This document uses the name “Dice system” to describe a set of hardware, software and services provided by SPIKER SYSTEMS. The system automates live casino table games like blackjack, craps, roulette and ricochet. The description below is an implementation for the game of craps.
These systems can be implemented in various modes, including fully automated un-manned systems using computer generated dice rolls, or in a mode in which real dice are throw, just like a real live game. The description below is an implementation for a live game with real dice thrown.
The DICE system implements electronic player wagers made in a game of craps, replacing the function of casino chips. The system is not a replacement for the game of craps – it does not replace the acts of declaring all bets down, and of rolling the dice. It is used to help the casino staff run a craps table safely with a minimum of personnel.
The DICE system allows players to directly place and book all of their own wagers, thus replacing the function of the dealers, and partially replacing functions the stick man and table manager. The DICE system allows a single stick man to run an entire craps table, and greatly reduces any need for any additional security.
Just like any live game, players join by establishing a table position and dollar balance. This can be done by a number of methods; for example, the player can give money or chips to the stickman. Alternatively, the player could feed money directly into an accepter, or have it established electronically via some form of casino credit system. Players still throw the dice under the control of the table’s stick man.
Players book their own bets by touching various icons on a large, brightly colored computer touch screen that is placed comfortably in front of them. The DICE system tracks wagers and make payoffs according to the outcome of actual dice rolls, which the stickman enters on his/her game control screen.
Player screens can be select for the user’s level of experience, for example, a most basic screen for entry-level players, or advanced screens for more experience players that offer all of the wagers. Player screens can be designed to show the various bets placed as chips appearing in the craps table layout, right on the screen. Bets are placed by selecting (touching) chips in the player’s “rack”, until the desired amount is established, then by selecting (touching) the craps layout screen right over the bet to be placed.
Player screens are customized for each casino, and can be equipped with voice units to verify bets and indicate payouts of the bets paid by the system. Screens can also give the player live statistical feedback information, such as the percentage of pass bets that have won, money balances, etc.
The following game-wide states are involved:
· Dealer logged in
· Game on
· All bets down
The dealer must first log in before any system functions can be used. Once done, the dealer can establish player balances, cash out players, change seat positions, log out, or run the game by pressing the “game-on” button.
When the game-on state is entered, all player units allow players to book their bets.
After a period of time, the dealer calls out “all bets down”, and presses the “all-bets-down” button. All player units disallow booking changes and report all wagers made, then the system places itself into “roll-em” mode.
The dealer then passes the dice to the current shooter who throws the dice as usual. The dealer then makes the call and enters the roll result into the system, which makes all payouts and then places itself back into game-on state.
DICE System configurations
The DICE system is highly flexible, with countless hardware and software configurations possible. Single to multiple computer configurations are available in a wide variety of vendor hardware. A DICE System consists of one or more computers in a tightly controlled local and/or wide area network, running one or more DICE programs. These programs are all designed to run on any computer in the network.
· The DICE_KERNEL program runs a single craps game. Each game accommodates zero to several players, all playing the same game.
· The DICE_PLAYER program runs a single player screen.
· The DICE_DEALER program runs the stick man’s control console.
This would be a 12 player craps table with a player screen unit built into the table at each player position, and a player screen unit for the stickman. Each of these screen units is a PC. The stickman’s unit runs the DICE_KERNEL program and the DICE_DEALER program. Each player unit runs the DICE_PLAYER program.
The small system architecture can also be used to conduct a larger circle, in a setup something like a Keno game, where perhaps 100 or so comfortable, sit-down units are set up in a room or a small auditorium, and a “guest thrower” could throw the dice in a game for all to participate in. Large displays at the front of the room could be set up to shown betting totals, while the players screens would show only the player’s bets. Even larger systems could accommodate thousands of players in a large, live game, something like a live, interactive lottery.
The DICE system provides 100% accurate computerized monitoring and control of all bets made. Casino managers can get real-time statistical feedback information from displays that provide live summarization and accounting activity by player, by table position, by table, and by dealer.
Reports can be set up to provide summarization information on an ad-hoc basis, and/or automatically on a timed basis, such as hourly, shift, daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Reports can be sent to log files, terminal display units, printers, or to other computer databases, such as the casino host computer.
