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United States Patent Application 20170361161
Kind Code A1
Galfond; Philip ;   et al. December 21, 2017

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR GENERATING EQUITABLE ELECTRONIC CONTESTS BASED ON NUMBER OF ENTRIES PER USER

Abstract

The disclosure includes generating a plurality of contests having the same number of contest entries per contest by: sorting a plurality of contest entries into a plurality of subsets based on number of entries per user account; and iteratively generating contests starting with a subset of the plurality of subsets based on number of contest entries per user account having the greatest number of contest entries and successively progressing to a subset of the plurality of subsets based on number of contest entries per user account having the smallest number of contest entries.


Inventors: Galfond; Philip; (Las Vegas, NV) ; Quinn; Dan; (Paso Robles, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Draftboard, LLC

Paso Robles

CA

US
Family ID: 1000002722018
Appl. No.: 15/622514
Filed: June 14, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62351497Jun 17, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63B 71/06 20130101; A63B 24/0062 20130101
International Class: A63B 24/00 20060101 A63B024/00; A63B 71/06 20060101 A63B071/06

Claims



1. A system comprising: a sports statistics server configured to store statistics associated with a plurality of sporting events and sports players; a plurality of user devices respectively comprising one of a smartphone, tablet computer, laptop computer or desktop computer, with each of the user devices configured to: communicate with a financial server that is separate from the user device, via a communication network, to initiate funding of a user account associated with user device; and generate one or more sports contest entries based on input from an interface of the user device, the one or more sports contest entries indicating at least a user account, a contest entry fee, a contest entry fee range lobby, a sport, one or more sporting events, and a contest time period; and a matching server configured to communicate with the plurality of user devices via the communication network and configured to generate a plurality of sports contests, the generating the plurality of sports contests comprising: receiving an initial plurality of proposed sports contest entry selections from the plurality of user devices defining a respective plurality of proposed sports contest entries, with the proposed sports contest entries indicating at least a user account, a contest entry fee, a contest entry fee range lobby, a sport, one or more sporting events, and a contest time period; determining that a first set of the sports contest entry selections of the initial plurality of proposed sports contest entry selections is associated with the same user account, is associated with the same sport, and is associated with a first and second different contest entry fee range lobby, and rejecting all but one sports contest entry selections of the first set to generate a second plurality of sports contest entries; generating a plurality of sports contests having the same plurality number of sports contest entries per sports contest by: sorting the second plurality of sports contest entries into a plurality of subsets based on a number of entries each user account has in the second plurality of sports contest entries; iteratively generating sports contests starting with a subset of the plurality of subsets based on number of sports contest entries per user account having the greatest number of sports contest entries and successively progressing to a subset of the plurality of subsets based on number of sports contest entries per user account having the smallest number of sports contest entries, the iteratively generating including: selecting sports contest entries from a first subset to fill available slots of sports contests until the number of remaining sports contest entries from the first subset is insufficient to fill the slots of a further sports contest and then filling the further sports contest with selected sports contest entries of a second subset and any remaining sports contest entries from the first subset to fill available slots of the further sports contest, the first subset originally having more sports contest entries than the second sub set; determining one or more winning sports contest entries of the respective plurality of sports contests based at least in part on sports statistics data obtained from the sports statistics server via the communication network; and facilitating funding of user accounts associated the determined winning sports contest entries.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein none of the generated sports contests include more than one sports contest entry per user account.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein all user accounts represented within the second plurality of sports contest entries become part of at least one generated sports contest.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein said iteratively generating sports contests further comprises generating sports contests until one or more remainder subsets remain such that the number of remaining sports contests entries of the one or more remainder subsets is less than a number of sports contest entries necessary to fill all slots of a sports contest.

5. The system of claim 4, further comprising canceling all sports contest entries of the one or more remainder subsets and refunding the entry fee for the canceled sports contest entries.

6. The system of claim 4, further comprising generating a remainder sports contest comprising the sports contest entries of the one or more remainder subsets, the remainder sports contest comprising fewer sports contest entries than the number of sports contest entries necessary to fill all slots of a sports contest.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein selecting sports contest entries from the first subset to fill available slots of sports contests comprises randomly selecting sports contest entries from the first subset to fill available slots of a sports contest.

