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U.S. Patent No. RE41,331: Playing an interactive real-time card selection game over a network
Issued May 11, 2010, to Thwartpoker, Inc.


Summary:

The RE41,331 patent describes a method for playing interactive, computerized card games. The cards are dealt by a computer and the betting is generated by the computer software. The program is written to have a time limit on betting. Each player who wants to play uses a computer to connect to the network where they can join up with other human players or stick to playing computer players. The network records the player’s name, IP address, and requested playing session.  The games continue until all player either leave, lose all of their money, or win the game.

Abstract:

A method of playing an interactive, computerized, multi-player card game in which desired cards are selected by players, some of which may be virtual players generated by the game's software. Each real player uses a computer or similar device that is connected to a network. Virtual player card selection and betting is controlled by computer software. After each player has selected a card in a round, computer software determines what card each player is dealt. Null cards having no value in the scoring are dealt when there is a conflict in card selection or when a player fails to select a card within a time limit. The games follow the rules of poker.

Illustrative Claim:

1. In a communications network, a method for playing an interactive, network-based card game comprising: a) establishing a connection between at least one client software program for a game of cards, said client software program running on a player's computer connected to a network, and a server software program for the game, said server software program running on a computer acting as a server and connected to the network, said connection enabling the player to join a playing session populated with other players selected from a group consisting of real and virtual players, the real players using separate computers connected to the network, each computer running another instance of the client software program, each instance of client software connected to the server software, and the virtual players generated and controlled by the game's server software, said game including the following steps: i) selecting at the player's computer a card from a deck of playing cards, said deck of cards the same for all players in the playing session; ii) communicating the identity of said card to the dealer controlled by the server software; iii) receiving at the player's computer a message from the server software identifying a card from the dealer, said card selected by the dealer from the group consisting of: A) the player's selected card; and B) a null card; iv) displaying at the player's computer the card dealt to that player; v) displaying at the player's computer any face-up cards that have been distributed to other players; vi) communicating a bet to the server software during the betting rounds; vii) receiving at the player's computer software notification of bets made by other players via a message from the server software; viii) repeating steps i--vii until a predetermined number of cards are delivered to each player and betting is concluded; ix) identifying the player with the best hand of cards according to predetermined rules of play via a message from the server software; x) receiving a score based on the player's hand at the player's computer via a message from the server software, said score calculated according to predetermined rules of play; xi) repeating steps i--x until the playing session ends; and b) closing the connection between the player's client software program and the server software to terminate session play.

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