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Title:
METHOD OF PLAYING BLACKJACK WITH AUXILIARY SIDE BET FEATURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/057378
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method of playing the standard game of Blackjack which includes at least one auxiliary wagering feature pertaining to various outcomes of a players hand is provided. In addition to the standard game of Blackjack, the present invention provides the option of wagering on the numerical outcome of the player' s hand, whether the numerical value of the player ' s hand and the dealer' s hand will be equal, whether the player will be dealt a Blackjack and whether the player's hand will exceed 21 when played according to house rules. The present invention provides a method for gaming establishments to increase the potential return on a per table basis, while also providing additional wagering options to the player which are simplistic to understand, and that have larger payouts than those typically associated with the conventional game of Blackjack.

Inventors:
LUCIER, Cary Michael (2481 Kildare Boulevard, Windsor, Ontario N8W 2Y1, CA)
Application Number:
CA2009/001625
Publication Date:
May 19, 2011
Filing Date:
November 10, 2009
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FORTUNE TELLER GAMING INC. (2481 Kildare Boulevard, Windsor, Ontario N8W 2Y1, CA)
LUCIER, Cary Michael (2481 Kildare Boulevard, Windsor, Ontario N8W 2Y1, CA)
International Classes:
A63F1/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BELL, G. Ronald (G. Ronald Bell & Associates, P.O. Box 2450 Station D,Ottaw, Ontario K1P 5W6, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION IN WHICH AN EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OR PRIVILEGE IS CLAIMED ARE DEFINED AS FOLLOWS:

1. A method of playing a Blackjack card game between a dealer and a player, which includes an auxiliary wagering feature, comprising the steps of:

placing at least one auxiliary wager selected from the group consisting of a bust prediction wager, a numeric prediction wager, a tie prediction wager, a blackjack prediction wager and a dual bust prediction wager, on the outcome of the player's hand prior to commencement of the underlying Blackjack card game;

playing the underlying Blackjack card game to completion according to known Blackjack card game rules; and

resolving the at least one auxiliary wager based upon the final value of the player's hand governed by predetermined rules and pay out structure for each of the wager types. 2. The method according to claim 1, further comprising the steps of:

placing a standard Blackj ack wager prior to commencement of the underlying Blackj ack card game; and

resolving the standard Blackjack wager governed by known Blackjack card game rules after the underlying Blackjack card game has been completed.

3. The method according to claim 1 , wherein when a bust prediction wager is placed by the player, the player's hand is played according to the house rules governing the play of the dealer's hand, and a winning outcome is achieved on the bust prediction wager when the final value of the player' s hand exceeds 21.

4. The method according to claim 3, wherein the house rules governing the play of the dealer' s hand comprise receiving an additional card when the value of the hand is less than 17 and not receiving an additional card when the value of the hand is 17 or more.

5. The method according to claim 4, wherein the house rules governing the play of the dealer's hand further comprises that if the value of the hand is 17 and contains an ace valued as 11 then an additional card is received.

6. The method according to claim 1 , wherein there are distinct numeric prediction wager options that correspond to potential final values of the player' s hand, and when the numeric prediction wager is placed by the player, a winning outcome is achieved when the final value of the player' s hand after the underlying Blackjack card game has been completed corresponds with the value of the numeric prediction wager that has been placed.

7. The method according to claim 6, wherein the distinct prediction wager options available to the player are at least one of 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21.

8. The method according to claim 1 , wherein when the tie prediction wager is placed by the player, a winning outcome is achieved when the final value of the player's hand matches the final value of the dealer's hand after the underlying Blackjack card game has been completed.

9. The method according to claim 8, wherein a tie prediction wager is not successful when the player and the dealer are both dealt a blackj ck or when both hands exceed 21.

10. The method according to claim 1 , wherein when the blackjack prediction wager is placed by the player, a winning outcome is achieved when the player is dealt a blackjack.

11. The method according to claim 1 , wherein when the blackjack prediction wager is placed by the player, and both the dealer and the player are dealt a blackjack, the player is awarded a double blackjack prediction payout.

12. The method according to claim 1, wherein when a player is playing two separate Blackjack hands and the blackjack prediction wager is placed by the player for each hand, and a blackjack is dealt for each of the player's hands and for the dealer's hand, the player is awarded a triple blackjack prediction payout.

13. The method according to claim 1, wherein when a dual bust prediction wager is placed by the player, the player's hand must be played according to the house rules governing the play of the dealer' s hand, and a winning outcome is achieved from the dual bust prediction wager when the final value of the player's hand exceeds 21 and the final value of the dealer's hand exceeds 21.

14. The method according to claim 13, wherein the house rules governing the play of the dealer's hand comprise receiving an additional card when the value of the hand is less than 17 and not receiving an additional card when the value of the hand is 17 or more.

15. The method according to claim 14, wherein the house rules governing the play of the dealer's hand further comprises that if the value of the hand is 17 and contains an ace valued as 11 then an additional card is received.

16. A method of playing a Blackjack card game which includes an auxiliary wagering feature, comprising the steps of:

placing an auxiliary bust prediction wager and/or dual bust prediction wager prior to commencement of the underlying Blackjack card game;

playing the underlying Blackjack card game to completion where the player's hand is played according to the house rules governing the play of the dealer's hand; and

resolving the auxiliary bust prediction wager and/or dual bust prediction wager based upon the final value of the player's hand governed by predetermined rules and pay out structure for each of the wager types.

