Plan with small keno bankroll

June 14, 2016 3:00 AM


KenoWe all want to win as much as we can with a reasonable frequency, even in a long-shot game like keno. We want to have fun but win money, too. The trick is doing all of this when playing without a huge bankroll.

I suggest you use a way ticket that has a lot of ways at the pay amounts you like. Thus, here are a few tickets to try. They work especially well where you have low way ticket minimums.

I have always advocated smaller groups as it is easier to hit fewer rather than more numbers. A 3-2-2-2-1 would give you plenty of options and opportunities to win big.

With this configuration you would have one 10, one 9, three 8, four 7s, four 6s, six 5s, four 4s, four 3s, three 2s, and one 1, a total of 31 ways.

This is verified by the rule for calculating ways: 2 to the nth (n being the number of groups) -1. Thus we have 2 to the 5th -1 = 32-1 = 31. Of course you need not play all the ways; however, if you play a particular number of spots you must play all the ways that number of spots can be made. Thus if you decide to play the 6s, you must play all the ways a 6-spot can be made from this grouping, in this case four of them.

Most casinos will allow a quarter a way if you play 20 ways or more, and many will even allow ways at lesser amounts, provided you play enough ways. Of course, remember pays are proportional to the amount wagered. Remember you are betting real money, not quatloos, thus play at the amount you can afford to lose. (If you are not familiar with quatloos ask Star Trek’s James Tiberias Kirk about his stay on Triskelion.)

I like 5s and up to get a lot of action and would play the 10 at twice the rate of the other ways to come out with an even wager. The 5s and up gives you 19 ways and playing the 10 at twice the rate is the equivalent of 20 ways.

The 5-spot is the smallest number of spots where you get substantial odds (due to the higher odds in hitting it) thus it can be a good value with the proper pay table.

As with other way tickets discussed in prior columns, often when you hit one way solid you will hit other ways as well. Even on scatter pays you should do nicely with hits of 6 or more out of 10, which is not really that hard to get.

The beauty about keno is you can write your tickets in any configuration and amount you desire as long as way ticket minimums are observed, even playing different amounts or different rates for different number of ways played. Great options, so feel free to use them. Keno writers are used to the variety.

If where you are staying does not offer keno to your liking, get on the excellent transit system in both Las Vegas and Reno to the game of your choice. Save all those rental car and other fees for the good meals offered at many casinos and more of a playing bankroll as well.

Other configurations are good as well, such as 3-3-2-1-1 or 2-2-2-2-1-1 or whatever floats your boat (especially if you play on Lake Mead or Lake Tahoe).

Have fun and like a particular ticket. Feel free to write me about it at the email address below. Enjoy our great game!

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: