Hit-and-run keno!

Feb 8, 2005 1:09 PM

One of the reasons most of us play video keno is the possibility that we will hit a significant jackpot. The lure of the lottery-like payoff is a strong one and it provides loads of excitement as we seek the winning combination or cluster of numbers.

But winning doesn’t always necessarily mean you’ve hit your 6-out-of-6 or 7-out-of-7 jackpot. As I’ve pointed out many times before, when you play the higher-number keno cards, say, 8-spot, 9-spot and 10-spot keno, you can walk away with a nice profit if you can catch enough of your numbers.

For instance, if you’re playing quarters, catching 7-out-of-9 pays a handsome $335 (with four coins bet) while catching 6-out-of-8 rewards players with about $99.

Another reachable goal is catching 6-out-of-7, which pays $400 for four quarters bet.

Of course, the goal is always to hit the top prize, but that doesn’t happen every day. During the days that it doesn’t occur, it can be profitable to play for these "consolation" like jackpots.

Rob Singer, in his video poker column, talks about his "win and leave" approach, in which he plays until he wins a predetermined amount, $40, then leaves the casino and goes to another.

I like the concept, and thought I would try a similar approach to see if I couldn’t ring up a few "small" jackpots en route to a profitable day at the casino.

My approach, however, was to play a certain kind of game, in this case Four Card Keno, then after hitting my goal, simply move to another similar machine in the same casino. I couldn’t see the point of picking up and driving to another place.

I decided to set a goal of winning $50 (net) from each machine, that is $50 profit, over and above what I put into the machine.

I chose Four Card Keno, because it increased the likelihood of hitting an intermediate jackpot, and picked a popular casino, the Gold Coast.

The Game King machines that house Four Card Keno offer a variety of denominations, from a nickel up to a dollar. I selected quarters and played just one quarter per card.

I also decided to play 9-spots and 7-spots, because with a 25¡ bet, catching 7-out-of-9 pays a respectable $83.75 and catching 6-out-of-7 rewards you with a tidy $100. Obviously, betting maximum (four) coins would produce payoffs of $335 and $400, respectively, but betting $4 per keno game becomes expensive.

I decided to cluster two 9-spot and two 7-spot cards and played on a given machine until I reached my goal of $50 profit per machine.

On the evening that I experimented with this approach, I never hit anything higher than 7-out-of-9 and 6-out-of-7, but was fairly consistent in hitting enough of them to cash out about half a dozen times (each time with a profit of from $50 to $120).

I enjoyed playing this way, which I shall call my hit and run approach, and think it can give the player a realistic goal while shooting for the "big one."

(L.J. Zahm is author of "Cluster Keno: Using the Zone Method to Win at Video Keno." The book is available at the Gamblers Book Shop in Las Vegas.)