There are multiple keno tournaments in August, including one at the California Hotel (Aug. 3-7) and another at The D (Aug. 7-10), both in downtown Las Vegas. There is also a tourney at the Atlantis (Aug. 11-12) in Reno. I am hoping to play in all three of them.
But today’s column will focus on the Reno tournament in the northern part of the state where it is cooler than the Vegas Valley. The Atlantis is a large casino on Virginia Street with excellent transit access by the frequently running Rapid Bus that stops right out in front. It offers a free shuttle from the nearby airport and the Rapid bus goes to both Amtrak and Greyhound, making access very easy.
For casual dining, Atlantis offers an excellent buffet, the 24-hour Purple Parrot coffee shop adjacent to the keno lounge, and a very tasty deli. It is a full service hotel with indoor and outdoor pools and a complete fitness center.
The keno tournament has two interesting features not usually found in the other excellent tournaments I have reviewed in prior columns.
First, the required buy-in is still $500 but you do not have to buy in for $500 and then play against it. As long as you play for a total of $500 – no more, no less per entry – you qualify. Multiple entries are allowed, counted separately for prize purposes, of course.
Thus the money you win from prior tickets can be used as well for future tourney tickets. So if in the first 25 games you play a total of $250 and break even, you can use this $250 to buy your next series of tickets, and you have played the required $500. This is less strain on your wallet.
The second unique feature is they pay to 50, yes, FIFTY places. While the total prize pool is $15,000, based on 100 entries, paying 50 places allows many to go home with more than just what is won from the games themselves.
Obviously the higher winners get the bulk of the prize money but it is a nice touch. There is also a Lucky Ball winner and Unlucky Ball prize as well.
The duration of the tournament is 24 hours from 17:00 on August 11 to 17:00 on August 12. One-spots are prohibited and 2-, 3- and 4-spots are limited to $7.50 per game.
The interesting play here is using the More to the Meter Progressive. The Atlantis contributes 50 cents from each ticket purchased to their More to the Meter Jackpots, causing them to rise quickly. The 4- and 5-spots cost $2, the 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-spots cost $1.50 per ticket. In a tournament these can be a very powerful way to come out on top.
In a prior column I discussed way tickets to include them all. (If you are a subscriber to GamingToday, you have access to all these back issues online. Or just save the printed issues, as I do, for reference and the wealth of knowledge on casino games.)
The Atlantis also has high-end tickets suited for tournament play. In a tourney the big wins get you into the prize money. One is the Radical Catch All ticket for 3, 4, 5, and 6 spots. It may be played in increments of $1.50 up to $7.50 max per ticket.
Want to play all over the place for high end hits? Try their “T” rate at exactly 10 cents per ticket (50 ticket minimum on straight tickets) for 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 spots. This allows some really interesting tickets due to the low cost per way allowing all sorts of tickets. Try playing $2.50 a game 25 ways as 2-2-1-1-1-1 and you have one 8, four 7s, eight 6s, and 12 fives, a very powerful ticket as you are using just kings (groups of one) and deuces (groups of two).
All king tickets work, too. For example, play 8 kings (groups of one) and you have one 8, eight 7s, 28 sixes, and 56 fives for $9.30 per game and loads of action.
Like more standard tickets? Play $5 per ticket or way on their regular rate and get enhanced payouts. Like tickets leaning toward the higher end payouts that still give you something if you do not hit all your numbers? Try the Paradise Special tickets.
The Atlantis allows both the regular rate and the Paradise rate to be played for as low as 5 cents (a nickel, what the NYC subway used to cost for many years) a way provided the total ticket cost is $5 or more.
There are non-smoking seats in the keno lounge. Plus the Atlantis has 3-to-2 blackjack with some non-smoking tables and a small non-smoking video poker/slot section that offers games at the nickel level that approach 99% return with proper play (just be sure to leave a machine for me).
So, what are you waiting for? It’s a full service resort with great 24-hour keno and a tournament that pays 50 places to boot! The Atlantis – Keno Kapital of Northern Nevada!
Pesach Kremen is a former UNLV Masters Gaming student, has won and placed in multiple local keno tournaments, and has written several academic papers on Keno. You can reach him at [email protected].