The keno ticket from (gulp) hell!

Jun 19, 2006 3:56 AM

Once upon a time, long, long ago, before there were computerized keno games, there was a ticket that was occasionally played by sincere, well meaning keno players that were just, well, a little sadistic! The ticket had only nine numbers on it. How complicated can that be? See the accompanying illustration.

I know you see three groups of three, and that makes a three way six, right? Not a 27 way six! Nope.

What you see is three groups of three kings, and this ticket is a variety of a split ticket, not playable in general since the computerization of the game.

Nevertheless, this is a valid ticket, as the traditional test of validity is that a ticket may be separated onto different pieces of paper and played. This one may certainly be separated into nine three-way-sixes and played exactly as written.

Unfortunately this ticket was a minefield for the neophyte keno writer. You may note that underneath the conditioning "27/6" you will see "2-2-2 ONLY." The ticket, (and it is correctly written as shown) is well-conditioned, that is the exact ways that are played, paid for, and payable, are stated.

There are unfortunately for the inexperienced keno writer a lot of other ways to make a six spot on this ticket. They are:

3-3 3 way 6

3-2-1 54 way 6

This gives a total of 57 additional six spot ways. (There is a possible 84 ways to make a six on the ticket.)

In those days (really not so long ago) a sharpie might find a keno game that would accept the ticket without being well-conditioned. He might have found a writer (and even a supervisor) who didn’t actually know how many ways were on the ticket. He would then just play until he hit a solid six and demand payment.

The supervisor, if he was a complete witling, would pay the sharpie the full dollar amount instead of prorating the pay out to the proper amount of ways.

But even if the supervisor prorated the ticket, the sharpie had still gotten a free ride for X amount of games on the poorly conditioned ticket.

But that’s not the end of the horrors. You might think that, given there are nine kings on the ticket, there will naturally be only 10 possible catches on the ticket.

Actually, there are 20 possible different catches on the ticket (just as on a 3-3-3 way ticket) and checking this beast accurately for winners is not so easy as it looks!

The sharpie probably has a list of pay outs in his pocket, and knows quite well what the correct pay out is. If he is overpaid, he keeps quiet. If he is underpaid, he complains until the pay out is made accurate (or more.)

You see, to hit a solid six on this ticket (as shown conditioned above) you’d have to hit 1-1-0|1-1-0|1-1-0 or better (At least two kings in each split.)

If you hit 1-1-1|1-1-1|0-0-0 (three kings in two of the splits, but none in the third) you’d only have 27 four out of sixes! Of course the sharpie would claim a solid six in this case, if the ticket were not well-conditioned.

I know of several keno writers and supervisors who sadly lost employment over this ticket. Some keno games used to use it as a training tool for writers with intermediate experience, to find out if they had enough savvy to make it to supervisor. It was truly the "Ticket from Hell."

Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line! e-mail [email protected]