Keno reigns at Palace Station

Nov 14, 2005 12:55 AM

There’s been some shuffling around of gaming machines toward the back of Palace Station, where I often ensconce myself with a few other die-hard video keno lovers.

Notably, they’ve unveiled a new section (opposite the bingo room), which contains a few more machines. I noticed in the mix a few Game King models, which I like to play because of the range of keno games and denominations they offer.

Unfortunately, I noticed that the new mix doesn’t include the older Keno Plus machines that had occupied one of the rows previously.

I had mentioned the Keno Plus machine and its very enjoyable Triple Trouble bonus keno game, even though one vehement reader ranted about how the games were ancient history.

It may be that they’ve finally retired the game from the Palace Station floor. I hope not, but I’ll take a look around and see if they’ve been moved.

Incidentally, some of the IGT Game Kings located in the aisles just east of the bingo room have been paying off handsomely in recent weeks. You can play Four Card Keno (from 1¡ to 15¡ per game) back here, as well as Multi-Card Keno (from 1¡ to 5¡ per game).

Even though I don’t normally play them, the IGT Game King offers what I consider a few "novelty" keno games that have become popular with players.

These games include Cleopatra Keno and Power Keno and the players seem to really get into it. I wonder if they would be so enthusiastic if they checked the pay tables and found they’re not getting nearly the "standard" payoff that is awarded on "normal" keno machines.

If you’re serious about these games, and not just a time-passer looking to break even, you have to compare the pay tables to see just what you’re getting.

There’s nothing more frustrating to play all morning then finally catch a solid 7-spot, expecting to be paid 7,000-1 for your trouble, only to cash out at one-fourth of that amount.

Incidentally, on the keno machines I usually play, all the Multi-Card games in the 2¡ and 5¡ denomination have full-pay tables.

But the 1¡ denomination has a reduced pay table. Most of the top awards are virtually the same as the higher-denomination games, but you’re short-changed on some 6-out-of-7s and a few other payoffs. Always check to see what you’re getting.

Recently, I hit a fairly substantial Multi-Card Keno jackpot (eight solid 7-spots!), and the folks around me began to query me about the strategy.

My strategy, whether or not you want to use my patterns or "clusters" is simply this: I try to make many overlapping cards in the same general area.

Basically, this is because (and I’m sure you’ve had this happen to you!) very frequently I will catch most of the numbers with a couple falling just outside my pattern.

Thus, I will often mark eight 7-spots underneath just eight numbers. Granted, you’re putting all your eggs in one basket; but wasn’t it John Pierpont Morgan who once said, "Put all your eggs in one basket, then watch the basket."

Most Multi-Card players do the opposite: they spread their patterns all over the board, with the result that they spend a lot of money and barely break even when they do hit.

Obviously, playing all 20 cards with four coins bet can become expensive. Even a nickel player is risking $4 a game by playing the maximum number of cards with maximum coins bet. Thus, depending on your bankroll, it might be prudent to bet fewer than all 20 cards, or reduce the size of the bet.

The game can be played much like Four Card Keno. The player makes a bet, say, one coin for each of 20 cards, then marks each card. But with 20 cards, he is marking cards that will be labeled A through T.

If you have a system of marking cards, as I do with my Cluster Keno system, it will take awhile to mark every single card. That’s why it might be more efficient to play less than 20 cards.

The game, however, has a "quick pick" option that allows the machine to randomly pick numbers for all the cards or just individual cards.

Once you’ve picked your numbers (or allowed the machine to do it), you hit the start button and (hopefully!) watch all the numbers drop into your clusters.

Like all the modern IGT keno games, I’ve found Multi-Card to be technically superior to the old keno games. The screen is bright and colorful, all the information (there’s plenty of it, especially with 20 cards) is easily read, and the sound effects are crisp and pleasing.

Even though some keno purists may scoff at the idea of betting 20 cards, I must confess that playing 20 cards is exciting and I definitely plan to experiment with other patterns and configurations. Maybe you will do the same and share the results with the rest of us!