It’s always ‘one more’

Mar 27, 2006 5:42 AM

Thanks very much for the nice note from Millie, who says she and her friend Lorraine have been having a degree of success playing Four Card Keno.

Like many people, Millie reports that covering several tickets has helped to hit several "consolation" jackpots, but she’s yet to catch "the big one," which is presumably a top award, such as 7-of-7, 8-of-8 or the like.

That’s not uncommon, Millie, to keep coming close but no cigar. I can say from personal experience I’ve been laboring over the last few weeks at Palace Station, playing the same patterns on the same machine, trying to catch the top award from a group of overlapping 8-spot tickets.

All I can say is, hang in there and be patient. For the most part, I’ve been able to eventually catch the top award.

As a case in point, one of my favorite Four Card Keno clusters includes two 9-spots and two 7-spots that occupy most of the first and second columns of keno numbers.

Usually, through frequent "re-setting" of the machine, I’m able to catch a 6-of-7 and/or 7-of-9 jackpots before the machine finally coughs up a solid 7-spot or 8-of-9 payoff. (I consider the 8-of-9 a top payoff, even though it isn’t, because of the nice jackpot.)

Of course, I have the benefit of living in Las Vegas and playing the machines when I please, any time day or night.

Visitors such as yourself are at a disadvantage because your time is limited.

You asked about the history of Four Card Keno. I think it’s been around since the late 1990s — it debuted, I believe, in 1998, but I could be off by a year.

Of course, after it first hit I quickly embraced Four Card Keno because it lended itself to my Cluster method of playing video keno.

I guess you could say that Four Card Keno can be construed as video keno’s answer to the immensely popular multi-hand video poker, such as Triple Play, five-hand, 10-hand poker and more.

Its concept is very simple: players can play up to four different keno cards on the same keno game. That is, you can mark one to four cards (you don’t have to play all four), picking any number of spots on each card. Then the game proceeds as in regular keno, with 20 numbers being drawn.

The obvious advantage is that you can cover a lot more numbers than with one card. Equally, the disadvantage is that you’re betting four cards instead of one, and the costs can mount.

Four Card Keno is available in various denominations, from one and two cents up to a dollar, and I’ve found that the multi-denominational machines offer the best chances to win, because you can move from one denomination to another by simply touching the screen.

One thing you must watch for, however, are the pay tables on the Four Card Games. Some machines use a reduced pay table which can result in a thoroughly disappointing win.

For instance, some games pay only 335-1 for catching 6-of-7, which is significantly lower than the standard 400-1.

The lower pay tables are usually found on the penny denominations, but can occur across the spectrum of denominations.

Being able to mark four cards lends itself to using the cluster method. Many long time video keno players will probably agree that numbers always seem to land right next to their chosen numbers, almost as if they had "eyes" and knew how to just miss! Well, by playing numbers in clusters that are in close proximity to each other, you are often able to catch those numbers and hit a jackpot.

As an example, I’ve included the aforementioned cluster of two 9-spots and two 7-spots. Because they overlap, there’s always the possibility of hitting it really big when one of the 9-spots goes solid and brings with it a solid 7-spot.

Those kind of wins are rare, of course, but they’re sure worth waiting for!