Harrah’s, The Quad, Bally’s, Flamingo, and Rio (near the Strip, bus 202 from Flamingo Road and The Strip) offer what is known as quarter keno. You must play at least 21 games for $6.25, but what other game can you get about two hours of action for $6.25?
They offer 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10-spot keno at this rate. While the return is lower than many regular keno tickets, the expense of running the game is still there, thus the payback percentages are lower.
This is no different than dollar slots typically returning a around 95% while quarter slots are often in the return range of 92%. The expenses of quarter slots are the same as dollar slots, thus to cover costs the payback cannot be as high as on dollar slots. The same holds true at keno.
Please keep in mind you can go through a lot of money in a very short time on quarter slots if your luck is not running with you. The quarter keno ticket gives you two hours of action at little cost, even if you buy more than one ticket or play ways. So the lower return percentage is more than offset by the availability of the game and some very attractive payouts if you hit all or most of your numbers.
Meanwhile, you can lounge around in the keno lounge (lounging around in the keno lounge is perfectly acceptable as you are playing, that is why they call it a lounge) enjoying free drinks while you play and are slowly accumulating comp benefits.
For a quarter they pay $200 for 5-of-5, $500 for 6-of-6, $3,000 for 7-of-7, $10,000 for 8-of-8, $13,000 for 9-of-9, and $25,000 for 10-of-10. The intermediate pays are a little lower to cover the costs of running such a low profit game but they do pay on the same number of spots caught as the standard $1 rate tickets.
Mathematically speaking, the 8-spot is the best value and has a return of 71%, a decent return for Strip casinos even at the $1 rate. While the other tickets have a lower return they are definitely attractive based on their SOLID hit payouts. The 7-spot has about the best bang for your buck as you get $3,000 for the 7-of-7, equivalent to $12,000 on a dollar ticket, available but not common on the Strip.
Based on the above payouts, the “2-Bit-Menu” (the name on the pay booklet for quarter keno) is attractive for a way ticket of 8 kings (individually circled number groups). I would play one 8 and eight 7’s for a cost of $2.25 per game, and with the minimum game requirement of 21 games (two hours of play) it would cost you $47.25.
Can you last on a quarter slot this long for two hours feeding in 2 to 5 coins every few seconds?
Let’s see what will happen when you play the above ticket. If you hit 4 numbers you will catch 4 out of 7 four ways for a total pay of $1. Should you hit 5 numbers you will catch 5-of-7 three ways (3 X $.75 = $2.25), 4-of-7 five ways (5 X $.25 = $1.25), and a 5-of-8 for $1 giving you a total pay of $ 4.50.
A hit of 6 spots caught gives you two 6-of-7’s paying $150 (2 X $75 = $150), six 5-of-7’s paying $4.50 (6 X $.75), and one 6-of-8 paying $20 for a total pay of $174.50. Not too shabby.
Hit 7-of-8 and you will be jumping for joy as you have a SOLID 7-of-7 paying $3,000, seven 6-of-7’s paying $525 (7 X $75 = $525) and one 7-of-8 paying $300 for a grand total of $3,825. Since you are playing 21 games, the odds of hitting 8-of 8 one time, are approximately 10,958-to-1 (230,114/21). It is not too common but it does happen a few times a year in the more active keno games.
Hit the BIG one, 8-of-8, and you win $49,000 (eight 7-of-7’s at $3,000 = $24,000, plus one 8-of-8 = $25,000) for your efforts.
Budget playing on the Strip at its best! Go for it, show your player’s card when you buy the tickets to get the comps, and have a good time without risking the larger bankroll that two hours at the slot machines might cost you should your luck not be with you. Bonne Chance!
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] om.