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I received some feedback on a prior column where a casino employee told one of our readers that king tickets never win. What were they doing on June 8, 2004?

Apparently, when one has a ticket of 8 kings playing the eight and the eight 7s, and 7 numbers come up that is not called a win. I guess that $10,200 less the $5 ticket cost for a net win of $10,195 is not a win.

The reason may be as follows. The writer involved, despite longevity on the job has seen few all king tickets and the ones he or she has seen were not winners. The beauty of a king is that it appears on the average once in four games, that is a given individual king.

Of course more kings to hit have much higher odds. For example, two kings have about 16.6:1 odds of BOTH hitting, the same as a deuce (group of two numbers, a king being a group of a single number).

The secondary benefit of an all king ticket is you need not worry about which way you hit your numbers if less than all your numbers are caught. Let’s say you play this ticket 2-2-2-1-1 and you catch 2-2-1-1-1 for a total of 7 numbers caught. You will have a 7-of-8 and a solid 6 (if you have played the 6s) but you will not have a solid 7.

If you catch, 2-2-2-1-0 you will have a solid. The latter is what is called “catching your numbers the right way” as you have caught the best numbers to maximize your payoff. If you play all kings, the 8 plus eight 7s and seven numbers hit that will give you a solid 7.

That is the advantage of playing kings. Often, being that there are more ways in an all king ticket, your tickets will cost more, but look at the rewards you will get if you hit! With an all king ticket all the ways you hit become the “right” way.

The mathematics of keno governs the game, not speculations about what is or is not a good ticket. The house advantage remains the same regardless of which numbers you play. Thus shopping around for the lowest house advantage is always a good idea.

Taking advantage of promotions is good, too. Tournament keno may even offer a player advantage when all the freebies or discounts for tournament players are calculated into the overall outcome.

Downtown Las Vegas has excellent keno, especially at The D, the California, Fremont, and El Cortez. So does the Atlantis, Rail City, and Peppermill in Reno. The Oregon State lottery has a good keno game, too, as lottery keno goes.

The Orleans, Gold Coast, Excalibur, Treasure Island, Sam’s Town, Station Casinos and Jerry’s Nugget have good games as well. The excellent transit system in Vegas serves all these locations making your dollars available for keno rather than expensive car rentals or taxis. Use your slot card or tracking number when playing. If a keno game offers a non-smoking area patronize it and ask those that fail to provide for the non-smoking majority to convert at least half their keno area to non-smoking status as well.

I wish to thank all those who have written to me c/o GamingToday as you have given me excellent ideas for future columns, thus keep those emails coming. If you see a promotion that needs to be evaluated, feel free to send the details to me in full and I will gladly look and advise you accordingly.

When you arrive at your favorite keno haunt check out the pay books carefully and any rules posted at the counter prior to play. Have a good time, bet carefully with money you can afford to lose, enjoy any freebies, and win. As the late Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing.”

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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