Always good to pro-rate your wagers

Jan 21, 2008 11:49 PM

Another reason to pro-rate your keno wagers is the case of a large way ticket where the player does not want to win more than the limit.

Let’s take for example a keno game where the 7 and 8-spot dollar rates pay thusly:

 \$1.00 7-Spot \$1.00 8-Spot 4/7 \$1 5/8 \$9 5/7 \$20 6/8 \$100 6/7 \$410 7/8 \$1,480 7/7 \$8,100 8/8 \$20,000

If you mark eight numbers, and circle all eight numbers one at a time, you have what is called a King ticket, and you can play a 1-way-8 and an 8- way-7. If you play for a dollar per way, you will end up with a ticket costing \$9.

Now, if you are playing at a \$50,000-limit keno game, your ticket will pay off according to the chart below. The "nominal payoff" column is the calculated payoff as if there were no limit, while the "actual payoff" column reflects the payoff limit of the keno game (with a \$50,000 limit.)

 Catch Nominal Actual Payoff Payoff 1-1-1-1-0-0-0-0 \$4 \$4 1-1-1-1-1-0-0-0 \$74 \$74 1-1-1-1-1-1-0-0 \$1,040 \$1,040 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-0 \$12,450 \$12,450 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 \$84,800 \$50,000

It is easy to see that in a sense, part of your wager is wasted because you are bumping up against the payoff limit if you hit a solid eight. In some cases, this effect is minimal, but in this case you are increasing the house’s percentage (and decreasing your win percentage) by 1.6 percent!

The solution to this problem is to prorate your wager. If you divide \$50,000 by \$84,800, you get \$0.5896. Rounded to the nearest nickel, this means that the most per way that you should play this ticket is either 55 or 60 cents per way.

Playing at 55 cents per-way results in a ticket that costs \$4.95 per game with a maximum payoff of \$46,640. Playing at 60 cents per-way results in a ticket with a cost of \$5.40 per-game and a maximum payoff of \$50,880, which means that you will lose only \$880 as a result of the limit cut-off. The effect of this is minimal, so either 55 or 60 cents per-way would be an acceptable wager.

Again, you will have to seek out a keno game that will let you do this. I think that it will be easier to do as time goes on, because this strategy makes a lot of sense, and since keno automation, requires no extra work on the part of the keno personnel.

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 [email protected]