17. The method according to claim 16, further comprising the steps of:

placing a standard Blackjack wager prior to commencement of the underlying Blackjack card game; and resolving the standard Blackjack wager governed by known Blackjack card game rules after the underlying Blackjack card game has been completed.

18. The method according to claim 16, further comprising the step of:

placing at least one additional auxiliary wager selected from the group consisting of a numeric prediction wager, a tie prediction wager and a blackjack prediction wager prior to commencement of the underlying Blackjack card game; and

resolving the numeric prediction wager, a tie prediction wager and a blackjack prediction wager based upon the final value of the player's hand governed by predetermined rules and pay out structure for each wager type after the underlying Blackjack card game has been completed.

19. A method of playing a Blackjack card game between a dealer and a player, which includes an auxiliary wagering feature, comprising the steps of:

placing at least one auxiliary wager selected from the group consisting of a numeric prediction wager, a blackjack wager and a tie prediction wager prior to commencement of the underlying Blackjack card game;

dealing two cards each to the dealer and player for the underlying Blackjack card game; resolving the numeric prediction wager, the blackjack prediction wager and/or the tie prediction wager based upon the value of the initial two cards dealt to the player for the underlying Blackjack card game by predetermined rules and payout structure for each wager type.

20. The method according to claim 19, further comprising the steps of:

placing a standard Blackj ack wager prior to commencement of the underlying Blackj ack card game;

playing the underlying Blackjack card game to completion according to known Blackjack card game rules; and

resolving the standard Blackjack wager governed by known Blackjack card game rules after the underlying Blackjack card game has been completed.

21. The method according to claim 19, further comprising the step of:

placing at least one additional auxiliary wager selected from the group consisting of a bust prediction wager and a dual bust prediction wager prior to commencement of the underlying Blackjack card game;

playing the underlying Blackjack card game to completion where the player's hand is played according to the house rules governing the play of the dealer's hand; and

resolving the bust prediction wager and/or the dual bust prediction wager based upon the final value of the player's hand governed by predetermined rules and pay out structure for each wager type.

Description:
METHOD OF PLAYING BLACKJACK WITH AUXILIARY SIDE WAGER FEATURE

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a method of playing cards. In particular, the present invention relates to a method of playing the standard game of Blackjack which includes auxiliary wagering features pertaining to various outcomes of a players hand.

Background of the Invention

The popular card game Blackjack, also known as 21 , is the most widely played casino game throughout the world. It is well known to avid gamblers and casual card players alike.

In blackjack, the dealer faces one to e.g. seven players from behind a table. Each player plays his hand independently against the dealer. At the beginning of each round, the player places a bet in the "betting area" and receives an initial hand of two cards. The object of the game is to get a higher card total than the dealer, but without going over 21 which is called "busting", "breaking", or many other terms. According to the standard rules of Blackjack, the spot cards count 2 to 9; the 10, jack, queen, and king count as ten; an ace can be either 1 or 11 at the player's choice; and a Blackjack is an ace and a ten value card. After all of the cards are dealt, the player acts first and plays his hand by taking additional cards if desired. If the player busts, i.e. if the player's hand exceeds 21 , then the player loses. When all player' s have acted, the dealer plays his or her hand. The dealer must follow specific guidelines for playing his or her hand, and these rules, sometimes called "house rules", are predetermined for each particular gaming establishment. These rules are typically posted at or on the gaming table. If the dealer busts, he loses to all remaining players. If neither the player or dealer busts, the higher hand total wins. In case of a tie, no one wins - the hand is a "push" and all bets are returned. There are various other options available to the player in a standard Blackjack game, such as splitting pairs, doubling down and Blackjack insurance, that can be incorporated into the standard game and can be factored in by the player when attempting to optimize playing strategy.

The popularity of Blackjack and it's relatively simplistic set of rules makes it appealing to the casual card player, whereas the potential to narrow the House edge by employing optimal game strategy makes it appealing to the avid gambler. Accordingly, it is featured prominently at most casinos, and is one of the leading sources of revenue for casinos amongst table games. However, the casinos are always investigating options to increase the amount of their return for a certain game per table, as this will provide for a larger return without having the expenses associated with simply opening more tables, i.e. such as additional inventory cost, dealer salary, surveillance etc.

Regarding Blackjack, the number of games played during a specified time, such as the number of hands per hour, is an important metric used to evaluate the return potential for a game. That is, in the light of the inherent house edge, the more hands that are played during a unit of time, the greater the money collected by the house. However, there is a finite limit to the amount of hands of Blackjack that can be played per hour, and the average number of hands played per hour is influenced by such factors as: number of other players at the table; experience and speed of the other players at the table; the method of shuffling the cards, such as use of a shuffling machine; and the speed and experience of the dealer.

Furthermore, certain gamblers desire the thrill associated with a long odds and the potential for a big payout. This is something that is typically not found in the standard Blackjack game, as most Blackjack games usually pay from 1 : 1 to 3:2. In order to keep the interest of this class of gamblers and keep them playing at the Blackjack table, they must be able to concomitantly satisfy their craving for a big payout while they are playing the standard game of Blackjack.

Accordingly, there is a need in the art for a card game having both standard Blackjack play and auxiliary wagering features. These additional wagering options available to the player provides the possibility that the amount of return per hour that will be collected by the house per table will increase. These auxiliary wagering options also give the typical Blackjack player the option of placing bets that have the potential for a return that is substantially larger than one would receive during the course of a standard Blackjack game.

