March 09, 2010 7:14 AM
by L.J. Zahm
I guess you could say that Four Card Keno can be construed as video keno’s answer to the immensely popular multi-hand video poker, such as Triple Play, five-hand, 10-hand poker and more.
Its concept is very simple: players can play up to four different keno cards on the same keno game. That is, you can mark one to four cards (you don’t have to play all four), picking any number of spots on each card. Then the game proceeds as in regular keno, with 20 numbers being drawn.
The obvious advantage is that you can cover a lot more numbers than with one card. Equally, the disadvantage is that you’re betting four cards instead of one, and the costs can mount.
Four Card Keno is available in various denominations, from a penny up to a dollar, and I’ve found that the multi-denominational machines offer the best chances to win, because you can move from one denomination to another by simply touching the screen.
One caveat, though, should you play on a multi-denominational machine. Often times, the pay tables at the penny and two-penny denomination are lower than the other pay tables.
As an example, I’ve included an image of a Four Card Keno pay table for denominations of 5¢ and higher. Their payouts are basically the same as you’d find on a "standard" keno game.
On the same machine, the pay tables for 1¢ games are noticeably less.
For example, the payoff for catching 7-of-8 on the standard pay table is 1652-for-one, but it drops to 1250-for-one on the 1¢ game. Similarly, hitting 8-of-9 returns 4700-for-one on the higher table but only 4000-for-one on the smaller denomination.
The lower pay tables is a trend that not only plagues multi-card keno games, such as Four Card Keno and 20-Card Keno, but they are also appearing in standard or single-ticket keno games as well. I suppose it’s just a sign of the times, but always try to find games with the better pay tables.
Nonetheless, Four Card Keno usually gives the player a better chance to win.
Here are a couple of examples of how the game extends a player’s chances: A 10-spot player often bets the entire horizontal row, which is fine. But you can get a lot more mileage out of playing two 10-spot rows on top of each other (such as the 20’s and 30’s rows), as well as the two 10-spot cards made up of 21-25, 36-40 numbers and the 31-35, 26-30 numbers. This way you have an overlap, in which you can sometimes hit, say two seven out of 10, or even two eight out of 10 jackpots.
Similarly, I like to play two solid eight columns (vertical), such as the 3 and 4 columns, coupled with the two 8-spot cards made up of the 3, 13, 23, 33, 44, 54, 64, 74 and the 4, 14, 24, 34, 43, 53, 63, 73 numbers. Again, you have overlap, opening the possibility of "doubling up" on a six out of eight or even seven out of eight jackpot.
These are just a few examples, and you should experiment with your own favorite patterns. We all have them, whether they’re boxes, lines or just random numbers. If you have a favorite that has worked well for you, let me know about it and I’ll give it a try.