There are casinos – especially in downtown Las Vegas and also some of the “locals” establishments – that allow you to play 10 cents a way or less as long as you play a minimum number of ways or a minimum ticket price. Even some Strip casinos allow this provided you play enough games or ways, or a combination of both, on the ticket.
The following ticket works best where the payouts are very liberal. An excellent example being The D in downtown with their “Deano” rate (formerly the Truly Special rate with a return on most tickets 80%-85%; excellent for keno).
I will divide the suggestions for those who want all the action they can get and those who want a lot of action but will play less ways for less of a ticket cost. Remember, if your ticket does not have enough ways or dollar amount you can play multiple games at most places to meet the requirements. Ask the keno writers as they know all the angles to allow you to play at your preferred level while meeting the casino’s minimum ticket requirements.
My suggested ticket is a 10-spot played in groups as 2-2-2-2-1-1. Since there are six groups there are a total of 63 ways, but you need not play them all. As an assist in calculating the number of ways for any number of groups, raise 2 to the “Nth” power, N being the number of groups, and subtract one. Thus with 6 groups you have 2 to the 6th power, which equals 64. Less 1 equals 63 possible ways. This is a good way to check that you have figured the ways correctly on your ticket.
Another trick to help you on any ticket is to realize if you have 5 groups of 2 numbers then you must also have 5 groups of 8 numbers and vice versa. This works because if you take a group of 2 from 10, 8 numbers are left, and as mentioned, this shortcut to make things easier works with any ticket.
The groups possible in this ticket are one 10, two 9’s, five 8’s, eight 7’s, ten 6’s, twelve 5’s, ten 4’s, eight 3’s, five deuces (groups of 2), and two kings (groups of one). Notice that the groups adding up to 10 have the same amount of ways.
There are two ways to make a nine, thus two ways to make a 1-spot. There are five ways to make an 8-spot, thus there are five ways to make a deuce (2-spot). This works for the 7’s and 3’s, and also the 6’s and 4’s. This really helps in calculating the number of ways.
If you play all possible ways for a dime you have a cost of $6.30 per ticket but look at the action you get – 63 ways going for you. Hit either king or any 2 numbers and you will get paid something, though much less than the $6.30 ticket cost.
When you start hitting 3 numbers or more, depending on how you hit them (scattered or in SOLID groups), you will have a chance to be in the black. Hit 4 or more numbers and you will at least come close to breaking even. And, with any SOLID hits you will likely be in the black.
Hit 5 numbers (19 to 1 odds) and you are definitely in the black, and if you hit a few groups solid as part of your 5 numbers you will have a profit. Hit 6 numbers, even if scattered 1-1-1-1-1-1, and you have all kinds of small pays that add up to a profit. Hit them concentrated you will feel great.
For example, if you hit 2-2-0-0-1-1 you will have hit a SOLID 6, two SOLID 5’s, three SOLID 4’s, four SOLID 3’s, two SOLID deuces, two SOLID kings, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Plant a pear tree with your winnings).
You will also have a multitude of partial hits such as 6-of-10, two 5-of-9’s and it goes on and on. Hit 7 numbers, it gets even better. Hit 8 numbers – odds of 7,383 to 1, similar to odds of hitting a SOLID 6 on a ticket with only 6 numbers – and you have to have some good SOLID hits.
If you hit 9 numbers, get out your ID and Social Security card as you have hit it big. And if you hit all 10, an 8.9 million to one shot, do not scream so loud they have to call security, though for your safety ask for a casino check as you will have won enough ($41,909.95) to need a security escort.
Now of course, if $6.30 a ticket is too much for you, play for the 5’s and up for $3.80 a ticket, still plenty of action, or 6’s and up for $ $2.60 a ticket. For the very frugal play 7’s and up for $1.60 a ticket.
Enjoy yourself, this can be great fun. Play within your means, with good chances to hit a decent size pay before you go home, or have great fun trying. Best of luck to you!
Pesach Kremen is a former UNLV Masters Gaming student, has won and placed in multiple local keno tournaments, and has written several academic papers on Keno. You can reach him at [email protected].