Downtown keno tourney at Fremont a treat

Oct 29, 2013 3:00 AM

The Fremont recently held their annual Trick or Treat Keno Tournament, which yours truly participated in. Luck was not with me but was with many others, including one player who amassed over $22,000 tournament prize money.

The staff was especially helpful, no matter how complicated a ticket you wrote. They were equally willing to use whatever rate you desired to play, whether it be their regular $1 rate, their pop 80 rate, or their $1.25 special rate. They were very liberal with way ticket minimums as well. Thus, any ticket that would be more than a dollar a game on a multi-game was accepted, even at 10 cents a way. Keno players’ heaven.

The keno lounge is small, and unfortunately does not have a non-smoking section. But you can buy your ticket and watch TV channel 47 in your room to see the game or go to the Keno Cloud website to find game results. And, they do have keno boards in their excellent and tasty Paradise Buffet as well as in Tony Roma’s.

The only sad part for me – besides not being able to hit even a 5-of-6 – was falling asleep in my room during the last few hours of the tournament. As a result, I was unable to use my catch up strategy to attempt to place in the tournament.

My plan was to go one 8 and eight 7’s at their pop 80 rate – 80 cents a way – for the remaining games. If I got a 7-of-7 (pays $14,000 for 7-of-7 and $980 for the remaining seven 6-of-7’s) I would be able to try for second place. Of course, the very rare hitting of all eight numbers would give me a first place. But since I fell asleep I will have to try again next time.

The amount of play in the tournament was good. While waiting in line to play a $20 multi-game ticket at 20 cents a way and $2 a game, the person in front of me played $1,410 in cash on tournament tickets. This is difficult to beat but not impossible.

Play an all king ticket for a high number of spots, playing all the numbers and all the combinations of one number less than all the numbers. Thus, mark eight kings on your ticket and play one 8 and eight 7’s. For simplicity, at the $1 rate play $1 for the 8-spot and 50 cents a way for the eight 7’s. Total ticket cost is $5.

If you hit 7-of-7 you get $10,200 ($1, 500 for 7-of-8) plus $8,000 (7-of-7) plus $700 (7 x 6-of-7). If lightning strikes and you hit 8-of-8, you get $94,000 and first place, unless another player hits the same amount or more.

This was an excellent tournament both for the low roller and the high roller as there was no minimum buy-in required; and no maximum either. Getting comped rooms and a meal was enjoyable as well, especially as their food is excellent. I have eaten at all three of the Fremont’s restaurants.

Second Street Grill, their high-end restaurant, is a hidden gem that needs to be tried if you have not yet done so. Even if you have to pay, the prices are quite reasonable for the excellent quality food and the great service you get.

Tony Roma’s is excellent at well, and the prices are quite moderate for the quality and quantity received. Their Paradise buffet is of good quality as well and has many tasty options for you.

The Fremont has good keno rates with reasonable house percentages and excellent high-end payouts, especially on their 5, 6 and 7 spots. They allow low minimums on way tickets and welcome low level play as much as high level play. Just don’t sleep through the last few hours of the tourney (it went to 2 a.m.) as I did.

The Fremont is part of the Boyd Gaming BConnected system, so use your slot card when playing keno to get credit for your play.

It also has an excellent downtown location with the Strip Express Bus (SDX), the Westcliff Airport Express Bus (WAX) and the Centennial Express Bus (CX) right across the street at Casino Center, providing transportation to and from the airport, if you have one bag or less. If not, there are shuttle services for a small rate.

Service to the Strip and service to the northwest part of the city and UNLV are easily available without the expense of a rental car or taxi. If you come by bus, the bus terminal is within walking distance. And, if you want to watch the Fremont Street Experience light show, just step outside the hotel.

For those of you who play video poker, they have machines returning over 99% (with proper play). They also have 3-to-2 blackjack and multiple odds craps for those who prefer the table games. It’s a nice little place.

Have a good time at the Fremont. Here’s one last little gem: they have a 95 cents catch all 5-spot progressive starting at $1,000 and increasing $25 a day until hit. I was truly surprised a few years ago when my 5-spot hit it at $1,425. You never know, luck might be with you today.

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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