Try playing your favorite pattern

Mar 29, 2005 7:16 AM

Anyone who has played video keno has seen how numbers form certain patterns. For instance, there are eight rows of 10 numbers on a keno screen, and if you play long enough, you’ll see that most of the eight rows eventually hit seven or even eight of the 10 numbers.

In addition, there are 10 columns of eight numbers, and during the same session you might note that several columns line up seven of the eight. Occasionally, all eight will fill up. The key is being there when they do — and re-setting the machine frequently has helped in that regard.

Other clusters that I’ve found have paid off include solid eight boxes, two by four boxes, either above or below the center line, and three-by-three boxes of nine numbers, again marked above or below the center line.

A good way to illustrate the various clusters is taking a closer look at Four Card Keno, which I have advocated playing for some time. I suppose Four Card Keno can be construed as video keno’s answer to the immensely popular multi-hand video poker, such as Triple Play, five-hand, 10-hand poker and more.

Its concept is very simple: players can play up to four different keno cards on the same keno game. That is, you can mark one to four cards (you don’t have to play all four), picking any number of spots on each card. Then the game proceeds as in regular keno, with 20 numbers being drawn.

The obvious advantage is that you can cover a lot more numbers than with one card. Equally, the disadvantage is that you’re betting four cards instead of one, and the costs can mount.

Four Card Keno is available in various denominations, from 5 cents up to a dollar, and I’ve found that the multi-denominational machines offer the best chances to win, because you can move from one denomination to another by simply touching the screen.

I’ve noted a few popular patterns that I like to play — and have actually won with! But Four Card Keno really lends itself to playing these clusters because so often we see our pattern, whether it be a box, an "H" or whatever, occurring next to or near our n-umbers.

This is where the cluster system pays off. Many long time video keno players will probably agree that numbers always seem to land right next to their chosen numbers, almost as if they had "eyes" and knew how to just miss! Well, by playing numbers in clusters that are in close proximity to each other, you are often able to catch those numbers and hit a jackpot.

Here are a couple of examples, in addition to the winning ones I mention in my book and in previous columns: A 10-spot player often bets the entire horizontal row, which is fine. But you can get a lot more mileage out of playing two 10-spot rows on top of each other (such as the 20’s and 30’s rows), as well as the two 10-spot cards made up of 21-25, 36-40 numbers and the 31-35, 26-30 numbers. This way you have an overlap, in which you can sometimes hit, say two seven out of 10, or even two eight out of 10 jackpots.

Similarly, I like to play two solid eight columns (vertical), such as the 3 and 4 columns, coupled with the two 8-spot cards made up of the 3, 13, 23, 33, 44, 54, 64, 74 and the 4, 14, 24, 34, 43, 53, 63, 73 numbers. Again, you have overlap, opening the possibility of "doubling up" on a six out of eight or even seven out of eight jackpot.

Another winning combination that has come up for me has been the overlapping 9-spots consisting of four 3-by-3 boxes. Specifically they include these four cards: 45, 46, 47, 55, 56, 57, 65, 66, 67; plus 55, 56, 57, 65, 66, 67, 75, 76, 77; plus 46, 47, 48, 56, 57, 58, 66, 67, 68; and finally, 56, 57, 58, 66, 67, 68, 76, 77, 78.

Of course, you can vary the patterns and numbers to suit your taste. The idea is to be consistent and "layer" your patterns so that you provide a larger target for your numbers. If you find a particular pattern works, let me know and share the wealth a little bit.

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