Weekly mini keno tournaments at Vegas and Reno casinos
August 19, 2014 3:09 AM
by Pesach Kremen
Frequently casinos have mini keno tournaments on a weekly basis for small prizes. These tourneys last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours and are a regular feature at the Palace Station and Orleans in Las Vegas and The Atlantis in Reno.
In these tournaments you simply sign up at start time or just before, are given an account number to track your play and winnings, and then play as usual. Rules are few, usually there is a restriction on playing one-spots or a maximum limit per way. Other than that there is usually no fixed buy-in, but sometimes a minimum play required.
The prize structure is usually simple and limited such as $500 for first, $200 for second, $300 for third, a dinner at the better casino restaurant for 4th and finally, a dinner at the coffee shop for fifth.
Due to the play usually not be limited to a specific buy-in amount, one can literally “buy” the tournament. But that does not happen too much due to the limited prize money offered. One is not going to spend thousands just to win a few hundred.
The best way to look at such a tournament is, if you plan to play keno anyway at that particular casino, you might as well play the tournament for the chance at the extra prize money and/or restaurant vouchers.
Since there is no buy-in or play limit, getting a decent solid hit would be the way to go, that is getting lucky at the right time.
If progressives are allowed and one is favorable in your opinion play it. If you hit it, you win the progressive and the mini tournament. Other methods of play are to just hit a solid ticket such as a 5- or 6-spot.
Play 1-1-1-1-1-1 for $1 a way as one 6 and six 5s for a $7 ticket total. Hit 5-of-6 and you have a SOLID 5. In a few hours of a mini tournament this will often give you the win. Instead of facing odds of 1551-to-1 of hitting a SOLID 5, you only are facing odds of 322-to-1 for hitting 5-of-6, which gives you a SOLID 5.
Check the hourly postings of the results and play accordingly. Sometimes just a simple straight ticket win is all that is needed to place first. If you find yourself $100 behind the leader with one game to go, play a simple $3 3-spot. If it should hit, it would put you in first.
If it is worth it to you to shell out more money to improve your chances on a 3-of-3 hit (odds, 71:1) play one 4 and four 3s as an all king ticket for $3 a way. Total ticket cost $15.
Odds of hitting 3-of-4 and a solid 3 are 22-to-1. Of course the leader may hit something this last game, too, but as the saying goes, “You play your money and take your chances.”
The great thing about these mini tournaments is you may play as much or as little as you like. Should someone hit it really big early in the tourney, and you do not like your chances, you need not “invest” any more money.
These mini tournaments are a great way to introduce you to the bigger day or longer tournaments without the larger buy-ins required. Playing in them will usually count toward comps as well, as usually the logged play for the tourney is transferred to your regular keno account for comping purposes.
Another good ticket you might like: play 2-2-1-1 for 3s through 6s as one 5, two 5s, three 4s and four 3s. It’s a lot of bang for your buck. At 50 cents a way it will set you back $5 a game and give you a decent chance in a mini tournament.
In this smaller type of tournament just hitting a smaller number of spots solid either as a straight ticket or part of a way ticket will allow you to bring home the bacon.
Enjoy this fun and inexpensive way to get in on last minute tournament action.
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 PesachKremen@GamingToday.com.