Use 8s, 7s, 6s in 20-spot keno ticket

July 07, 2015 3:08 AM


Many casinos offer 20-spot tickets, and some offer 16 as well. This allows for some interesting way ticket combination tickets. I shall use the El Cortez pay book as they offer both.Many casinos offer 20-spot tickets, and some offer 16 as well. This allows for some interesting way ticket combination tickets. I shall use the El Cortez pay book as they offer both.

Grouping 4-4-3-3-3-3 gives you a 20-spot (all numbers), two 16-spots, twelve 10-spots, four 9-spots, one 8-spot, eight 7-spots, and six 6-spots. You are not required nor do I suggest you play all possible ways. You may even bet different ways for different amounts.

Play the 20 at the minimum allowed in case you get a lot of numbers but they are scattered about the groups. Concentrate on 8s, 7s, and 6s for maximum action and a reasonable chance of a win. Play the 40-cent rate at El Cortez, the “Deano” at the D (best in Vegas), the “Island” rate at California, and Pop 80 at Jerry’s Nugget and Fremont.

You can often play at 20 cents a way. Each casino has different way ticket minimums. If a particular way has a progressive you feel is high, play that way at the minimum. This is perfectly allowed in most places, though some may require a separate ticket for the progressives. Always ask the keno writers to be sure.

Let’s say you get a hit of 3-2-1-2-0-2. While you don’t have any solid hits, hitting 10-of-20 will pay you a little on the 20-spot with a bunch of other small hits as well. I generally do not advocate 20-spot tickets as there is no chance you will them. (The odds are longer than the number of pennies in our National Debt.)

You are just playing the 20 to get a scatter pay hit such as 10-of-20, etc. There is also the availability offered in most casinos such as the 190 way 8-spot, in some for even a penny a way. I do not like this type of ticket as 60 of your 80 numbers have to lose.

There is no single best ticket for non-tournament play. Generally if you’re looking for the bigger hit, play more spots or bet more on a ticket with fewer spots to get a big win.

Way tickets give you the option of having more action but of course you pay for each way. Knowing the math of the game helps as you will be aware of the frequencies and probabilities of the various hits and can adjust your play accordingly.

What has happened in the past on the keno board has no bearing on the future. It is just like craps. There is no such thing as a “hot” table. Dice are random and have no memory just like keno balls. Play to reduce the house edge as much as possible, get the most comps, and control your spending.

A $160 hit for a 4-out-of-4 may prove as exciting to the winning player as a $7,000 7-out-of-7. Respect diversity in keno.

Definitely play at places that have the most options for the game and lowest house percentages as your money will last longer. I advocate downtown Las Vegas and Reno as excellent places to play keno. Nevertheless, most casinos have some good rates even on the Strip, you just have to do the math on the tickets.

I do not completely agree with just using the math of the game. The level of customer service, amenities offered, comps available, and the quality of the hotel may be very important to where you play. The 21 game quarter ticket offered at some Strip casinos would be fun to play even if the house edge is a bit high. $6.25 for two hours of action should be fun for anyone.

Playing a 21 game ticket for 40 cents a game (allowed at many downtown casinos) is a lot of fun and you also get a low house advantage.

Plenty of fun is what keno is about. Perhaps for you it can win often, but “bet with your head, not over it.” Unless keno is on the second floor.

Whether you are playing downtown for 40 cents a game on or the Strip for $100 a game go out and have a good time. Let me know how it works out for you. Thanks.

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