This need has resulted in the invention of various Blackjack side wagering games. However, the lack of interest typically spawned by these additional games is often minimal, in some cases due to the complexity thereof or the lack of variety, which ultimately limits their life span in gaming establishments.

For example, United States Patent No. 7,222,854 discloses a modified Blackjack game, where in addition to playing the conventional Blackjack game, the player also has the ability to wager on the total point value or point value range of the initial two cards that the player receives from the dealer. There are not many options for side wagering in this game, and therefore, it may lose the player's interest.

United States Patent No. 7,568,704 discloses the standard Blackjack game that incorporates a bonus bet. This bonus bet is successful if the player is dealt a natural blackjack, and the player is allowed to continue with their hand, with the Blackjack being reevaluated as eleven. This would allow the player to win multiple wagers with the same hand. However, the lack of variation in this game may not appeal to many players.

United States Patent No. 7,575,239 discloses a variation on the conventional Blackjack game, where prior to the cards being dealt, the player may to choose to either bet on the dealer or on the player for the subsequent hand. If the player bets on the dealer's hand, the player's hand is then automatically played according to house rules, and if the dealer's hand prevails, then the wager is successful. This game also has little variation in terms of betting options, and some players may be deterred that the House controls play of the player's hand when this game is played.

Summary of the Invention

The present invention is a modified version of the well known game Blackjack. In particular, the present invention incorporates auxiliary side wagers to increase the potential return for the gaming establishment per Blackjack table, and to entice those gamblers looking for additional wagering options when playing the conventional Blackjack game.

According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of playing a Blackjack card game between a dealer and a player, which includes an auxiliary wagering feature, comprising the steps of placing a standard wager on the underlying Blackjack card game; placing at least one auxiliary wager selected from the group consisting of a bust prediction wager, a numeric prediction wager, a tie prediction wager, a blackjack prediction wager and a dual bust prediction wager, on the outcome of the player's hand; playing the underlying Blackjack card game to completion according to known Blackjack card game rules; resolving the standard wager governed by known Blackjack card game rules; and resolving the at least one auxiliary wager based upon the final value of the player's hand governed by predetermined rules and pay out structure.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of playing a Blackj ack card game which includes an auxiliary wagering feature, comprising the steps of: placing an auxiliary bust prediction wager and/or an auxiliary dual bust prediction wager; playing the underlying Blackjack card game to completion where the player's hand is played according to the house rules governing the play of the dealer' s hand; and resolving the auxiliary bust prediction wager and/or the auxiliary dual bust prediction wager based upon predetermined rules and pay out structure.

According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of playing a Blackjack card game between a dealer and a player, which includes an auxiliary wagering feature, comprising the steps of placing at least one auxiliary wager selected from the group consisting of a bust prediction wager, a numeric prediction wager, a tie prediction wager, a blackjack prediction wager and a dual bust prediction wager prior to commencement of the underlying Blackjack card game; dealing cards to the dealer and player for the underlying Blackjack card game; resolving the numeric prediction wager and/or the tie prediction wager based upon the value of the initial two cards dealt to the player for the underlying Blackjack card game by predetermined rules and payout structure for each wager type; playing the underlying Blackjack card game to completion according to known Blackjack card game rules; and resolving the bust prediction wager, blackjack prediction wager and/or dual bust prediction wager based upon the final value of the player's hand governed by predetermined rules and pay out structure for each wager type.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The present invention will be described in further detail while having regard to the Drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a top plan view of a betting area that includes four of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention, whereas Figure 1 A is a top plan view of a betting area that includes four of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 2 is a top plan view of a betting area that includes three of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention, whereas Figure 2 A is a top plan view of a betting area that includes four of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 3 is a top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of three of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention, whereas Figure 3A is a top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of three of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 4 is a top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of three of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention, whereas Figure 4A is a top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of three of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 5 is a top plan view of a betting area that includes two of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention, whereas Figure 5A is a top plan view of a betting area that includes two of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 6 is a top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of two of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention, whereas Figure 6A is a top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of two of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 7 is a top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of two of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention, whereas Figure 7A is a top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of two of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 8 is a top plan view of a betting area that includes the Numeric Prediction wager for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention, whereas Figure 8A is a top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination the Numeric Prediction wager for playing the game according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 9 is a magnified top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of three of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 10 is a magnified top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of two of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 11 is a magnified top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of two of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 12 is a magnified top plan view of a betting area that includes an alternate combination of two of the auxiliary wagering option types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 13 is a magnified top plan view of a betting area that includes only the Tie Prediction wager types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 14 is a magnified top plan view of a betting area that includes only the Blackjack Prediction wager types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 15 is a magnified top plan view of a betting area that includes only the Bust Prediction wager types for playing the game according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Detailed Description of the Invention

A better understanding of the present invention and its objects and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description, wherein there is described preferred embodiments of the invention, simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated for carrying out the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of modifications in various obvious respects, all without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the description should be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.

The game of the present invention is a derivative of Blackjack that offers at least one auxiliary wagering option to those typically available. Standard Blackjack rules that would be known to one of skill in the art apply to the underlying Blackjack game, with the addition of at least one possible side wager available to the player. These wagers allow players to attempt to predict and thereby wager on the final outcome of their hand after the underlying Blackjack game has concluded, according to one embodiment of the present invention. However, according to another embodiment of the present invention, some of the auxiliary wagers can be based upon the first two cards that are dealt to a player when playing the standard Blackjack game.

