Four keno tournaments coming up in Downtown Vegas

April 22, 2014 3:09 AM


Las Vegas Keno Tournaments. Las Vegas Casino Keno Tournaments. Keno Betting tips and strategies. Las Vegas Casinos With four tournaments coming up in Downtown Las Vegas let’s focus on some tickets that give the player a chance at hitting it big and placing in the tournament(s), as well as getting something back even if the big hit is missed.

The beauty of it all is the casinos (see list below) are in walking distance of each other and have excellent access to the Strip via The Deuce or the SDX (Strip Express). The tourneys are great for novices as well as seasoned keno players due the incredible value they offer to the player. In most cases you keep all you win, get comped or deeply discounted rooms, meal discounts or comps, a small gift and, of course, prize money for the top 10 to 20 winners.

As mentioned in prior columns, each of these four casinos has excellent keno games with an 80-cent rate returning 75 percent for most tickets (some more). It is called the Island Rate at The Cal, The Pop 80 rate at Fremont, The Deano rate at The D, and the 40-cent rate at El Cortez. The beauty of this rate is it divides so well in to 40-cent, 20-cent, or in some cases if enough ways are played, 10-cent increments.

This is a way ticket players Paradise. In addition, at all four of these properties there is a restaurant or snack bar very close to the Keno Lounge. You have the Cal Snack bar nearby at The Cal, the Lanai Cafe at Fremont, the Coffee Shop at The D, and the Cafe Cortez at El Cortez.

Now, let’s get to the action. The following 8-spot tickets allow for some very powerful and aggressive play. For those who want to go mainly for it all, play one 8 and eight 7s as kings (A king is one number in a group).

Thus, if you hit 7-of-8 you still have 7-of-8, a SOLID 7 and seven 6-of-7s. Hit all eight and the tournament is yours as you have hit one 8, and eight SOLID 7s. With most of these casinos paying $7,000 for a 40-cent 7-spot hit, this can be a great day for you.

You group your ticket 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 (eight kings). For example, play the 8 at 80 cents and the 7s at 40 cents; total ticket cost $4.

For the less aggressive players, but still giving you some great action, play the ticket I have previously suggested on several occasions. Play 8-spots grouped as 2-2-1-1-1-1 (two Deuces (groups of two) and four kings. Play for the 5s, 6s, 7s and 8s, giving you: one 8, four 7s, eight 6s and twelve 5s. At 40 cents a way the ticket is $10; at 20 cents $5.

The power of this ticket is that even in less than fully SOLID hits you still can do quite well. In the summer of 2004 I hit at 40 cents a way at the Fitzsgerald (now The D) at their Truly Special rate (now the Deano rate) for 2-0-1-1-1-1 out of 2-2-1-1-1-1. I hit only 6-of-8 but in that hit I had one SOLID 6 and four SOLID 5s for a large enough win to capture first place in this small tournament with the prize money on top of the winnings.

The SOLID 6 was a hit of 2-0-1-1-1-1 and SOLID 5s were hitting the one deuce SOLID and three kings. Since there are four ways to hit three kings out of four and all four kings were hit I had hit foru 5-of-5. In addition there were several smaller pays included such as 6-of-8, four 5-of-7’s, etc., etc.

The odds of hitting 6-of-8 are about 323:1, thus the hit is not that unusual. The thing that is unusual is I hit 6-of-8 in the best possible way, as there are 28 ways to hit a 6-of-8 and only two of those ways are a hit of a deuce and four kings.

Of course it was a good win, but not as much as hitting 6-of-8 as 2-2-1-1-0-0. Here you have one SOLID 6 and two SOLID 5s plus the smaller pays, still a very nice hit. There are six ways to do this. It is called conditional probability, where given one event (that you will hit the 6-of-8) what is the probability you will hit it in a certain way? Thus, of the 28 ways of hitting a 6-of-8, eight of these will give you a SOLID 6 and some SOLID 5s. A similar analyses can be done for a 7-of-8 hit or a 5-of-8 hit.

If you are new to tournament keno, please consider giving one of these tournaments a try as your losses are limited and reduced in any event by all the freebies offered. The food is good at each of four properties and very reasonably priced. The rooms are clean and well maintained.

Transit access to other parts of the city is good and there are two Express bus routes (WAX, CX) to the airport from downtown. If you have a lot of luggage you have the shuttle van services. If you take a cab absolutely INSIST they do NOT take the airport tunnel as this adds a LOT to the fare.

Yours truly is already committed to one of these tournaments, and is hoping to play in a second one as well. Please feel free to write me care of this newspaper (email address follows column) with any tickets you might wish advice or analysis on.

For those of you who like the Strip, Excalibur (best game on the Strip) has a tourney around August 1 and Orleans (best off-Strip Keno) June 17-19.

Meanwhile, the Gambler’s General Store (800 Main Street near Bonneville Transit Center, buses 106, 207.208. 214) has been selling the excellent keno book “Lotto and Keno Winning Strategies” by Wayne McClure for $1 plus tax, but the sale is subject to end at any time.

If you finally want to get your feet wet in a tourney and have any questions, please write in. These tournaments are fun, fun, fun!!!!

Upcoming Keno Tourneys

May 1-4: The D

May 19-22: Fremont

June 1-5: California

June 12-14: El Cortez

June 17-9: Orleans

Aug. 1-3: Excalibur*

*Dates subject to change.


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

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