Zoning in on a 7-spot in Keno

Sep 23, 2008 6:00 PM

Cluster Keno by L. J. Zahm | Last week a reader emailed me and noted that the 20-card keno games I frequently write about are fine, but that they can become costly because of so many cards.

The reader, Deidre, added that she likes Four Card Keno and wondered about applying the same "cross over" tactics to that game.

Indeed, Deidre, Four Card Keno is one of my favorites and here are a few ways I approach it.

First of all, there seem to be two camps who play the multi-card games: One group spreads their tickets out over the entire board, hoping one of them hits. The other group, myself included, clusters their numbers in distinct regions or patterns, hoping (if not praying) the numbers land in buckets.

 For instance, I might take a 3-by-4 box (12 numbers), in which I would mark, say, four different 7-spots.

 Or, Ive had some success marking overlapping 9-spots on two complete rows (of 10 numbers), and overlapping 8-spots in adjacent columns (of eight numbers).

Another strategy that I often try is marking four cards that overlap, thus covering fewer numbers but increasing the chances of multiple payoffs.

One cluster involves marking four 7-spot cards, all on the same row (of 10 numbers).

The reason I decided to play this zone is simple. As anyone who has played video keno (especially the 10-spot game) will agree, its not uncommon for a single row, at some point in your session, to have seven, or even eight numbers, hit on the single line.

And if you play for any length of time, youll notice that eventually, practically every row will have those seven or even eight (or even nine!) numbers fill in the row.

So I tried experimenting with marking several cards, all on the same row. For instance, I would mark all 10 numbers for one card, mark the "inside" eight numbers (from the 2-column to the 9-column) for another card, the "outside" eight numbers (1-4 and 7-0 columns) for another 8-spot, and finally a 6-spot using the first two, middle two and last two numbers.

The cluster worked reasonably well, but as you would expect, because there are only a total of 10 numbers marked, the frequency at which the hits would come was less than when marking larger clusters.

After trying various clusters, I found one that has consistently paid off. It involves playing four 7-spots on the same row. How you mark them is up to you but I usually mark two 7-spots using the outside eight numbers, and two 7-spots using the inside eight numbers.

By playing this cluster in Four Card Keno, you are ensured of a fair amount of hits because you only need three numbers to get a return. Plus, because the cards overlap, youll find that hitting three numbers often results in a return on more than one card.

More importantly, you should probably hit a lot of 5-of-7s, which are important in keeping your credits up while waiting for something juicier to hit.

At a recent session playing this configuration at a downtown casino, I hit numerous 6-of-7 "mini-jackpots" before the machine finally cooperated and hit 7-of-7.

Most of the time, this configuration will provide for at least one if not more 6-of-7s. If it seems the machine wont pay beyond that, it might be prudent to change machines or change clusters.

Remember, it always takes luck to hit something like a 7-for-7 jackpot, whose odds are about 40,000-1 (same as a royal flush). But by using this system, youve at least put yourself in the neighborhood for hitting it. The rest is up to the machine!