Try for a perfect 7

Oct 31, 2005 1:56 AM

One of the most popular video keno plays is the 7-spot. In fact, many players are happy to sit for hours, plugging away one credit at a time, hoping to hit a solid 7-spot and take home a nice jackpot.

Incidentally, that "nice jackpot" is one of the best on the slot/video machine floor: The payoff for a solid 7 is usually 7,000-1, which translates to $350 for every nickel, $1,750 for every quarter and $7,000 for every dollar bet (I didn’t even need the calculator for the last one).

Keep in mind that the odds are about the same as hitting a royal flush (approximately 41,000 to 1), yet the 7-spot’s payoff of 7,000-to-1 is much better than the paltry 800-1 ordinarily paid for a natural royal flush.

Moreover, playing the 7-spot invites the chances of hitting 6-of-7 for a nice payoff of 400-1, or $20 for every nickel, $100 for every quarter and, well, $400 for every dollar. And at odds of about 1365-1, the 6-of-7 pops up frequently enough to help pay for your keno sessions.

Admittedly, hitting a solid 7-spot at odds of 41,000-1 isn’t an everyday occurrence. But you can greatly increase your chances by using the Cluster Keno method while playing Four Card Keno.

If you’ve never tried Four Card Keno, it’s among the Game King games in which players can bet from one to four cards in the same keno game.

You’ll usually find Four Card Keno along with regular keno and a few video poker games on one of IGT’s multi-game machines.

As noted in previous articles, I’ve indicated that you can cover a specific zone or cluster in Four Card Keno, thus increasing the likelihood of hitting your tickets if and when the numbers finally land in your "zone."

Most of my previous discussions have focused on the 8-spot, 9-spot and 10-spot tickets. But this week I’d like to point out two systems that have proven successful in hitting the solid 7-spot. Both rely on the notion that eventually the numbers will "cluster" in a specific pattern, in a specific location, thus opening the possibility of hitting one of four shots at the solid ticket.

The first pattern involves covering an area very similar to the overlapping 9-spots (the 3-by-3 boxes) I’ve described in previous discussions. This system involves the 12 numbers that make up a 3-by-four box (see illustration), either above or below the middle line.

For instance, let’s take the box bounded by 46, 47, 48 on the top, 46, 56, 66, 76 on the left, 76, 77, 78 on the bottom and 48, 58, 68, 78 on the right.

Within this box, we’ll mark four 7- spots (which will over lap) that include 46, 47, 56, 57, 66, 67, 77; 47, 48, 57, 58, 67, 68, 77; 46, 47, 48, 56, 57, 58, 67; and 66, 67, 68, 76, 77, 78, 57.

Now, within this box of 12 numbers, the hope is to hit a solid 7-spot of course. But by way of consolation, there will be times when you will hit overlapping 6-of-7’s and a multitude of other payoffs.

Obviously, you don’t need to fill all 12 numbers to win big. You can hit a solid 7 with just 7 of the 12 numbers coming up.

The odds of six numbers hitting within the box is only 31-1, so there will be plenty of opportunities to hit over the course of a relatively short period of time.

In addition, the odds of seven numbers hitting among the 12 are 142-1, while the odds of eight numbers hitting are 980-1. For a little perspective, getting seven numbers (at 142-1) to fall within the "zone" is slightly easier than hitting 6-of-9 numbers at 174-1, while corralling eight numbers (at 980-1) is quite a bit easier than catching 7-of-9 numbers at 1,690-1.

So you see, it’s certainly possible that you will have at least seven or eight numbers fall within your four-card zone; hopefully, they will have landed to fill a solid 7-spot!

Another pattern that has proved profitable is marking four 7-spots in two adjacent columns, such as the 8- and 9-columns (see illustration).

In this pattern, we will mark 7 of the 8 numbers in the two columns, then mark four in one and three in the other column, in a "staircase" pattern.

In this arrangement, we now have a total of 16 numbers marked, rather than 12. The probabilities of having more numbers hit within the "zone" are obviously higher: seven numbers will hit at odds of 23-1; eight numbers will fall in at 83-1; and nine will land at odds of 415-1.

It’s rare when 10 numbers hit out of the 16 (2900-1), but it does occur and when it does you have a good chance of hitting a nice jackpot when it does.

This method of marking several cards within a zone of 12 and 16 numbers will be further developed next week. In essence, by doing this we take the 80-number board and reduce it to a smaller "playing field" of, say, 16, 16 or 20 numbers and try to strategically land a few numbers that can pay off.

What’s easier than that?