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Today we talk about going for a progressive, specifically the 8- and 9-spot $2 progressive offered at the Gold Coast and Orleans.

The progressive, which starts at $100,000, is hit with a solid 8 or 9 spot on a $2 bet. You may ask why bother with the 9-spot when the 8 is over five times as easy to hit. True, but there are cases where you could hit a solid 9 without hitting an 8 on the same ticket.

Let’s say you play a ticket grouped 3-2-2-2-1 and hit the ticket in a game like 3-2-2-2-0. You have a solid 9 but not an 8. You need to use the king to hit the 8 (king is a group of one). The three 8s possible are made by using the group of 3, two of three groups of 2, and the king (group of 1).

There is only one 9 possible, all numbers except the king, that is the groups of 3-2-2-2.

Now you probably notice there are 10 spots total. It would be a good idea to play the 10 in case you get several numbers hit but not solid in most of the groups.

Thus to go for the big one (starts at $100K) you have a 10-spot, a 9 and three 8-spots for a total ticket price of $10. Not cheap but you are going for the big one and might have to spend a little.

There are ways to go for the progressives that are cheaper. Of course fewer ways mean less possibilities of that big win. You might play a 4-3-2-1 where you could try the 10 at $1, and the 8 and 9 at $2 each as required by the progressive. The total ticket costs is $5.

The beauty of the 3-2-2-2-1 ticket is you can win either the 8 or the 9 without hitting all 10 spots. You can also mimic this game for the 8- and 9-spots on the popular four-card video keno and play for really low levels.

Play slowly as you can put a lot of nickels, quarters or dollars through a machine in an hour where the live game has at least 5 minutes between games

Here is an example. Mark ticket A: with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, which is your 9-spot. Mark ticket B: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, which is your first 8-spot. Mark ticket C: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, which is your second 8-spot. Mark ticket D: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, which is your third 8-spot.

The excellent and fun non-gambling website (though they give Visa gift cards for prizes) has the exact same 4 Card Keno game you see in the casinos. You can practice at home as well.

I used the top row as an example but any group of 10 numbers grouped 3-2-2-2-1 will do. If it is too complicated to figure out on a machine, write out a regular 10-spot ticket grouped as above. Circle the groups appropriately, bring it over to the machine and just put the numbers in each possible 8- and 9-spot in to the tickets A, B, C, D.

Both of these casinos have weekly mini-tournaments and The Orleans has an excellent buy-in tournament several times a year with good prize money ($10K-plus), free or discounted rooms, and buffets thrown in with a small gift as well. In tournaments the advantage switches to the player when you consider the prize fund, free or discounted room, and the buffets.

The 24/7 restaurant TGIF at the Gold Coast is excellent. Very friendly service, a great place to watch games and have good food at reasonable prices. TGIF has a good loyalty program called Stripes. Inquire within.

The Orleans has an excellent TGIF with the same great amenities as the one at Gold Coast.

Both of these casinos have a free shuttle to the Strip and between each other 24/7 by transit buses (201, Orleans; 202, Gold Coast). The 104 runs between them as well (short walk from Gold Coast) from about 6 a.m.-midnight. Both have good 99% (with proper play) video poker and buffet prices lower than The Strip.

They are part of Boyd Gaming thus part of the Bconnected players club, which has three tiers and gives good mail offers to regular players, even those at low levels. The Orleans has the larger keno department of the two and is 24/7 with 50% of the seats non-smoking.

Great food, video poker, and keno await you at The Orleans and Gold Coast. Best of luck to you!

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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