There have been many different versions of video keno made since the first games appeared with dual-screens and light pens used to mark numbers.
One of the best examples of a successful take on traditional keno has been Caveman Keno.
In Caveman, each draw sequence is preceded by three eggs appearing on random, non-marked numbers when the player initiates play. If these spots are then drawn, the eggs hatch into dinosaurs and a multiplier is awarded. Hitting one does nothing, but hitting two multiplies the credits you win by four if you also hit enough of your marked numbers to produce a win. Hatching three eggs will multiply any winnings by either eight or 10.
Notice I used the word “either” in the last sentence. Here’s another one – Caveman Keno has a top non-multiplied award of either 1,000 or 2,000 credits. This makes Caveman Keno unique in that it is the only game to have such vastly different paytables and multiplier settings available.
Typically, games that differ as much as the two variants of Caveman Keno do would be completely different games with different names, or one would at least use the word “bonus” in the title. Not so with Caveman.
One version of Caveman offers a top award of 2,000 credits for hitting a solid seven-spot or better and a top multiplier of 10X, giving the player a total top possible award of 20,000-1, twice that of traditional keno.
The other version has a top award of only 1,000 credits for a solid seven-spot or better and a top multiplier of 8X. Some easy math is all it takes to realize this version pays a top award of only 8,000 credits per credit bet – 2,000 credits less than traditional keno and a full 12,000 credits less than the other version of the game using the exact same name!
Now while you might be surprised at how drastically different the two versions of Caveman paytables are, you might be even more surprised to learn neither version is necessarily better than the other.
There are about six different paytables available for each version of Caveman, ranging from about 88% payback to over 94%, and each has a rough equivalent in the other version. Actually, the loosest setting of Caveman pays back better than 95% and, believe it or not, it’s only available on the 1,000-1 8X game.
This relative equality in overall payback is achieved by increasing the lower awards on the 1,000-1 8X versions of the game. Keep in mind the probability of hitting a big award like a solid six or seven spot is significantly less than the probability of hitting a lesser award. This means a huge reduction in a top award can be offset by a relatively minor increase in a lesser award.
For example, if we compare the 6-spot payback on each version of two Caveman paytables having nearly exactly the same overall payback, we will see the top non-multiplied award for six out of six is 800 on the 2,000-1 10X game, but only 150 on the 1,000-1 8X game.
Both pay 2-1 when hitting three spots, but four and five spot hits pay 5-1 and 49-1 respectively in the first case and 6-1 and 65-1 in the second case. This modest one-credit/16-credit increase in more common hits makes up for the huge 650 credit decrease on the top award.
The way these two variations of Caveman pay make the 1,000-1 8X game far less volatile and better suited to the keno player looking for extended play time. Typically keno players are accustomed to a more volatile game though, and most are looking for the big score, so the 2,000-1 10X version of Caveman has become almost universally more popular.
No matter which you prefer, Caveman players would be well advised to check paytables before playing. Also, few machines can offer either version of Caveman – most are loaded with only one of the two versions.
This means it’s uncommon to find both variations under the same roof since casino operators often try to minimize the number of different multi-game programs in use, so you might need to look around a bit to find your lucky Caveman. Happy hunting!
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