8. A computer implemented method for generating a plurality of sports contests, the method comprising a matching server generating a plurality of sports contests by: receiving an initial plurality of proposed sports contest entry selections from a plurality of user devices defining a respective plurality of proposed sports contest entries, with the proposed sports contest entries indicating at least a user account, a contest entry fee, a contest entry fee range lobby, a sport, one or more sporting events, and a contest time period; determining that a first set of the sports contest entry selections of the initial plurality of proposed sports contest entry selections is associated with the same user account, is associated with the same sport, and is associated with a first and second different contest entry fee range lobby, and rejecting all but one sports contest entry selections of the first set to generate a second plurality of sports contest entries; generating a plurality of sports contests having the same plurality number of sports contest entries per sports contest by: sorting the second plurality of sports contest entries into a plurality of subsets based on a number of entries each user account has in the second plurality of sports contest entries; iteratively generating sports contests starting with a subset of the plurality of subsets based on number of sports contest entries per user account having the greatest number of sports contest entries and successively progressing to a subset of the plurality of subsets based on number of sports contest entries per user account having the smallest number of sports contest entries, the iteratively generating including: selecting sports contest entries from a first subset to fill available slots of sports contests until the number of remaining sports contest entries from the first subset is insufficient to fill the slots of a further sports contest and then filling the further sports contest with selected sports contest entries of a second subset and any remaining sports contest entries from the first subset to fill available slots of the further sports contest, the first subset originally having more sports contest entries than the second sub set.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein none of the generated sports contests include more than one sports contest entry per user account.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein all user accounts represented within the second plurality of sports contest entries become part of at least one generated sports contest.

11. The method of claim 8, wherein said iteratively generating sports contests further comprises generating sports contests until one or more remainder subsets remain such that the number of remaining sports contests entries of the one or more remainder subsets is less than a number of sports contest entries necessary to fill all slots of a sports contest.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising canceling all sports contest entries of the one or more remainder subsets and refunding the entry fee for the canceled sports contest entries.

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising generating a remainder sports contest comprising the sports contest entries of the one or more remainder subsets, the remainder sports contest comprising fewer sports contest entries than the number of sports contest entries necessary to fill all slots of a sports contest.

14. The method of claim 8, wherein selecting sports contest entries from the first subset to fill available slots of sports contests comprises randomly selecting sports contest entries from the first subset to fill available slots of a sports contest.

15. A method comprising generating a plurality of contests by: receiving an initial plurality of proposed contest entry selections defining a respective plurality of proposed contest entries, with the proposed contest entries indicating at least a user account, a contest entry fee, a contest entry fee range lobby, a contest subject, and a contest time period; generating a second plurality of contest entries comprising at least a subset of the plurality of proposed contest entries; and generating a plurality of contests having the same plurality number of contest entries per contest by: sorting the second plurality of contest entries into a plurality of subsets based on a number of entries each user account has in the second plurality of contest entries; and iteratively generating contests starting with a subset of the plurality of subsets based on number of contest entries per user account having the greatest number of contest entries and successively progressing to a subset of the plurality of subsets based on number of contest entries per user account having the smallest number of contest entries.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising determining that a first set of the contest entry selections of the initial plurality of proposed contest entry selections is associated with the same user account, is associated with the same contest subject, and is associated with a first and second different contest entry fee range lobby, and rejecting all but one contest entry selections of the first set to generate the second plurality of contest entries.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the iteratively generating includes selecting contest entries from a first subset to fill available slots of contests until the number of remaining contest entries from the first subset is insufficient to fill the slots of a further contest and then filling the further contest with selected contest entries of a second subset and any remaining contest entries from the first subset to fill available slots of the further contest, the first subset originally having more contest entries than the second subset.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein none of the generated contests include more than one contest entry per user account.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein all user accounts represented within the second plurality of contest entries become part of at least one generated contest.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a non-provisional of and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/351,497, filed Jun. 17, 2016, which application is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety and for all purposes. This application is also related to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/350,075, filed Jun. 14, 2016, which application is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety and for all purposes.

BACKGROUND

[0002] In conventional fantasy sports games, players compete against others by building a team of professional athletes from a particular league or competition while remaining under a salary cap, and earn points based on the actual statistical performance of the players in real-world competitions. Daily fantasy sports are an accelerated variant of traditional fantasy sports that are conducted over short-term periods, such as a week or single day of competition, as opposed to those that are played across an entire season. Daily fantasy sports are typically structured in the form of paid competitions typically referred to as a "contest" where winners receive a share of a pre-determined pot funded by their entry fees. A portion of entry fee payments go to the provider as rake revenue.

