You walk into a casino, sit down and want to play keno. Pick up the pay book and then decide which rate should you play.
It becomes even more interesting when a casino offers up to 10 different rates as does the excellent 24-hour game at the El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas.
Let’s examine first what they have. In addition to the statewide Megakeno at the better of two rates, which currently has a 10-spot near $2.4 million and rising and a 9-spot at over $300,000 and going up, you have additional rates form 40 cents to $1.25. Here is a list and my commentary.
40-cent special rate: Lower house edge than most rates; easily divisible for lower way ticket rates at 20 cents per way with 10 ways or more. Really nice pay on the 7-spot where a 40-cent 7 out of 7 pays $7,000. Available for plays of 2 through 10 spots. I also like the $1,000 return on a 40-cent 6 out of 6.
65 cent special rate: Reasonable house edge. This rate works well for straight tickets as 65 cents does not really divide into any lower price way tickets but if you can play at 65 cents a way, there are some attractive pay tables. You can win $600 for a 5-spot, you can win $2,000 for a 6-spot. This is really good for 6 out 6. The 8-spot pays $25,000; 9- and 10-spots pay $50,000 for a solid hit.
You need not play the same rate for all ways, but of course each way for a number of spots is played at the same rate. Thus you can combine the best of two or more different rates. Make sure you mark your ticket accordingly.
Let’s have some real fun for about $10 a game. Using my favorite king-deuce 8-spot, grouping 2-2-1-1 try this out for size.
Play the 8 at 65 cents, the 7s at 40¢, the 6s at 65¢ and the 5s at 40¢. Thus you have a total of $10.95 per game. Hit any of your ways solid and you will have a good pay with added small pays for many of the other ways. This is a power ticket.
Meanwhile, if you have the dough (plenty of good bakeries in Las Vegas) to play a straight 9 and 10 for $1.50 each (Megakeno) you can go for the big money. Use your slot card when playing for great comps as well.
Continuing on their many rates, for those who like nostalgic keno from last millennium, you have the old 70-cent rate good for one to 15 spots. If you are looking for intermediate pays this is a good choice.
They have an 85- and 90-cent rate for play of four through nine spots. Use the 90-cent rate at 45 a way if you want to play for a lower cost. The pays on the 90¢ are more geared to the top payouts.
We now come to the $1 rate, known by many as the regular rate (87 octane). It is available for one through 15 spots and evenly divides for way tickets at a lower rate. This is a rate for those who like to be paid more on the middle hits while willing to give up something on the huge ones.
We have the $1.10 and the $1.25 rates, both for one to 10 spots and offer a good combination of payouts for fewer hits while still having a good top end payout.
Lastly there is Megakeno for five through 10 spots and, as written above, the 9 and 10 are getting really high, even if you don’t drink. Of course you could ask the cocktail waitress for a Jack Daniels and a 10 out of 10.
There is a name for combining ways on a ticket. It is called a combination ticket.
It is important that you specify the rate you are playing on the ticket and make sure before you leave the counter that the ticket is correct. The writers are only human (except at Quarks where you may have Romulans, Klingons, etc.) and can make mistakes. After all, this is Keno not Dabo.
You hit a number of groups on your ticket solid and get paid in pictures of our past leaders! Well, what are you waiting for? Go directly to Keno, do pass go and hit a nickel royal on video poker and collect your $200. Your numbers may very well come up!