seat icons simultaneously and their filtering effect is cumulative. For example, when the player activates both Table Seat icons 906, 908 and 914, display pane 902 will list all games instances with two, five and ten seats, respectively, as indicated in FIG. 9.
  • [0111]
    If a player activates a Table Seat icon or other filter icon to locate all instances of games with six seats, for example, and there is no game data that conforms to the player's criterion, the gaming client application may display such a notice to the player.
  • [0112]
    Continuing with the filter icons, when a player activates Wagering Limit icon 920, the list of game instances displayed in display pane 902 of the lobby page 900 will be limited to only those game instances with Fixed Limit table wagering limits. Similarly, Wagering Limit icons 916 and 918, when activated, will cause game instances with Pot Limit and No Limit table wagering limits, respectively, to appear in the display pane 902 of lobby page 900. The player can activate one, two or three Wagering Limit icons simultaneously and their filtering effect is cumulative. For example, as shown in FIG. 10, when the player activates both Wagering Limit icons 916 and 918, the display pane 902 will list all game instances with Pot Limit and No Limit table wagering limits. The filtering effect of the Table Seat icons and the Wagering Limit icons is also cumulative, for example, if a player activates Table Seat icon 906 and Wagering Limit icon 916, the display pane 902 will only list those game instances with two seats and Pot Limit table wagering limits.
  • [0113]
    Game Variety icons 922, 924, 926, 928, 930 and 932 relate to the poker card games including Texas Hold'em, Omaha, 5-Card Stud, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7-Card Stud, and 5-Card Draw, respectively. The player activates any one or more of these Game Variety icons to limit the games listed in the display pane 902 to those corresponding to one or more desired varieties of the multiplayer game. The player can activate one, two or more Game Variety icons simultaneously and their filtering effect is cumulative. For example, as shown in FIG. 11, when the player activates both Game Variety icons 922 and 930, the display pane 902 will list all game instances of the Texas Hold'em and 7-Card Stud varieties. The filtering effect of the Table Seat, Wagering Limit and Game Variety icons is cumulative.
  • [0114]
    One example of the toolbar 934 is shown in detail in FIG. 12. The toolbar 934 includes a graduated slider bar 1000, two sliders 1002 and 1004, and five shortcut icons 1006, 1008, 1010, 1012 and 1014 labeled FUN, MICRO, SMALL, MED and HIGH, respectively. Each of the sliders is independently positionable along the slider bar 1000. The graduations on the slider bar 1000 relate to the Big Blind table stakes. The player is able to specify a desired range of Big Blind table stakes by dragging the sliders 1002 and 1004 and positioning them at appropriate positions on the slider bar so as to bracket the desired range. For example, as shown in FIG. 13, if the player positions slider 1002 at a position marked “20” on the slider bar 1000 and slider 1004 at position at a position marked “200” on the slider bar, then the display pane 902 on the lobby page will only list those game instances having Big Blind table stakes greater than or equal to $20 and less than or equal to $200. The filtering effect of the toolbar 934 and the Table Seat, Wagering Limit and Game Variety icons is cumulative.
  • [0115]
    Referring back to FIG. 12, the toolbar shortcuts 1006, 1008, 1010, 1012 and 1014 provide the user with a simple way of filtering the game data to locate game instances that have Big Blind table stakes in certain default predefined ranges, without having to individually position the sliders 1002 and 1004. For example, activating shortcut icon 1006 labeled FUN in the toolbar automatically sets sliders 1002 and 1004 at default positions marked “10” and “20”, respectively, on the slider bar 1000. The default Big Blind table stakes corresponding to the various toolbar shortcut icons can be defined as:
  • [0000]
    Shortcut Lower Limit (1002) Upper Limit (1004)
    FUN 10 20
    MICRO 10 50
    SMALL 30 200
    MED 180 1000
    HIGH 1500 10000

    Clearly, different default Big Blind table stakes are possible.
  • [0116]
    Referring back to FIG. 9, the lobby page 900 contains further icons 936 and 938 labeled FULL and EMPTY, respectively. When the player activates the full icon 936, all game instances that are fully occupied are not listed in (i.e. removed from) the display pane 902. Alternatively, when the player activates the empty icon 938, all game instances that are empty are removed from the display pane 904.