[0003] However, conventional fantasy sports systems often generate contests in a way where large-scale and more experienced players receive an unfair advantage. In view of the foregoing, a need exists for an improved fantasy sports system and method for generating equitable electronic contests based on the number of entries per user in an effort to overcome the aforementioned obstacles and deficiencies of conventional fantasy sports systems.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] FIG. 1 is an example diagram illustrating an embodiment of a sports contest generating system.

[0005] FIG. 2 is an example flow chart illustrating an embodiment of a method of generating a plurality of entry sets that include a plurality of contest entries sorted by number of contest entries per user.

[0006] FIG. 3 is an example block diagram illustrating an embodiment of generating a plurality of entry sets that include a plurality of contest entries sorted by number of contest entries per user.

[0007] FIG. 4 is an example flow chart illustrating an embodiment of a method of generating a plurality of contests with contest entries from a plurality of contest entry sets.

[0008] FIG. 5 is an example block diagram illustrating an example method of generating a first contest from contest entries of a first contest entry set, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0009] FIG. 6 is an example block diagram illustrating an example method of generating a second contest from contest entries remaining in the first contest entry set of FIG. 5 and from contest entries of a second entry set, in accordance with an embodiment.

[0010] FIG. 7 is an example block diagram illustrating an example method of attempting to generate a third contest from contest entries remaining from the second entry set of FIG. 6 and a third entry set, but rejecting the formation of the third contest due to there not being enough contest entries remaining in the second and third entry sets to fill all slots of the third contest.

[0011] FIG. 8 is an example flow chart illustrating an example method of generating contests including remainder contests.

[0012] FIG. 9 is an example block diagram illustrating an example method of generating a second contest from contest entries remaining in the first contest entry set of FIG. 5, in accordance with an alternative embodiment.

[0013] FIG. 10 is an example block diagram illustrating an example method of attempting to generate a third contest from the second and third entry sets of FIG. 3, but failing because the second set does not include enough entries to completely fill the slots of a third contest.

[0014] FIG. 11 is an example block diagram illustrating an alternative embodiment where a matching method can be configured to make contests with all remaining sets, even if there are not enough entries to fill all open slots of a given contest.

[0015] FIG. 12 is an example block diagram illustrating an example method of generating a second and third remainder contest from the second and third entry sets of FIG. 3.

[0016] FIG. 13 is an example block diagram illustrating an alternative embodiment compared to FIG. 3 of generating a plurality of entry sets that include a plurality of contest entries sorted by number of contest entries per user, with entries of some number being grouped into the same entry subset.

[0017] It should be noted that the figures are not drawn to scale and that elements of similar structures or functions are generally represented by like reference numerals for illustrative purposes throughout the figures. It also should be noted that the figures are only intended to facilitate the description of the preferred embodiments. The figures do not illustrate every aspect of the described embodiments and do not limit the scope of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0018] Turning to FIG. 1, the matching system 100 is shown as comprising a first and second user device 110 and a matching server 130, which are operably connected via a network 140. Although the user devices 110A, 110B are shown as being a laptop computer and smartphone respectively, in further embodiments, any suitable device can serve as a user device 110 including a desktop computer, laptop computer, smart phone, tablet computer, gaming device, wearable computer, home automation system, vehicle computer, and the like. Additionally, in various embodiments, there can be any suitable plurality of user devices 110.

[0019] The matching server 130 can comprise any suitable server device, which can include one or more physical server, cloud computing service, or the like. The network 140 can comprise any suitable wired and/or wireless network including the Internet, a cellular network, a WiFi network, a Local Area Network (LAN), a Wide Area Network (WAN), a Bluetooth network, and the like.

[0020] In various embodiments, the matching system 100 can comprise a large plurality of user devices 110, which can respectively be associated with one or more user account for a contest service, which in one preferred embodiment can comprise a daily fantasy sports contest service. A user can sign into a user account on a user device 110, which can allow the user to make entries or the like, into various suitable contest events. The user device 110 can be configured for the user to provide payments, receive payments and the like, which can be done via a bank account, cryptographic currency, credit card, debit account, or the like.

