Attacking 5-spots!

Feb 12, 2008 2:02 AM

In the past when we’ve simulated keno tournaments on the computer we’ve discovered that the 5-spot is the best ticket to play.

A $1 five played against other $1 tickets won the tournaments over 20 percent of the time. A $2 5-spot won over 27 percent of the tournaments played, despite the fact that the 5-spot represented only 12 percent of the players.

This week we’ll simulate another 1,000 tournaments, each with a $1,500 buy-in as before. All tickets played will be $1 tickets, with the exception of the 1-spot player, who will play three $500 1-spots each tournament (thereby using up the entire buy-in with three tickets).

Look at the difference in tournament wins, now that the 1-spot has been optimized. (The $1 1-spot would win only about 6 percent of all tournaments.)

Total Wins By 1-Spots : 307
Total Wins By 2-Spots : 46
Total Wins By 3-Spots : 58
Total Wins By 4-Spots : 75
Total Wins By 5-Spots : 160
Total Wins By 6-Spots : 133
Total Wins By 7-Spots : 90
Total Wins By 8-Spots : 131

Once the 1-spot has been optimized, the number of wins by 1-spots increases to over 30 percent! The interesting thing here is that even though the 1-spot wins an incredible amount of tournaments, the $1 5-spot still wins much more than an average. Many Keno tournaments outlaw the use of 1-spots, to discourage the practice of "buying" the tournament by big spenders.

I’m going to tell you some secrets. Even if 1-spots are explicitly outlawed, if you really want to play a 1-spot there are several techniques to use that might be legal under the tournament rules. (Many keno tournament rules are not completely airtight!)

First of all, there is the way ticket ruse. Although many tournaments bar straight 1-spots, they are playable on way tickets in many tournaments.

So you might try something like this: Mark 5 numbers, grouped 2-2-1, and play a 1-way-5, 2-way-2, and a 1-way-1. Play the five for $1, the twos for 50 cents and the 1-spot for $98. This will give you a $100 ticket with a lot of "bang" in the tournament, if you can get away with it.

Another tactic, (which will be legal at almost any tournament) is to play a "virtual" 1-spot. In this case we’ll choose our 1-spot, and play it as a 1-spot group. We’ll also choose 25 groups of two, and we’ll play the resulting 300-way-5 for a dollar per way.

This approach has the happy qualities of combining fives and ones, and will probably be lethal in tournament play. I call this a virtual 1-spot, because you must hit the one to hit a solid five. On the other hand, if you do hit the one, you have a reasonable chance of hitting a solid five. In effect, you are really playing a 1-spot!

The bottom line: If you are allowed to play 1-spot tickets in the tournament, the optimized 1-spot gets a rating of five spikes.

Otherwise, play the 5-spot!

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