The present invention will be described with reference to the Figures, which illustrate a magnified view of a betting area of a casino gaming table for use with an embodiment of the present invention. In this exemplary embodiment as seen in Figure 1 , the individual betting area comprises a primary betting area (2) that is preferably reserved for standard Blackjack wagers, and a plurality of secondary betting areas (4) that represent the auxiliary wagers of the present invention.

The choices of secondary wagers available to a player are represented by the visible secondary betting areas (4) and the types of wagers included in a given Blackjack game according to the present invention may vary according to the preference of the gaming establishment. Additional embodiments of the present invention are shown in the remaining Figures, which illustrate magnified views of player betting areas having additional various combinations of secondary betting areas therein. The combinations of auxiliary wagers incorporated into the game can be up to the discretion of the gaming establishment running the game, although the more options available to the player, the more likely that the player will utilize the auxiliary wagers to the financial benefit of the gaming establishment.

The game commences when at least one player declares their intention for the next round of Blackjack. This is done by placing a standard Blackjack wager, placing a standard Blackjack wager and at least one auxiliary wager, or by placing only an auxiliary wager. In order to be considered a legally placed wager, all bets, including both standard Blackjack wagers and auxiliary wagers, must be placed prior to the beginning of each hand, i.e. before any cards are received from the dealer, otherwise, the wager will be nullified and returned to the player. Preferably, placing of a legal wager constitutes placing the desired amount of e.g. casino chips, on the appropriate primary (2) or secondary betting area (4) on the gaming table that corresponds with the desired wager. According to an embodiment of the invention, players making auxiliary wagers are limited to playing a maximum of two individual player spots per hand, however, this is solely at the discretion of the gaming establishment. For example, according to another embodiment of the invention, players making auxiliary wagers may play more than two hands, up to the maximum that the table will allow. Table minimum and maximum wagers for the playing of hands will follow standard house rules.

Several wagering options based upon the underlying Blackjack game are available to a player according to various embodiments of the present invention. Each player betting area has a combination of distinct types of wagers to choose from, represented by a plurality of primary (2) and secondary (4) betting areas. These wagers cover most possible hand outcomes that a player may achieve during a single hand of Blackjack. The types of wagers available to a player are a Standard Blackjack wager, and the auxiliary wagers: Bust Prediction wager; Dual Bust Prediction wager; Numeric Prediction wager; Tie Prediction wager; and Blackjack Prediction wager. According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of the auxiliary wagering options are available to the player, as illustrated in Figure 1. However, any combination of the auxiliary wagering options may be made available to the player based upon the preferences of the gaming establishment (for example, see Figures 1 to 15).

Concerning the Standard Blackjack wager, this wager type is represented on the gaming table by the primary betting area (2), as illustrated in Figures 1 to 15. The characteristics of the primary betting area, such as the shape, color and design, can vary based upon the embodiment of the invention and/or the esthetic preferences of the casino. Preferably, the primary betting area (2) is in the shape of an oval, as depicted in the attached Figures, however, it may take the form of any desired shape.

The outcome of the standard blackjack wager itself is based upon standard blackjack rules, as briefly described above, and as would be known to one of skill in the art, subject to any specific house variations or rules. For example, house rules surrounding the splitting of hands, Blackjack insurance and doubling down would apply. When a Standard Blackjack wager is placed, the outcome of this wager is resolved independent of the auxiliary wagers. A Standard Blackjack wager is deemed successful if the player's hand bests the dealer's hand when following traditional Blackjack rules. Successful Standard Blackjack wagers are paid according to the discretion of the gaming establishment, for example 1 to 1 for a winning hand, and 3 to 2 for a Blackjack are typical.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, a player may place a standard blackjack wager alone or in combination with any of the other auxiliary wager types (Bust Prediction wager, Dual Bust Prediction wager, Numeric Prediction wager, Tie Prediction wager, and Blackjack Prediction wager) to a maximum of six separate wager types, i.e. the Standard Blackjack wager and each of the five auxiliary wagers. However, it is not necessary for a Standard Blackjack wager to be placed in order to proceed with the hand. According to another embodiment of the invention, it is also possible to proceed with a hand while only placing at least one of the auxiliary wagers without placing a Standard Blackjack wager.

For example, according to an embodiment of the present invention, a player may choose not to place a Standard Blackjack wager if they believe, or would like to wager, that the forthcoming hand will bust. In this instance, the player may take advantage of one of the auxiliary wagers, and in particular, place a Bust Prediction wager or a Dual Bust Prediction wager instead. Rules surrounding the Bust Prediction and Dual Bust Prediction wagers are discussed in detail below.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the Blackjack game incorporates a Bust Prediction wager as an auxiliary betting option. The Bust Prediction wager is represented on the gaming table by a secondary betting area (4) (see Figures). Preferably this secondary betting area (4) corresponding with the bust prediction wager is circular in shape and is positioned adjacent to the primary betting area (2), however, it may take the form of any desired shape. It is also preferable that the bust prediction wager betting area be differentially marked and/or colored so that it is readily discernible from the primary betting area (2) and any additional secondary betting areas (4).

