Finding different ways to attack The Cal keno tourney

March 03, 2015 3:08 AM


Finding more ways to win Cal eventThe Cal tournament will start shortly after this paper hits the sports books. If you’re still thinking of various tickets, let’s look at a few more you might like to try in or out of a tournament.

Play a 4-3-2-1 if you want to try all kinds of number of spots. You have one 10, one 9, one 8, two 7s, two 6s, two 5s, two 4s, two 3s, one 2 and one 1 for a total of 15 ways.

Played at a quarter a way you have a $3.75 ticket, but to make it easier for you and the casino try playing the 10 at 50 cents and the other ways at a quarter (different rates are allowed; it’s called a combination ticket). This way you have a $4 ticket and with your $500 tournament buy-in 125 chances to hit a good winner.

Personally, I would bump up the 5s and 6s as well and eliminate playing the 1-2-3, which in a tourney will not do much for you. At The Cal the regular 4-spot hit solid pays $200 for a $1 bet thus $50 for a quarter bet.

Want a good simple ticket? Play a $4 5-spot at the Island Rate; 5-of-5 pays $4,000, 4-of-5 pays $30, and 3-of-5 pays $4. This is the lowest house edge ticket at The Cal, returning about 82% to the player. If this hits solid you will be in the money.

You have 125 chances to hit it and being that the odds are 1550/1 for a solid hit, about 12 tourneys you will hit it, but you might hit it on your next play or it may take a while. That is why they call it gambling!

Want big money? Play eight 7s on an all king ticket at the Island rate, $4 total per game played at 40 cents a way. Mark 8 spots and circle each one to make 8 kings. Hit 7-of-8 and you have a solid 7 for $7,000 and seven 6-of-7s at $70 each for $490, making a total pay of $7,490.

The odds of hitting 7-of-8 are about 6600/1. A long shot, yes, but they do come in! Of course, if you hit all 8 you win a measly $56,000, which should give you first place, but hitting all 8 has odds greater than 240,000/1.

Like 6s, play seven kings playing the one 7 and the seven 7s at 50 cents a way, also a $4 ticket. 6 out of 6 at the regular rate will get you $1,000 for the 6-of-6 plus $100 for the 6-of-7, plus $30 each for the six 5-out-of-6 that you hit for a total pay of $1,280.

Hit all seven and you win $8,000 for the 7-of-7 (regular rate) and $1,000 each for the seven 6-of-7s for a total pay of $15,000.

A win like this is likely to give you first or second place in the tournament. The odds of hitting a solid 7 are almost 41,000/1 and the odds of hitting 6-of-7, a little over 1300/1.

One more thing, and this is very, very important. You can play the best thought out tickets but unless your numbers come up in that game, you are out of luck. Thus, be sure to choose the same numbers that will be called in the game.

This is similar to the absolute best way of deciding when to take insurance in blackjack. It is very simple: Always take insurance when the dealer has blackjack.

Best of luck. May the force be with you even though the tourney is in Nevada, not a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away!

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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