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This week I will reach into the mail bag and answer an email I received from reader “Ralph.” Thanks for the e-mail and supporting GamingToday.

“The only place I can play live keno is in Las Vegas. The people I travel with usually stay on the Strip so the payback percentages are not that good. What would your favorite ticket be to play if I want to spend about $4 or $5 per ticket?

“I usually play 25 games at a time. There are so many choices I get confused. I have read the books, but I still cannot decide what type of ticket would be best. I usually play something with five ways because they pay well. The problem is you usually either walk away with a good pay or get nothing.

“Any help would be most appreciated. Thank you for writing your column and taking time to educate us.”

I think you will be able to find some good pay rates on the Strip, but even if you can’t you can get to downtown or to one of the neighborhood casinos. One good thing about Vegas casinos is most of them have very adequate and convenient parking.

If you want to find good info on current payrates, join the Keno Yahoo group and check out the archives or simply ask the question. You can find the Yahoo group at “five ways” I assume you mean playing 5-spots on your tickets. The 5-spot is my favorite ticket as I have made clear over the years. It offers a nice top end payout for a dollar (usually 800 to 1000 for 1) and it is not impossible to hit (1550-1 approx).

On the downside, 5-spots offer fewer small winners so your bankroll may deplete faster than if you were playing fours or sixes for instance. The fact remains that 5-spots offer the best chance to walk out of the casino a winner if betting in the neighborhood of $1,000. The next best ticket is. surprisingly, the 12-spot.

It is also a fact that straight tickets played without number duplication offer the player the best chance of winning. Of course I love way tickets and often ignore this advice myself, but I play for fun, not to maximize my chances absolutely.

Your best play would be four or five straight 5-spots per game, without duplicating numbers. You can put them all on the same ticket. You can use a corner strategy – line off the four quadrants and place a 5-spot somewhere in each quadrant. Also, you can “quick pik” four or five 5-spots on the same ticket to avoid duplication.

If you want to play a way ticket, try the 5-way-5 (2-2-1-1-1), but do cover the 7-spot. Or try the 4-way-5 3-3-2-2 and cover the 10.

The duplication of numbers does not affect the total odds of the game, but way tickets with duplicated numbers (numbers that figure into multiple ways) tend to increase the size of some winners at the expense of a lower win frequency. That’s how it works.

That’s it for now. Good Luck and see you on line at [email protected]

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