Keno has a fun way to maximize a small bet

September 02, 2014 3:09 AM


The California Hotel has good Keno Last week we discussed a fun ticket of 2-2-2-2-2-1-1, playing it for up to 100 ways to have all kinds of exciting action. Today’s column will deal with the player who wants to be in all the games during his or her stay but wants to keep the bets small, while still having a chance for a good win.

In keno this is entirely possible.

Let’s try a 7-spot ticket grouped as follows: 3-2-2. It’s simple but can be lots of fun. Play it as 1/7, 2/5s, 1/4, and 1/3. Most downtown casinos will allow 40 cents a way for this ticket for a total ticket cost per game of $2. Many other properties will allow 50 cents a way for a total ticket cost of $2.50.

The odds of a SOLID 7 are 40,978-to-1, a SOLID 5, 1,550-to-1; SOLID 4, 325-to-1 and SOLID 3, 71-1. Since you will be playing many games, reduce the odds of a particular hit by dividing by the number of games played. Of course, you might hit it more than once or not at all, that is why it is called “gambling.”

As with other way tickets multiple solid hits are possible. If you hit them all you have 5 solid hits and will be paid for them all in full. If you hit a SOLID 5 you have to hit a SOLID 3 as well. There will also be frequent smaller pays from less than solid hits.

For example, say you hit 2-1-1, which is 4-of-7. You get paid for 4-of-7 (usually your bet back), twice you get 3-of-5 (your bet back), once you get 2-of-3 (your bet back) and 2-of-4 (also your bet back). These smaller hits reduce the bankroll needed to play for the many games desired during your trip.

The more games, the better your chances of a bigger win. However; be aware of the converse as you may lose more as well. But betting at these lower levels conserves your bankroll, keeps your gambling within budget, and still provides an opportunity for a nice win.

Hit 5-of-7 scattered such as 2-2-1 and you still have a 5-of-7, a 4- and 3-of-5, a 3-of-4, and a 2-of-3, getting back a small profit on your ticket. Of course hitting 5-of-7 the right way gets you a SOLID 5 and a SOLID 3.

Not too shabby.

Hit 6-of-7 and you have a nice pay, even if scattered. If you hit 2-2-2 out of 3-2-2 you have a 6-of-7, two 4-of-5s, a SOLID 4, and 2-of-3, definitely profitable. Hit all 7 and you have the good payday mentioned above with five different solid hits.

Some casinos, especially downtown, allow less than a dollar per game if you play a large number of games. Try the 40 cents per game at the Pop 80 rate (Island rate at the Cal), play at least 21 games, and you have 21 chances to win $7,000 on a straight ticket. Usually you have a year to collect on 21 games or more, but check with the individual casino.

Who said keno can’t be fun?

Want a ticket analyzed? Feel free to email me at the address at the bottom of this column. Until then, mark your tickets, watch your numbers appear, and go home with a well-deserved “W” (win)!

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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