Way tickets can be more fun, but do they save money? Yes and no. A way ticket is nothing more than a bunch of straight tickets combined onto the same ticket to facilitate writing the ticket. Think of each way as a separate ticket. But the winnings are completely proportional. A 25-cent way will pay 1/4 of a $1-a-way or ticket, unless the ticket win would go over the aggregate limit (does not happen with $1 tickets but could happen with higher denomination tickets).
The beauty of way tickets is giving you more chances to win, although the win on each way is less than the straight ticket win for the same number of spots unless you play the ways at the same amount as the straight tickets per way.
Playing my king ticket favorite of 1/8 and 8/7 at $1 a way runs me $9 per ticket. Playing at 40 cents a way I spend only $ 3.60 per game.Of course I can handle the $3.60 but not the $9, thus I play ways to have more opportunities to win though I give up the amount of the win. The percentages are the same.This is different than other games. For example in craps you can bet $10 flat and $10 odds on the 4 and 10 and receive a pay of $30 if the 4 shows before a 7. But you can also bet the same total of $20 as $5 flat and $15 odds and if the 4 shows before the 7 you are paid $35. You win $5 instead of $10 if your win is a natural (7 or 11 on the come out roll) but overall the house edge is less than 12 as much playing $5 with $15 odds than $10 with $10 odds. (Hint: if you play craps do not increase the flat bet until you have increased the odds to the max as the odds have no house advantage).
Playing ways can be compared to playing the come at craps in that you have more action going at one time. If you play 1/8 and 8/7 you, in effect, have 9 separate tickets going at once. If you miss your numbers you lose more but if you hit your numbers you win more. For example, if you hit 7 of the 8 numbers and play the 7s and 8s you will have won a 7-of-8, a SOLID 7, and seven 6-of-7s, thus the power of ways.
The best place to play ways is downtown Las Vegas due the very low way ticket minimums found there. But even the Strip casinos will allow reduced minimums on way tickets if you lay enough ways. Want way tickets, a low minimum, and the lowest house edge all in one? Play the Deano rate at The D at 10 cents a way (play enough ways for this to be allowed) and you have a return of around 85% before adding in comps and offers based on your play. The best deal anywhere!
How do I know what is required? Simple, I check the pay book or ask the keno writers at the counter.
Going after a progressive? Way tickets can help, but keep in mind that each way must be at the amount of bet required for the progressive. If you are playing the Station’s Jumbo Progressives, which they have for 6, 7, 8, and 9 spots, you can play a 6-2-1 way ticket at $1 a way and cover all four of the progressives on the same ticket as you have a six, a seven, an eight, and a nine on the ticket for a total ticket cost of $4 and you are in the run for all of them.
The El Cortez offers Mega10 and Mega Keno with progressives on 5 through 10 spots at $1.50. Thus, play a 4-3-2-1 ticket where you have a 10, a 9, an 8, two 7s, two 6s, and two 5s for a total ticket cost of $13.50. The power of ways and the fun of ways go hand in hand, a great and fun way to play. If on the Strip the Excalibur also has the good paytable for Mega10 and MegaKeno that is found downtown at the El Cortez.
If you need to get from the Strip to downtown, the best way is the SDX (Strip Express) or The Deuce (regular double decker bus) thus Mega10 and Mega Keno is easy to get to (no car is ever needed) regardless of where you are in Vegas with the excellent transit system available with many routes operating 24/7.
Check with the individual casinos if they have their game results posted on line. The casinos have put a lot of work into their paybooks, think of them as a free keno game textbook and you can become an expert at keno, too – and hopefully a winner as well.
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]