Keep eyes open for loopholes in tourney rules

Sep 12, 2005 12:53 AM

The last two weeks we’ve simulated 2,000 keno tournaments on the computer, and we’ve discovered that the five-spot is the best ticket to play.

A \$1 five-spot played against other \$1 tickets won the tournaments more than 20 percent of the time, while a \$2 five spot won over 27 percent of the tournaments played, despite the fact that the five-spot represented only 12 percent of the players.

This week we’ll simulate another 1,000 tournaments, each with a \$1,500 buy-in as before. All tickets played will be \$1 tickets, with the exception of the one-spot player, who will play three \$500 one-spots each tournament (thereby using up the entire buy-in with three tickets.)

Look at the difference in tournament wins, now that the one-spot has been optimized. (The \$1 one spot would win only about 6 percent of all tournaments.)

Total Wins By 1-Spots : 307

Total Wins By 2-Spots : 46

Total Wins By 3-Spots : 58

Total Wins By 4-Spots : 75

Total Wins By 5-Spots : 160

Total Wins By 6-Spots : 133

Total Wins By 7-Spots : 90

Total Wins By 8-Spots : 131

Once the one-spot has been optimized, the number of wins increases to over 30 percent! The interesting thing here is that even though the one-spot wins an incredible amount of tournaments, the \$1 five-spot still wins much more than an average amount of tournaments.

Many keno tournaments outlaw the use of one-spots, to discourage the practice of "buying" the tournament by big spenders.

I’m going to let you in on some secrets. Even if one-spots are explicitly outlawed, if you really want to play a one-spot there are several techniques to use that might be legal under the tournament rules. (Many keno tournament rules are not completely airtight!)

First of all, there is the way-ticket ruse. Although many tournaments bar straight one-spots, they are playable on way-tickets in many tournaments.

So you might try something like this: Mark five numbers, grouped 2-2-1, and play a one-way-five, two-way-two, and a one-way-one. Play the five for a dollar, the twos for 50Â¡, and the one spot for \$98. This will give you a \$100 ticket with a lot of "bang" in the tournament, if you can get away with it.

Another tactic, (which will be legal in almost any tournament) is to play a "virtual" one-spot. In this case, we’ll choose our one-spot, and play it as a one-spot group.

We’ll also choose 25 groups of two, and we’ll play the resulting 300-way-five for a dollar per way. This approach has the happy qualities of combining fives and ones, and will probably be lethal in tournament play.

I call this a virtual one-spot because you must hit the one to hit a solid five. On the other hand, if you do hit the one you have a reasonable chance of hitting a solid five. In effect, you are really playing a one-spot!

The bottom line: If you are allowed to play one-spot tickets in the tournament, the optimized one-spot gets a rating of five spikes:

Otherwise, play the five-spot!

Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!