June keno jackpots defy the odds

Jul 11, 2005 2:51 AM

A couple of weeks ago I alluded to a Cluster Keno player who enjoyed a phenomenal month of June.

By phenomenal, I mean the jackpots were coming at such a high rate that they nearly defied their own odds.

In fact, it would be safe to say that they did defy the odds, because most of these jackpots were the result of catching solid 7-spots, which are considered the video keno equivalent of poker’s royal flush.

I say they are relatively equivalent because the odds of catching either one is about 41,000-to-1.

As I’ve noted before, however, the video keno payoff is vastly superior because its return is 7,000-1, instead of the paltry 800-1 paid by the average royal flush.

So how phenomenal a month was June? Over the course of 30 days, there were 31 solid 7-spots hit, as well as a few other jackpots, including an 8-out-of-9 and a rare 9-out-of-10.

When the dust settled, a grand total of $50,259.90 was accumulated in W-2G jackpots. Keep in mind this does not include all the non-IRS jackpots.

What makes this run even more astounding is that most, if not all, the solid 7-spot jackpots were won playing Multi-Card Keno on nickel machines.

In fact, the largest single payoff, $11,209.60, was on a nickel Multi-Card Keno machine, which produced eight 7-spot winners on one game (eight times $1,400 is the precise calculation).

For skeptics, such as the local radio character who has been deriding GamingToday poker and keno columnists, I delivered copies of the W-2Gs to my editor. Not that I have to prove anything, especially to him. But this character on the radio seems intent on belittling anything he doesn’t understand.

Let me digress for just a moment about our radio friend. He obviously knows as much about video keno as I know about sports betting. Which is close to zilch. But you don’t here me ridiculing his sports selections, even though some of his own online followers aren’t too crazy about his winning percentage.

The reason he knows nothing about video keno is because he clings to the notion that long-term payback, as defined by the manufacturer, is the sole criterion in choosing a gaming machine to play.

Thus, he belittles the games I play and write about because they return only 94 percent (over a theoretical seven-year useful life), rather than a 99 percent or 100 percent video poker machine.

Let it be known that these June jackpots were all hit on the "lower" paying machines. But they never would have been won if we followed radio boy’s recommendations.

In fact, we probably wouldn’t play anything at all — craps, blackjack, baccarat, roulette ”¦ even horse racing and sports betting! — because they all have a house edge that would put the player at a disadvantage.

One of our video poker writers, Rob Singer, related to me that radio boy issued a challenge to me, similar to the one he made to Rob. That is, he would bet so much money that I could or couldn’t do what I say or something to that effect.

Of course, I have no time for such nonsense. If he were interested in testing or challenging my strategies, he could oil his way over to the Gamblers Book Shop, pick up my book Cluster Keno, read it, try it out, and then and only then could he be in a position to criticize.

But he’s not interested in testing or analyzing or evaluating anything. He’s interested in one thing — making noise.

However, if he’s still hell bent on proving "advantage" poker machines are superior to everything else on the planet, let him go out and rack up 31 natual royal flushes over the next 30 days.

But back to the fun and games of catching 31 solid 7-spots.

In the accompanying charts, I’ve reproduced the cluster patterns that proved a winner in nearly all the 7-spot jackpots.

Note that the numbers were marked and were played continuously until the jackpot was won.

But, as with all of the cluster patterns I’ve recommended, there’s an asterisk: part of the process requires "re-setting" the machine frequently.

As some readers may recall, re-setting means cashing out and starting over again. This can be cumbersome and time-consuming. But with the Multi-Card machines, you don’t actually have to re-mark all your keno cards. Just cash out your ticket, return to the main menu, touch the Multi-Card icon, put the ticket back into the machine, and begin play again.

It would be safe to say that nearly all of the jackpots were hit within five games after the machine was re-set.

I don’t know why this seems to be a pattern. Perhaps you’d get the same results if you just continued to play, over and over, feeding money into the bill acceptor, time after time.

But it wouldn’t make sense that a manufacturer would make a machine that could be beaten by simply continuing to play, over and over.

I’ve heard in the past that a "cold" machine has a better chance to hit. For whatever reason, maybe there’s an element of truth in this.

Nobody but the manufacturer knows. But I know that every time I read about someone winning a Wheel of Fortune, a Megabucks, Quartermillion$ or some other life-altering jackpot, the winner invariably hit it within 10 minutes of sitting down at the machine.

If it’s good enough for Megabucks, I suppose it’s good enough for Cluster Keno.

Now, let’s hope everyone can have similar good fortune. Even radio boy.