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Once again, thanks to the readers who sent in their comments about playing video keno. Since we ran photos of the 20-card keno jackpots, several players have offered their suggestions and/or experiences with the multi-card game.

One of the comments I received referred to the cost of playing 20-card keno, rather than “normal” or single-card keno.

Of course, it’s more costly to play 20 cards, if you bet the same amount on each card, as you would bet on a single card game.

But, as you saw in the photos that ran over the past couple of weeks, the jackpots came while playing 1¢ denomination games. That’s usually the trade-off – you usually have to reduce the amount, bet per card in order to play 20-card keno.

Because you’re betting less per card, your jackpots will be less. Say you’re playing all 20 cards with maximum coins per card (four) on a penny machine, your investment per game is 80¢.

If you’re lucky enough to catch a solid 7-spot, your return will be about $400. If you catch a 7-spot on a regular keno machine with 80¢ bet, your payoff would be a whopping $5,600!

Of course, the single card jackpot would occur much less frequently, and you will get more action (hits) with the multi-card game.

Before offering some tips on playing on a budget, let me offer the comments of a reader, Bob, who is also a regular 20-card keno player:

“I believe the casinos have tightened up their machines and/or reduced the payoffs,” Bob said. “We play 20-card Keno most all the time; lately, some machines pay 800-for-1 on a 5-spot while a similar machine in the next bank of machines will pay 750-1.

“I usually play six 5-spots in the top row using 1,2,3 with 8,9,10 (I’ve referred to these at ‘outside’ numbers in previous articles); I”ve hit all six 5-spots at least once a week for the last six weeks; I usually add one or two 7-spots with the 5-spots but they rarely hit.

“I doubt that ‘re-setting’ the machine has any effect at all; if you really pay attention, you’ll notice the number of ‘hits’ you get will usually give you 3, 4, 5 or 6 hits for about five times, then go into a mode where you’ll get 8, 9, 10 or more hits the next time; use your money wisely, play maximum coins only when the machine is ready to give you the higher number of hits, and back off when it goes into the ‘lull’ … it works.”

Thank you, Bob, for the tips, and you know I’ll be trying out your “cluster” of 5-spots “underneath” those outside numbers on the top row.

One thing about the “re-setting” of the machine; I’ve used that tactic for years, mostly when the machine enters its “lull” stage, as you pointed out.

For some reason, by starting over it seems to help. I think most of my big payoffs and virtually all of my W-2G jackpots have occurred within two, three or four plays of re-setting the machine.

But to each his own, and whatever works you have to stick with it.

Now, playing multi-card games such as Four Card Keno and 20-card Keno can be costly, but players who want to gamble on the cheap don’t have to “load up” the machines.

For instance, you don’t have to play all the cards to have a shot at a nice jackpot, nor do you have to bet the maximum amount either.

To test this point, I ventured into one of Las Vegas’ local casinos with only $15, intent on playing Four Card Keno for a couple of hours with at least a fighting chance at a nice award.

Toward that end, I selected a nickel denomination, Four Card Keno game, and started off playing just two of the four cards – with one coin bet on each.

That amounted to 10¢ a bet. Granted, if I got lucky and caught 8-of-9 it wouldn’t have been enough to run out and buy a new Lamborghini, but 4,700 to 1 is a nice payoff nonetheless (about six times more than a royal flush!).

I decided to mark two 9-spot cards, and when I play only two cards, I usually mark “mirror image” cards or cards that overlap.

I started with the two 9-spots that mirror each other: the 8-spot box above the line coupled with an adjoining “orphan” plus the same pattern below the line.

During my first few minutes I caught several 5-of-9 winners before catching a 6-of-9 payoff (44-1). You have to count on these mid-size winners in order to keep your credit meter up.

Shortly thereafter, I was lucky enough to hit 7-of-9, which paid 335 nickels.

With the extra “ammunition,” I decided to expand my cluster to a third card (also a 9-spot), which overlapped the first two cards: the cross-over pattern consisting of the top four left hand numbers, coupled with the bottom four right hand numbers with the orphan.

Using these configurations, with one coin bet per card, I was able to play for about two hours, during which time I believe I caught about six more 7-of-9 jackpots.

Unfortunately, I never caught an 8-of-9 (that was my ultimate goal), but I still left with about $30 in profit.

Now, that may not sound like much, but if you can more than double your starting bankroll while playing with a limited budget, you’ve done well.

Hopefully this might encourage players on a very limited budget. You can play even more cheaply by using 1¢ and 2¢ denominations, but the machines I was playing had reduced paytables for those games.

Always check to see that you’re getting the “standard” payoffs when you drop down in denomination.

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