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Today we shall explore more ways to have that chance at the big win. I still am suggesting 7 keno spots that pay greater than $10,000 per dollar as you find in downtown Las Vegas.

Based on information I am aware of these excellent seven-spot opportunities can be found at:

California: $1 regular rate pays $16,000; Island Rate (80 cents) pays $14,000.

Fremont: $1 regular rate pays $16,000; Pop 80 rate (80 cents) pays $14,000; $1.25 Special Rate pays $15,000.

Golden Nugget: $1.25 special rate pays $15,000.

The D: $1 Candyman rate pays $17,500; Deano rate for 80 cents pays $14,000 (Highest overall return of all 7-spot tickets in this price range in the area:

El Cortez: 40-cent rate played at 80 cents pays $14,000.

Downtown, with its low way ticket minimums can make your chance of a big winner come true. Please keep in mind that when you play for lesser or greater amounts per way your payoffs are adjusted accordingly.

The term Video Poker Heaven has been used in the past to describe video poker opportunities that were plentiful and with proper play afforded a return of over 100% to the player. While keno does not return over 100% for most tickets, one notable exception is progressives that can rise at times to over a 100% return until hit. You can get a player advantage when you consider the value of comps, offers, and tournament invitations that are sent to regular players. Thus while there may not be Keno Heaven, you can come close.

It’s more than math

There are other ways to evaluate games besides sheer mathematics.While the games cannot be changed by any “system” of wagering, the benefits given to players can be increased and decreased, especially if you know how to use them.

One non-mathematical benefit can be the enjoyment, or fun factor. As keno is a slow moving game you can relax as you play and take your time. You are not rushed to get your money on the table as usually you have at least 5 minutes and often more between games. In addition, I have very rarely seen a casino close a game while there were people waiting in line to hand in their tickets.

Please do be aware that a few random number games have popped up where everything is automated and you must turn in your tickets on time or wait for the next game. This is quite common in state lottery “keno” games such as the “hot spot” in California as an example.

The beauty of keno is you may do something else while playing, the only game where this is truly possible. You have your tickets and you can watch the action while you are enjoying yourself in the restaurant.While you can watch your 8-way seven-spot in action with your steak, I have yet to see watching your Hard 8 with your steak.

Many go to Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City, and other gambling destinations because of excellent food at reasonable prices (or even comped if your play warrants it, but do not overbet your bankroll to get a comp) and what more fun is there than to win money while eating?

My best keno win ever of $16K on three different tickets in the same game occurred while I was at the excellent Main Street Station buffet in June 2004 during a tourney at The Cal. You had to be there to express the surprise I got when coming back from the buffet to check my tickets.

Another advantage of being able to play while eating is you get to play in a non-smoking environment as well, as fortunately all Nevada restaurants are non-smoking by law.

A different way

Now, let’s try a new type of way ticket to catch those 7-spots. Play a 3-3-1-1 and you have four possible 7-spots. I like this ticket for when you are eating as even with the ways I play on it, the number of ways is not too high, making the ticket more affordable.

You have one 8, two 7s, one 6, and four 5s. Thus you have the chance for both moderate and large wins. With eight total ways you can have a lot of fun for $10 or less per game ($1.25/way X 8 = $10). Play at 50 cents a way (payoffs at half the dollar rate) and you spend $4 a game.

If allowed you can play even for less per way at several of the casinos mentioned earlier. Check the pay book of the particular casino for details and rules.

Another way

Another good meal ticket is playing a 2-2-2-1-1, giving you an 8, two 7s, and four 6s. Try also my long term favorite of 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1, eight kings, playing the one 8 and the eight 7s.

This type of ticket, which I played for $1 for the 8 and 50 cents a way for the 7s, is what hit for me (7 of 8) in 2004, giving me a $10,200 win – 7-of-8 paid $1,500, one 7-of-7 paid $8,000, and the seven 6-of-7s paid $100 each for the total of $10,200. If 59 would have not been a coward and had shown up the win would have been $79,000!

I wonder to this day how I would have reacted if I saw this win appear while I was at the buffet. In the same hotel you can watch the keno boards and know right away, and if you have a smartphone many casinos’ results are shown instantly online as well.

If you are in your hotel room, turn on the TV, there is usually one of the TV channels showing keno results. For obvious reasons keno runners cannot service you at your hotel room, though with in-house Internet gaming you might be able to initiate tickets from your room.

The idea is keno is fun regardless of where you play the game; it is just being able to play while in the restaurant or your room that makes it even more enjoyable. Have fun!

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. Email: [email protected]

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