7-spot clusters good play despite stats

Jul 26, 2005 1:13 AM

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been getting quite a bit of feedback about the 7-spot/8-spot cluster pattern that paid off so handsomely while playing Multi-Card Keno in June.

If you haven’t been following the report, the pattern covers 16 numbers — both the "3" and "4" columns — and features 16 7-spots and four 8-spots.

Now, the 16 7-spots can be broken down into two groups of eight numbers, with each group including eight 7-spots (obviously, marking eight 7-spots onto the same eight numbers means a lot of overlap!).

What was amazing in the June run was that there were so few 7-of-8 jackpots. That is, virtually all or perhaps 99 percent of the jackpots — when seven numbers appeared — took place in the group comprised of eight 7-spots.

Statistically, you would expect to catch seven numbers from the 8-spot cards much more frequently than you will catch seven numbers from the cluster of 7-spots.

That’s because your 8-spots have two-thirds of a chance of hitting, while the clustered 7-spots only have one-third the probability (taken as a group).

But, as we all know and some on the radio don’t seem to understand, statistics don’t always apply when you’re gambling!

The two groups of eight that proved so lucrative were the eight numbers above and below the centerline.

The four 8-spot tickets were the two columns themselves and the two crossover or staircase patterns — four upper left coupled with four bottom right, and four bottom left coupled with four upper right.

A couple of days ago I had an interesting occurrence: I hit for the "cycle" while playing this cluster.

Some of you baseball fans know that hitting for the cycle is getting every kind of hit in the same game — a single, double, triple and home run.

In my case, I hit 7-of-8 on the two different 8-spots before finally catching 7-of-8 in the cluster of eight 7-spots, which pays about five times what the other two jackpots paid (because, of course, you’re catching a solid 7-spot instead of 7-of-8).

I’ve never had this happen, partly because I usually cash out and move to another machine after hitting a 7-of-8 jackpot. My reasoning, which hopefully was based on some experience, was reasoning, which hopefully was based on some experience, was that after paying out 7-of-8, the machine would not be likely to hit another seven numbers in any or all of the other clusters.

But I learned from the June run that these machines were capable of "coming back" and hitting a jackpot a second time — sometimes within moments of the first one.

That’s what happened this time. Specifically, the machine hit two 7-of-8 jackpots, probably about 20 minutes apart, before finally hitting 7-of-8 within the more lucrative cluster.

Occasionally you will be lucky enough to get all eight numbers into one of your patterns. Thus you will hit either a solid 8-spot or eight solid 7-spots. The difference is staggering.

If you’re playing a nickel machine fully-loaded, catching a solid 8-spot pays about $1,600. Not bad, but not nearly the $11,200 paid when the eight numbers fill in all eight 7-spots (eight tickets at $1,400 apiece).

Of course, a fully loaded machine is taking 80 nickels (four on each of the 20 cards) or $4 a pull. That can add up significantly.

One thing players can do to conserve money is to bet six 8-spots instead of marking the four 8-spots and 16 7-spots. This way you are marking only six cards at four coins each.

By marking your cards this way, you’ll still pick up quite a few 7-out-of-8 jackpots (at about $300 apiece) and an occasional solid 8-spot.

If there’s one thing that might be a common thread with these scores it’s the notion of cashing out, re-setting the machine and beginning again.

As noted a couple of weeks ago, it seems like the machine is capable of getting into a "down cycle" in which your credits continue to plummet, no matter what you do.

Has anyone else ever had that experience?

But, in light of the so-called "cold machine" theory, which postulates that the biggest jackpots are hit at the start of a session, I’ve always advocated cashing out and re-setting very frequently.

And, it seemed to have paid off with catching the "cycle."

Try the pattern and techniques and let me know how it works for you. Readers love to hear about others’ experiences.

(L.J. Zahm is the 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.)