The Bust Prediction wager may be placed alone or in combination with any of the other wager types (Standard Blackj ack wager, Numeric Prediction wager, Tie Prediction wager, Dual Bust Prediction wager and Blackjack Prediction wager). However, by virtue of the nature of the bet, a Bust Prediction wager cannot be successful in conjunction with any of the other wagers, with the exception of the Dual Bust Prediction wager.

The Bust Prediction wager is essentially a side bet placed on the player's next hand, predicting that the hand will bust, i.e. exceed 21, when it is played according to the "House ways" or "House Rules". In this context, "House ways" or "House Rules" refers to the predetermined set of rules that governs the play of the dealer's hand. "House ways" of "House rules" may vary depending upon the gaming establishment, but are typically visible at the gaming table so that the player's are properly informed thereof. Typically, according to "House rules" if the dealer has less than 17, he must hit. If the dealer has 17 or more, he must stand (take no more cards), unless it is a "soft 17" (a hand that includes an ace valued as "1 1," for example a hand consisting of Ace+6, or Ace+2+4). With a soft 17, the dealer follows the established "House rules" to either to "hit soft 17" or to "stand on all 17's.".

In other words, when a player places a bet on the Bust Prediction wager portion of the gaming table, the player essentially loses control over their Blackjack hand and the dealer will deal their hand according to the "House ways" or "House rules" as noted above. The dealer will deal the cards to the player in a manner consistent with the house rules regarding the dealer's hand. The player has effectively forfeited their right to hit, stand, double down or split, by virtue of their bust prediction wager. If the hand reaches a cumulative total above 21 , i.e. a bust, while abiding by the house rules, then the wager is successful and is paid according to the accompanying pay-out chart. Preferably, winning Bust Prediction wagers will be paid 2 to 1 on the initial bet, however the exact payout structure of a Bust Prediction wager may ultimately be set by each individual gaming establishment.

Following completion of the hand that has been played according to "House Rules", if there are any remaining outstanding wagers (Standard Blackjack wager, Tie Prediction wager, Numeric Prediction wager or the Blackjack Prediction wager), the dealer will settle these bets accordingly.

In another embodiment of the present invention similar to the above described Bust Prediction wager, the game may incorporate the option of a Dual Bust Prediction wager. The Dual Bust Prediction wager is represented on the gaming table by a secondary betting area (4) (not shown). Preferably this secondary betting area (4) corresponding with the Dual Bust Prediction wager is circular in shape and is positioned adjacent to the primary betting area, however, it may take the form of any desired shape. It is also preferable that the Dual Bust Prediction wager betting area be differentially marked and/or colored so that it is readily discernible from the primary betting area (2) and any additional secondary betting areas (4).

The Dual Bust Prediction wager is essentially a side bet placed on the player's next hand, predicting that both the player's hand and the dealer's hand will bust, i.e. exceed 21, when it is played according to the "House ways" or "House rules" as described above. As with the Bust Prediction wager, when a Dual Bust Prediction wager is placed, the player has forfeited their right to hit, stand, double down or split, as the dealer will deal the cards to the player in a manner consistent with the house rules regarding the dealer' s hand. If both the player' s hand and the dealer' s hand each reach a cumulative total above 21 , i.e. a bust, while abiding by the house rules, then the wager is successful and is paid according to the accompanying pay-out chart. Typically, a winning Dual Bust Prediction wager will be paid 1 1 to 1 , but preferably a Dual Bust Prediction wager is paid at 10 to 1 , however the exact payout structure of a Dual Bust Prediction wager may ultimately be set by each individual gaming establishment.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the game incorporates the option of Numeric Prediction wagers. The numeric prediction wagers are represented on the gaming table by secondary betting areas (4) (see Figures). Preferably these secondary betting areas (4) that correspond with the Numeric Prediction wagers are circular in shape and are positioned adjacent to the primary betting area (2), however, it may take the form of any desired shape. It is also preferable that the Numeric Prediction wager betting areas be differentially marked and/or colored so that they are readily discernible from the primary betting area (2) and any additional secondary betting areas (4).

Preferably, there are five Numeric Prediction wager options, accounting for values of 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 (see e.g. Figure 1). However, it is within the scope of the present invention for there to be four, three, two or even one numeric prediction option, and it is even contemplated for there to be more than five Numeric Prediction wager options, up to 20 options, i.e. 2 to 21. These wagers allow a player to place a bet on what the final total of the value of their hand will be (in the preferred embodiment, either 17, 18, 19, 20 or 21 ). In the event that the player is dealt a pair and opts to split this pair, it is preferable that the Numeric Prediction wager is based upon the first of the split cards.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a player may only select one of the available Numeric Prediction Wager options for any given hand of Blackjack. In this embodiment, two or more Numeric Prediction wagers placed on any given hand of Blackjack will cause all of the Numeric Prediction wagers to be nullified and returned to the player. It is, however, contemplated that it may be possible for a player to place more than one Numeric prediction wager in a hand, however, the payout totals for such multiple wagers will deviate from those provided below in order to provide the necessary House edge. These calculations are well within the realm of one of skill in the art.

Preferably, the numeric prediction wager must be placed in combination with a Standard Blackjack wager or a Bust Prediction wager in order to constitute a legal bet. Once a qualifying wager has been placed, the player may also place additional wagers alone or in combination with other wagers, such as a Tie Prediction wager or a Blackjack prediction wager. However, it is also contemplated that aNumeric Prediction wager made be placed individually, i.e. without placing any additional wagers.

