A few high-fives for the 5-spot

November 27, 2007 12:31 AM
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We conducted a Monte Carlo simulation of two million keno games, this time comparing a 5-spot with a house percentage of 27.5% and a 6-spot with a house percentage of 28.0%. For each ticket we have 1,000 players each playing 1,000 one dollar tickets. The average return per player was about $720, which is about what we would expect.

There are two striking differences between the 5-spot and the 6-spot though. The percent of winners, those players who ended up money ahead after playing $1,000 worth of keno was 37.0% for 5-spot players and only 12.7% for 6-spot players. Thus by playing a 5-spot instead of a 6-spot, you have almost triple the chance of ending up money ahead!

This good news is tempered by a close look at the median winnings of each ticket, (remembering that the median figure is the figure that the typical keno player will win). While the median 6-spot player wins $528 per $1,000 wagered, the 5-spot median is a dismal $244!

What this means is that the 5-spot is a very risky ticket to play. While the chance of ending up money ahead is much greater on a 5-spot than almost any other ticket, the typical keno player will lose more playing a 5-spot than almost any other ticket. This is a very good example of a "risk-reward" ratio in practical play.

Keno Lil likes 5-spots a lot, because she plays keno to win, and win big. I don’t mind taking the risk, because the chance of a reward (and a trip to Macy’s!) is that much greater.

It is true that the 6-spot is by far the most popular ticket today among keno players, and the results of the chart below probably explain why. The typical (median) keno player will have much more of his or her bankroll left after playing 6-spots rather than 5-spots, and after a few losing sessions with fives most players have probably been disappointed and moved on to sixes.

But a careful study of the chart below might convince you to give the 6-spot another chance, because you will enhance greatly your chance of going home a winner, and that is what it’s all about!

5-SPOT .2751 6-SPOT .2800
AVERAGE $720.25 AVERAGE $721.50
MEDIAN $244.00 MEDIAN $528.00
HIGHEST $4,298.00 HIGHEST $5,477.70
LOWEST $114.00 LOWEST $170.00
PERCENT WIN 37.00% PERCENT WIN 12.70%

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!