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As I write this column the MegaKeno 10-spot progressive (statewide in selected casinos) is nearing $2.1 million and the Atlantic Casino (Reno) 9-spot More to the Meter progressive is approaching $1.5 million. They each cost $1.50 per ticket or per way to play, best of luck to you!

Today’s column features the “2-Bit Menu” keno available at The Rio, Bally’s and Harrah’s in Las Vegas. You play 25 cents (2 bits) per game or way for a required minimum of 21 games, thus a basic straight ticket would cost $5.25. On average this ticket will take about two hours to play.

The 2-Bit Menu ticket is available in 5 to 10 spots, interestingly, the same number MegaKeno offers, just at a much lower level. These tickets pay starting with a catch of three numbers for 5- and 6-spot tickets (your money back), with a catch of four numbers (your money back) for the 7-spot ticket, and with a catch of five numbers for the 8-, 9-, and 10-spots.

On the 8 and 9 spots this minimum catch returns $1 for your quarter bet and returns your quarter for the 10-spot ticket. If you catch all your numbers for a solid hit the 5-spot pays $200, the 6 pays $500, the 7, $3,000; the 8, $10,000; the 9, $13,000 and the 10 pays $25,000. All have intermediate level pays for catching more than the minimum but less than a solid hit. For example, the 10-spot multiplies the payout by 10 for each number of spots caught beyond five to get paid. Thus 5-of-10 pays 25 cents, 6-of-10, $2.50, 7-of-10, $25; 8-of-10, $250; 9-of-10, $2,500 and a solid 10 wins $25,000.

Let’s see how we can set up way tickets to target the four figure payouts, meaning the $3,000 for the 7-spot, $10,000 for the 8, $13,000 for the 9 and $25,000 for the 10. You could use a grouping of 7-2-1, which would give you a single 7, 8, 9 and 10 for $1 per game. With the 21 game minimum your total cost would be $21. This would require hitting the group of 7 solid to get that large pay; hitting the king as well to catch the 8-spot, the deuce to catch the 9 (without catching the king) and everything to catch the 10. If you catch the 8 solid you have also caught the 7 solid and the 9 solid. Catch all 10 and you have four solid winners for a total of $51,000.

Many of you might like to make it easier to get a solid hit by making smaller groups that are easier to hit. Try grouping as follows: 4-3-2-1 and you have a 10, a 9, an 8, two 7s, two 6s, and two 5s, which at a quarter a way would cost you $2.25 per game, with the 21 game required play costing you $47.25 for your two hours of fun.

Make sure to mark your ticket 2-Bit Menu or as instructed by the keno writer, and of course give in your player’s card to get comps and other casino benefits. Since you have to play 21 games per ticket you have up to a year to collect your winnings.

This rate is a good way to play on the Strip with downtown-like minimums. Best of luck to you!

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