At the completion of the underlying Blackjack hand, if the value of a player's hand reaches a cumulative total that coincides with the value of a properly placed Numeric Prediction wager, then the wager is successful and is paid according to the accompanying pay-out chart. Preferably, winning Numeric Prediction wagers will be paid as follows, although the exact payout structure will ultimately be set by each individual gaming establishment:

With regard to the Numeric Prediction wager for the value 21 , it is preferred that in order to fulfill the requirements for a successful wager, a value of 21 must be accrued with more than two cards, i.e. a non-natural 21 , as opposed to a value of 21 accrued with exactly two cards which is a Blackjack, i.e. a natural 21. A Blackjack, or natural 21 , qualifies for separate wagers as outlined below. Alternatively, if a player splits aces and then receives a ten value card on one of the split aces, this is typically also considered a non-natural 21 , and not a Blackjack, and therefore this scenario would result in a successful Numeric Prediction wager for the value of 21.

Following completion of the hand, if there are any remaining outstanding wagers (Standard Blackjack wager, Tie Prediction wager, Bust Prediction wager, Dual Bust Prediction wager or the Blackjack Prediction wager), the dealer will settle these bets accordingly.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, the Numeric Prediction wager can be solely based upon the combined numeric value of the first two cards that are dealt to a player at the commencement of a hand. In this embodiment, when the player places a legal Numeric Prediction wager, the comparison of the actual value of the player's hand to the predicted value of the player's hand is not performed at the completion of the underlying Blackjack hand as in the previous embodiment, but rather, is performed directly after the player is dealt their original two cards at the beginning of the hand. The dealer settles the Numeric Prediction wager accordingly. If the player has placed any additional wagers, such as a standard Blackjack wager, then the underlying Blackjack hand continues, otherwise, the hand is over. The comparison of the actual value of the player's hand versus the predicted value is therefore completed before any active decisions are made by the player regarding their underlying Blackjack hand, such as whether to hit, stand, split etc. In this embodiment, the placement of this auxiliary wager is settled prior to starting the underlying Blackjack hand and therefore should not influence any subsequent decisions that the player makes during said hand. Although it is preferred that at least a standard Blackjack wager, Bust Prediction wager and/or Dual Bust Prediction wager is placed in conjunction with this two-card version of the Numeric Prediction wager, it is possible that this version of the Numeric Prediction wager may be placed independently of other wagers.

In this two-card embodiment of the Numeric Prediction wager, it is preferred that in order to fulfill the requirements for a successful wager, a value of 21 must be accrued with more than two cards, i.e. a non-natural 21, as opposed to a value of 21 accrued with exactly two cards which is a Blackjack, i.e. a natural 21. A Blackjack, or natural 21 , qualifies for separate wagers as outlined below. Alternatively, if a player splits aces and then receives a ten value card on one of the split aces, this is typically also considered a non-natural 21, and not a Blackjack, and therefore this scenario would result in a successful Numeric Prediction wager for the value of 21. Therefore, when only the original two card value of the hand is assessed for this wager, according to the preferred embodiment of the two-card Numeric Prediction wager, it would be impossible to obtain a non- natural 21 , as this would require at least three cards, or the splitting of aces. When only the first two cards dealt to a player are considered, only a Blackjack, or natural 21 can be obtained, and Blackjack is excluded from this wager. In this embodiment, the gaming table similarly contains secondary betting areas (2) that correspond to the Numeric Prediction wagers, however, in this embodiment, it is preferred that only the values of 17 to 20 accounted for, as including the value of 21 would be unobtainable. However, it is within the scope of the present invention for there to be three, two or even one numeric prediction option, and it is even contemplated for there to be more than four Numeric Prediction wager options, and even up to 19 options, i.e. 2 to 20. Figures 1 A, 2A, 3 A, 4A, 5 A, 6A, 7A and 8A illustrate magnified views of a betting area according to the present invention, suitable for play according to this embodiment. The payout totals for such two-card Numeric Prediction wagers will necessarily deviate from those provided above in order to provide the necessary House edge. Calculations of these pay out odds are well within the realm of one of skill in the art.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the game incorporates the option of Tie Prediction wagers. The Tie Prediction wagers are represented on the gaming table by a secondary betting area (4) (see Figures). Preferably this secondary betting area (4), which corresponds with the Tie Prediction wager is circular in shape and is positioned adjacent to the primary betting area, however, additional shapes and various locations on the gaming table also fall within the scope of the present invention. It is also preferable that the Tie Prediction wager betting area is differentially colored, so that it is readily discernible from the primary betting area (2) and any additional secondary betting areas (4).

This wager allows the player to place a side bet on whether the final value of the player's hand will match the final value of the dealer's hand after completion of the underlying Blackjack hand . As described previously, "house rules" typically dictate that the dealer must hit if he has less than 17, or stand if he has 17 or more. Thus, the dealer cannot typically have a hand value below 17. Therefore, the player is essentially wagering that the player's hand and the dealer's hand will each have a final value of seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty or twenty-one. Preferably, a winning Tie Prediction wager where both the player and dealer have a value of 21 in their hand does not include Blackjack, or "natural 21 ", rather, the twenty-one is accrued with more than two cards, i.e. a non-natural 21, or is the product of a ten value card with a split ace. It is also preferable that the Tie Prediction wager excludes Bust outcomes. In this preferred embodiment, Blackjack is handled separately and falls under the Blackjack Prediction wager payout as explained in detail below, whereas the bust outcome only applies to the Bust Prediction wager or Dual Bust Prediction wager as disclosed above. However, at the discretion of the gaming establishment, a Tie Prediction wager may include both Blackjack and bust outcomes, although this may skew the preferred payout as noted below.