[0021] In one example, a user can generate one or more entries for a contest event (e.g., a daily fantasy sports contest event) and such entries can be associated with a user account. Accordingly, in various embodiments a plurality of users can respectively generate one or more entries into a given contest event. The following disclosure relates to computer implemented methods of receiving and sorting entries based on the number of entries per user profile and computer implemented methods of generating contests from a plurality of entries. For example, the methods described herein can be performed by the matching server 130, with entries coming from various user devices 110 and contest payouts going to such user devices 110. In various embodiments, any of the methods or steps of such methods can be performed automatically, without human interaction.

[0022] For example, FIG. 2 illustrates a method 200 of sorting a plurality of received entries based on the number of entries per user profile. The method 200 begins in block 210, where a plurality of contest entries are received (e.g., from one or more user device 110), which are each associated with a user profile. In block 220, the variable N is set to 1, and in block 230, an Nth entry set having Nth entries from all user profiles with Nth entries is generated. Accordingly, where N=1, a 1st entry set is generated having 1st entries from all user profiles having 1st entries is generated.

[0023] For example, referring to FIG. 3, a plurality of entries 301 can be received, which defines an entry pool 300. In this specific example, there are 14 players or user accounts, which are defined as players A-N. In this specific example of FIG. 3, players A-D have each provided three entries 301 to the contest event, players E-G have each provided two entries 301 to the contest event and players H-N have each provided one entry 301 to the contest event.

[0024] Referring to FIG. 2 and using the example of FIG. 3, where N=1, in block 230, a 1st entry set 310 is generated having 1st entries 301 from all user profiles having 1st entries 301. More specifically, in the example of FIG. 3, players A-N each have at least a first entry 301 and each of these entries 301 becomes part of the first set 310 having all first entries 301. In FIG. 3, this is illustrated by each of the entries 301 of the first set 310 being associated with a letter and a number. For example, entry A1 is the first entry 301 of Player A, entry B2 is the second entry 301 of Player B, and so forth.

[0025] Returning to the method 200 of FIG. 2, in block 240, the variable N is set to N+1 (i.e., set to the next integer), and in block 250, a determination is made whether any user profiles have Nth entries. If so, the method 200 cycles back to block 230 where an Nth entry set having Nth entries from all user profiles with Nth entries is generated. Accordingly, following the example above, setting N to N+1 in block 240 results in N being set to 2, and where N=2, a 2nd entry set is generated having 2nd entries from all user profiles having 2nd entries.

[0026] Again using FIG. 3 as an example, where N is set to 2 and a second entry set 320 is being generated, second entries 301 from the Players of the entry pool 300 are included in this second entry set 320. For example, Players A-D have a second entry 301, and Players E-G also have a second entry 301. Accordingly, the second entry set 320 comprises second entries 301 from players A-G signified by the seven entries A2-G2.

[0027] Returning to FIG. 2, the method 200 continues again to block 240, where the variable N is set to N+1 (i.e., set to the next integer), and in block 250, a determination is made whether any user profiles have Nth entries. If so, the method 200 cycles back to block 230 where an Nth entry set having Nth entries from all user profiles with Nth entries is generated. Accordingly, following the example above, setting N to N+1 in block 240 results in N being set to 3, and where N=3, a 3rd entry set is generated having 3rd entries from all user profiles having 3rd entries.

[0028] Again using FIG. 3 as an example, where N is set to 3, and a third entry set 330 is being generated, third entries 301 from the Players of the entry pool 300 are included in this third entry set 330. For example, Players A-D have a third entry 301, but Players E-G and H-N do not have a third entry 301. Accordingly, the third entry set 330 comprises third entries 301 from players A-D signified by the four entries A3-D3.

[0029] Returning to FIG. 2, the method 200 again continues to block 240, where the variable N is set to N+1 (i.e., set to the next integer), and in block 250, a determination is made whether any user profiles have Nth entries. If not, the method 200 is done in block 299. Again using FIG. 3 as an example, where N is set to 4, a determination is made whether any users have a 4th entry, and in this example, none of Players A-N in the entry pool 300 have a fourth entry 301, so no further entry sets are created in this example.

[0030] Although FIG. 3 illustrates an example, where fourteen players have between one and three entries 301, this should not be construed to be limiting on the wide variety of entry pools 300 that are within the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. For example, in further embodiments there can be any suitable plurality of Players and any suitable number of entries, with each Player or user profile being associated with any suitable number of entries. In one example, there can be millions of Players in a contest entry pool 300 with such players being associated with a number of entries in the range of one and one million.

