Four cards for a win

Dec 18, 2006 6:15 AM

While video poker players have their Triple Play (three-hand games) and Five-Hand Poker, we video keno players have Four Card Keno, as well as the Multi-Card (20-card) keno.

For video keno players, the equivalent has become Four Card Keno from IGT.

The obvious attraction of say, Four Card Keno, is it allows players the chance to play four keno cards during one game. Thus, they can cover more numbers, the same way a bingo player can cover more numbers by buying more cards.

Of course, the converse is also true: you’re betting four cards instead of one, and thus the costs can mount.

But because Four Card Keno is available in various denominations, from one- and two-penny games to 5 cents and up to a dollar, players should be able find a comfort level with their bankroll.

I’ve also embraced Four Card Keno, first for the obvious reason that you have more chances to win. And when playing virtually any keno, "winning" often means hitting a lottery-like jackpot.

But I also like Four Card Keno because it lends itself to my strategy of playing "clusters" or zones of numbers.

This strategy came about after years of playing games in which numbers always seemed to land right next to my 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, it became more likely to catch those numbers and hit a jackpot.

Here are some of my favorite clusters: I like to play two solid eight-spot columns (vertical), such as the 3 and 4 columns, coupled with the two 8-spot cards made up of the 3, 13, 23, 33, 44, 54, 64, 74 and the 4, 14, 24, 34, 43, 53, 63, 73 numbers. Again, you have overlap, opening the possibility of "doubling up" on a six out of eight or even seven out of eight jackpot.

I’ve also had success playing 9-spot cards in Four Card Keno. One pattern that has proved successful involves playing the first nine numbers and second nine numbers on a horizontal row, then the same pattern in the row either above or beneath the other row. Once, this method actually hit two 8-out-of-9 spots on the same row!

Sometimes, it’s fun to experiment with variations. The results can be stunning, as they were this past weekend at Palace Station.

I was playing my four 9-spots on the sixth and seventh rows and getting very little results. I’ve played so long that I have a feel as to how the machine is behaving.

Ordinarily, your chosen rows should at some point start filling in six numbers, maybe seven numbers and hopefully eight numbers or better.

I didn’t feel I was getting a "fair" mix of hits, so I decided to mark all four of my cards on the seventh row (one above the bottom row).

Often times I will do this by adding two 9-spots — the first four numbers with the last five numbers, plus the first five numbers plus the last four numbers — to my already overlapping 9-spots.

But this time, instead of putting four 9-spots on the row, I added two 7-spots: the first three numbers coupled with the last four numbers, and the first four numbers coupled with the last three.

It didn’t take long for the machine to fill in one of the solid 7-spots for a nice jackpot.

I think what was key was that the machine had not produced a 7-out-of-9 payoff and the 6-of-9s were scant.

It doesn’t always work this way, but many times a machine that is super stingy — if you’re persistent and have enough bankroll — reverses its course with a big payout.

At least that’s the desired result. And sometimes, it actually happens that way!