It’s taken awhile, but I think I’ve found a chink in the
armor of the new Multi-Card Keno game, which is also known as 20-card video
If you’ve been following this misbegotten saga, a few weeks
ago I announced that IGT had come out with a new video keno game that allows you
to mark up to 20 cards.
My first few experiences were all right, but I didn’t catch
the lovely big jackpots that only keno lovers will understand. Notably, I was
looking for a solid 7-for-7 or an 8-out-of-9, which are two of my favorite
Instead, I caught many 6-of-7’s and 7-of-9’s, but never
felt like I was “winning.”
Until last week. Starting on Sunday, I caught a nice
7-out-of-7, then hit four 8-out-of-9 jackpots over the next five days.
Two of those 8-of-9 jackpots actually had two winners on the
same hand, that is, the numbers I had marked overlapped, and thus, I caught two
8-of-9 payoffs on the same game.
There were a number of changes I made to my play, and I think
these changes made the difference in improving my “luck.”
Actually, these “changes” are perhaps more
appropriately just a reinforcement of the principles contained in my book,
“Cluster Keno.” Sometimes it pays to just stop, and go back to the
First, I decided to avoid the temptation to bet all 20 cards,
or even to bet a majority of the cards, say 14 or 16 cards.
I’ve found that when you’re playing 7-, 8-, 9- or 10-spot
cards, you will only hit it big on one, two or maybe three of your cards.
That’s because ”” and I point this out repeatedly in my
book ”” keno numbers seem to fall in clusters, rather than spread themselves
evenly across the keno board.
So, if you’re marking 20 cards and only
cashing on two or three of them, you will be losing at a fast rate, one that you
might not be able to maintain for very long. Unless, of course, you have an
So, I decided to play no more than eight (8) cards. This way,
I felt I was effectively covering a certain “zone” that I had targeted
with my play.
Secondly, I decided to make an effort to “re-set”
the numbers as much as possible. As anyone who’s followed this column knows, I
have always stressed that winning seems to come with changing your numbers, even
after three or four games.
As I’ve pointed out before, you don’t have to change your
numbers, just clear them, re-bet and then re-mark the numbers.
With the Multi-Card Keno, I had grown lazy about re-setting
the machine. Especially because it takes so long to mark a lot of different
But regardless of how many cards you mark, it’s worth it to
Finally, I decided to fall back on some of the cluster
patterns that had worked well in the past. Only this time, instead of marking
those patterns on a four-card game, I put them on eight cards.
But, and I think this is key, I put those eight patterns on
the same zone as I might have used on four-card keno.
Some examples may help. I’ll use the 9-spot clusters, since
this one seem to fare very well.
Like I had previously done, I used two overlapping 9-spots on
two rows that piggyback each other, such as the 40s and 50s row (see
These patterns would account for four cards. For the other
four cards, I also marked two 9-spots on each row, using the first five numbers
with the last four, and the first four with the last five (see the
This seemed to work very effectively. I found that you seldom
caught a 6-of-9 without catching two or three of them at once ”¦ ditto for the
And, like I noted before, when you catch 8-of-9, it’s very
likely you’ll catch a second one, plus at least two 7-of-9s as well.
(L.J. Zahm is the author of “Cluster Keno: Using the
Zone Method to Win at Video Poker.” For a copy, send $19.95 to Cluster
Keno, P.O. Box 46303, Las Vegas, NV 89114)