[0031] In various embodiments, entries 301 of a contest entry pool 300 can be separated into a plurality of separate contests, with each contest having one or more entries 301. In various embodiments, it can be desirable to separate entries 301 based on the number of entries per user profile. For example, professional players may have a large number of entries 301, which can number in the tens or hundreds of entries 301, whereas amateur players may have a smaller number of entries 301 or only one entry 301. In an effort to make it less likely that amateur players will be grouped into a contest with entries of many professional players, it can be desirable to generate contests based on the number of entries that user profiles are associated with. In some embodiments, such a grouping can make the contests more fair or level the playing field for the amateur players.

[0032] For example, FIGS. 4-13 illustrate example methods, or steps thereof, of generating contests based on the number of entries that a given user profile is associated with. Turning to FIG. 4, a first example method 400 of generating contests begins in block 405, where a number of entries per contest is defined, with this variable being X. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 5-7 first, second and third contests 510, 620, 730 can comprise ten entry slots 501, which can be filled by selected entries 301 as discussed herein.

[0033] Returning to FIG. 4, the method continues to block 200, where a plurality of entries are received and sorted based on the number of entries per user profile as illustrated in FIG. 2. However, in further embodiments, any suitable sorting method can be used and the examples of FIGS. 2 and 3 should not be construed to be limiting on the present disclosure. Returning to FIG. 4, the method 400 continues to block 415, where variable N is set to 1 and variable C is set to 1, and in block 420, a determination is made whether X entries are available in the Nth entry set, and if so, in block 425 a Cth contest is generated by selecting X entries from the Nth entry set. In the case where N=1, C=1 and X=10, a determination is made whether ten entries are available in the 1st set, and if so, in block 425 a 1st contest is generated by selecting ten entries from the 1st entry set.

[0034] For example, using FIGS. 3 and 5 as an illustration, a first entry set 310 can include fourteen first entries 301 from Players A-N, and in this case, ten entries 301 are available in the first entry set 310 at this point because fourteen entries are available. Accordingly, as illustrated in FIG. 5, ten entries 301 from the first entry set 310 are used to generate a first contest 510 and fill the ten slots 501 available in the first contest 510. In the example of FIG. 5, entries A1, C1, D1, E1, F1, G1, I1, K1, M1 and N1 are selected for the first contest 510, leaving entries B1, H1, J1 and L1 available in the first set 310.

[0035] In this example, and many of the examples that follow, selection of entries 301 to fill slots 501 in a contest is shown as being done randomly; however, in further embodiments, any suitable selection method can be used, including selection of the first X entries, selection of the last X entries, selecting X entries from every even entry, selecting X entries from every odd entry, or the like. In some embodiments, selection can be based on a time stamp associated with entries 301, a skill level associated with a user profile associated with the entry, or the like. Such a skill level can be based on past performance of the user profile in past contests or events.

[0036] Returning to FIG. 4, once a Cth contest is generated by selecting X entries from the Nth entry set in block 425, the method 400 continues to block 430, where variable C is set to C+1, (i.e., C is incremented to the next integer). The method 400 then cycles back to block 420 where a determination is made whether X entries are available in the Nth entry set. If not, the method continues to block 435 where a determination is made whether X total entries are available in sets {Q.epsilon./Q.gtoreq.N}, where is the set of integers. In other words, a determination is made whether there are X total entries available in the current Nth set and any additional sets (e.g., sets N+1, N+2, N+3, N+4, N+5 and so forth if such sets exist). If so, the method 400 continues to block 440 where a Cth contest is generated by selecting X entries from the {Q.epsilon.|Q.gtoreq.N} sets.

[0037] For example, using FIGS. 3, 5 and 6 as an illustration, where four entries B1, H1, J1 and L1 remain available in the first entry set 310, a determination can be made whether at least ten entries are available in the first entry set 310 and any subsequent entry sets, which in this example includes the second and third entry sets 320, 330. As shown in FIG. 6, seven entries remain available in the second set 320, and four entries remain available in the first set 310, so there are at least ten entries 301 available in at least the first and second sets 310, 320 combined (in fact there, are eleven entries available in the first and second sets 310, 320 combined in this example).

[0038] Accordingly, where C has been incremented to 2, a second contest 620 is generated where ten entries 301 from the first and second entry set 310, 320 are selected (from the eleven available in the first and second sets 310, 320) to fill the ten slots 501 available in the second contest 620. In this example, entries B1, H1, J1, L1, A2, C2, D2, E2, F2 and G2 have been selected to fill the ten available slots 501 of the second contest 620, leaving the first entry set 310 empty and leaving only entry B2 in the second entry set 320.

