Don’t become ‘edgy’

Feb 13, 2006 11:06 PM

I often receive comments that some video keno players are concerned that they don’t get the same rate of return as some video poker players.

Specifically, they feel they might be at a disadvantage because there are no so-called "full pay" keno machines that pay in excess of 100% (supposedly like some poker machines), or even amounts in the high 90-percentage range.

It’s true that most video keno games return in the low 90’s, typically from 90% to 93%.

Let me point out with emphasis: the par value of a machine, or its long-term payback percentage, is a theoretical value based on the life of the machine.

What really counts are the odds to win. To help illustrate how important this is, I’ve assembled a partial list of the winning jackpots for most keno machines.

In some instances, these numbers should make a video player cringe. For instance, the odds to hit a solid 7-spot is about 40,000-to-1, about the same as hitting a royal flush in poker.

But look closely at the differences in the payoff. For about the same odds, the solid 7-spot pays an astounding 7,000-1, whereas the royal pays a paltry 800-1.

Check out another payoff. The 8-spot has a nice payoff for hitting seven out of eight numbers — $1,652 for four quarters bet. And with odds of 6200-1, the chances of catching seven of eight is nearly seven times greater than hitting a royal flush.

Another way of looking at it: for every royal flush that’s hit, there will be six hand-pay jackpots for hitting seven of eight on a keno machine!

While playing an 8-spot, hitting six of eight numbers, which have odds of about 422-1, results in a $98 payoff with four quarters bet. Those odds are close to what the odds are to hit a natural four-of-a-kind, which pays less than half as much on a jacks or better machine.

I don’t want to dwell on trying to "sell" video keno to players. You have to like the game, to start with, and enjoy cashing big jackpots.

Instead, let me offer a typical note from a reader, Paula Tessier, in New Jersey: "It’s about time someone devoted articles to video keno. That is just about all my husband and me play. We have played video keno in Connecticut, New Jersey, Mississippi, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada and several places not even on the map. We love to play in Tunica, Mississippi. We look forward to L.J. Zahm’s articles, he’s right about cluster keno: I only play patterns, all my wins have been in patterns. I have had some good hits, seven out of seven, six out of six. My husband even hit a solid nine spot and a solid eight. I once hit a solid eight spot. We look forward to every video keno article. Keep them coming!"

Enough said on the subject. Now let’s get back to hitting those nice W2-G jackpots!