  • [0117]
    The lobby page 900 further includes an additional display pan 940. When the player highlights a game instance listed in display pane 902, additional game data related to that game instance is displayed in the display pane 940.
  • [0118]
    In one embodiment, the subscription method and filtering icons within FIG. 9 enable a player to rapidly switch game play within a particular game category. As one example, initially a player may select the ring games tab 402 and establish a subscription with the gaming server to receive the ring games data at the workstation. The player may then wish to play an instance of a 7-card stud ring game, and thus, the player may activate the 7-card stud filter, filter icon 930, so that only data pertaining to available instances of 7-card stud ring games are displayed in the display pane 902. After playing for some time, the player may now wish to try his hand at a 5-card stud ring game. Because the workstation has established a subscription with the gaming server for all game data pertaining to the category “ring games”, the workstation will not need to request new game data for 5-card stud games. Rather, the player can simply un-activate the filter icon 930 and activate the filter icon 932 pertaining to 5-card stud games to now display all instances of 5-card stud games available for play. The workstation will already have received such data from the gaming server. Further, the workstation will have real-time or substantially real-time game data available, due to the refreshing of data to the workstation.
  • [0119]
    The same example may apply if the player should wish to switch to a table that has a larger betting scheme. For instance, the player may wish to switch from a $2/$4 table to a $10/$20 table. To do so, the user may adjust the slider bar 934 so that games having the desired betting limits are displayed. The workstation does not need to request any new data from the gaming server.
  • [0120]
    As additional examples of views and layouts of the menu and filtering selection system, FIG. 14 illustrates a display of the SIT & GO tab 404 of FIG. 4 being selected. Upon selection of the tab 404, lobby page 1400 is displayed to the player. The lobby page 1400 contains a display pane 1402 in which a list of tournament data relating to a plurality of Sit & Go tournament instances appear. For each tournament instance, the following attributes may be displayed:
  • [0121]
    a) Name: name of the tournament (typically, a fanciful name to spark player interest, but may also be in the form of a number or index);
  • [0122]
    b) Type: a variety of poker game played in the tournament (either Texas Hold'em, Omaha, 5-Card Stud, 7-Card Stud or 5-Card Draw)
  • [0123]
    c) Buy In: a cost of tournament entry;
  • [0124]
    d) Players: a number of registered players in the tournament to date; and
  • [0125]
    e) Status: for tournaments in progress, a number of players left in the tournament.
  • [0126]
    The lobby page 1400 displays an options pane 1404 containing a plurality of filter icons that a player can use to dynamically configure a tournament data filter. The filter icons include a first set of six Tournament Class icons 1406, 1408, 1410, 1412, 1414 and 1416 that the player uses to display tournaments of one or more desired classes only, a group of four Game Variety icons 1418, 1420, 1422 and 1424 that a player uses to display tournaments in which desired varieties of poker are played, and the toolbar 1000.
  • [0127]
    The Tournament Class icons filter the tournament data according to the following table:
  • [0000]
    Icon No. Tournament Class
    1416 Single-table tournaments
    1414 Multi-table tournaments
    1412 Turbo tournaments
    1410 Heads-up tournaments (2 players only)
    1408 Extreme stack tournaments
    1406 Satellite tournaments (i.e. feeders for other tournaments)
  • [0128]
    The function of the Game Variety icons 1418, 1420, 1422 and 1424 has already been described previously in connection with the RING GAMES tab 402. The toolbar 1000 functions in the same way as that described above in relation to the RING GAMES tab 402 menu, the only difference being that in the context of Sit & Go tournaments, the toolbar 1000 is used to locate tournament instances having tournament entry fees in certain predefined ranges.
  • [0129]
    When the player highlights a tournament instance listed in display pane 1402, additional tournament data related to that tournament instance is displayed in a further display pane 1426. The display pane 1426 contains an icon 1428 that, upon activation by the user, displays a tournament lobby page as illustrated in FIG. 15. For example, the tournament lobby page illustrates the players in the tournament, tournament information, prize information, and other tournament description as needed.
