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Casino Games Article
New keno game June 01, 2010 7:10 AM by L.J. Zahm

U1 GamingTechnology takes keno to new level

It was with great anticipation last weekend that I sat down in front of U1 Gaming’s new multi-game machine, which was recently introduced into Nevada.

The U1 has been a hit in Montana, and United Coin – which has the largest slot routes in Montana as well as Nevada – finally got the game approved for play here in the Silver State.

Even though I’ve only had one playing session on the U1, I must say I wasn’t disappointed. But it will take awhile to become thoroughly familiar with the various features and game highlights, so you can expect updates in the weeks ahead.

There are dozens of games available for play – keno, video poker and slots – but I focused on just one game during my time on the machine – 20 Card Classic Keno.

Before getting into the game, let me say that the U1 is among the most advanced video gaming machines around. Its sound and graphics are first rate, and the touch screen is user-friendly and easy to master.

There are differences that take getting used to, such as denomination versus bets: On the U1 you simply set the amount of the bet per card, rather than moving among different denominations. This seems to cut down on the time it takes changing screens.

The 20-card game is essentially the same as IGT’s game, as far as choosing and marking up to 20 cards (you don’t have to play all 20 tickets), though you can set the screen to show the keno game with all 20 cards shown.

The first thing I checked after familiarizing myself with the machine basics was the pay tables. I had no clue what to expect, since many of the newer games that have hit the casinos have had reduced keno pay tables.

Imagine my shock when I discovered the pay tables were actually HIGHER for most of the significant keno games, including 7-card, 8-card, 9-card and 10-card keno.

We’ve seen in recent years – especially on multi-card keno games such as Four Card Keno and 20-Card Keno – how Las Vegas casinos have opted for lower pay tables. The most significant drop-offs, generally, have been for payouts on hitting 6-of-7, 7-of-8 and 7-of-9. But not only does the U1 game pay more for those jackpots, they’ve upped the rewards for the highest jackpots when playing 7-spot, 8-spot, 9-spot and 10-spot tickets.

Let me illustrate with a few examples, starting with the 7-spot, one of the most popular keno tickets. In the past, the 7-spot card has paid 400-for-1 for catching 6-of-7 and 7000-for-1 for hitting all seven numbers. Recently, however, we’ve seen the 6-of-7 jackpot cut to as low as 300-for-1 on some machines.

But on the U1 machine, catching 6-of-7 pays 426-for-1, and a healthy 8030-for-1 for a solid 7-spot.

Another significant increase can be found on the 8-spot pay tables. The top jackpot for catching 8-of-8 is 11,990-for-1, compared to the standard 10,000-for-1, but more importantly, the payoff for hitting 7-of-8 – always a more realistic goal – is an enticing 1736-for-1, compared to a standard 1652-for-1 (and we all know that the payoff has been cut to as low as 1400-for-1 on many multi-card machines).

Other notable increases include:

• 9-spot card: The payoffs for hitting 7-, 8- and 9-out-of-9 are all increased – 380-for-1 for 7-of-9 (compared to 335-for-1); 5000-for-1 for 8-of-8 (compared to 4700-for-1); and 15,000-for-1 for 9-of-9 (compared to 10,000-for-1).

• 10-spot card: Once again, all the top payoffs are higher on the U1 – 150-for-1 for 7-of-10 (compared to 142-for-1); 1145-for-1 for 8-of-10 (compared to 1000-for-1); 5000-for-1 for 9-of-10 (compared to 4500-for-1); and 15,000-for-1 for catching 10-of-10 (compared to 10,000-for-1).

Let me point out that some of the smallest payoffs are reduced, such as getting only 3-for-1 for catching 5-of-10, compared to the standard payoff of 5-for-1.

But these don’t dramatically change the overall payback percentage. In fact, virtually all of the games listed above have overall payback percentages of 96 percent or higher, compared to an average of 92 percent on standard keno games.

Next week, I’ll get into the game’s operation and, hopefully, will be able to report on some "life changing" jackpots!

First, one aspect of the 20-card keno game surprised me while playing last Saturday. Out of nowhere, a catchy tune began playing and the screen announced that I had somehow hit a "Mystery Bonus."

After punching the "bonus" link, a new screen appeared with a virtual spinning wheel with various dollar amounts on it – from $3 up to $250. I hit the "spin" button and the wheel came to rest on $5, which was added to my credits.

This was a nice though unexpected surprise!

Hopefully, there will be more to come.

The U1 game can be found in several small casinos, such as the Gold Spike in downtown Las Vegas, as well as convenience stores, taverns and bars along the United Coin slot route.

Playing in a non-casino environment is a little different and takes getting accustomed to, including the need to get a hand-pay when you want to cash out.

But the Gamblers Bonus system is a good one, and there shouldn’t be any drop-off in customer service, compared to playing in a "regular" casino.

You might even be able to actually hit something of significance.

 

 

KENO payoffs for U1 vs. Standard (Std) games
5 Spot
 
6 Spot
Catch
Std.
U1
 
Catch
Std.
U1
5
810
891
 
6
1600
1865
4
12
18
 
5
70
84
3
3
2
 
4
4
7
2
0
0
 
3
3
2
1
0
0
 
2
0
0
7 Spot
 
8 Spot
Catch
Std.
U1
 
Catch
Std.
U1
7
7000
8030
 
8
10,000
11,990
6
400
426
 
7
1652
1736
5
21
20
 
6
98
112
4
2
2
 
5
12
11
3
1
1
 
4
2
2
2
0
0
 
3
0
0
9 Spot
 
10 Spot
Catch
Std.
U1
 
Catch
Std.
U1
9
10,000
15,000
 
10
10,000
15,000
8
4700
5000
 
9
4500
5000
7
335
380
 
8
1000
1145
6
44
44
 
7
142
150
5
6
6
 
6
24
20
4
1
1
 
5
5
3
 
 
 
 
4
0
1