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There is a buy-in type keno tourney at The Orleans in early October, thus we shall discuss tournament strategy this week.

The Orleans tournaments are very popular, showing that a good game run well can attract players.

The Orleans offers several rates in their paybook. Their regular rate returns about 75% on the average (better than many Strip properties except the Excalibur Red Hot Special of 31 games or more), a Ragin’ Cajun rate that is a catch-all available for 3, 4, 5 spots, and a $10 Hot Ticket for 3 to 6 spots that returns over 80%.

In a tournament the idea is to get big winners so you end up in the top 10 finishers and share in the prize money. Tickets that pay more at the top end are usually the best to play. The Ragin’ Cajun ticket costs $2 and pays only if all numbers are hit solid.

A 3-of-3 pays $110, a 4-of-4 pays $500, and 5-of-5 pays $2,500. You can play these tickets from $2 and up at any multiple of $1. Since you must play at least $3 a game, you can play them as either way or straight tickets.

You can play a 2-2-1 as a $4 five-spot, a $2 four-spot, and two $2 three-spots for a total ticket cost of $10 per game. With a $500 buy-in this would give you 50 games of play to hit the big one. Playing the 3s and 4s gives you a smaller hit and must be solid to be paid. (Fortunately we are not playing a 2-spot as that would mean a solid 2 to get paid).

Let’s say lightning strikes and you hit all five numbers. The solid 5 at $4 will pay $12,500, the solid 4 pays $500, and the two solid 3s will pay $110 each for a grand total of $13,220.

The odds are 1550:1 but you have 50 chances to hit the big one. Another suggested play is 50 six-spots at the Hot $10 rate. A 6-of-6 pays $20,000, 5-of-6 is $850, 4-of-6 pays $65 and 3-of-6 returns your $10. Of course the odds of a solid 6 are 7752:1, but again you have 50 chances.

If the 8-spot progressive is allowed, play it. If not, play the progressive on your same eight numbers as a non-tourney ticket.

Let’s say the progressive is $200,000. Play the 8-spot progressive at $2 (required to qualify) as a non-tourney ticket and a 2-2-2-2 way ticket using the Ragin’ Cajun as four 6s at $1 each using the same numbers at $8 a game. That would give you 125 chances to hit a solid 6 or better at $4, using $2 per game of non-tourney money. It would cost $250 for 125 chances at the big progressive.

While playing, they have the fun game Super Way Keno (a video keno game). You have seven ways on the game and can play for a nickel a way. (Don’t forget to use your slot  BConnected card.)

The Orleans is located off the Strip at the northwest corner of Tropicana and Arville. Getting there is easy: The bus 201 runs 24/7 along Trop, offering easy access and connection to Strip buses (SDX, Deuce); the 104 runs along Arville to the hotel and also goes directly to the South Strip Transit Center to connect with many other routes and the daily Amtrak Bus to Bakersfield, California.

They also offer a free shuttle in conjunction with the Gold Coast. The route is from The Orleans to the Gold Coast to the Cromwell on the Strip. Thus you can save that taxi or rental car money for their excellent buffet and other restaurants.

There is a non-smoking keno area and a non-smoking video poker/slot section at the west end of the casino near the exit doors. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of GamingToday in the sportsbook.

Live it up, but spend within your limits as to what you can afford to lose, and hopefully you can be 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. You can reach him at [email protected].

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