A poor man’s king ticket

Apr 4, 2006 2:13 AM

King tickets are intriguing tickets for many keno players and keno writers as well. For the player, they offer a singular advantage: every number played works with every other number played to produce the ways on the ticket.

The biggest disadvantage of king tickets is their cost. A king ticket with 8 kings has 255 total ways on it, while a nine king ticket has 511 total ways. The cost of even playing just the fives or sixes on either ticket can be quite expensive per game.

Let’s look at the ways on an eight and nine king ticket.


Eight Kings

Nine Kings



1-way 8

1-way 9

8-way 7

9-way 8

28-way 6

36-way 7

56-way 5

84-way 6

70-way 4

126-way 5

56-way 3

126-way 4

28-way 2

4-way 3

8-way 1

36-way 2

9-way 1


To play the sixes and fives at 50 cents per way will cost you $42 on the eight king ticket and $105 on the nine king ticket, which is a tad bit expensive for most players. There is a playing technique called the "Poor man’s King Ticket" which helps alleviate this problem. The technique is really just the opposite of the splitting technique that we have studied the last several weeks. Instead of splitting a group, we’ll combine a group, thus cutting the total ways roughly in half.

If we take the eight kings ticket and combine two of the kings into one group of two, we end up with a ticket that is grouped 2-1-1-1-1-1-1. Computing the ways on this ticket gives us this result:


1-way 8

6-way 7

16-way 6

26-way 5

30-way 4

26-way 3

16-way 2

6-way 1


The result is a total of 127 ways. You can play the sixes and fives on this ticket for 50 cents per way for a total of $21, exactly half the total of the full king ticket. Of course, you have given up something: Not all of your numbers work with all others anymore, but it’s still close to the original king ticket. This is called a "Poor Man’s King Ticket."

We can do the same thing with the nine kings. Combine two of the kings into a deuce, and you’ll have a ticket marked 2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1. This will result in a ticket having 255 total ways:


1-way 9

7-way 8

22-way 7

42-way 6

56-way 5

56-way 4

42-way 3

22-way 2

7-way 1


You can play the 6’s and the 5’s on this ticket for 50 cents per way for $49, which is less than half the cost of the original king ticket.

You can take this a step further in two ways. You can combine two more kings into another deuce, or you can combine three of the original kings into a group of three. In either case you reduce your cost even further, but at the same time you get further away from the nature of a king ticket. In the case of the eight kings, combining four kings into two groups of two results in a ticket grouped 2-2-1-1-1-1. This ticket has one eight, four sevens, 8 sixes, 12 fives, 14 fours, 12 threes, 8 twos, and four ones. You can play the sixes and fives for $10, if you play 50 cents per way.

If you combine three of the original eight kings into a group of three, you wind up with a ticket grouped 3-1-1-1-1-1. This ticket has 63 total ways, namely 1 eight, 5 sevens, 10 sixes, 11 fives, 10 fours, 11 threes, 10 twos, and 5 ones. At 50 cents per way the sixes and fives may be played for a frugal $10.50 per game. These last two tickets are also "Poor Man’s King Tickets" but they are a little further removed from a true king ticket than the first two examples.

Well, that’s it for this week, good luck, I’ll see you in line!