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Keno can be good bet for players with small bank roll

Sep 23, 2008 7:00 PM

Keno Lil | Yes, I know that Keno is often derided by gambling "experts" in the popular press, mainly because the "house percentage" is higher than blackjack, roulette or craps, and some slot machines.

However, if we learned nothing else last week, it is the fact that even a small edge, (or even no edge at all) can and does work against the gambler’s bankroll over a long series of bets. Since the essence of the game of Keno is, like a lottery, the attempt to win a large amount of money for a relatively small wager, this process actually works in Keno’s favor.

Suppose that we have a modest (well very modest) bankroll of only $2 and determined to win $1,000 or go home broke. In reality, we are probably doomed to go home broke in this case.

It is a longshot, but the utility of a grand twinkles in our consciousness like Orion on a crisp desert night.

Suppose also that we want to try our luck at 21 in order to win the $1,000. We sit down at a $2 table, smile at the dealer and place our bet. We know that to win the grand, we must at some point have achieved a surplus of winning hands over losing hands of +500 units.

If the game of 21 is a 50-50 proposition, our chances of not achieving our goal (by going broke) are roughly 98 percent, In other words, we have about one chance in 500 of winning the grand.

But look at the situation in Keno. Quite a few Keno games offer a special rate five spot that pays $1,000 for a solid five played for a dollar. We know from previous calculations that given a Keno ticket with a 25 percent house percentage, it’s possible on the average to play eight games before we go broke.

Since the odds against a solid five are 1551 for 1, by playing eight times we can cut the odds to 1551 for 8, or about one chance in 194 of winning the $1,000.

Is this a magical trick? No, for two reasons:

• You are avoiding the inevitable grinding effect of thousands of decisions upon your bankroll.

• Keno also offers additioanal payouts other than the $1,000.

If you need more convincing, imagine that the house percentage at 21 is a mere 1 percent in the house’s favor. The odds, then, of getting to a grand without going broke (while playing only $2 bets) are one chance in 11,895,701,628.

So on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, if you want to win a large amount of money with a small bankroll, Keno Lil gives keno 5 spikes:

If you have a keno question, please write to me c/o GamingToday or contact me on the web via email at [email protected]. Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!