There are times we don’t really care about the small pays and want to put everything toward the big one. We could play catch-all tickets (must hit all numbers to get paid) but if we do not hit everything we go home broke. I suggest you find tickets and casinos that offer good high-end pay and set up your ways to have the best chance of that big win.
We shall use 10 numbers as the base, since with 10 numbers hitting seven or more is not out of the realm of reasonable probability. As reference, the odds of hitting seven or more are:
• 7 of 10 – 621:1
• 8 of 10 – 7368:1
• 9 of 10 – 163,391:1
• 10 of 10 – 8,911,169:1
Keep in mind you will be playing multiple ways on multiple games. The above odds are for a single game. For example, if you play three games your chances of hitting the above at least once improve considerably.
The exact difference is a binomial theorem calculation. The reason is that in three games you could hit 7 out of 10 no times, once, twice, or three times. If you would like this type of calculation broken down, please email me.
Let’s discuss some way ticket scenarios to go for the big hit. Note we are giving up good hits on 6-spot hits or less because to keep the price of the tickets down you must concentrate on your objective – a large win.
We shall use the popular downtown pop 80 rates (a.k.a. Island rate, Deano rate, 40 cent rate). These rates are offered at the California, Fremont, D Las Vegas, and El Cortez. If playing at Golden Nugget use the $1.25 rate at play a quarter a way. At Four Queens use the regular rate at a quarter a way.
Let’s get started. Write out a ticket of 2-2-2-2-1-1. Using more kings than this creates many more ways with more opportunities to win but the ticket price jumps tremendously. For example, if you make just one of the deuces in to two kings you have doubled the number of ways on the ticket. With a ticket of 2-2-2-2-1-1 you have one 10, two 9s, five 8s, and eight 7s, 16 total ways.
At 40 cents a way (allowed most places) your ticket cost is $6.40 per game. Some casinos allow 20 cents a way on this ticket (check first, rules change) for a total of $3.20 per game; playing a quarter a way costs $4 a game.
The nice thing about this ticket is it is easy to hit a deuce (group of two) or king (group of one). The average king hits once every four games and the average deuce once every 17 games. Playing many ways you have all kinds of small and intermediate hits as well as the big one.
Since all these casinos pay from 5 out of 10 and up (The D pays on 4 out of 10 on their Deano rate), any time you catch five or more numbers out of the 10 (20:1odds) you will get some money back. Hitting six numbers (87:1 odds) gets you even more back. Should you hit seven or more out of 10 you might get a solid hit. There are 120 ways of hitting 7 of 10.
On this ticket you are playing eight possible 7s. If on a particular game seven numbers out of 10 hit, playing eight possible ways out of 120, you have 8/120 or 1/15 of a chance that given 7 out of 10 comes up, giving you a solid hit.
What are the odds of a solid hit? A rough computation is easy. Chances of hitting 7 of 10 are 621:1 multiplied by 1/15 (hitting the right way, solid) or 1/9315. But keep on mind you are playing many games thus more chances.
If the math is confusing feel free to email me. This includes casinos that may want my services or help. Many of your questions may have been answered in prior columns. If you do not have copies I suggest you get a subscription to GamingToday, electronic or print, then you will have access to the archives of previous issues.
With all the excellent gaming advice offered on casino games and sports betting in this newspaper you will recoup your investment quickly in money saved in your play.
For those with the wisdom to use public transit (good transit exists in Las Vegas), GamingToday is an excellent read while your bus driver worries about the traffic.
Have a good time with keno and look for those numbers on the board. When they come up it is OK to scream, holler and play the part of a winner as you are a winner!
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]