Don’t shy away from‘trans-decimal’ odds

December 26, 2000 12:01 PM


Is there any advantage or disadvantage in playing "transdecimal" tickets? (These tickets are those keno tickets with more than 10 spots on them.)

Many players avoid playing such tickets, deeming them "house tickets." These players believe that it is almost impossible to hit a decent winner on such tickets, citing odds of billions-to-one against on 15-, 14-, or 13-spot tickets, or hundreds of millions to one on other forms of transdecimal tickets.

While it is true that astronomical odds do exist, they make up such a small percentage of the player’s mathematical expectation that the total return on these catches could be entirely eliminated without much effect.

The real return on these types of tickets are the partial hits such as 12 or 13 out of 15; 12 out of 14 or 13; 10, 11 or 12 out of 13; and so on.

In this respect, playing a 15-spot ticket is very similar to playing a six-spot ticket, while playing an 11-spot ticket is similar to an eight-spot.

In fact, when I tested several hundred million dollars of keno play several years ago, the 12-spot turned out to be the best ticket of all to play in the long run. It provided not only the biggest winners overall, but also the least chance of all the tickets of going broke given a $1,000 bankroll.

One exception is the 20-spot ticket. Although it is very popular and does provide a high frequency of small winners, the chance of a major winner is miniscule as this ticket is written at most casinos. This is merely a function of how the payouts are structured; it is not inherently a fault of the 20-spot ticket itself.

Well that’s it for now, Good Luck! I’ll see you in line, and Happy Holidays!