Set aside time to study keno pay books

November 03, 2015 3:08 AM


Many may wonder why they should learn the intricacies of keno. The following reasons may help:

1) In today’s environment the writers are trained on how to operate the computer with only a little background information on how the game actually works, let alone the math of the game.

2) Ability to evaluate a promotion.

3) Giving yourself the best chance to win at a tournament.

4) Usually more fun if you know how the game works and the math behind it.

In today’s age few people can add without a calculator, or do other math without one as well. Knowing how ticket costs are figured out can be invaluable. The reason is the computer language used by many keno writers is GIGO, an acronym for Garbage In Garbage Out, meaning the computer will only answer what is put in to it.

If faulty info is entered faulty results will result. There have been times when the ticket cost total I was given could not possibly be correct. This can easily happen when you are playing a combination ticket and the writer enters a different rate than you wrote on your ticket. Thus, always check your tickets carefully, and if something does not seem right, ask for an explanation of how the ticket cost was figured; something more than, “This is what the computer figured.”

Any good keno writer should be able to explain how a ticket cost was calculated. Of course, check your tickets first BEFORE you take them to the window as perhaps you made an error. Yes, it does happen, that is why they put erasers on pencils and liquid paper is available in every drug and office supply store.

But still be aware: To err is human, to really foul something up requires a computer. There are times a pay table is input into the computer incorrectly. In fact, as of my last trip one casino was still giving out pay books with a glaring error. Even telling them just got the answer, “We are aware of it and have the correct pays in the computer.” Why they don’t reprint their pay books I have no answer. Thus remember, knowledge is power!

Certain key points:

• Know how many ways the casino requires to qualify for their minimum rate for ways.

• Know also that if you want to play 6-spot ways you must play EVERY possible 6-spot ways on that ticket. If there are 8 possible sixes on a given ticket and you want to play sixes you have to play all of them. 

• Make sure to always put the code on your ticket for the special rate you want to play or the casino will often default your pay to their “regular” rate.

• Check your ticket for the account number on it before you leave the counter to make sure you get credit for your play. If it is blank have them redo the ticket. It is your money taking a risk, you deserve your rewards.

• Take the time to study the pay books, note the casino game rules. Check their way ticket examples to increase your game knowledge as well. The keno books available in your library often have pay book examples, an excellent source to learn the game.

• Check “keno” under your favorite book store on online book website for books as well.

• Check past Gaming Today columns, which can be accessed on their website. If you do not have access to a sportsbook for a complimentary copy of GamingToday I suggest becoming an online or print subscriber. The money you save from the gaming information in this paper will more than pay for your subscription.

Today’s favorite ticket: Play a 999 game ticket for a penny a game at The D. If you play the Candyman Special rate a 7-spot ticket hit SOLID pays $175 for a penny. 

The ticket give you several days of action for $9.99. And you have close to a year (360 Earth Days) to collect your winnings.

To have even more fun, play the 999 games at a penny a way using 8 kings and play the 7s and 8s (9 cents a game). You get 999 games for $89.81 for several days of action.

There you have it, play wisely, be a knowledgeable player and above all else, play within your means and have fun!

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. Email:

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