Dissecting frequency of winners in keno

May 12, 2009 5:09 PM
by Keno Lil |

Is there any difference between tickets with a high or lower frequency of winners, given they have the same house percentage?

It turns out that there is, even though with the same house percentage the house will win the identical amount on each ticket, given a large enough trial.

Consider two 8-spots (see the adjacent chart).

We take these two and run a simulation: 5,000 players using 1,000 tickets on each 8 spot. We discover that the house has won approximately the same amount of money, with the players each having an approximate aggregate of $3,600,000. No real surprise. The average player has about $720 left after playing 1,000 games no matter which ticket.

Wait a minute! Keno is like life, all the rewards are not commonly bestowed equally – the distribution is skewed. The average (arithmetic mean) includes the large numbers won by those lucky few who hit solid eights!

This is like saying that three people whose incomes are $100, $200, and $10,000 per month have an "average" income of $3,433 per month. In a skewed distribution the average does not describe reality very well.

A better measure is the median (the value halfway between the highest and lowest). In this case the high frequency player has a median value of $492 compared to $462 for low.

The player with the worst luck won only $90 playing the low frequency ticket. The player with the worst luck playing the high won $140, a difference of $50!

The typical player of the high frequency ticket will have 30 more "bullets" to fire at the jackpot! The tradeoff is a bit smaller jackpot. And remember, we are talking about tickets with the same house percentage, and importantly the same price.

If there’s a keno question you want answered, please write me c/o GamingToday or send an email to [email protected]. Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!