Hit and run for fun and profit

May 23, 2005 3:33 AM

One of the reasons most of us play video keno is the possibility that we can 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 ticket. 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 a significant amount 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" jackpots.

Rob Singer, in his GamingToday column about video poker, talks about his "win and leave" approach, in which he plays until he wins a select 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 could 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, 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 casino.

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 increases the likelihood of hitting an intermediate jackpot, and picked a casino in downtown Las Vegas, the El Cortez.

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

I also decided to play 9-spots and 7-spots, because with one quarter bet catching 7-out-of-9 pays a respectable $83.75 and catching 6-out-of-7 rewards you with a tidy $100.

I often play at odd hours, such as late night or early morning. This gives me the opportunity of picking my machines without a lot of competition from other players.

It also makes it easier to slide from one machine to the next. These Game Kings are usually clustered in groups or carousels of eight to 12 machines.

I decided to cluster four 9-spot cards and play until I caught enough 7-out-of-9 pots to reach my goal (or better by hitting the 8- or 9-out-of-9 jackpots!).

On the evening that I experimented with this approach, I never hit anything higher than 7-out-of-9, 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).

The clusters I used included the overlapping 9-spots on two adjacent rows, which I’ve described in previous articles.

I also experimented with a few 7-spots, also on two adjacent rows, and caught several 6-out-of-7 payoffs, enough to pique my interest to try a session with them on another day.

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

Pennies from heaven

With all the new penny and two-penny denomination machines, I’ve been experimenting with a cluster of tickets on Multi-Card Keno. These games are sometimes called 20-card keno because you can play up to 20 cards in one game.

Obviously, playing 20 cards can be hard on the bankroll, thus you can play then in single- and two-penny denominations.

I’ve been playing two sets of eight 7-spot tickets on a single column of eight numbers in adjoining columns. For instance I would take the "four" and "five" column of numbers and mark eight 7-spot cards in the four column and eight 7-spot cards in the five column. For good measure I would mark the two 8-spot tickets that comprised the box of eight numbers above the middle line and below the middle line, as well as the two eight-spot tickets comprised of the "stairway" like cluster of top four numbers in the four column coupled with the bottom four numbers in the five column, and the bottom four numbers in the four column coupled with the top four numbers in the five column.

This gave me 16 7-spot tickets and four 8-spot tickets, all clustered onto the four and five column of numbers.

It would probably pay more to mark them all as 8-spot tickets when the whole column fills in all the numbers. But that doesn’t happen much. Instead there will be much more frequent occasions when you’ll catch seven of the eight numbers in the column, ensuring you will win one solid 7-spot in the process.

The other day I finally caught all eight numbers in a column, and thus cashed in all eight of the solid 7-spots in that column! It was a glorious sight, seeing eight 7,000-credit payoffs on top of each other, for a total reward of 56,000 credits. I won’t say whether those credits were penny, two-penny or nickel denomination. But I hope you can catch something similar very soon.