Good keno exists outside Las Vegas casinos

Oct 8, 2013 3:01 AM

A recent visit to Reno demonstrated that Las Vegas does not have a monopoly on good keno. In fact, Reno has excellent keno operations, starting with The Atlantis.

There are also good games at The Peppermill, Rail City (Sparks) and The Nugget (Sparks). The lower PC on many Reno tickets will make up for those who feel there is an added cost to getting there.

The Biggest Little City in the World is very laid back and this is a great plus. From the moment I detrained the beautiful California Zephyr Train I was impressed. And the ride from Sacramento itself was amazing. We crawled up to 6,000 feet in breathtaking scenery (the weight of the money going to Reno slowed down the ascent of the train up the Sierras) before descending into central Reno.

Upon arrival at The Atlantis, I was overwhelmed by the pleasantries of the staff and the really nice guest room and amenities. When I went to check out the keno game I was truly impressed.

This place is a keno player’s dream – from 24 hour keno to all kinds of available tickets and an incredible progressive.

Atlantis offers a 4- to 9-spot progressive (one for each) in which 50 cents of each ticket ($2 for the 4- or 5-spot, $1.50 for the 6-, 7-, 8- or 9-spot progressive) goes in to the jackpot. This means the jackpot increased very quickly.

Way tickets are allowed at the rate of the progressive ticket. For example, if you wish to play them all on one ticket, group your ticket into a 4-3-2-1, which would give you one 9, one 8, two 7’s, two 6’s, two 5’s and two 4’s at a cost of $17.

The 4-spot starts at $400 and the 5-spot starts at $1,700 with a pay of $2.50 for 4-of-5. The 6-spot starts at $3,500 with a pay of $65 for 5-of-6 and $1.25 for 3-of-6.

The 7-spot starts at $15,000 with a pay of $325 for 6-of-7 and $10 for 5-of-7, and the 8-spot starts at $48,000 with a pay of $1,480 for 7-of-8, $80 for 6-of-8, and $4 for 5-of-8.

The 9-spot starts at $90,000 with a pay of $6,000 for 8-of-9, $325 for 7-of-9, $30 for 6-of-9 and $1 for 5-of-9.

With 50 cents of each ticket feeding the progressive it doesn’t take long to establish a good value for your gambling dollars going for any of these progressives.

For those of you into lesser action for lower cost, Atlantis’ regular rate and their Paradise Special rate are quite competitive – both for $1. (Later in this article I’ll tell you about way ticket possibilities.) They pay more on the regular rate for tickets of $5 or more. Instead of just 5 times the pay for $1 they pay more on the top hit.

For example, on the 10-spot $1 pays $50,000 but $5 pays $300,000 ($50,000 extra).

The beauty of their rules for the regular and Paradise Special is that you may play for as little as 5 cents a way as long as the total ticket price is $5 or more. Thus all king tickets with all their ways can be done without sacrificing your dinner money.

By the way, next-door to keno they have the excellent Purple Parrot 24-hour restaurant. There is also an excellent and tasty buffet only a short walk from the keno lounge. They have keno runners as well so you can enjoy the excellent food while you play.

Atlantis also has a 10-cent rate (the “T” rate) that is run as a catch all (for the 4, 5, 6) and a catch all or miss a catch all by one (for the 7 and 8). The only requirement is 50 games ($5) on straight tickets, and ways are only allowed at 10 cents per way.

Catch 7-of-7 and you get $2,750 for your dime. If you catch 6 you still get $5 back, enough for another 50 straight 7-spot tickets.

This 10 cent rate allows some really fun plays where you can get a lot for a little. Try a ticket of 2-2-1-1-1-1 at $2.50 a game, playing the 5, 6, 7, 8 (one 8, four 7’s, eight 6’s, twelve 5’s). If you catch anything from 5 and up SOLID you have real bang for your DIME(S).

An 8-of-8 pays $15,000, 7-of-7 pays $2,750, 6-of-6 pays $540 and 5-of-5 pays $110.

But there is more. If you hit the higher number of spots SOLID you will, in many cases, also catch the lesser number of spots SOLID as well. For example, if you catch 2-0-1-1-1-1, you will, of course, have your SOLID 6, but you will also have four SOLID 5’s.

Another fun thing is the weekly tournament held every Thursday from 3 to 11 p.m., offering $500 in prize money. The only requirement is $35 in total action. They also have 24-hour tournaments four times a year that pay up to 50 places with a total purse of $15,000-plus.

These tournaments attract many good keno players, and I am sure those who read this column are becoming good keno players. You should contact The Atlantis and give it a try.

You do NOT need a car in Reno, the hotel has a complimentary airport shuttle and the very frequent Rapid bus (very few stops) goes directly from the hotel to across the street from the Amtrak Station.

One thing really impressed me about this facility. When I asked where something was located, they actually walked me over to where I wanted to go rather than just pointing to where it was located. This happened every single time, whether I asked about the restaurants, keno, the elevators or anything else. That is very good customer service.

To those of you who are thinking of visiting Reno, whether by air, rail, bus or car, try keno at The Atlantis if you want to experience the best that keno has to offer in Northern Nevada.

While you are waiting for your numbers to come in, try their blackjack. It is all 3 to 2 regardless of the number of decks. Non-smoking tables are available.

The small non-smoking video poker section has video poker with returns of up to 99% with proper play, even at the nickel level.

And of course, while there also check out the dining on the entirely non-smoking second floor with 50% happy hour discounts on many menu items.

To those readers who are still fearful of live keno, ask the keno writers there for help; they will gladly give it to you. To those who have never tried Reno or the California Zephyr, try this relaxing and laid back way to get to the laid back town with customer friendly keno.

To those new to keno, take advantage of their liberal way ticket policy and low minimum ways. To the seasoned players, you have several great progressives to choose from.

Best of luck to you and enjoy your Reno Keno!

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].

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