Can't go wrong with keno 6 and 8 spots

March 15, 2016 3:08 AM


It seems 6- and 8-spots are the most popular keno ticketsMany out there want the simplest and “best” ticket. Which ticket qualifies? The answer is whatever works best for you, a tired cliche but often true. Some want every possible chance with every possible way. Others just want to put their money down and hope for the best.

It seems 6- and 8-spots are the most popular. My answer: choose both, and add the 7s as well!

Try a ticket grouped 2-2-2-1-1 and play for 6s, 7s, and 8s, giving you an 8, two 7s, and four 6s. Using the downtown Las Vegas 80-cent rate (Island Rate at The California, Pop 80 rate at Fremont, Deano rate at The D, and 40-cent rate at El Cortez) play at 40 cents a way, costing you $2.80 per ticket).

At the 40-cent rate the solid 8 will return $15,000, solid 7 will return $7,000 and solid 6 will return $1,000. Any time you get a solid hit, whether it be 6s, 7s, or 8s, you will also get some non-solids as well for pays.

Let’s say your ticket grouped as above results in a hit of 2-2-0-1-1. You obviously have a solid 6 hit (pays $1,000 at 40 cents a way, more at The D), but you also have a 6-out-of-8 (pays $30), two 4-out-of-7s (pays 80 cents total), and three 4-out-of-6s paying $8 for a grand total of $1,038.80.

Should you get really lucky and hit a solid 7 (2-2-2-1-0), notice you will also hit a solid 6 by default (the 2-2-2 part of your 2-2-2-1-0 or 2-2-2-0-1 hit). Thus you win $7,000 for the solid 7 plus $1,000 for your solid 6 and a plethora of smaller hits as well.

If you think the smaller hits do not amount to much, think again. You would have a 7-out-of-8 ($600), a 6-out-of-7 ($70), and three 5-out-of-6s (total pay for these $90). These partial pays add $760 to your solid wins of $8,000 giving you a grand total of $8,760.

Even if you do not get solid 7 you still must get a solid 6 when you hit 7-out-of-8 on this ticket. The hit of 7 of the 8 numbers, such as a hit of 2-2-1-1-1, gives you a solid 6 (2-2-0-1-1 is your solid 6); you also have a 7-out-of-8 ($600), two 6-out-of-7s ($140) and three 5-out-of-6s ($90). Thus you win $1,830.

As you can see, a simple ticket just playing for the 6s, 7s, and 8s can be lucrative if luck goes your way. Even if you do not hit six or more numbers you still are eligible for partial pays of 5-out-of-8, 5-out-of-7, 5-out-of-6 and hits returning your bet of 4-out-of-8 and 4-out-of-8 as well. Still remaining are hits of 3- and 4-out-of-6. Thus you will have plenty of action for your $2.80 bet.

In prior columns we have mentioned a ticket of 2-2-1-1-1-1 playing for 5s and up. This gives you 25 total ways, thus to keep the ticket cost within reason play at 20 cents a way for $5 per game and get even more action. If you just want to go for the higher pays of 6s, 7s, and 8s you have an 8, four 7s and eight 6s for a total of 13 ways, which boils down to $5.20 per game at 40 cents a way.

Notice that when you split one of the groups from the 2-2-2-1-1 ticket and make it a 2-2-1-1-1-1 you double the number of possible ways as you have four 7s instead of two and eight 6s instead of four.

This is universally true anytime you divide a group in two, you will find the total number of ways on the ticket will double for all possible hits except the hit of all the numbers on the ticket.

Remember, the total number of ways on any given ticket is 2 to the nth (n being the number of groups on the ticket) -1. Thus if you have six groups (2-2-1-1-1-1) you have a ticket with 31 possible ways (note this includes everything possible from 1-spots to 8-spots from this ticket). If you play a 2-2-2-1-1 ticket you have 15 possible ways (same formula 2 the nth -1 equals 15).

To many, splitting the groups to make more kings (groups of one) makes the ticket that much more powerful, albeit at a higher ticket cost due the greater number of ways. The choice is yours. Personally, I like the use of kings and just find a casino that allows a lower minimum per way. 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. Email:

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