Keno group wants answers to multiple tournament buy-ins

October 04, 2016 3:00 AM


I recently received an email from the Yahoo keno group describing how an individual bought in multiple times to a tournament and won a large jackpot-sized payout during tournament play.

The logical question is, is this fair? Just because one is wealthier should they have a better chance at the prize money? This is definitely an issue, as if this happens on a regular basis patrons will be discouraged from playing in tournaments when someone can just literally “buy” the tournament with multiple entries.

The more entries, the more tickets, the greater the chance you have to win. This is definitely true, but is it fair? If more people buy-in the same thing could happen and no one would contest the fairness. What is the solution? Here are some suggestions.

Put a time limit on buy-ins stricter than current time limits. Use the tournament halfway mark as the point by which all buying must be made. This way some wealthy individual person or group cannot wait until close to the end, see there have been no big winners thus far, and buy-in as often as needed to win the tournament.

By having to commit earlier it should be fairer to all. Even if they sit on their buy-in until the end, the number of entries is known for sure at the halfway mark and players can adjust their play accordingly.

Secondly, if the initial prize fund is, for example, based on 100 entries adjust the prize fund up or down proportionately based on the number of entries. The best way to increase the pays on the winners is by paying more places, making more people happy and encouraging more return play at a future date.

Being that we have said the above, will casinos change their ways? Maybe yes, if the players ask it. It is very profitable for casinos to allow unlimited buying right up to the end as usually the prize fund is not increased nor are the extras such as free rooms given with more entries. I do not know about others, but I can only sleep in one bed at a time.

The idea is to generate interest in keno and other casino activities to encourage repeat play and attendance at the sponsoring casino. If players get discouraged it is a no win situation for everyone, literally!

How can a player best deal with this situation should he or she find himself or herself in a current tournament that is being monopolized by these “pros?”

One idea is to play tickets with longer odds as the huge buy-ins do not decrease the chances of your winning that prize as much.

Why is this true? If you play seven spots at $5 a game, for example 100 games with the tourney buy in of $500, your approximate odds of hitting a solid 7. (approximate odds as binomial theorem comes in to play as you could hit a solid 7 more than once as well) are 40,979-to-1 times 100 games, which comes out to about 410-to-1. If a person buys in twice and plays the same way, it still runs about 205-to-1 thus still a long shot. Thus while they have twice the chance you do it still is a long shot for both of you.

If you are playing sixes, 100 times your approximate odds reduce to 78-to-1; and with two buy-ins, about 39-to-1. Of course if they buy in 10 times (it is done) their odds are now about 8- to-1. Unfortunately, when money is involved greed takes it course.

The other issue is, if you play long shots most of the time you will walk home with less than the player who plays easier to hit tickets, but when you do win, oh, how nice it is!

Thus let’s hope the casinos read this and level the playing field by cutting off buy-ins at the halfway point and adjusting the prize upward as entries go up. This would seem to be the fairest way to make all players happy. What do you think?

On the progressive front, as I write this the Atlantis Casino in Reno 9-spot progressive is approaching $1,109,000 and the statewide Mega10 (MegaKeno) 10-spot is approaching $1,928,000. If in Reno, try your luck at Atlantis or a place that offers MegaKeno. If in Vegas, the Excalibur and El Cortez offer the better-pay table on MegaKeno tickets.

Please keep posted for an upcoming Keno Kontest in this column. If you should come across any good keno promotions feel free to scan them and send to my email address.

If the tournament bug starts to bite you, try the mini-keno tournaments weekly at Atlantis, Gold Coast, The Orleans and Palace Station, and anywhere else they are offered. It is a lot of fun for the money and you might even win. Best of luck to all!