In the event that the player is dealt a pair and opts to split this pair, it is preferable that the Tie Prediction wager is based upon the first of the split cards.

Therefore, according to a preferred embodiment, if the player places a Tie Prediction wager and a double Blackjack occurs, i.e. the player and dealer both obtain a Blackjack, the player's Tie Prediction wager will be pushed, and the wager will be returned to the player. Although House rules may dictate that this constitutes a losing wager. Alternatively, if the player places a Tie Prediction wager and a Dual Bust occurs, i.e. the player and dealer both have hands with a value over 21, the player's Tie Prediction wager is not successful, and the wager will be collected by the House. However, if a Tie prediction wager is placed before the cards are dealt to the player and both the player and dealer have an identical hand value (aside from busts or Blackjack) when the underlying Blackjack hand is completed, the Tie Prediction wager is successful, and is paid out according to the accompanying pay-out chart. Preferably, a winning Tie Prediction wager is paid out at 8 to 1, however the exact payout structure of a Tie Prediction wager may ultimately be set by each individual gaming establishment.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, the Tie Prediction wager can be solely based upon the combined numeric value of the first two cards that are dealt to a player at the commencement of an underlying Blackjack hand. In this embodiment, when the player places a legal Tie Prediction wager, the comparison of the actual value of the player's hand to the actual value of the dealer's hand is not performed at the completion of the underlying Blackjack hand as in the previous embodiment, but rather, is performed directly after the player is dealt their original two cards at the beginning of the Blackjack hand. The calculation of the actual value of the player's hand to be used in comparison with the actual value of the dealer's hand is therefore completed before any active decisions are made by the player regarding their Blackjack hand, such as whether to hit, stand, split etc. Thus, the placing of this auxiliary wager will not affect any future decisions made by the player as the value of the player's hand with respect to the two-card version of the Tie Prediction wager has already been effectively determined.

The value of the dealer's hand, which is used for comparative purposes, is also calculated based upon the original two cards dealt to the dealer, however, it is also contemplated that the relevant value of the dealer's hand for the purpose of this embodiment could be based upon the actual value of the dealer's hand at the completion of the underlying Blackjack hand. The rules surrounding which value of the dealer's hand is considered for the Tie Prediction wager will be clearly posted at the gaming table so that the player will be properly informed.

The Tie Prediction wager according to this embodiment is represented on the gaming table by a secondary betting area (4) (see Figures). The remaining rules pertaining to the previous embodiment of the Tie Prediction wager are also applicable for this embodiment, such as those surrounding when both the player and dealer receive a Blackjack. The preferred payout for the two- card variant of the Tie Prediction wager will deviate from that provided above, however, the calculation of applicable odds for this embodiment are well within the capabilities of one skilled in the art.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the game incorporates the option of Blackjack Prediction wagers. The Blackjack Prediction wager is represented on the gaming table by a secondary betting area (4) (see Figures). Preferably this secondary betting area (4), which corresponds with the Blackjack Prediction wager is circular in shape, although any shape can be utilized. It is preferable that the Blackjack Prediction wager is positioned adjacent to the primary betting area (2) for the convenience of the player. It is also preferable that the Blackjack Prediction wager betting area is differentially colored and/or designed, so that it is readily discernible from the primary betting area (2) and any additional secondary betting areas (4).

The Blackjack prediction wager is essentially a bet placed by the player predicting that the outcome of their hand will be a Blackjack, i.e. a natural 21. Blackjack prediction wagers do not pay out for a hand totaling 21 that consists of more than two cards, i.e. a non-natural 21, as this is not considered a Blackjack according to the standard rules of the game as would be known to one of skill in the art. A Blackjack traditionally consists of an ace and a ten value card (ten, jack, queen or king).

However, if you split a pair of Aces, and then draw a ten- valued card on one of the Aces, this is typically also not considered a blackjack in accordance with standard Blackjack rules as would be known to one of skill in the art, but rather this would be a total of 21 , or a non-natural 21. Therefore, a hand of this type preferably would not qualify as a winning hand if a Blackjack prediction wager was placed. Rather, this type of hand (a split ace with a ten value card) and a hand totaling 21 with more than two cards, i.e. two types of non-natural 21 s, would qualify as a 21 in connection with, for example, the Numeric Prediction wager as outlined above.

When a player successfully places a Blackjack Prediction wager before he receives any cards, and is then subsequently dealt an ace and a ten value card (a Blackjack), a single payout will occur on the Blackjack Prediction wager according to the accompanying pay-out chart. Preferably, a winning Blackjack prediction wager is paid out at 12 to 1 , however the exact payout structure of a Blackjack Prediction wager may ultimately be set by each individual gaming establishment. Of course if the player has also placed a Standard Blackjack wager, an additional payout directed to this wager will also be given (typically 3:2 for a Blackjack).

