Stay patient when keno machines stay cold

Oct 14, 2008 5:03 PM

Cluster Keno by L. J. Zahm |

One of the most disturbing explanations I ever heard of how a video gaming machine works included the notion that a machine will never pay a jackpot if it had not taken in a pre-determined amount of money.

The same theory postulates that a machine will pay off generously if its intake had exceeded a certain level.

These notions had come from someone claiming knowledge of how slot machines work relative to payouts versus its hold percentage.

If, in fact, this is how a video keno machine (or video poker or whatever) works, how do you play without a defeatist attitude?

I have to admit that sometimes a machine plays as if this were true. That is, sometimes a machine seems bound and determined to take your money without offering any kind of token payback.

I’ve always believed gambling is based in large part on luck, but if the manufacturer has removed that element and substituted it with a quota, I think machines should no longer be perceived as a "gambling device."

For now, I don’t subscribe to the aforementioned theory. Instead, I think you need patience, especially when playing a Cluster Keno type of strategy.

There are several components to playing Cluster Keno, but I think the most salient one, especially in light of machines that appear to be adverse to jackpots, is the practice of "resetting" the machine frequently.

By reset I mean that the numbers from the previous game are erased, and new numbers are marked – even though the new numbers may be exactly the same numbers that were played before!

Let me point out that with the advent of Four Card Keno and Multi-Card Keno (20-card keno), as well as ticket-in, ticket-out technology, I’ve postulated an addendum to this axiom: frequently cashing out and immediately cashing in (on a ticket machine) seems to have the same effect as resetting the machine.

I alluded to this before when I noted that video keno is different than live keno, in which players often mark their card and wait for the numbers to come in. I’ve found the live-game strategy has seldom, if ever, worked for me.

In fact, I have tried to play the same game over and over, not touching the numbers, not re-betting, but the only results have been a long string of losing games.

Now, I’m not suggesting you have to reset the machine after every game. But I seldom play the same numbers for more than three games before I re-set the machine. Also, keep in mind that most times after re-setting the machine, I will mark the same numbers.

Let me give you an example. If I’m playing the solid eight numbers in the "nine column," I may play the numbers for two or three games, then erase and mark the same column of numbers. For some reason, this sometimes leads to hitting, say, a seven out of eight jackpot, more frequently than when simply sitting on the same numbers, game after game.

Just why it seems the machine is more likely to hit after a reset, rather than after playing the same game over and over and over, is beyond my knowledge. But keep in mind that the keno program was designed by an engineer who is charged with the task of creating a machine that makes money for the casino. It’s not likely they would ever create a keno game that would pay a jackpot just because you put in "enough" quarters.

In fact, I’ve noticed that some keno games go into a losing spiral the more that you play the same numbers. I’ve found that re-setting the machine is the only way to "stop the bleeding."

As mentioned before, I think it’s important to be consistent. Blackjack and video poker players have their basic strategies, and experienced craps players typically bet a certain way and seldom deviate.

By following your system, whatever that happens to be, you give yourself a chance to keep up with, if not overcome, the odds of the game. In order to make the odds work for you, it’s best to be consistent and follow your system.