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Two video keno strategies that work

February 01, 2011 6:15 AM by Brad Fredella

There are basically two different types of strategies when it comes to gaming – those that make a mathematical difference in your expected payback percentage and those that don’t.

In the last few articles I’ve written, I’ve suggested strategies for video keno that don’t actually make a mathematical difference in your expected payback. Getting into a rhythm or hopping from machine to machine until one treats you well is good advice, but it’s only my opinion.

I sincerely hope the strategies I write about bring my readers good luck. However, I’m not about to tell you I can prove everyone will work, because I can’t. Nobody can.

When it comes to video keno there are only two strategies that can mathematically be proven to work. I’ve already written about one – playing mainly 5 through 7-spots when you play.

This is because video keno machines are set to payback an average of all of the different individual pay tables for each number of spots a player is able to mark.

For example, if a machine is set to return 88% payback (a common setting) and you mark two numbers, you will actually be playing at only a tick over 84%. If you pick six numbers though, you’ll be playing at a little over 90% payback. The average of all of the paybacks is around 88%, but each number of spots you can mark has its own theoretical paybackpercentage.

 Five through 7-spots usually have the highest return within each setting, so I suggest you pick that number to play. It’s mathematically advantageous to do so, not just opinion or superstition.

The second mathematically effective strategy for video keno is just as simple – check the pay tables and compare payouts between machines. Then play the machine returning the most.

The problem with this strategy is video keno pay tables are huge and not all payouts change between settings. Hitting 6-of-6 will pay 1,600 credits per credit bet on many standard video keno machines set at 84%, 86% or even 90% payback.

This being the case, how can you really tell? The hard way is to look at multiple paybacks like 5-of-6 or 4-of-5 and compare several to see which one will result in the best payback percentage depending on how many spots you intend to play.

The easy way – and this is a great insider trick to video keno you won’t hear anywhere else – look at 5-of-5.

This payout changes between all of the common settings of the most popular standard and multiple card video keno machines found in and around Las Vegas, and probably the rest of the country too. Generally speaking, the more credits you’ll get for hitting 5-of-5 on any non-bonus version of video keno, the looser the machine is set.

 It’s that simple.

 The 5-of-5 payback can range from a low of about 740 credits on some of the tightest settings to a high of about 838 on many of the loosest. Most casinos won’t use either the loosest or the tightest setting on any machine, so don’t be surprised if you never see 740 or 838. If you can find 804 or even 810, be happy.

If you can’t find a 5-of-5 in the 800’s and happen to be in the area, stop by Stetson’s. We have over 30 video keno machines that have an 838 payout on either single or four-card keno, even on denominations right down to nickels.

Stetson’s also has more varieties of video keno than any other bar or full-size casino in Henderson as far as I know – well over 20 versions by three different manufacturers.

If you know of a better payout place, please write and tell me about it. After all, I can’t claim to run "The Video Keno Capital of Henderson" if I don’t have more variety and looser settings than the competition, now can I?

(Editor’s Note: Brad Fredella is General Manager of Stetson’s Saloon and Casino in Henderson, NV.)

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