[0039] Various embodiments can therefore be configured to select additional entries as required from the {Q.epsilon.|Q.gtoreq.N} sets, such as giving priority to earlier sets (smaller N) and using up all of an entry set's potential entries prior to moving on to the next entry set. In other words, in various embodiments the system can always empty the smallest entry set prior to moving on to the next entry set. Additionally, further embodiments can guarantee that a given user gets into a contest with their first entry. For example, in some embodiments, all entries 301 of the first entry set 310 must be included in a contest, regardless of whether such contests are full contests or remainder contests. In other words, some embodiments can be configured such that no first user entries are voided or canceled, as discussed herein.

[0040] Although FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate a selection method that includes randomly selecting entries 301 in the first set 310, and then randomly selecting entries 301 in only the first and second set 310, 320 when there are less than ten entries 301 remaining in the first set 310, other suitable selection methods can be implemented in further embodiments. In one embodiment, entries 301 can be randomly selected from one or more selected entry sets without emptying the partially filled sets first. For example, entries 301 from the first, second and third sets 310, 320, 330 can be randomly selected where the first set 310 is partially full and the second and third sets 320, 330 are completely full. Additionally, in further embodiments, selection of entries 301 from entry sets need not be random and can be done in any suitable non-random way. For example, entries can be sequentially selected from sets, with selection alternating between sets or emptying partially filled sets before moving to full sets.

[0041] Returning to the method 400 of FIG. 4, after a Cth contest is generated by selecting X entries from the {Q.epsilon.|Q.gtoreq.N} sets in block 440, the method 400 continues to block 445 where variable N is set to the closest set to N with remaining available entries. For example, in the example of FIGS. 5 and 6, the first set 310 is empty after generating the second contest 620 and therefore in this case N would be set to 2 because one entry remains in the second set 220. The method 400 continues to block 430, where variable C is set to C+1 and continues to block 420, which is discussed above.

[0042] Returning to block 435, if X total entries are not available in sets {Q.epsilon.|Q.gtoreq.N} then the method 400 continues to block 450 where all remaining entries are voided. For example, voiding such entries can include canceling the entry and providing an entry refund, if any, to the user account associated with the entry.

[0043] For example, using FIGS. 3 and 5-7 as an illustration, where first and second contests 510, 620 have been filled with entries 301 as described, the second set 320 has one entry B2 remaining and the third set 330 has four entries A3, B3, C3 and D3 remaining, which makes a total of five entries remaining. Where X=10 in this example and a determination is made that X total entries are not available in sets {Q.epsilon.|Q.gtoreq.N} (i.e., remaining entry sets 320, 330), then as illustrated in FIG. 7, all remaining entries 301 in the second and third entry sets 320, 330 can be voided and a third contest 730 is not created. In other words, because ten entries 10 are not available in remaining sets, the third contest 730 cannot be created and leftover entries are voided.

[0044] Accordingly, the method 400 of FIG. 4 can be configured to generate a plurality of contests that only have X entries. Although ten entries is an example used herein for a value of X or the size of a set, in further embodiments, contests can be of any suitable size, which may be the same or variable among contests. For example, in some embodiments, contests of less than X entries can be generated in certain situations. FIGS. 8-12 illustrate examples of such embodiments.

[0045] Turning to FIG. 8, a second example method 800 of generating contests begins in block 805, where a number of entries per contest is defined, with this variable being X. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 5, 9 and 10 first, second and third contests 510, 920, 1030 can comprise ten entry slots 501, which can be filled by selected entries 301 as discussed herein.

[0046] Returning to FIG. 8, the method 800 continues to block 200, where a plurality of entries are received and sorted based on the number of entries per user profile as illustrated in FIG. 2. The method 800 continues to block 815, where variable N is set to 1 and variable C is set to 1, and in block 820, a determination is made whether X entries are available in the Nth entry set, and if so, in block 825 a Cth contest is generated by selecting X entries from the Nth entry set. In the case where N=1, C=1 and X=10, a determination is made whether ten entries are available in the 1st set, and if so, in block 825 a 1st contest is generated by selecting ten entries from the 1st entry set (e.g., as illustrated in FIG. 5).

