Cluster Keno by L. J. Zahm |
I was fortunate this past weekend to catch a couple of solid 7-spot cards while playing multi-card video keno at Arizona Charlie’s casino.
Incidentally, while I was there I noticed they were preparing to open a new gaming area in the spot vacated by the old coffee shop. I hope they have plenty of new keno games in this area, which is opposite the gift shop.
When playing multi-card games, whether Four Card or 20-card games, my cards usually involve 7-spot patterns, often in conjunction with a few 9-spot or 8-spot patterns.
In talking to other players, it seems the 7-spot is the target of choice, much like the royal flush is in video poker. This isn’t surprising since the odds of hitting 7-of-7 and catching a royal are nearly equal, about 40,000 to 1.
Of course, the payback for a solid 7-spot is so much better: 7,000 to 1 versus 800 to 1 for the royal.
Translated to the effect on your bankroll, a player can sit down at a nickel video keno machine, load it up (four coins for Four Card Keno) and shoot for a $1,400 top award, whereas a video poker player would have to load up a quarter machine (five coins bet) to have a nearly-equal shot at winning $1,000.
Nonetheless, catching all seven numbers isn’t an easy task, as any keno player will tell you!
One way of increasing your chances is through multi-card games such as Four Card Keno, which allows you to mark up to four patterns on the 80-number board.
Obviously, the drawback is you’re betting four times the normal bet, so your effective winning odds are no longer 7,000 to 1 but one-fourth that amount, or 1,750 to 1.
Still, that is a tremendous payoff, more than double the royal flush payoff.
Some players use their four cards to mark vastly different patterns, often in different regions of the board.
But I’ve found success by marking patterns that overlap each other. The theory behind this germinated from many years of playing single-card keno, in which the numbers often fell close to my pattern, but never filling it out completely.
Remember, one of the common cries of a keno player is, "Gee, just one more number!"
Another reason for overlapping your patterns is that, if you hit a solid 7-spot, often times you’ll hit a "piece" of your other patterns, perhaps a 6-of-7 or 5-of-7, which will increase your payoff.
Lately, I’ve been playing a group of patterns that overlap each other in the "1" and "2" column of numbers.
Basically, the numbers are heavily focused on the two 2 by 5 boxes (10 numbers in each) located above and below the center line.
Each of the 7-spots has six numbers in the 10-number box, two of which are shared by two patterns.
Now, on average, the odds of six numbers landing in the box are about 90-1, while the odds of seven numbers landing are 625-1.
Of course, just because six numbers land in the box, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all land on your marked numbers. But you should catch enough of them to keep your credits from drying up quickly.
This method of marking several cards within a zone of 10 numbers (or 16 or more numbers) has worked on other patterns, such as marking 9-spots within 16 numbers, as I’ve pointed out previously.
You can always experiment with your own cluster or pattern. Let me know if you find something that works for you!