Win early and often

Jul 16, 2007 4:31 AM

Recently, a video keno player at the Gold Coast (we were playing Four Card Keno near the front desk) said he had a technique similar to my "re-setting" the keno machine.

Specifically, he said he sometimes takes a break from playing and simply sits for a few minutes, doing nothing.

Then, after this "time out," the machine often times responds with a flurry of hits or catches.

Now, I’ve yet to try this method, but you can be sure I’ll give it a whirl.

Not knowing exactly how these infernal machines operate, it’s hard to say what is at play here. Just like with my re-setting the machine.

But, based on years of experience, it would appear that the machines perform better — and even hit the top jackpot — most often after the game has been "re-booted," just like a computer.

This is just an observation, not based on any intimate knowledge of how the games are controlled by the computer.

But, doesn’t it seem that every time you hear or read about a big jackpot winner, the award came just a few minutes — or even a few pulls! — after the start of play?

Playing video keno this way is contrary to the method of playing live keno, where players often mark their card, kick back and wait for the numbers to come in.

I’ve found the live-game strategy has seldom, if ever, worked on the keno machine. In fact, I have tried to play the same game over and over, not touching the numbers, not re-betting, but the only results have been a long string of losing games.

Appropriately, I call the philosphy the "snooze and lose" method of playing video keno. Over the years I’ve discovered that a more proactive approach seems to work with video keno.

I first noticed this phenomenon while playing at the El Cortez. 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 (both in excess of $7,000!) by essentially playing the same numbers over and over, but re-setting the machine every two or three plays.

But this does not mean I re-set the machine after every game. But I seldom play the same numbers for more than three games before I re-set the machine. Also, keep in mind that most times after re-setting the machine, I will mark the same numbers.

Let me give you an example. If I’m playing the solid eight numbers in the "nine column," I may play the numbers for two or three games, then erase and mark the same column of numbers. For some reason, this sometimes leads to hitting, say, a seven out of eight jackpot, more frequently than when simply sitting on the same numbers, game after game.

Once again, I can’t say why there’s more likelihood of hitting a jackpot on the first few plays of a game than on the tenth play or even the hundredth play?

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" coins.

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."

Remember that these principles of mine are not hard and fast rules. But I think it’s important to be consistent. Blackjack and video poker players have their basic strategies, and experienced craps players typically bet a certain way and seldom deviate.

By following a system, whatever that happens to be, you give yourself a chance to keep up with, if not overcome, the odds of the game. In order to make the odds work for you, it’s best to be consistent and follow your system.