Different Ways To Attack 20-Spot Keno Ticket
July 21, 2015 3:00 AM
by Pesach Kremen
We all know only 20 numbers are drawn each game of keno out of the 80 numbers available. Obviously the odds of catching all 20 are extremely high but there are benefits to this type of ticket.
Many places will pay close to a large amount for hits of 6-of-20 or more. The odds on even 16-out-of-20 are extreme but give you a target to shoot for. The only use of the 20-spot ticket, to me, would be to use 20 numbers from which you would play various ways. You bet the 20 as well at the lowest possible allowed amount in case your numbers come up scattered.
Let’s say you are trying to hit the 8-spot $2 progressive at the Orleans or Gold Coast. You play a ticket of 4-4-4-4-4 for the 8s, which gives you 10 possible 8s for a total cost of $20
Out of your 4-4-4-4-4 ten-way-8 ticket you hit 3-3-2-2-1. Playing just the 8s your biggest hit would be a 6-of-8 for $150 along with some smaller pays. If you also invest $2.50 to play the 20-spot a scatter pay as described above would add $250 to your winnings.
Thus playing the 8s for $2 as required for the progressive and the 20 at $2.50 would cost you $22.50 per game, not much more than just playing all the possible 8s for $20.
Another different ticket advertised by the casinos is the 190-way 8-spot. This divides up the board into 20 groups of 4 for your 190 ways. You are actually playing all 80 numbers. Personally, I do not like the idea of choosing 80 numbers knowing only 20 will be drawn.
Fortunately many casinos allow this ticket to be played at very low way amounts, even a penny, at a cost of $1.90 per game. I have seen three 8s come up in the same game, thus if this is fun to you go for it. Doing this for a $2 progressive would cost $380 per game, way out of range for the majority of our readers.
Another ticket is called top/bottom left/right or similar. In this ticket you are hoping the numbers will come up skewed to one side of the board, for example, 16 on the bottom and 4 on the top. The more skewed the distribution the more you win. This is a long shot but you might want to give it a try.
The “edge” ticket has you bet that the numbers will show up on the very outside of the board. There are 32 numbers on the outside, but only 20 are drawn. The more of the 20 that show up on the edge the more you win. The fewer that show up on the edge the more you win.
If the most likely result occurs, usually 6 to 20 numbers show up on the edge – you lose. But again, if you like long shots you might find this ticket interesting.
Another interesting option is the catch all ticket in which there is only one pay. You must catch all the numbers to win. Of course you win a greater amount with a regular ticket for the same number of spots. The Fremont has a 5-spot 95-cent that starts at $1,000 and goes up $25 a day until hit.
At $1,475 the ticket is about break even. Higher you have the edge, lower the casino does. Of course the higher it gets the more likely more people will play it, increasing the chance it will be hit (odds are 1550:1). Remember, you must hit all 5 numbers to win. Less and you can use your tickets to have your own wallpapered keno room at home.
With the comp value (use that slot card when playing!) you can figure break even at about $1,400 as enough play will get your tournament invitations and more.
One time a friend and I were walking from the Cal to Tony Roma’s at the Fremont (an excellent restaurant). I noticed this progressive was at $1,425 while walking through the casino towards the restaurant. I bought a 21 game ticket for $19.85 and we went to enjoy an excellent meal at Tony Romas.
After eating we stopped back on the way back to our hotel and I noticed the progressive was now at $1,000. I gave them my ticket, it hit and I was ecstatic.
There are many tickets available that are not just simple straight and way. More new types will doubtlessly come up. Enjoy!
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.