[0047] In block 830, variable C is set to C+1 (i.e., incremented to the next integer), and in block 835, a determination is made whether X entries are available in the Nth set. If so, the method 800 cycles back to block 825 where a Cth contest is generated by selecting X entries from the Nth entry set. In other words, where a given entry set includes sufficient entries, a plurality of successive contests can be generated from the entries in that same set.

[0048] However, where X entries are not available in the Nth set, then a determination is made in block 840 whether the Nth set is empty, and if not, a Cth remainder contest is generated that includes the remainder entries from the Nth set. Using FIGS. 3, 5 and 9 as an example, where a first contest 510 has been generated using entries 301 from a first entry set 310 and there are not enough entries 301 to fill all slots 501 of a second contest 920, then the second contest 920 can be a remainder contest where remainder entries 301 from the first entry set 310 fill available slots 501 in the second contest 920 and unfilled remainder slots 501 are subsequently left or generated in the second contest 920.

[0049] Returning to the method 800, after a Cth contest is generated by selecting X entries from the Nth entry set in block 845 or where a determination is made that the Nth set is empty in block 840, the method 800 continues to block 850, where variable N is set to N+1 and to block 855 where variable C is set to C+1. The method 800 then cycles back to block 820, where a determination is made whether X entries are available in the Nth set, and if not, then all remaining entries are voided in block 860.

[0050] For example, using FIGS. 3, 5, 9 and 10 as an illustration, where a first contest 510 having ten entries is generated (FIG. 5) and a second remainder contest 920 is generated having four entries 301 that remained in the first entry set 310, the remaining entries 301 in the remaining sets can be voided as shown in FIG. 10 because the second set 320 does not include enough entries to completely fill the slots 501 of a third contest 1030.

[0051] However, in an alternative embodiment as illustrated in FIG. 11, a method 1100 can be configured to make contests with all remaining sets, even if there are not enough entries 301 to fill all open slots of a given contest. For example, presume that blocks 1105, 200, 1115, 1120, 1125, 1130, 1135, 1140 and 1145 of FIG. 11 are respectively analogous to blocks 805, 200, 815, 820, 825, 830, 835, 840 and 845 of FIG. 8.

[0052] After a Cth contest is generated by selecting X entries from the Nth entry set in block 1145 or where a determination is made that the Nth set is empty in block 1140, the method 1100 continues to block 1150, where a determination is made whether any sets are remaining, and if not, the method is done in block 1199. However, where sets are remaining, the method 1100 continues to block 1155 where variable N is set to N+1 and to block 1160 where variable C is set to C+1. The method 1100 then cycles back to block 1120, where a determination is made whether X entries are available in the Nth set, and if not, then the method 1100 continues to block 1145 where a Cth contest is generated by selecting X entries from the Nth entry set.

[0053] For example, using FIGS. 3, 5, 9 and 12 as an illustration, after a first and second contest 510, 920 are generated from the first entry set 310, a third and fourth contest 1230, 1240 are generated from the second and third entry sets 320, 330 because each of the second and third entry sets do not comprise ten entries to fill the available slots 501 of a further contest. In other words, new contests are generated from a given entry set until a remainder set is created or until the entry set is empty. This continues until all entry sets are gone and all entries 301 have been assigned to a contest.

[0054] In some embodiments, where remainder contests are present within a tournament or contest event, some contests can be resized to spread discrepancies or empty slots 501 among more than one contest. For example, where three contests are generated with two of the contests having ten users and one contest having one user, these three contests could be resized to generate three contests with seven entries 301 and seven entry slots 501 each. Such resizing can be done in any suitable way.

[0055] As discussed herein, contests can have a defined number of slots 501, and such slots 501 may or may not be completely filled with entries 301 in accordance with various embodiments. In other words, some embodiments provide for remainder contests, where fewer than all available slots 501 are filled and some embodiments only provide for contests where all slots 501 available in a contest are filled. Contest payout structures can be done is various suitable ways. For example, in one embodiment, where a given contest has ten entries 301 and each entry 301 provides a $5 entry fee, the total pool for the contest would be $50. One example payout for the contest could be $20 to the first place entry; $15 to the second place entry; $10 to the third place entry; and $0 to the fourth-tenth place entries, with $5 going to the "house" or the organization that organizes the contest event and one or more contests of a contest event.

[0056] However this structure should only be construed to be one example of many possible entry fee and payout structures possible. For example, in some embodiments entries 301 of a contest can be associated with any suitable entry fee, including but not limited to $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $1000, $10,000 and the like. In various embodiments, all entry fees of entries 301 of a given contest of a contest event can be the same. However, in some embodiments, entry fees of entries 301 of a given contest of a contest event can be different. Similarly, contests of a contest event may or may not have the same entry fee value for entries 301 of respective contests.

