Don’t lose any sleep over the casino’s edge

November 19, 2007 4:50 AM
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There are some who insist that the house percentage is by far the most important criterion by which you should judge a Keno ticket, and by extension the Keno game that books it. I hold the opinion that the house percentage is far more important to the casino than to the individual player, and in the next few weeks I will try to explain my position.

The house percentage is really just an average of what the house should win over millions of dollars bet. So if you have a 25% house percentage keno ticket, and a million dollars is wagered, the house should, on the average, win about $250,000.

If you have a 30% house percentage ticket, the house should win, on the average, about $300,000 on a million dollars of action. For the house, this difference is a substantial $50,000. For the player, with a bankroll of $100, the difference is, on the average, about $5. Right? Well, not really.

If you take 10 people and poll them on their incomes, and nine of them make $10,000 per year and one of them makes $1,000,000 per year, it is mathematically correct to say that their average income is $109,000 per year.

Mathematically correct, but hardly coinciding with reality! Life just isn’t fair. In situations like this, that have a greatly unbalanced distribution, "skewed" in statistical parlance, the proper statistic to use is the median, which is the income that is exactly in the middle of the range of incomes. In this case, that figure would be $10,000, which is much closer to reality than the mathematical average.

The distribution of keno winnings is of course highly skewed just like the income example above. Let’s work a little thought problem. A 6-spot "cycles" about every 7,753 games, so let’s say that we have 7,753 players, each playing a $1 6-spot one time. We will, on the average have:

— one solid six, paying $1,480
— 24 five out of sixes, each paying $100
— 221 four out of sixes, each paying $3
— 1,007 three out of sixes, each paying $1
— 2,393 two out of sixes, each paying nothing
— 2,819 one out of sixes, each paying nothing
— 1,292 zero out of sixes, each paying nothing

If we add together the total wins, we see that the total is $5,550, which is an average win of 71.5 cents per ticket. The house percentage is thus $1 -.715, or about 28.5%.

The MEDIAN win, however is that catch which is 3,876 catches from the top or the bottom, if all these pay outs were arranged in order. That catch would be a one out of six, which pays nothing. Thus the MEDIAN pay out on this ticket is zero, which is much closer to reality for the typical player than the average, or house percentage!

 

KENO LIL’S TICKET OF THE WEEK

3 3 2 2 2 1

1-way-13 1-way-12 3-way-11 5-way-10
5-way-9 9-way-8 8-way-7 8-way-6
9-way-5 5-way-4 5-way-3 3-way-2
1-way-1

Mark 13 numbers and group them 3-3-2-2-2-1. This will allow you to play the ways above. I suggest that you play the 9 way 8 and 9 way 5 for 50 cents per way, giving you a nine dollar ticket with a great combination of eights and fives, two of my favorites!

If you have a Keno question that you would like answered, please write to me care of this paper, or contact me on the web via email at kenolil@gmail.com. Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!