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Using overlapping cards on 10-number row sound strategy

May 20, 2008 7:00 PM

Cluster Keno by L. J. Zahm | I recently made a trip down to the El Cortez to play a little Four Card Keno. I used to play downtown frequently, but over the last couple of years have spent much of my time in Westside casinos.

They have a good mix of keno machines at the El Cortez, and the staff is always courteous and friendly.

So are the players, who are always willing to discuss their strategy and approach to the game.

I was sitting next to a woman who hit a nice jackpot playing clusters similar to those Iíve used in the past.

Specifically, she marked four 8-spot tickets all on the top row of 10 numbers. They overlapped and when the row filled in with eight numbers, she caught two 7-of-8 jackpots.

Using a 10-number row for the basis of several overlapping tickets is sound strategy because, if you watch the numbers pound out on the keno game, it seems eventually they will "get around" to your row and, hopefully, hit the patterns youíve marked.

Depending on the machine, however, be prepared to experience mixed results.

For instance, Iíve noticed that the more patterns you play on a given set of numbers (such as a row of 10 numbers), the fewer hits that row will receive.

Now, youíd think that, if the game were in fact an electronic version of keno that the numbers would fall into place at random, regardless of what youíve marked. Thatís what you would expect, but it isnít always the case.

Virtually every time I increase the number of patterns from two to four on a given row, the hit frequency of numbers in that row seems to decrease dramatically.

That doesnít mean you wonít ever catch anything, but it means it takes longer for the hits to accumulate on that row. Thus, you should be prepared to weather some dry spells when you mark four cards on the same row.

Secondly, Iíve seen that larger cards, such as a 9-spot or 10-spot, when marked "on top" of a smaller ticket, like a 7-spot, seems to control the amount of hits that fall onto the pattern.

This phenomenon seemed to be underscored when that larger, "umbrella" card is played on the "A" card and your smaller tickets are marked on the "B", "C" and "D" cards.

Just why this seems to work is so far bewildering to me, but the results seem to be accumulating in its favor.

Next time, try some of these configurations and let me know of the results.