Keno’s come a
long way, baby

Feb 6, 2006 5:30 AM

In the beginning, there was the 10-spot. The 10-spot ticket was

the only ticket played in the traditional Chinese games, and for years this practice held in the Caucasian games as well.

When keno came to Nevada, and assumed the guise of Horse Race keno, a typical pay table might have looked like this:

 

Pick 10 Horse’s

If 5 of your horses are chosen, pays 2 for 1

If 6 of your horses are chosen, pays 18 for 1

If 7 of your horses are chosen, pays 142 for 1

If 8 of your horses are chosen, pays 800 for 1

If 9 of your horses are chosen, pays 1,600 for 1

If 10 of your horses are chosen, pays 10,000 for 1

 

These pay rates seem meager by modern standards, but it must be remembered that a new car could be purchased for $500 to $600 in the 1930’s and 1940’s when these tables were current.

The early operators of the keno games were not mathematical sophisticates; they did not know the actual odds against each particular catch on the 10-spot, but they did know that the traditional odds produced a profit for the game.

They did not possess computers, nor had they access to university mathematics departments, nor did they even have the pocket electronic calculators that are so common today. They were however, clever and resourceful. Given a 10-spot pay table that was known to produce a profit, the idea arose that other tickets might be produced using the 10-spot rates as a base.

The nine-spot ticket was first conceived as a 71-way 10-spot, with the nine numbers constituting a field and the remaining 71 numbers considered to be kings. Thus the possible hits on this ticket were:

 

Field of 9     71 Kings           Catch

      9                11       11   10/10, 60 9/10

      8                12       12   9/10, 59 8/10

      7                13       13   8/10, 58 7/10

      6                14       14   7/10, 57 6/10

      5                15       15   6/10, 56 5/10

      4                16       16   5/10, 55 4/10

      3                17       17   4/10, 54 3/10

      2                18       18   3/10, 53 2/10

      1                19       19   2/10, 52 1/10

      0                20       20   1/10, 51 0/10

 

Thus was born one of the most popular tickets of all time, the 40¡ Nine. Note that by prorating the 10-spot, this produces a catch of 16 five out of tens on a catch of 4 out of 9. At a penny per way on a 71-way 10, this is a pay of 32¡, and when prorated to a 40¡ nine, the pay out becomes a little over 18¡, which the operators rounded to 20¡.

Similar prorations were carried out to produce the other pay outs on the 40¡ nine-spot, which are printed below:

 

      CATCH       PAYS

         4/9          $0.20

        5/9           $2.00

        6/9           $18.00

        7/9           $112.00

        8/9           1,100.00

        9/9           $7,500.00

 

Well that’s it for this week! Good luck, I’ll see you on the net! e-mail: [email protected]