In addition, long term, detailed trend analysis can be performed on data that has been collected over long time usage. Information, such as the average user bet amount, or the percent of proposition bets can be tracked over several variables, such as during certain times (or shifts) of the day, during holidays, or by player screen unit, or even by individual player.
Long-term data can also be archived and removed from on-line storage, and archived data can be stored off-site, and recalled for analysis later, if needed. Data base design, screen displays, reports, and trend analysis displays can be customized, if desired.
Real-time alarms can be configured that send text messages to pagers, for example, when pre-defined triggers are tripped. For example, a page can be sent when a table’s hourly count falls below a pre-defined threshold, or, when a certain player or position suddenly wins big.
· Player cheating (I.E. changing the amount of a pass bet, placing don’t pass bets after a point is established, lying about the intention of a call bet, swapping dice, etc.)
· Player theft
· Incorrect payouts by the dealers
· Theft by table workers.
Including by-player reporting, available from real-time displays, printed reports, host computer uploads, etc. This is far more accurate than accounting that can be performed by hourly chip counts of what is on the table, and by camera surveillance of by-player activities.
Studies can be made to maximize casino profits and efficiency. Exactly correct data for these kinds of studies could not be obtained otherwise. Once a pilot program is started, the system can reveal how it can be used to be most effective.
A typical craps table requires about 4 full-time (24 hours a day, no breaks) highly skilled employees to work the table. In addition, accounting and security spend vast amounts of time. By using the DICE system:
· Accounting manpower would be reduced, because no manual chip counts, data entries, manual summarizations or accumulations would be required. Management reports of superior coverage and accuracy would simply be produced automatically.
· Security can be nearly eliminated, because most unaccountable losses such as cheating players and wrong payouts could not occur. Money transactions that do occur can be handled in a much more controlled environment, such as at a change both, or by the stickman, who will have no bets to watch and handle.
· One stickman can easily run the entire game, and does not need to be as skilled, because he will not be handling any betting.
A player is more likely to leave a table (or any kind of game) with cash, before leaving it with chips. It might be because, after playing for a while, chips do not seem to be cash, they somehow become small toys to be tossed around and played with, until used. Electronic credits are even less likely to be cashed in. Beyond considering them as tokens, players take the attitude that their credits are already in the machine.
Attraction to a craps table’s countless wagers is already fascinating. When the craps table layout is shown in living color on a large screen, with wager amounts updating by themselves as changing chip stack sizes and digital readouts in real-time, it becomes an amazing site. When a player is making touch screen bets, and everyone at the table is screaming like at a real craps table, it becomes a spectacle.
Casuals walking through the casino, and seeing something like this would be encouraged to give it a try. A real craps game is, however, very intimidating, especially if the table is busy. This would be less likely to occur, if the player can command a machine that won’t be bothered by an in-experience player.
Bets can be made in privacy, without possible risk of embarrassment by more knowledgeable players who are demanding time to place their bets. Large wagers can be made without the knowledge of others, for example, in last-try attempts to win big.
A starting balance can be obtained simply by inserting money or some kind of token into the machine, or by asking stickman, who is not overwhelmed.
A typical player unit will provide ergonomic comfort, with softly cushioned seats, and a large, colorful, easy to read, and “intuitive to use” screen. This provides the user with a comfortable, semi-private environment, as opposed to having to stand up at a crowded table.
Since the player will not have to wait to get the dealer’s attention to place a bet, s/he will enjoy having time to make betting selections. Player units can provide helpful feedback to assist the novice player, and to encourage more betting. Like the electronic keno game, which beckons the player to cover more and more numbers, users will be encouraged to make more wagers, without feeling like they are monopolizing the dealers’ time while other screaming players want to bet.
Experienced craps players will appreciate the real-time feedback they are getting on their wager activities. Some may use this feedback to test out new gaming strategies, thus encouraging a lot of playtime as they experiment.
The game will run much faster because payouts occur instantaneously. The betting cycle also allows more time during which wagers can be made; players only have to wait for the dice throw, not for the payouts. Also, there is no delay for table chip counts to occur.