Pop 80 rate offers fun plus good keno pays

May 19, 2015 3:08 AM


Great Keno with Island rate at California Hotel in downtown Las Vegas

You are going to take a three day trip to a gambling destination and want to spend a lot of time playing keno as your main game but not go broke. First is finding the best place to play.

I would suggest downtown Las Vegas as you will find the lowest per game minimums there while still allowing all kinds of way tickets totaling 40 cents a game, although some may require a multi-game ticket at this minimum.

There’s enough money to play all day and still have a chance to go home with a decent win should your numbers show up. With the pop 80 rate (40 cent rate at El Cortez, Island rate at California, Deano rate at The D) you can have a lot of fun playing at 20 cents a way and as long as your ticket meets the minimum total required you are all set.

We shall assume you are willing to risk $100/day. Set up a ticket at $2 a game at 20 cents a way using the Pop 80 rate, which has an average return of 75 cents. Play a type of ticket that will give you small wins to keep you going as well as a chance for a really big score.

Let’s examine some 10-way tickets that fulfill this requirement. You could play 2-2-1-1 giving you one 6, two 5s, three 4s, and four 4s. At 20 cents a way the pays would be at least: $500 for a solid 6, $200 for solid 5, solid 4, $30, and solid 3, $10. If you hit any of the ways solid you will also hit partial pays on some of the other ways giving you an additional win.

Let’s say out of your groups of 2-2-1-1, you hit 2-1-1-0. You would have a 4-of-6 (pays 50 cents at 20 cents per way), 4-of-5 (pays $1.50), 3-of-5 (20 cents), two 3-of-4s ($1 total), 2-of-4 (20 cents), solid 3 ($10), and two 2-of-3s (total pay 40 cents).

Your win totals $13.80. If you hit everything you would receive $1,030 (a solid 6, two solid 5s, three solid 4s, and four solid 3s).

For larger pays try a ticket grouped as 3-3-1-1, which gives you one 8, two 7s, one 6, two 5s, and four 4s. At 20 cents a way you have a $2 ticket. If you hit all 8 (long odds but it has been done) you will win $4,000 for the 8-of-8, $7,000 for the two 7-of-8s, $500 for 6-of-6, $400 for two 5-of-5s, and $120 for four 4-of-4s for a total of $12,020.

Even if you hit 7-of-8 the right way (a hit of 3-3-1-0) you will get $300 for the 7-of-8, $3,500 for solid 7, $35 for 6-of-7, $500 for solid 6, $1.50 for 4-of-5, $0.20 for 3-of-5, $60 for 2 solid 4s, and $1 for two 3-of-4s for a total of $4,397.70

Granted, wins like this do not happen every day but over several trips and lots of games anything can happen. There will be quite a few small wins to help get you through the session plus free beverages.

Playing 10 ways will get you a lot of bang for your buck. Most sessions you will lose a good part of your $100 buy-in but when you do hit most or all of your numbers you will have a very nice payday for that trip. Keep in mind that what has happened in the past has no bearing on your odds in the present in the game of keno.

Best of luck to you.

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.