[0057] Additionally, various other suitable payout structures can be implemented. For example, the first place winner can win all of the money available in the contest pool for a given contest. In another example, all players of the contest can win an amount, which can be proportional to their rank. In other words, the first place entry wins more than the tenth place entry. In various embodiments, payout to the players associated with entries of a contest may or may not be less a "rake" or portion of the contest pool that goes to the organizer of the contest event. As illustrated in the example above, $5 can be removed from the contest pool and the remainder can be split among the first, second and third place entries 301. In further embodiments, a fee or rake can be paid to the house in various other suitable ways.

[0058] In some embodiments, where a contest event includes remainder contests where all available slots 501 of one or more contest are not filled, it can be desirable to normalize such contests so that remainder contests have the same payout outcome as non-remainder contests. In other words, it can be desirable to setup remainder and non-remainder contests so that entries 301 in either type of contest do not have a payout advantage or disadvantage. This can be desirable so that remainder and non-remainder contests are treated fairly.

[0059] Normalizing remainder and non-remainder contests can be done in various suitable ways. For example, in one embodiment, where a full contest has ten entries 301, for remainder contests, prize money can be added to the contest pool of the remainder contest so that payout is the same for winners of both remainder and non-remainder contests. For example, using the example above where the first place winner gets $20, if a remainder contest only has one person with an entry fee of $5, then $15 could be added to the prize pool so that $20 of first place prize money can be provided to the entry of this remainder contest. In another example, $40 could be added to the prize pool so that first, second and third place prize money could be awarded to the entry.

[0060] As discussed herein, in some examples, entries 301 may not be matched in a contest in some contest events or tournaments and such entries 301 can be voided. Voiding entries can result in a refund of the entry fee or in some examples can result in a refund of the entry fee plus an additional compensation, which may or may not include a monetary compensation.

[0061] In some embodiments, there can be a plurality of different tournaments in a given day or associated with a given sporting event, with each having a different defined entry fee. For example, a first tournament can have $1 entry fees, whereas a second tournament can have $10 entry fees. In some embodiments, users can be limited to a number of buy-in levels for a defined time period. For example, in one embodiment, each user account may only make entries in only one buy-in level per day. Such an embodiment can be desirable so that professional or more experienced users are prevented from flooding low buy-in tournaments.

[0062] Further embodiments can include separate lobbies for different types of contests. For example a "Rookie" lobby can include contests having $1-$5 entry fees and a "Veteran" lobby can include contests having $10+ entry fees. Users can be limited in their ability to participate in contents in some examples based upon a sport type, sports league, lobby, time period, or the like. For example, in some embodiments, a user can only enter contests in one lobby or the other on a given day in a given sport. Using the example above including Rookie and Veteran lobbies, in some examples, a user could play Rookie NBA contests and Veteran NHL contests on the same day; however, the user would not be able to play both Rookie and Veteran NBA contents on the same day, nor would the user be able to play both Rookie and Veteran NHL contents on the same day. Such embodiments can be desirable so that professional or more experienced users are prevented from flooding low buy-in tournaments.

[0063] Accordingly, when receiving a selection from a user to enter a given contest, a determination can be made whether the user has already entered other contests for a given time period (e.g., for a given day, week, month, or the like), and if so, a determination can be made whether the new entry selection conflicts with the contest entries that the user has already entered for the given time period. If a conflict exists, then the user can be denied the new contest entry. For example, if a user had already entered a Rookie NFL contest and a Veteran MLB content for a given day, the user would be denied entry into a Veteran NFL contest or Rookie MLB contest if the user attempted to enter such contests.

[0064] In various embodiments, the matching methods discussed herein can be configured for single entry matching only. In other words, in some embodiments no generated contest has more than one entry 301 per user. Accordingly, in some embodiments where contests are generated with entries 301 from a plurality of entry sets, selection of entries 301 can prevent more than one entry 301 from a given user being selected for a given contest. However, in further embodiments, matching methods discussed herein can be configured for multiple entry matching. In other words, some contests can include more than one entry 301 per user.

[0065] The described embodiments are susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, and specific examples thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the described embodiments are not to be limited to the particular forms or methods disclosed, but to the contrary, the present disclosure is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives.

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