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The Las Vegas Club in downtown Las Vegas (bus access on Main Street #106, 207, 208 or 214) has a video keno progressive that, as of this writing, is $96,000-plus. There are just two machines in the progressive and four nickels (20 cents) are required to be eligible for the progressive jackpot.

The pays are as follows: 5-of-10 pays $.60; 6-of-10 pays $5.60; 7-of-10 pays $28; 8-of-10 pays $200; 9-of-10 pays $960; 10-of-10 pays the progressive jackpot.

Based on the above progressive level the return is 92 percent plus. Is it worth playing? There are several good reasons.

1) You are staying at The Plaza or Las Vegas Club and play there will get you comps (of course, use your slot card when playing).

2) It is low level play but you can still go through a lot of money as the game speed is fast.

3) You want the opportunity to hit it big without spending a lot each play.

The following must be taken in to consideration. Ten spot hits are very rare as the odds are 8.9 million to 1. The fact that it has not yet been hit does not change the odds of hitting it in any way. The mathematics don’t change. It will take an average of 8.9 million plays for it to hit. Of course it could be hit while I am writing this or may go years before being hit.

The risk to your bankroll with extended play is large, thus we must analyze the chance of what you are likely to get in return if you play a lot but do not hit the jackpot. If you play eight hands a minute it will take you an average of 8,911,710/8 = 1,113,964 minutes or 1,113,964/60 = 185,661 hours, or playing 8 hours per day = 185,661/8 = 23,180 days. Assuming you play 300 days a year it will take 77 years to hit the jackpot. Good luck!

Now the odds of hitting 9-of-10 are only 163,000 to 1. That is about 50 percent easier than hitting SOLID 8 (240,000/1) or seven times as difficult as hitting a SOLID 7 (40,978/1). Thus, to analyze the return let’s ignore the 10-of-10 (but do not ignore it when hitting it as you may be screaming so loud they will carry you out).

Not counting the progressive, the return is 87 percent. Not counting the progressive or the 9-of-10 hit, the return is 84 percent.

You may wonder why the progressive has so little influence on the return. One word – frequency! In a cycle (average number of plays to hit the ticket solid) a more frequent hit of a lower pay will often contribute more to the return than the very rare higher hit.

Thus, while you are playing, unless you are very lucky, you will be getting a return of 84 percent plus any slot club benefits.

Do not ignore the value of the slot club. Rooms, food, and cash back definitely contribute a lot to your overall expectation and often can make the difference as to whether a particular game or machine is worth playing. The offers you receive are often worth considerably more than the cash back, except possibly on very high point multiplier days. Use that card!

So what can you expect the game to cost you until you are lucky enough to hit the big one? Assume (we all know what this means) you play 800 plays an hour, times 20 cents a play; that is $160 coin-in per hour. Ignoring the very lucky hits of 9- or 10-of-10 (of course when you hit it you won’t ignore it!!) you can expect to get back about 84 percent of that $160 per hour, which is $25.60 cost of play per hour.

And if you do not hit your share of 8-of-10 hits (7,383 to 1, about once per playing day) expect a costly day. Of course if you hit 8-of-10 twice you automatically have a very good day.

Thus, as long as you are aware of the odds, give it a try, you may be the lucky one, but do not lose your donkey in the process!

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. You can reach him at [email protected].

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