Naturally, the allure of video keno is the chance to hit a big jackpot, much bigger and at better odds than you’ll find playing video poker.
For instance, the 7-out-of-7 keno jackpot has odds of about 40,000-1, about the same as catching a royal flush, but it pays a whopping 7,000-1, as opposed to the royal flush’s meager 800-1.
Of course, those mega jackpots aren’t an everyday occurrence. That’s why it’s good to have a strategy that allows you to play effectively, keeping your head above water, while waiting for your mega ship to come in.
Directing your efforts toward winning in small increments is a good way to ensure leaving with more money than when you started playing, plus there’s always the real possibility that you will catch a nice jackpot along the way.
This strategy, then, is play a machine until it pays a minimal amount above what you’ve put into it, then quit the machine and move to another before it has a chance to take it all back.
Toward this end, I devised two scenarios: the first involved playing Four Card Keno on IGT Game King machines; the second hinged on playing standard video keno.
On the Four Card Keno game, I often play four 10-spots. The numbers consisted of two entire rows (adjacent to each other), coupled with two "stair stepper" 10-spots consisting of the first five numbers on one row coupled with the second five numbers of the lower row, and the second five numbers of one row coupled with the first five numbers of the second row.
This is a cluster of numbers that I frequently use and they often result in hitting one 8-of-10 spot, plus numerous 7-of-10 spots.
The 8-of-10 pays 1,000 coins, so at four coins per game (one coin on each of the four cards), you have a relatively good chance of hitting the 8-of-10.
Because I don’t keep detailed records as some players, I can’t say exactly how much money I won and lost trying this system. But in six sessions at a local casino, I had four sessions in which I caught the 8-of-10, one session in which I caught a 9-of-10 (a first for me!) and one session in which I caught only a few 7-of-10 payoffs.
Obviously, I made a nice profit in each of the sessions in which I caught 8-of-10 or better. I may have even made money in the other session, because catching 7-of-10 pays a respectable 142 coins, and I know I hit at least three of those.
This is where it becomes a judgment call on the player’s part. You can be ahead by 20, 30, 50, 100 or whatever number of credits and decide to cash out with a decent profit, rather than continue to seek the larger prize while risking the machine taking it all back.
That’s a decision every player needs to make on their own. My personal experience has been this: If the 7-of-10 comes up several times without the 8-of-10 hitting, then I decide that the machine will probably continue to "tease" with the lower award, and then move on.
I think that, if you want to consistently show a profit, even if it’s only 40 or 50 coins per machine, those levels would be nice spots to cash out and move on.
The point is to be consistent. After cashing out, find another machine and start the quest over again. The advent of ticket-in, ticket-out makes the process less tedious.
Now, some people like to play standard keno, and so do I, especially the progressive jackpots as I’ve been talking about since the first of the year.
But also, standard keno takes only one bet as opposed to four bets with Four Card Keno, so the cost of playing is much less.
Once again, the goal is to rack up the credits, and with standard keno I usually do that playing the larger tickets, such as 9-spots and 10-spots.
This way, you have a chance of accumulating catches such as 6-of-9, 6-of-10, 7-of-10 or even an occasional 7-of-9, which will all contribute greatly toward your goal of cashing out the machine with a nice profit.
For purposes of this discussion, I’ll use the 9-spot keno game as a starting point. During the course of playing the 9-spot, I will vary the cluster or pattern. I prefer certain patterns, such as the "H" pattern or a 2x4 box with a kicker next to it, or even an entire column (eight numbers) with a single "orphan" attached.
Of course, you can choose your own pattern or select nine random numbers, but the point is to stick with those numbers, at least for awhile.
After choosing a pattern, I play the machine for only a few games before resetting.
By "reset," I mean that the numbers from the previous game are erased, and new numbers are marked — even though the new numbers may be exactly the same numbers that were played before!
Of course, I may also move the pattern around, but I don’t usually do this until it seems apparent, after say, half a dozen games, that the numbers aren’t coming close to hitting.
I am often asked the theory behind resetting the numbers on the machine. Actually, I don’t have a theory based on engineering knowledge. 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" quarters.
In fact, I’ve noticed in recent months, that some keno games go into a losing spiral the more you play the same numbers. I’ve found that re-setting the machine is the only way to "stop the bleeding."