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Researching a formula to win at keno

May 13, 2008 7:10 PM

by L. J. Zahm

Over the last few days I’ve heard from readers who were troubled by the comments of a self-proclaimed expert who contends that slot machines are programmed to hit only when “ready,” based on how much money they’ve raked in.

Admittedly, the notion of a machine not being “capable” of hitting because its internal balance sheet is in the red is at best disheartening, if not criminal.

Nonetheless, I keep finding reasons and results to keep me playing.

As far as predicting when a video keno machine might be ready to hit, I have to confess I have no formula, even after zillions of hours of play.

I can say, however, that I’ve hit jackpots more often than not when a machine is in one of two modes: the hit frequency is running high, that is, there are plenty of catches that tend to keep your credits at a high level; and the hit frequency is so low that it practically defies belief, if not the simple laws of statistics.

I’ll give examples of both.

As I have noted previously, I like to play the 9-spot card, either in a standard keno game or one of the multi-card games, such as Four Card Keno and Multi-Card Keno (up to 20 cards can be played at once.)

The goal, obviously, is to catch all nine numbers for a solid 9-spot jackpot, but, realistically, I’m always shooting for the 8-out-of-9 “consolation” jackpot, which is still worth a respectable 4,700 coins for one coin bet.

It seems that on the times I’ve caught 8-of-9, the machine behaved in either of the two ways I’ve pointed out there are several 6-of-9 hits as well as many 5-of-9 hits before the numbers fall into the right pattern; or the machine is so uncooperative that virtually every game lands at 3-of-9, 2-of-9, and so forth.

The problem with playing a machine that behaves badly is that your bankroll is diminishing quickly and you don’t want to have to constantly feed money in hopes of getting it all back in one fell swoop.

Remember, the whole point of playing video keno is you’re looking for a big jackpot with a minimum of investment. If you have to shovel $2,000 into a machine in hopes of catching a $4,700 jackpot, then you’re money might be better spent pursuing other casino games with a better probability of winning.

Keep in mind that the odds of hitting the keno jackpots are high. The jackpots occur relatively infrequently, simply because the odds are high.

For instance, the odds of hitting 8-of-9 is about 30,000-1. Although that number is relatively low compared to hitting a royal flush (about 41,000-1), it is still a large statistic to overcome.

I’ve found that, for whatever reason, you can cut down on those odds by re-setting the machine. I’ve pointed this out before, but it’s worth noting again.

This was the scenario last week while playing Four Card Keno at Palace Station. When the machine was chronically dead with the credit meter dropping like a lead balloon, re-setting the machine by exiting to the menu screen then returning to the game often gets the hits to arrive.

Another thing I noticed was that after catching 6-of-9, the machine would return to its dormant cycle and wouldn’t wake up until the machine was again re-set: this time, though, the credits are cashed out and the ticket re-inserted.

I can’t explain why this seems to sometimes work. But, have you ever noticed how all the published jackpot winners Megabucks, Wheel of Fortune and others claim they made their big score after only a few minutes and/or a few games of play?

Is it possible a “cold” machine or one that has just started a new cycle is more prone to hitting? Who knows? All we can do is keep trying and enjoying the jackpots we do hit!