Trying to simplify your keno plan

November 17, 2015 3:08 AM


There are ways to simplify your keno experience when it comes to way tickets.

Think of way tickets as multiples played on the same one. The advantage of way tickets is the casinos often let you play them at sharply lower rates than the same amount of tickets (ways) written as straight tickets.

This is way more fun at less cost. Of course the winnings are proportional to the amount wagered. Most casino pay books have some examples of way tickets. These are good for seeing how way tickets work and figuring them out. It is a matter of opinion if the particular examples are good tickets. What is good for Mr. HighRoller may not be good for Ms. LowStakes.

There is a simple solution. Play at The D, which allows even a penny a way or you can play their special $5 tickets. Other downtown casinos allow low way minimums if you play enough ways as well, thus everyone can be happy.

Does one ticket fit all? Not really but we can come close. Most if not all downtown casinos will allow 20 cents or 25 cents a way if enough ways are played. Thus let’s try the Pop 80 rate (80-cent rate) at 20 cents a way. Try this scenario. Play groups of 2-1-1-1-1-1-1; not quite an all king ticket but easy to hit if you catch a few kings along with the deuces.

As reference, a king is a single number group and a deuce is a two number group. I do not know why a single number is not called an Ace since a two number group is called a deuce.

Anyway, we have 1 eight, 6 sevens and 16 sixes. If they allow 15 ways at 20 cents you have a $4.60 ticket. If they require a quarter (different than pop 80 rate must then be used) per way you have a $5.75 ticket. You will hit 6 out of 8 on the average a little  less often than every 400 games. If you hit 6 of 8 sixteen times it will be the right way (solid hit) and 12 times the “wrong way.”

Thus if you hit 6 numbers you are the favorite to hit them solid. This in mathematics is called conditional probability (look it up as I might give you a test on it in a future column) where the probability depends on one event (that you hit 6 of 8) and then you figure the probability of 6 of 8 the right way to give you a solid 6.

Let’s say you get really lucky and hit 7 out of 8; odds of this are over 6,000:1. You may not hit 7 the right way but you have to hit at least one solid 6; you hit 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 (1 of 2 in the group of 2 and all Kings hit). If you hit the deuce solid, then the 5 remaining numbers drawn (2+5=7) will give you 5 solid 6’s and a solid 7 for a huge win.

Hit all 8, of course, and you have a colossal win as you have hit an 8, 6 sevens, and 16 sixes. Odds are about 230,000:1 but people have hit 8 of 8 before and will continue to do so in the future. Need I get my Delorean up to 88 mph and take a trip to the future for you to believe this? Probability theory gives us the odds. It is up to you to have the luck that goes with these probabilities.

The beauty of this ticket is you do not have any large grout to hit in order to get a big win. Kings and deuces are very powerful when combined on the same way ticket. Of course it really helps if the numbers you have chosen are drawn.

Sooner or later everyone’s numbers will come up. Unless you can do as Biff did, travel to the future and get the results, you will simply have to get lucky. People get lucky all the time.

Notes: Pop 80 rate is the 80-cent rate at the Fremont, Island rate at The Cal, Deano rate at The D, and 40-cent rate at the El Cortez. If playing at the QQQQ (4 Queens) play their regular rate at a quarter a way. If playing at Golden Nugget play their $1.25 special rate at a quarter a way.

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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