Don’t ‘razz’ players about liking alternative games

January 29, 2008 12:43 AM
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Recently, I’ve been talking with some of the local poker players about games other than Texas Hold’em, such as Omaha, Razz, and High-Low variations.

It seems many players like these games as an alternative to the somewhat intense Texas Hold’em. They say the games offer a nice change, often relaxing and entertaining.

 I feel the same way about some of the keno variations. Although I don’t spend much time on the keno variations, they can be fun and offer a nice alternative to the standard keno game.

 One of the most amusing games I’ve ever played can be found on the Bally Keno Plus, called Triple Trouble. The concept behind this keno game is that you pick your numbers in the standard manner, choosing up to 10 spots, as you would in a standard game.

But the game features a bonus round that kicks in when three of the famous Bally "Devils" appear on screen (all three have to pop up in order to enter the bonus round). During the three ensuing, automatic games (you can’t re-set your numbers once the bonus round kicks in), all payoffs are tripled.

To compensate for the possibility of paying back "too much" to the player, the pay tables on many of the rewards are reduced.

Nevertheless, it makes for some exciting play when the red devil comes up and you have a shot at some lottery-like payoffs during those three games.

The only time I’ve been able to hit anything of significance playing Triple Trouble was when I caught 7-of-8 numbers during the bonus round for a payoff of $4,800 (three times the standard 7-of-8 payout of $1,600). This was on a 25-cent machine with four (maximum) coins bet.

 The only other jackpots I’ve ever hit during the Triple Trouble bonus round have been 7-of-10, 7-of-9 and 6-of-7. Not bad, but nothing in the "high rent" district.

Another keno variation that has developed quite a following is Caveman Keno, which is among the choices on IGT’s Game King. In addition to its molar-rattling sound effects, Caveman Keno features a novel screen with prehistoric volcanoes, dinosaurs, a blond-haired prehistoric man, and — hopefully for the player — dinosaur eggs.

The eggs are the key, and they function in much the same manner as the red devils in Bally’s Triple Trouble.

Here’s how the game works: The player chooses from 2-10 spots, just as in regular keno. The computer will then draw three numbers at random (among those that the player did not pick). These three numbers will be marked with a dinosaur egg.

The game proceeds with the machine pulling 20 numbers, and the player wins or loses depending on his catches.

If the player has hit enough spots to win something, that award is multiplied by a factor depending on whether the egg numbers match the 20 numbers chosen by the machine.

The multiplying factor is 1 if the number of egg matches is 1 or less, 4 if two eggs match, and 10 if all three eggs match.

As you can see, the bonus feature is similar to the devils in Triple Trouble, but you don’t need all three to appear in order to gain a multiplier.

As with Triple Trouble, the pay tables are reduced to compensate for the possibility of a high multiplier. But you also get an even money payback for hits such as 3-out-of-7 and 4-out-of-10, both of which normally don’t have any return.

Note that with a multiplier of 10X, the jackpots can reach into the thousands of dollars for four quarters bet, but you need all three eggs to be hit (at odds of about 72-1; two of three eggs has odds of about 7-1), and the "egg numbers" are chosen exclusive of the numbers you pick, which makes it a little more difficult to hit a high catch plus the three eggs on the same draw.

Quite frankly, I’ve never hit anything of substance with Caveman Keno, although I’ve seen fellow players connect, most recently at Palace Station.

Maybe you would have more prehistoric luck than I!