Take your wins in small doses

Jul 31, 2006 3:19 AM

Last week, we looked at how the odds can help you pile up the credits while playing video keno.

This week we’ll expand that thought into directing one’s efforts toward winning in small increments, which is a good way to ensure leaving with more money than when you started. Plus there’s always the real possibility that you will cash a nice jackpot along the way.

So let’s begin by reviewing a few strategies geared toward the same result, that is, pumping up your credit meter, while playing standard keno.

First, if your goal is to rack up the credits, I suggest playing either a 9- or 10-spot keno. This way, you have a chance of accumulating catches such as 6-of-9, 6-of-10, 7-of-10 or even an occasional 7-of-9, which will all contribute greatly toward your goal of cashing out the machine with a nice profit.

It could also work to your advantage to play 8-spot keno because if you can string together a few 6-of-8 payoffs, you will be on your way to profit land. But hitting six of eight can be elusive: There have been times I’ve hit 6-of-8 five or six times over the course of an hour, but there have also been times I’ve blanked. Thus, banking on 6-of-8 can be risky.

For purposes of this discussion, I’ll use the 9-spot keno game as a starting point. During the course of playing the 9-spot, I will vary the cluster or pattern. Note in the accompanying chart there are four patterns that have worked well for me in the past.

After choosing a pattern, I play the machine for only a few games before resetting.

By "reset," I mean that the numbers from the previous game are erased, and new numbers are marked — even though the new numbers may be exactly the same numbers that were played before!

Of course, I may also move the pattern around, but I don’t usually do this until it seems apparent, after say, half a dozen games, that the numbers aren’t coming close to hitting.

This notion of continually resetting the machine became apparent while playing at Palace Station. Much to my surprise, I would hit jackpots on machines that were located on either side of a machine I was playing, often times, while waiting for a hand-pay jackpot on the center machine! At the same casino, I hit a pair of nickel keno progressives by essentially playing the same numbers over and over, but resetting the machine every two or three plays.

I am often asked the theory behind resetting the numbers on the machine. Actually, I don’t have a theory based on engineering knowledge. But keep in mind that the keno program was designed by an engineer who is charged with the task of creating a machine that makes money for the casino. It’s not likely they would ever create a keno game that would pay a jackpot just because you put in "enough" quarters.

In fact, I’ve noticed in recent months, that some keno games go into a losing spiral the more you play the same numbers. Maybe others have noticed that, on some occasions, the numbers continue to be "bad," that is, return little or nothing at all, no matter how long you play them. I’ve found that re-setting the machine is the only way to "stop the bleeding."

If you take the time to watch the keno screen, noting the patterns that form, you will probably see all four of these patterns fill up. That’s not to say they’ll fill up when you’re playing the numbers! But, eventually, the numbers will fall into place.

The trick, of course, is having them marked when they do. And re-setting the machine frequently has been a method that seems to work.