Come on, give us a legitimate keno 'bonus'

Apr 21, 2009 5:08 PM
Cluster Keno by L. J. Zahm |

Cleopatra & others come woefully short

Last week, I received an interesting e-mail from a reader in response to my experiences playing Cleopatra Keno. Joel wrote: "In my very limited video keno experience, I’ve sneaked peeks at those playing Cleopatra and other ‘gimmick keno’ games. More than a few times I’ve seen players end their 12 spin bonus rounds with only single digit wins or zeroes. That’s been more than enough for me not to waste my limited budget on other than straight pay games or the occasional Super Way game (when available), especially without some independent confirming computation of the representations by the manufacturer that the expected rate of return is as good or better than straight pay games."

Thanks, Joel, and I certainly don’t blame you in your reservations toward Cleopatra and other so-called "bonus" video keno games.

I would like to perform the computations for you, but I’m not sure how to factor in the free 12 spins. It would be very easy to calculate the rate of return or hold percentage, based on the machine’s pay tables – both with and without the bonus payoffs (which are double the normal return).

I’ve put together the pay table for Cleopatra and standard keno, using 7- and 9-spot games, which I feel are among the most popular. As you can see, the payoffs are woefully lower, even if you factor in the bonus round, which pays double.

While passing the time, I discovered another bonus game called Triple Power Keno. In this game, if the last ball drawn lands on one of your numbers, three additional balls are drawn and the payoff, if any, is multiplied by three.

I’ve also included its pay table, which, like the other games, is pitifully below the standard payouts.

Quite frankly, I don’t understand how anyone would play these games on a consistent basis. If you’re lucky enough to catch a nice card, such as 8-of-9 or 7-of-7, the payoffs would be considered disappointing at best.

The only reasoning I can imagine is that, you can often plunk away for a relatively long period of time on a small bankroll, what with the increased number of low-end payouts. But you’re never going to walk away with a real score, like you would with straight keno, or one of the multi-card games, such as Four Card Keno or 20-Card Keno.

We play keno for the chance at a nice jackpot, and when you do make a nice catch, it has to be frustrating to leave with a fraction of what you "should" have won.