  • [0130]
    As a final example of views and layouts of the menu and filtering selection system, FIG. 16 illustrates a display of the SCHEDULED tab 406 of FIG. 4 being selected. Upon selection of tab 406, a lobby page 1600 is provided to the player that contains a display pane 1602 in which a list of tournament data relating to a plurality of scheduled tournament instances appears. For each tournament instance, the following attributes may be displayed:
  • [0131]
    a) Name: name of the tournament (typically, a fanciful name to spark player interest, but may also be in the form of a number or index);
  • [0132]
    b) Type: a variety of poker game played in the tournament (either Texas Hold'em, Omaha, 5-Card Stud, 7-Card Stud or 5-Card Draw)
  • [0133]
    c) Buy In: a cost of tournament entry;
  • [0134]
    d) Players: a number of registered players in the tournament to date; and
  • [0135]
    e) Stat: for tournaments in progress, the current tournament round that is underway.
  • [0136]
    The lobby page 1600 displays an options pane 1604 containing a plurality of filter icons that the player can use to dynamically configure a tournament data filter. The filter icons include a first set of five Tournament Class icons 1606, 1608, 1610, 1612 and 1614 that the player uses to display scheduled tournaments of one or more desired classes only, a group of four Game Variety icons 1616, 1618, 1620 and 1622 that a player uses to display tournaments in which desired varieties of poker are played, and the toolbar 1000.
  • [0137]
    The Tournament Class icons filter the tournament data according to the following table:
  • [0000]
    Icon No. Tournament Class
    1606 Single-table tournaments
    1608 Multi-table tournaments
    1610 Turbo tournaments
    1612 Heads-up tournaments (2 players only)
    1614 Extreme stack tournaments
  • [0138]
    The function of the Game Variety icons 1616, 1618, 1620 and 1622 has already been described previously in connection with the RING GAMES tab 402. Similarly, the toolbar 1000 functions in the same way as that described above in relation to the RING GAMES tab 402, the only difference being that in the context of Scheduled tournaments, the toolbar is used to locate tournament instances that have tournament entry fees in certain predefined ranges.
  • [0139]
    When the player highlights a tournament instance listed in display pane 1602, additional tournament data related to that tournament instance is displayed in a further display pane 1624. The display pane 1624 contains an icon 1626 that, upon activation by the user, displays a tournament lobby page similar to the example illustrated in FIG. 15.
  • [0140]
    As described above, in each of the example views and layouts of the menu and filtering selection system, shown in FIGS. 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 16, a filtering option pane is provided to the player that includes selectable options to filter the available games that are presented to the player. Generally, the workstation performs the filtering, and in this manner, the server only sends data pertaining to a single game category so as to lessen the amount of data sent to the workstations.
  • Other Alternatives
  • [0141]
    Within the examples described above, the present application has been described in the context of a multiplayer poker game, although the underlying principles have wider applicability. For example, the present application applies equally well to other games that are based on a video slots game as the underlying game, instead of a poker game. Other types of games may also apply.
  • [0142]
    Further, the electronic games to which the present application relates include online games that are played over the Internet, as well as to games that are played in land-based gaming establishments where play takes place on a number of separate gaming machines possibly interconnected by means of a local area network.
  • [0143]
    Still further, the functions of the server 108 may be divided amongst multiple proprietary servers corresponding to each casino game or casino website. Other servers can be arranged to monitor individual credit account balances of the participating players at the online casino websites and to cause the server 108 to disallow participation in the game of any player whose credit account balance drops below a predetermined minimum threshold.
  • [0144]
    The server 108 and electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 each may include processors that access memory to execute software functions stored therein to participate in the electronic multiplayer tournaments. The electronic gaming devices 102 and 104 may include any input interface such as those for a standard computer to allow players to participate in the tournaments. In addition, the devices 102 and 104 and the server 108 may include memory, such as random access memory (RAM), or secondary storage, such as read only memory (ROM), optical or magnetic disks, compact-disc read only memory (CD-ROM), or any other volatile or non-volatile storage systems. The memory may store the casino client interface programs, the client process for a particular casino game or other software programs corresponding to the electronic multiplayer tournaments. In turn, the software programs are executable by the processors to play the electronic multiplayer tournaments. As such, the software programs are executable to display the GUI to the players that may be of a standard type of user interface allowing a user to interact with a computer that employs graphical images in addition to text to represent information and actions available to the user. Actions may be performed through direct manipulation of graphical elements, which include windows, buttons, menus, and scroll bars, for example.
