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The catchall ticket is one type of special ticket offered at some casinos. You only get paid if you catch all of your numbers. Usually, but not always, the pay for catching all your numbers is increased as less than all your numbers hitting do not get paid.

With catchall tickets calculating the house advantage is very easy as all you need to know is the average cycle to catch all the numbers and the amount that gets paid when and if you catch all those numbers.

The first example is in the current pay book of The Orleans. They offer a 3, 4, and 5-spot catchall. The bet is $2 or more in each case. A 3-spot pays $50, 4-spot $500 and 5-spot $2,500.

Let’s see how easy it is to calculate the house edge, using the 5-spot as an example. The odds of catching 5 out of 5 are 1550:1. Thus, on average, you will spend $1550 X 2 or $3,100 to catch all 5 spots. Of course you might catch all your numbers on the first game and spend only $2.

You might go 3,000 games and spend $6,000 and still not hit your 5 spots. Likewise, you might hit 5-of-5 twice in an hour of play. But on the average you spend $3,100 and get back $2,500. Thus, the house keeps, on average, $600 of $3,100 or 19%, which means a player return of a decent 81%.

Some Strip casinos offer catchalls for a nickel as follows: Hit 6-of-6, receive $200; 7-of-7, $1,000; 8-of-8, $5,000; 9-of-9, $9,000; 10-of-10, $15,000. For these tickets you must play 100 games as a minimum for a total of $5 per ticket.

Let’s check out the house advantage on the 10-spot. The odds of hitting 0 out of 10 are are 8,911,169 to 1. Thus, on average, you will spend 8,911,169 X 5 cents or $445,558.45 and get back $15,000. Calculating $15,000/$445,558.45 = 0.034 means you will get back about 3.4 cents on the dollar for a house edge of about 96.6%.

A bit steep? If you are staying at these casinos, they do offer a better 10-spot at a quarter a game called their 2 bit menu. For 25 cents a game (minimum 21 games required, total cost of $5.25) you receive 25 cents for 5-of-10, $2.50 for 6-of-10, $25 for 7-of-10, $250 for 8-of-10, $2,500 for 9-of-10 and $25,000 for 10-of-10. The house edge here is 46.5%; still steep even by Strip standards but at least you have a chance!

The beauty of the catchall is in tournaments. You need the large wins as small ones have little significance. You need to win more than the other players, thus putting all your money into an all or nothing shot is good tourney strategy if you accept that many times you will go home with nothing.

The freebies for entering the tourney such as room, food, and gifts will soften the blow of losing all your buy-in. Thus, in the big tournaments a catchall might be the route to success should it hit.

Most catchalls do not allow ways for less than the minimum but ask the writers as rules are always changing at the casinos. But you can play way tickets using the standard amount such as $2 at The Orleans. Play a 2-2-1 for the 3s, 4s, and 5s and you have a ticket cost of $8. Note there are no partial pays.

The 3, 4, or 5 must hit solid for you to win. Thus if you hit 2-1-1 you do not win anything but if you hit 2-2-0 you win $500 for hitting a solid 4. Of course hit everything and you win 2 X $110 + $500 + $2,500 or $3,220 plus any prize money if you are in a tournament.

The Orleans is having a tournament in early October, thus you have a chance to try this strategy fairly soon.

Well, good luck. Let me know what you think about playing and your results with catchall tickets.

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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