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Keno Lil |
Yes, I know that Keno is often derided by gambling
“experts” in the popular press, mainly because the “house
percentage” is higher than blackjack, roulette or craps, and some slot

However, if we learned nothing else last week, it is the fact
that even a small edge, (or even no edge at all) can and does work against the
gambler’s bankroll over a long series of bets. Since the essence of the game
of Keno is, like a lottery, the attempt to win a large amount of money for a
relatively small wager, this process actually works in Keno’s favor.

Suppose that we have a modest (well very modest) bankroll
of only $2 and determined to win $1,000 or go home broke. In reality, we are
probably doomed to go home broke in this case.

It is a longshot, but the utility of a
grand twinkles in our consciousness like Orion on a crisp desert night.

Suppose also that we want to try our luck at 21 in order to win
the $1,000. We sit down at a $2 table, smile at the dealer and place our bet. We
know that to win the grand, we must at some point have achieved a surplus of
winning hands over losing hands of +500 units.

If the game of 21 is a 50-50 proposition, our chances of not
achieving our goal (by going broke) are roughly 98 percent, In other
words, we have about one chance in 500 of winning the grand.

But look at the situation in Keno. Quite a few Keno games offer
a special rate five spot that pays $1,000 for a solid five played for a dollar.
We know from previous calculations that given a Keno ticket with a 25 percent
house percentage, it’s possible on the average to play eight games before we
go broke.

Since the odds against a solid five are 1551 for 1, by playing
eight times we can cut the odds to 1551 for 8, or about one chance in 194 of
winning the $1,000.

Is this a magical trick? No, for two reasons:

• You are avoiding the inevitable grinding effect of thousands
of decisions upon your bankroll.

• Keno also offers additioanal payouts other than the $1,000.

If you need more convincing, imagine that the house percentage
at 21 is a mere 1 percent in the house’s favor. The odds, then, of getting to
a grand without going broke (while playing only $2 bets) are one chance in

So on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, if you want
to win a large amount of money with a small bankroll, Keno Lil gives keno 5

If you have a keno question, please write to me c/o GamingToday
or contact me on the web via email at [email protected].
Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!

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