  • [0145]
    It should be further understood that this and other arrangements described herein are for purposes of example only. As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that other arrangements and other elements (e.g. machines, interfaces, functions, orders, and groupings of functions, etc.) can be used instead, and some elements may be omitted altogether according to the desired results. Further, many of the elements that are described are functional entities that may be implemented as discrete or distributed components or in conjunction with other components, in any suitable combination and location.
  • [0146]
    Thus, while the present application has been described in the context of fully functional electronic gaming devices and servers, those skilled in the art will appreciate that mechanisms of the present application are capable of being distributed in the form of a computer-readable medium of instructions in a variety of forms, and that the present application applies equally regardless of the particular type of signal bearing media used to actually carry out the distribution. Examples of such computer-accessible devices include computer memory (RAM or ROM), floppy disks, and CD-ROMs, as well as transmission-type media such as digital and analog communication links.
  • [0147]
    Since many modifications, variations, and changes in detail can be made to the described embodiments, it is intended that all matters in the preceeding description and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. Further, it is intended to be understood that the following clauses further describe aspects of the present application.
  • [0148]
    (1) A method of presenting electronic casino games to a player, the method comprising:
  • [0149]
    establishing a subscription between an electronic gaming device and a gaming server, the subscription indicating requested game data by a user of the electronic gaming device that pertains to a selected game category, the requested game data indicating variants of instances of games available for play;
  • [0150]
    at predefined intervals, receiving the requested game data at the electronic gaming device that pertains to the selected game category, where the requested game data is refreshed at the electronic gaming device at subsequent intervals;
  • [0151]
    at the electronic gaming device, filtering the requested game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play; and
  • [0152]
    displaying instances of games available for play that meet the user preferences.
  • [0153]
    (2) The method of clause (1), wherein the game data is segmented and the subscription established by the workstation is for game data related to a single game format.
  • [0154]
    (3) The method of clauses (1) or (2), wherein the game categories include Ring Games, Sit & Go Tournaments, Scheduled Tournaments, Quick Start page, and a Casino page.
  • [0155]
    (4) The method of clauses (1), (2) or (3), wherein for each instance of a game available for play, some of the following attributes are displayed: a table name, a game type, a variety of poker game that is played at the table, a wagering limit applicable at the table, table stakes, a number of players waiting to join the table, a number of participating players that can be accommodated at the table, a cost of a tournament entry fee, and a status for tournaments in progress.
  • [0156]
    (5) The method of clauses (1), (2), (3) or (4), wherein one game category includes games such as Texas Hold'em, Omaha, 5-Card Stud, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7-Card Stud, and 5-Card Draw.
  • [0157]
    (6) The method of clauses (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5), further comprising providing a graphical user interface including a graduated slider bar with two sliders, the graduated slider bar including graduations relating to table wagering stakes, and wherein filtering the requested game data according to user preferences comprises specifying a desired range table stakes by positioning the two sliders at appropriate positions on the slider bar so as to bracket the desired range.
  • [0158]
    (7) An electronic gaming device for playing an electronic casino game, comprising:
  • [0159]
    a processing unit;
  • [0160]
    a memory storing a client interface program for execution by the processing unit, wherein the client interface program is executable to:
      • establish a subscription between the electronic gaming device and a gaming server, the subscription indicating requested game data by a user of the electronic gaming device that pertains to a selected game category, the requested game data indicating variants of instances of games available for play;
      • at predefined intervals, receive the requested game data at the electronic gaming device that pertains to the selected game category, where the requested game data is refreshed at the electronic gaming device at subsequent intervals;
      • filter the requested game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play; and
      • display instances of games available for play that meet the user preferences.
