Main Street keno successes: Way choices and the buffet

October 28, 2014 3:00 AM


In the summer of 2004 I was playing at a keno tournament at The Californa. I was not doing very well, had been up most of the night, if not all. I put in 3 multi-race tickets, 2 for the tourney and 1 non-tourney (I do not remember why I did it this way).

Anyway, after giving in these tickets I went to the breakfast buffet at Main Street Station. For those of you unfamiliar with the layout, there is a pedestrian second-story bridge from The Cal to this casino.

I had my buffet and came back to check my keno tickets. I went up to the counter and handed three in. I heard a noise and saw the writer look up to the supervisor. As information, anytime the ticket registers a win of $100 or more this happens.

It was the supervisor’s (Carolyn Bankston) reply that got my attention. She told the writer: Clear off your screen and ask him to show his ID. At this point the excitement grew as I knew one or more of these tickets had hit for $1,500 or more. There would be paperwork to fill out and happiness for me.

At the time The Cal had a spindle with tickets of prior game results available for anyone to examine. Now let me diverge on the actual tickets and how they were written.

I had a $4 5-spot played at the 80-cent Island rate because, while  the pay on a SOLID hit per dollar is the same for 3-of-5 and 5-of-5 as the regular ticket, the pay on 4-of-5 is better proportionately using the Island Rate.

This was a multi-game straight ticket with the numbers 1, 53, 54, 57, 80. This was a tourney ticket.

The next ticket was a way ticket grouped as follows: 2-2-1-1 using 1 and 80 as kings and deuces of 53, 54 and 57, 60.

I believe I played this at 40 cents a way using the Island Rate, playing the 3s, 5s, 6s, giving me one 6, two 5s, three 4s, and four 3s. This was also a tourney ticket.

The last ticket was a non-tourney of 8 kings played as one 8 at the regular rate of $1 and eight 7s for 50 cents each at the regular rate. Numbers used were 1, 6, 53, 54, 57, 59, 60, 80 – all played as kings (groups of one).

Now, back to checking the spindle. I looked through several games until I found the draw that was the winner.

In the winning game 1, 6, 53, 54, 57, 60, 80 came up. Number 59 was the coward that did not show. With these 3 tickets together the win was about $16,000. Of the $16,000 win, $10,200 was non-tourney, the rest was tourney.

This win got me fourth place for a tourney prize of $600 in addition to the ticket winnings. The big part of the win was as follows. Hitting 7 of 8 kings gave me a solid 7 since I was playing the sevens as well as the eight.

The 5-spot hit solid for a win of $4,000. The 6-spot way ticket also hit solid for about another $2,000.

I did use what I thought were good tickets. The $1 7-spot at the regular rate at The Cal pays $16,000 thus at 50 cents a way a solid hit is $8,000. It gets to $10,200 because I had a $1 7-of-8, as well as seven 6-of-7s.

I was lucky, no question about it. You can win at keno. It takes patience, playing the best tickets and rates, plus knowing how to lower the odds. This means to hit a solid 7 it is more than 6 times easier to hit it by hitting 7-of-8 than 7-of-7. Playing 8 kings allows this. Of course, you pay for each way.

Another interesting question is what if No. 59 also came up? The difference would have been huge. I have 8-of-8 instead of 7-of-8 ($30,000 instead of $1,200), and eight 7-of-7s solid instead of one 7-of-7 and seven 6-of-7s.

The difference became 1 X $8,000 and 8 X $8,000 is $64,000 minus $8,000 or $56,000. Thus, allowing for the smaller pays, it would have been about $85,000 more and I would have had a $100,000 payday.

What is funny is while I was examining the spindle for the winning ticket, No. 59 came up in that current game. Thus, the value of “one more number” can be huge.

This a true story and I wish you, the readers, the best of luck in getting your big 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

Like GamingToday on Facebook GamingToday on Facebook      and        Follow GamingToday on Twitter GamingToday on Twitter

GT Football Special