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Keno Spots

April 06, 2010 7:05 AM by Keno Lil

The 12-spot’s underplayed, undervalued

We’ve learned in the past months how we can play 5-spots, 8-spots and 9-spots and increase our winning potential considerably over what a 6-spot will pay us, albeit at more risk. This week we simulate play of another two million dollars worth of keno, and our discovery is the most remarkable yet!

Keno Lil chartConsider our benchmark 6-spot ticket, along with this 12-spot. Remember that each ticket has been played 1,000 times by 1,000 players, for a total of $1,000,000 played on each ticket.

The house percentage is almost 3% better on the 6-spot than the 12-spot, and this results in the average winner being a little lower on the 12 than the six.

But the average figure includes all the big winners, so the median figure gives us a better idea of reality, what the typical player will face. Here, the typical player ends up with over $70 MORE by playing the 12-spot, even though the house percentage is higher! What this means is that the 12-spot is considerably LESS risky to play than the 6-spot. This is confirmed by the "lowest winner" figure, which is HIGHER for the 12 than the six! Does anyone find this interesting?

In terms of win potential, the 12-spot offers almost TRIPLE the potential that the six does, $13,600 to $5,400, and 13.1% of those players playing 12s managed to end up winners as opposed to only 12.7% of 6-spot players.

We’ve just discovered a ticket that offers a much higher win potential than a six that we can play at less risk to our bankroll, and demonstrated the results with $2,000,000 worth of play. Yet, the 12-spot is rarely played these days, (probably one-half of 1% of all keno tickets are 12s) and the 6-spot is probably played by at least 20% to 25% of all keno players! We’ve already covered the reasons why sixes are so popular, but why are 12s so unpopular, given the facts above?

Myth: Most tickets higher than 8-spots are unpopular with contemporary keno players. Players have been told for years that such tickets are "house tickets," or perhaps they have obtained a copy of keno odds and believe that the odds are just too long on these tickets.

Truth: There are very few keno tickets that truly fall in the category of "house tickets." (Most keno tickets have the same or nearly the same house percentages.) The results obtained above did not result from a solid 12, but only from an 11/12. If the virtual 12-spot player had hit a 12 out of 12, the results would have been even better!

What is true is that many casinos offer worse house percentages on 11-, 12-, 13-, 14- and 15-spot tickets than on smaller tickets, probably because it is harder for the player to "eyeball" the payoffs to determine which is better from casino to casino.

Whether small differences in house percentages really make any difference to the player is debatable, though. If you have been a careful reader of Lil’s column for the last few years, you will see that differences of up to 5% in house percent meant virtually no difference for the TYPICAL (median) winner.

One final note: the 12-spot really did out-perform the 6-spot in my trials, but it is far from one of the best 12-spots out there to play. You should certainly be able to find one with better payoffs and do even better than I did on this simulation! A typical 12-spot starts paying for 6 out of 12, and thus has a win frequency of once every 24 games, so you need a little patience and persistence to play them. A few casinos offer 12s that start paying on 5/12, and this raises the frequency of pays to once every seven games, about the same as the 6-spot. Get off that 6-spot and try some 12s. After all, there’s a whole world of keno out there!

On a scale of one to five spikes, with five being the highest, the 12-spot gets a Keno Lil rating of four spikes.

Here is a 12-spot way ticket for you to try: Fifteen-spots, marked in 5 groups of 3, is a 5-way-12.

Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!

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How to figure out your keno way tickets

While knowing probabilities and combinations is quite helpful, they can be figured out as well by writing down all the possible combinations if too many. Let’s say you like 7-spot tickets (I do, especially downtown where $1 can get you up to $17,500 and 80 cents can get you up to $14,000) and want to target 7-spots in your way tickets. Simply group your ways so they add up to 7.

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