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Marathon video keno play pays dividends

Jun 17, 2008 7:04 PM

Cluster Keno by L. J. Zahm | After a week of marathon video keno sessions, I’m firmly convinced that winning consistently is a process.

Of course, lightning can strike any time, but to cultivate jackpots on a regular basis, you have to have a viable plan of action and stick to it.

This was underscored after several different playing sessions (at locals-oriented Las Vegas casinos) in which I was able to hit more than one nice jackpot, on the same machine, while following a specific plan of action.

The best results occurred on a 20-card-keno machine at Arizona Charlie’s, where I hit two 8-of-9 jackpots (with payoffs of 4750-1), three 7-of-8 awards (at 1600-1) and two solid 7-spots (at 7000-1).

These jackpots came over the course of a few hours. But they didn’t come easily, that is, they didn’t just leap out with a lot of fanfare and hoopla.

They took consistent and oft times tedious play, which sometimes included some sustained dry spells.

As I’ve always stated in the past, one of the keys to this process is re-setting the machine. I think virtually all of the big awards that I hit on this one machine came within three plays of resetting the machine (cashing out and starting again).

Regarding resetting the machine, I’m frequently asked when and how often you should do it.

The answer is simple, though two-fold – you reset the machine when it appears to have died (hits on your patterns become sparse) or the machine seems to find a kind-of rut in which the numbers seem to avoid your patterns.

As an example of the first, I find that machines often go into a "slump" after paying off a nice award – typically these are catching 6-of-9, 6-of-8 and 6-of-7 numbers. Lately, they’ve even tanked after catching just 5-of-7 and 5-of-8, as well.

The second case is a little harder to recognize because numbers land in your cluster, but don’t do much damage. For instance, if you mark a group of 9-spots and all you can catch (especially with multiple cards) is 4-of-9, re-set and start again.

What was particularly amazing about this session was how the machine recovered from paying off nicely only to pay off again and again.

It’s been my experience in the past that once a machine hits something big like a solid 7-spot, which has the same odds as catching a royal flush in video poker, it’s usually time to move to another machine.

Regarding which patterns to play, that’s pretty much up to you. But you need to stick with your patterns.

For myself, I almost always use two adjacent columns of eight numbers. This gives me good options for playing 7-spots, 8-spots and 9-spot, which I sometimes mix together.

For instance, when playing 7-spots, I’ll use either the columns themselves (I’ll mark eight 7-spot cards under the same eight numbers), the top eight numbers (along with the bottom eight numbers), or the cross-over pattern of eight numbers (the staircase of top left-hand four coupled with bottom, right-hand four).

Give the method a try and let me know how you fared.


When playing Four Card Keno, you can increase your chances by overlapping your cluster of patterns. Note that the 9-spot clusters use the numbers in the first two columns. By not spreading out your patterns, there will be occasions where the numbers will fly all over the board. But when they do land in your pattern, you have the potential for winning big. That happened not too long ago at Palace Station, where the machine filled in a solid 9-spot (it was the bottom box plus one) for a cool $10,000. The overlapping 10-spots have worked well to consistently catch 7-of-10 and 8-of-10, which pays a respectable $1,000 on a quarter machine. Occasionally, you’ll catch 9-of-10 for a nice $4,500. So far, I’ve never hit 10-of-10, but I’m still trying!