At the discretion of the gaming establishment offering the Blackjack game according to the present invention, additional variations of the Blackjack prediction wager may be available. For example, according to another embodiment of the present invention, when a player successfully places a Blackjack Prediction wager before he receives any cards, and is then subsequently dealt an ace and a ten value card (a Blackjack), and the dealer concomitantly receives and ace and a ten value card (a Blackjack), this constitutes a Double Blackjack, and a corresponding Double Blackjack Prediction payout according to the accompanying pay-out chart will occur. Preferably, a winning Double Blackjack Prediction pays 100 to 1, however the exact payout structure of a Double Blackjack may ultimately be set by each individual gaming establishment.

According to yet another embodiment of the present invention, another preferable variation of the Blackjack Prediction wager arises when a player is playing two distinct Blackjack hands at two separate positions, and successfully places Blackjack Prediction wagers on each hand before he receives any cards. If the player is then subsequently dealt an ace and a ten value card (a Blackjack) on each hand, and the dealer concomitantly receives and ace and a ten value card (a Blackjack), this constitutes a Triple Blackjack, and a corresponding Triple Blackjack Prediction payout according to the accompanying pay-out chart will occur. Preferably, a winning Triple Blackjack Prediction pays 1000 to 1 on each Blackjack Prediction wager, however the exact payout structure of a Triple Blackjack may ultimately be set by each individual gaming establishment, collectively for both hands. The potential for a payout of this size may be enticing for those gamblers that are seeking large returns on their initial wagers.

It is also contemplated that similar Blackjacks can also be obtained when playing the game of the present invention in a synonymous manner to the Double and Triple Blackjacks as described above. For example, if a player was playing three distinct Blackjack hands and had placed a Blackjack prediction wager on each hand, and the player is then subsequently dealt an ace and a ten value card (a Blackjack) on each hand, and the dealer concomitantly receives and ace and a ten value card (a Blackjack), this constitutes a Quadruple Blackjack, and a corresponding Quadruple Blackjack Prediction payout would be awarded. There could also be Quintuple, Sextuple etc. Blackjack, up to the maximum of hands that a player is allowed to play. The payout totals for such multiple Blackjacks will need to be calculated in order to provide the necessary House edge. These calculations are well within the realm of one of skill in the art.

These large payouts corresponding to, e.g. Double, Triple, Quadruple etc. Blackjack, may also not have set odds for a winning wager, but rather, each may be linked to a progressive jackpot where the value of the jackpot increases a small amount for every Blackjack Prediction wager placed. Multiple gaming tables or electronic machines may be linked together to form one large progressive jackpot that grows more quickly because multiple players are contributing to the jackpot at the same time. It is possible that, for example, a Double Blackjack will be awarded a certain percentage of the progressive jackpot, whereas a Triple Blackjack will be awarded a higher percentage of the progressive jackpot, and so on.

In accordance with accepted Blackjack rules known to one of skill in the art, in the case of a Dealer Blackjack, the player will automatically lose a Standard Blackjack Wager unless the player also has a Blackjack, in which case a "push" occurs, and the player's original Standard Blackjack wager is returned.

If a player has successfully placed a Bust Prediction wager, if the Dealer has a Blackjack, the player's hand is dead. Accordingly, the Bust Prediction wager considered losing wagers and are collected by the House. Obviously if the player has placed a Dual Bust Prediction wager, this bet is automatically lost when the Dealer has a Blackjack, as all of the criteria necessary for a winning Dual Bust Prediction cannot be met, i.e. the Dealer cannot bust.

If a player has successfully placed a Numeric Prediction wager before a hand is dealt, and the Dealer has a Blackjack, the player's underlying Blackjack hand will not be carried out, and therefore, if the value of the player's original two cards which they have been dealt does not equate to the Numeric Prediction wager that has been placed, then it is considered a losing Numeric Prediction wager and is collected by the House, as no further cards can be received on this hand. However, if the value of the two cards dealt to the player does equal the Numeric Prediction wager, then this may be considered a successful wager and paid out accordingly.

As noted above, the Tie Prediction wager excludes Blackjack and Bust outcomes. Accordingly, if a player has successfully placed a Tie Prediction wager before a hand is dealt, and the Dealer has a Blackjack, the player will automatically lose this wager, unless the player also has a Blackjack which will result in a "push" as indicated above, and the player's original Tie Prediction wager will be returned.

At the discretion of the gaming establishment, it is possible that when the dealer receives a Blackjack, any Bust Prediction wagers, Dual Bust Prediction wagers, Numeric Prediction wagers and Tie Prediction wagers can be considered pushes, and the original wagers will be returned to the player.

If a player has successfully placed a Blackjack Prediction wager before a hand is dealt, and the Dealer has a Blackjack, the player will automatically lose this wager unless the player also has a Blackjack, in which case the player wins the Double Blackjack Prediction payout as noted above.

In addition to the live table versions of the game as described above, it is also contemplated that the present invention and variations thereof could be played by electronic means. For example, the game is also playable with representations of any of the features described as would be known to one of skill in the art. In particular, the game is playable in an electronic or partially electronic manner using a terminal, such as a personal computer, or other device having a processor and a display, such as an electronic hand-held game device or a standard home gaming platform, for which representative images of cards are displayable on a screen via a graphical user interface. The game is also playable on a network, such as the internet, or can exist as a cellular phone application.

In these scenarios, wagering amounts can be in arbitrary units simply for the enjoyment of the game. Alternatively, the present invention can be practiced on, for example, video lottery terminals or video Blackjack terminals, where the player is required to deposit a minimum monetary amount with which to wager on the game.