20-Card Keno

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Thanks to all the readers who wrote in about the new U1 multi-game machine that’s being handled exclusively by United Coin Machine Company here in Nevada. It’s nice to see other keno players so enthusiastic about a new game with, hopefully, new ways to win.

One reader asked about the Multi-Card (20-card) Keno game I was reviewing: “You seem to mark your numbers in overlapping groups, rather than trying to create patterns that cover the whole board … why is that?”

The reason I mark my numbers in “clusters” is that I’m betting that the numbers won’t land symmetrically, but will instead land in irregular groups or patterns. And, hopefully, they will land at some point, within my patterns.

As an analogy, it would be like predicting how 20 coins would land if you threw a handful of them onto the ground. Statistically, half would land heads-up while half would land tails-up. But in reality, they most likely will land in strange configurations, with a finite number of times all landing the same way!

If you’ve ever watched or even tracked how keno numbers land on the board, you will know that they don’t simply land symmetrically throughout the board.

For instance, if you track how many numbers land on a row of 10 numbers, in theory there should be an average of 2½ numbers landing on each of the eight rows (20 numbers are drawn from a possible 80).

In reality, the number landing on any given row can vary widely – from nothing to up to seven, eight or more numbers practically filling in the entire row.

Thus, if you mark your patterns on a 10-number row, it’s reasonable to assume that at some point, most or all of the numbers will eventually hit.

The operative word is “eventually.” That can mean immediately, or after you’ve drained your entire bankroll.

As I noted last week, I often mark 16 numbers into similar configurations; that is, two groups of eight numbers that each “contain” eight solid 7-spots in each, as well as a couple of overlapping solid 8-spots.

One particular cluster has been quite successful. It involves two groups of eight numbers, marked above and below the dividing line.

Before getting into that particular cluster, let’s review some odds of how frequently numbers will fall into your cluster of 16.

The dream, of course, is to have all the numbers drop in, resulting in hitting all 16 of your 7-spot tickets, as well as your two 8-spot tickets. But those odds are a staggering 5.56 trillion to 1!

It’s also off the charts to expect hitting 15 of 16 numbers (29 billion to 1), 14 of 16 numbers (392 million to 1), 13 of 16 numbers (10.1 million to 1) … well, you get the picture.

In reality, since I’ve been playing this cluster, the most I’ve hit was 11 numbers (at odds of 29,388 to 1, which is about 44 percent less than the odds of hitting a royal flush in video poker).

But you don’t really need that many numbers to cash a nice payoff. In this configuration, you get a nice payoff when you hit seven of your eight numbers (which results in a solid 7-spot and seven 6-of-7’s in the multiple 7-spot configuration, or a 7-of-8 in the 8-spot ticket).

Most of the time, you’ll get three, four and five numbers, but occasionally you’ll catch seven, eight, nine and even 10 numbers. If you’re lucky, they’ll fall into the “right” cluster and pay handsomely.

Now, back to the new cluster pattern. As you can see, it involves a “mirror” image of eight numbers (which conceal eight solid 7-spots) as well as two solid 8-spots that share the common four numbers – 23, 33, 43 and 53).

I’ve played this pattern many times on a Multi Card Keno game but it can also work on Four Card Keno (simply mark the top and bottom eight numbers as two 8-spots).

The result has been several 7-of-8 hits into the top and bottom clusters (resulting in several solid 7-spots), and an equal number of 7-of-8 hits into the solid 8-spots. I also hit a solid 8-spot in the side-by-side tickets, but have yet to hit all eight of the top and bottom numbers. When that occurs, it will pay eight solid 7-spots, which amounts to about $11,000 when playing nickel denomination keno (with four coins bet on all cards).

I haven’t hit it yet, but maybe you will! Let me know if – and when! – you do.

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