Keno tournament coming up at the California Hotel in August

July 22, 2014 3:09 AM


There is a keno tournament coming up at the California Hotel Las Vegas, August 3-7There is a keno tournament coming up at the California Hotel, Aug 3-7, and I have in mind an interesting ticket that promises a lot of action and even a shot at winning it all.

Try marking 11 spots grouped as 2-2-2-2-1-1-1. Play the seven 9s, 13 8s, 18 7s, 22 6s, 22 5s, and 18 4s that are possible with this ticket.

The Cal allows 10 cents per way if you play 100 ways, which is exactly what you have here. The ticket will cost you $10 per game.

The tournament rules require a five-game minimum. You buy in for $500 and keep all you win. Thus you can play this ticket for 50 games. Taking it at the required five-game minimum, that gives you 10 times to have 5 games of fun.

The power of the above ticket is in the kings (groups of 1) and deuces (groups of 2) that make it up.

Pays will generally start at 3 to 4 numbers depending on how you hit them. Hit 3 or 4 numbers the right way and you have a SOLID 3 or 4. Hit them another way and you get a little something.

The odds of hitting various groups from an 11-spot ticket, without regard to whether you hit the numbers the right way or not are:

Hit 3-of-11, odds are 3-1; hit 4-of-11, odds are 5-1 (similar to hitting 2-of-4); hit 5-of-11, odds are 12-1 (similar to hitting 4-of-8); hit 6-of-11, odds are 48-1 (similar to hitting 5-of-8); hit 7-of-11, odds are 276-1, the Slurpee hit (similar to hitting 5-of-6 almost);

Hit 8-of-11, odds are 2,430-to-1 (about twice the difficulty of hitting 6-of-7); hit 9-of-11, odds are 35,243-to-1 (a little easier than hitting a 7-of-7); hit 10-of-11, odds are 945,180-to-1 (a little better than hitting 9-of-9);

Hit 11-of-11 and the odds are 62,381,977-to-1. (You should get the keys to the casino, better yet, all of the Boyd Gaming properties if you hit this one!)

Based on the above odds it is quite likely you will have one 7-of-11 (playing 250 games with 276-to-1 odds per game). Hit them the wrong way and you have some pocket cash. Hit them the right way and you have a nice win.

For example, from 2-2-2-2-1-1-1 if you hit 7 numbers as 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 (the only way to hit them without a SOLID 3) you still will have all kinds of small pays.

On the other hand, hit the 7 numbers as 2-2-2-1-0-0 and you have a SOLID 7, a SOLID 6, three SOLID 5s, three SOLID 4s, and three SOLID 3s plus a plethora of smaller pays.

As info, using The Cal’s regular rates (one of the best regular rate pays in Vegas for good high end pays), at 10 cents a way a SOLID 3 delivers $4.40, a SOLID 4 delivers $20, SOLID 5, $100; SOLID 6, $200; and SOLID 7 gets you $1,600. Not too bad for a dime!

The Cal tourney, for a buy-in of $500, offers up to four free nights, coupon books good for food specials for the four days, about $10,000 in prize money split among 20 places and a small gift. Plus, you keep all you win!

You can even get credit card points or frequent traveler/lodger/shopper points for your buy-in as you can put it on a credit card. But, you will be paid in photos of Ben Franklin and many past U.S. presidents

The Cal keno game is a good game, and Carolyn Bankston, keno manager, does a good job. Also, the writers know way tickets really well (better than at most places).

The game is 24/7 and the location is well thought out as the keno lounge is near the Keno Tower Elevators (East Tower) and the “heads” are adjacent to the keno lounge.

The Cal is connected by a bridge to Main Street Station, which has an excellent, reasonably priced buffet. In 2004 I won $16,000 (a total from three tickets) while eating breakfast at that buffet.

You can also rest in your room and watch keno on the TV or even online as The Cal posts the games there as well. Or maybe you’d like to play video poker. Many of their machines pay over 99% with proper play. Most of their blackjack games pay 3-to-2 on blackjacks.

Well, the rest is up to you. Have a good time, tourneys are the best!

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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