Keno 'view'

Mar 30, 2010 7:09 AM

Learn to take what the keno game gives

Lately, players have told me (as well as some casino supervisors) that the number of hand-pay keno jackpots has dropped off, and that it is much harder to win today, compared to a couple of years ago.

I must confess that I haven’t had as many W-2G payoffs lately as I’ve had in years past.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t win playing video keno. You might have to reevaluate what you consider a "win."

Quite frankly, I’ve always felt a "win" was when I hit a nice jackpot, one that requires the floor attendant to pay you off in a fistful of $100 bills.

These would include catching 8-out-of-9, 8-out-of-10, 7-out-of-8 or 7-out-of-7.

But you aren’t always going to catch those jackpots at a given session. And, the problem many players face is they will expend their entire bankroll trying to hit those without success.

Because the jackpots are so infrequent, you have to learn how to take what the machine will give you, and leave with your bankroll intact, if not slightly larger, than when you started.

For instance, if you’re playing 9-spot cards, you might want to quit after catching 7-of-9, which pays about $300 for four quarters bet (or about $65 for four nickels). Or if you’re playing 7-spots, you might want to cash out if you’re fortunate enough to hit 6-of-7 (about $400 for four quarters).

This was how my playing sessions went last weekend. I was playing Four Card Keno, and the best I could hit was a couple of 7-out-of-9 jackpots, and one 6-out-of-7 jackpot.

In one of the sessions, I caught a 7-of-9 and 6-of-7 in the same game, since I had overlapped two 7-spots with two 9-spots. (One more number would have generated a solid 7-spot and 8-of-9 jackpot, but it wasn’t to be. Like most keno players, it’s a common lament that all I needed was one more number!)

The point is I was able to take some winnings home, about 30 percent more than what I started with. That’s because I played off (gave back) some of the payoffs, trying to catch that last number.

That’s always going to be the hazard of catching these mid-range jackpots: you don’t want to give it all back, and then some, trying to catch the higher award that you just missed.

So, even though you don’t hit the jackpot you’re shooting for, if you can leave the casino a winner, you’ve done well.

And you will have your bankroll intact, if not a little fatter, in order to play again another day.