  • [0165]
    (8) The device of clause (7), wherein the electronic gaming device presents a graphical user interface to the players including the display of instances of games available for play.
  • [0166]
    (9) The device of clauses (7) or (8), further comprising filter icons selectable by a user to filter out variants of instances of games available for play.
  • [0167]
    (10) The device of clauses (7), (8) or (9), further comprising a search engine to perform the filtering.
  • [0168]
    (11) The device of clauses (7), (8), (9) or (10) wherein the client interface program is executable to filter the requested game data so as to display only a specific type of card game within the selected game category.
  • [0169]
    (12) The device of clauses (7), (8), (9), (10) or (11), wherein the client interface program is executable to filter the requested game data so as to display only card games having a desired betting scheme, or so as to display only card games having selected wagering amounts.
  • [0170]
    (13) A system for presenting electronic casino games to a player, comprising:
  • [0171]
    electronic gaming devices for presenting to a user a display depicting game play, the electronic gaming devices including filters so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play; and
  • [0172]
    a server coupled through a communication network to the electronic gaming devices, the server establishing a subscription between the electronic gaming device and the server, the subscription indicating requested game data by a user of the electronic gaming device that pertains to a selected game category, the requested game data indicating variants of instances of games available for play, wherein at predefined intervals, the server sends the requested game data to the electronic gaming device that pertains to the selected game category so as to refresh the game data at the electronic gaming device at subsequent intervals.
  • [0173]
    (14) The system of clause (13), wherein the game data is segmented and the subscription established by the electronic gaming device is for game data related to a single game format.
  • [0174]
    (15) The system of clauses (13) or (14), wherein one game category includes games such as Texas Hold'em, Omaha, 5-Card Stud, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7-Card Stud, and 5-Card Draw.
  • [0175]
    (16) A graphical interface for displaying game data associated with electronic casino games, the graphical interface comprising:
  • [0176]
    game category tabs each associated with a respective game category;
  • [0177]
    a display pane, wherein upon selection of a game category tab, instances of games available for play pertaining to the selected game category tab are displayed in the display pane; and
  • [0178]
    an option pane including:
      • filtering icons selectable to filter game data according to user preferences so as to filter out variants of instances of games available for play, and
      • a slider bar that indicates a range of amounts of wagers for a game and includes markers positionable on the slider bar so as to bracket a desired range.
  • [0181]
    (17) The graphical interface of clause (16), wherein the filtering icons include table seat icons that a player uses to display tables only having a desired number of seats.
  • [0182]
    (18) The graphical interface of clauses (16) or (17), wherein the filtering icons include wagering limit icons that a player uses to display tables only having desired wagering limits.
  • [0183]
    (19) The graphical interface of clauses (16), (17) or (18), wherein the filtering icons include game variety icons that a player uses to display only tables at which desired varieties of poker games are played.
  • [0184]
    (20) The graphical interface of clauses (16), (17), (18) or (19), wherein the filter icons include tournament class icons that a player uses to display tournaments of only one or more desired classes.
  • [0185]
    (21) The graphical interface of clauses (16), (17), (18), (19) or (20), wherein the tournament class icons filter tournament data according to single-table tournaments, multi-table tournaments, turbo tournaments, heads-up tournaments, extreme stack tournaments, and satellite tournaments.
  • [0186]
    (22) The graphical interface of clauses (16), (17), (18), (19), (20) or (21), wherein the player can activate one or more of the filtering icons simultaneously and the filtering effect is cumulative.
  • [0187]
    Various embodiments have been described. Those skilled in the art will understand, however, that changes and modifications may be made to the embodiments described without departing from the true scope and spirit of the present invention, which is defined by the following claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3223, G07F17/3262
European ClassificationG07F17/32M2, G07F17/32C6, G07F17/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
19 Mar 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: WATERLEAF LIMITED, ISLE OF MAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:TOOMPERE, RAGNAR;REEL/FRAME:019045/0231
Effective date: 20070315
10 May 2012ASAssignment
Owner name: CORK GROUP TRADING LTD., VIRGIN ISLANDS, BRITISH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WATERLEAF LIMITED;REEL/FRAME:028191/0731
Effective date: 20120405