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The El Cortez is again at the head of the pack with new keno machine offerings from IGT and U1 Gaming. There is no lack of enthusiasm in keno and players can have more fun than ever.

First, let’s talk about the U1 machines, located just east of the Slot Club at El Cortez, along the east wall on the side of the wall by the main casino. The people at U1 have literally thought of everything. Their machine features these special items that I know you are going to like.

• A little clock on the top left of the display. Also, a USB port to charge your phone. This way you do not have to leave your communicator somewhere else to get it charged. Great idea! The machines display the returns to the player for all bet and coin levels, no more secrecy!

• In video poker it assumes optimum play. If you have four to the royal with a pair of kings it is assumes you know to go for the big one to get the highest value for your bet. The percentages are even shown for the video reel slots.

• The machine has loads of different video slot, keno and video poker machines. It even has a way for you to input a pin to lock up your machine in case you need a bathroom break or get a snack. It has a two-layer option where you can compete with your friend and will automatically switch from player to player (left to right or right to left) after a win or loss as you so designate.

• It keeps track of the amount of money you spend, which will come in useful for tax purposes. The screen is big, has room for two players if desired.

Of course you get the same cash and comp credit by inserting your slot card as with any other machine. Talk about player friendly machines, it simply does not get any better!

If you get hungry (don’t we all) Siegel’s, their 24 hour high quality restaurant is a very short walk from the U1 machines. If you have not eaten there it is well worth your time and money as the food is good and the prices are very reasonable. The Matzoh ball soup is almost a meal in of itself. They have all the American dishes you could want and some oriental dishes and other cuisines as well, thus if you have non gambling friends their money is well spent in the restaurant.

Now on to the IGT machines in the same area.

• They have expanded on the idea of multi-card play by having each card draw from a different keno goose as in multi-play video poker. They offer 3-, 5-, and 10-play with this option. Lots of fun and more chances to win.

• They have a new twist on a very popular favorite, Cleopatra Keno. This game is so popular as any time the last ball drawn is part of your winning ticket you get 12 free plays with your pay doubled during those 12 free games. The more numbers you play the more likely you will get to the bonus round. Since there is a pay on 4 out of 10 you will get to this bonus round reasonably often.

However, if this is not frequent enough for you they now offer four-card Cleopatra Keno. If you choose each card with different numbers on a 10-spot you will have half of the board going for you. You will spend a lot of time in the bonus round as any time the last ball drawn in the game (on any of the four cards) is part of a paying ticket you will be thrown into the bonus round of 12 free games; double pay on each one.

Many think they have to stay in the poshest hotel to enjoy Las Vegas. Not true. Go to downtown Las Vegas for the best values and go to the El Cortez where you will experience Vegas as it used to be with 3-to-2 on all blackjack tables, 10 times odds-on craps, a slot club that pays 0.25% cash back instead of .10% cash back, a low resort fee (1/3 as much as many places elsewhere), 24-hour transit bus access and an atmosphere that does not make you feel uncomfortable as a low level player.

Imagine if this business philosophy spread to the rest of the city! You can have a good meal for under $30 including tax, beverage and tip. Why pay $100 elsewhere for the same thing?

There is free entertainment under the Fremont Street canopy evenings, seven days a week. Low level keno players are welcome all over downtown with way tickets at less than $1 a way very common. You can go to UFC viewing parties at the El Cortez from $20 or $10 if you are a slot club member. Need anything? Go see Norodom Malilay, host at El Cortez, or visit the slot club booth.

If you are coming from the Strip on The Deuce get off by Walgreens at 4th and Fremont and walk just two short blocks to keno at the El Cortez, which is 24/7 just like the Deuce bus.

Most downtown casinos, unlike elsewhere, have kept their keno games. You can put in tickets at several of your favorite places at once without having to get into a vehicle to go from keno lounge to keno lounge. The RTC runs a free loop shuttle downtown as well. Downtown has keno (from west to east) at Plaza, California Cal (24/7), Golden Nugget, Fremont, Four Queens, The D, and El Cortez (24/7).

Write to the email below if you see anything new in keno and I shall research and write about it. How many of my readers would like a small, weekly keno tourney such as on a Sunday night from 5 to 10 with no required minimum buy in or amount of play and small prizes such as a few hundred dollars and complimentary meals?

[email protected]

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