We all like diversity (unless you are at the extreme right politically) and in Keno the opportunity is there. You can play different rates and specials on one ticket if you desire. Thus, let’s have some fun, but please be extra nice to the keno writers as they have to input all these rates in to the computer.
The El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas has rates at 40 cents, 65 cents, 70 cents (old traditional rate), 85 cents, 90 cents, 95 cents, $1 (standard rate), $1.10, $1.15 (shares at being best rate in Vegas along with “Deano” rate at The D for tickets priced under $5-$10) and, with a separate ticket, a rate of $1.50 for Megakeno.
Let’s group our ticket as follows: Circle groups of 4-3-3-2. There are 15 possible ways for this ticket, if all ways are used. (Remember the formula to calculate ways: 2 to the nth power - 1 where n is the number of groups, which gives us (2 X 2 X 2 X 2) - 1 = 15.)
We can use a different rate for each number of spots. When using different rates on the same ticket it is called a “combination” ticket.
First of all, let’s figure the groups. If this seems difficult there are tricks to simplify the calculation. There are 12 numbers in this example. If you take 10 of them 2 are left, thus the number of 10-spot “ways” is the same as the number of 2-spot “ways.”
The trick is that the addition of the number of spots of the two opposites must equal the total number of spots on the ticket, in this case 12.
Thus we have 1/12 (number before “/” is number of ways for this particular group, number after the “/” is the number of spots in this particular group), 1/10, 2/9, 1/8, 2/7, 2/6, 2/5, 1/4, 2/3, and 1/2 for a total of 15 ways. Note that we have the same number of “ways” for 10 and 2, for 9 and 3, 8 and 4, and 7 and 5 due the principle of symmetry mentioned above.
Now, for the fun. We use all the possible rates to make things interesting. Thus we play the ticket as follows, though you can mix it up any way you enjoy, of course.
Play the 1/12 at $1 (use regular rate here as most special rates do not allow for 12-spot tickets), 1/10 at $1.50 (this is played on separate ticket marked M10 for Mega10 Keno), the two 9s at 70 cents, the 8 at 65 cents, the two 7s at 40 cents, the two 6s at 85 cents, the two 5s at 95 cents, the two 4s at 90 cents, the two 3s at $1.10, and finally, the remaining 2-spot at $1.15.
I have used the spots in this manner to take advantage of some good high-end pays at some of these special rates, while at the same time incorporating all the special rates. Thus you have two tickets, the Mega10 where you go for $1,000,000-plus at $1.50 and the second ticket for all the other special rates that will cost you $12.60.
In fairness to the writer, please be early to the counter with this ticket and please tip even on a small win as this is a very difficult ticket to write with nine different rates. Most important, have your tickets completely written out BEFORE you go to the counter as both the writers and those behind you in line will be most appreciative. Also, please do not smoke when in line as the writers will not appreciate the fumes.
The El Cortez will be having a Keno tournament in the second week of June, details to follow when finalized in a later column.
Playing all kinds of way tickets will familiarize you with all the options available to you. Of course, you need not play all these ways, but the example does show what can be done with Keno.
The beauty of all these rate options is a godsend for tournament players as it allows you to tailor your play to attempt the desired result. For example, let’s say you are in second place, $180 behind the first place player. Play the 90-cent 4-spot, which pays $182 for a 4-of-4, to try to put you in the lead.
Good luck. And, I hope you win and your “Burma Road” ticket is accepted. I plan, arthritis permitting, to be at the June tourney and will gladly give assistance in writing out way tickets to any participating players.
Keno need not be boring, and with 10 different rates available, you can have a ball(s), as of course it takes balls to play keno!
P.S. Extra credit for those who know what a “Burma Road” and a “Hi-Lo” ticket mean.
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].