Aug 25, 2009 5:10 PM
Cluster Keno by L. J. Zahm |

I recently made a trip down to Jerry’s Nugget to play a little Four Card Keno. I used to play downtown frequently, but over the last few years have spent much of my time in Westside casinos.

Jerry’s Nugget, located north of the downtown area, has been around for quite a while and has that "old Vegas" ambiance. It’s been modernized, but there are still links to the city’s colorful past, including the "famous" coffee shop, and, believe it or not, there are still old coin-operated slots and video poker machines.

In fact, Jerry’s has a section set up for the original IGT Fortune video poker machines, which seem to have every seat filled virtually every day.

They also have a good mix of keno machines at Jerry’s Nugget, although I couldn’t find any of those original, upright IGT Fortune video keno machines – the ones with the upper and lower screens.

Nostalgia notwithstanding, I was playing next to a woman who hit a nice jackpot playing clusters similar to those I’ve used in the past.

Specifically, she marked four 8-spot tickets all on the top row of 10 numbers. Of course, they over lapped and when the row filled in with eight numbers, she caught two 7-of-8 jackpots.

Using a 10-number row for the basis of several overlapping tickets is sound strategy because, if you watch the numbers pound out on the keno game, it seems eventually they will "get around" to your row and, hopefully, hit the patterns you’ve marked.

Depending on the machine, however, be prepared to experience mixed results.

For instance, I’ve noticed that the more patterns you play on a given set of numbers (such as a row of 10 numbers), the fewer hits that row will receive.

Now, you’d think that, if the game were in fact an electronic version of keno that the numbers would fall into place at random, regardless of what you’ve marked. That’s what you would expect, but it isn’t always the case.

Virtually every time I increase the number of patterns from two to four on a given row, the hit frequency of numbers in that row seems to decrease dramatically.

That doesn’t mean you won’t ever catch anything, but it means it takes longer for the hits to accumulate on that row. Thus, you should be prepared to weather some dry spells when you mark four cards on the same row.

Secondly, I’ve seen that larger cards, such as a 9-spot or 10-spot, when marked "on top" of a smaller ticket, like a 7-spot, seems to control the amount of hits that fall onto the pattern.

This phenomenon seemed to be underscored when that larger, "umbrella" card is played on the "A" card and your smaller tickets are marked on the "B", "C" and "D" cards.

Just why this seems to work is so far bewildering to me, but the results seem to be accumulating in its favor.

Next time, try some of these configurations and let me know of the results.

And good luck with your pattern hunting!

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: LJ Zahm