Check out the D for common tickets

May 10, 2016 3:00 AM


The D Las VegasThere are many common tickets out there, some even in casino pay books as examples of way tickets to play. Let’s examine a few and perhaps add our own.

Try a grouping of 15 numbers as all 3s such as 3-3-3-3-3. Being there are five groups, using the formula 2 to the nth -1 we get 32 -1 = 31 possible groupings. We have one 25-spot, five 12-spots, ten 9-spots, ten 6-spots and five 3-spots, which is 1+5+10+10+5 = 31.

We know a solid 15 has never been hit. We also know hitting 3-of-3 does not pay a lot. How about just playing the 6s and 9s, giving you a total of 20 ways? Many casinos will let you play 20 ways at very low minimums, thus the ticket can be quite affordable while at the same time giving you a lot of action for your bet.

Let’s try an interesting take on this ticket by adding a king (a group of one). Thus we have groups of 3-3-3-3-3-1. Since there are now six groups instead of five we now have 63 possible ways.

We now have a 16-spot, a 15-spot, five 13-spots, five 12-spots, ten 10-spots, ten 1-spots, ten 7-spots, ten 6-six spots, five 4-spots, five 3-spots, and one king (one-spot). Thus we have 1+1+5+5+10+10+10+10+5+5+1 = 63 total ways.

Of course you need not play all of them. Play the 10s, 9s, 7s, and 6s at a low minimum and you have 40 ways. Play at The D with their Deano rate returning 85% playing at a dime a way and you have $4 per ticket with a LOT of action.

If you have to play 20 cents a way at your favorite casino then you have an $8 ticket or at a quarter a way you have a $10 ticket. Please keep in mind the wins are proportional to the amount wagered, except if you hit the aggregate limit. We should have such a problem!

There is no limit to what you can do with keno tickets provided you observe the house minimums and have the necessary bankroll. Many casinos offer sharply reduced rates when you play a lot of ways, making even 40 way tickets affordable.

If you do not know how to calculate the number of possible ways, no problem. The keno writers can input your grouping into the computer and tell you how many ways are possible. Of course if you know the number of ways it is usually more fun!

Thus you can modify the pay book examples to your liking. They are there as a guide for you to learn how way tickets work. Try to figure them out in advance as the ticket you think costs $4 at 10 cents a way really has 56 ways and costs $5.60 a game, etc, etc. Also, it is good to know how to calculate the ways so you know the exact payoff in case of computer or writer error.

The computer language used in most places, despite what you may have been told, is GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). This way when you leave the counter you know your ticket is right if you know in advance how to figure out the ways.

When you check into the hotel get some blank keno tickets and in your room write out some way tickets you like and try to figure out the ways before you play. You can mix rates and ticket types on your tickets as well.

For example, you can play the 10 at the $1 regular rate, the 9s at the 40-cent special rate, the 7s at 50 cents based on the regular rate, and the 6s at the old 70-cent rate if offered.

Most important: Make sure you mark on the side of your ticket, next to the ways, which rate you want for that particular number of spots and ways. If not, most casinos will default you to the regular rate.

Often the casino pay book will have a code for each rate so you can save space and have enough room to put all the information needed on the ticket. Yes, read the pay book before you play.

Keno writers really appreciate when tickets are written out properly and neatly. They cannot read your mind. Make it clear what you want to play. The person behind you in line will appreciate it as well. Best of luck!

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: