The following article asked for our curiosity: 'IGT secures exclusive patent for multi-hand video poker functionality'. It has been published on the website of Gaming Intelligency. The subject made us thinking about intellectual property and casino matters. Guess what? No, you can not derive the tricks…
First of all: IGT and all the other casino games developers are not stupid. Patents cost a lot of money, also the games cost lots of money to develop. So, to put all their knowledge and wisom on the internet would be stupid to do!
Secondly: patent attorneys use a very specific language to compose a patent (application). As an outsider, it is not evident to understand what the patent documents describe! Usually the explanation is illustrated with drawings (in our example 18 drawings) but it is still necessary to read carefully the text in order to understand what it says. You do not read patent literature like the daily newspaper or a cookbook! Remark: our example can be considered as ‘very easy to read and understand’. That’s good news!
Let’s take as example the patent mentioned in the article: US patent 9,105,158. Each patent starts with a title (Electronic video poker games) and an abstract, being a brief summary of the invention. For this case the abstract is as follow:
‘A video poker machine configured to allow a player to play a card game includes at least one display device, at least one input device, and at least one computer configured to display at least a first hand and a second hand of at least five cards all face up, each hand including the same five cards. A player is provided an option to play a hand by selecting none, one or more than one of the face up cards from the first hand and the second hand and any additional hands as cards to be held. Each of the cards not selected to be held are discarded from each hand and replaced with a face up card. The player is provided a pre-established amount based on the amount of a wager made on the hand if the resulting cards of the hand comprise a predetermined poker hand ranking.’
That sounds not so difficult! Then follows the description, starting with the ‘Background’, following the summary and the description of the drawings, being 18 figures. All clear explained… and readable for the general public! But… will you be a better poker player after reading and studying the 27 pages? What did you think?