‘Roaring 20s’ ticket lives up to its billing

Jul 24, 2001 12:00 AM

The 20 spot ticket, which was introduced at Caesars Tahoe circa 1984 by Tony DeLise, has arguably become the most popular special keno ticket to be introduced in the last two decades, at least as far as Keno Lil can see.

Under diverse names such as “The Roaring Twenties,” “The Golden Twenties,” and “The Last Resort,” this ticket is being booked by almost every keno game around the state, and has proven to be very popular with out of state keno players. It has proven to be even more popular with keno managers, and that is the real story.

It is Keno Lil’s theory of human endeavor that when something is successful, it will be copied, reproduced, imitated and cloned at least until something better comes along. This ticket has appeared at so many keno games because it is so popular, and its popularity is because of its high frequency of pays, much like a slot machine with a lot of cherries on it. This ticket has a frequency of pays of one in every 2.69 games, which means that if you play three games, you are an-odds on favorite to win something. The question is, how much? The answer is, not much.

On a typical pay card for this ticket, the catch of four, five, and six pay nothing. The three, two and one pay a nominal amount, and the catch of zero pays $500, all for a $5 wager. The catches of seven, eight, nine, 10 and 11 range in payoffs from $5 up to $200, and when the catch of 12 is reached, the payoff reaches $1,000. At a catch of 16 or more the ticket pays $50,000. The odds against hitting $50,000 on this ticket are more than 1.4 BILLION to one! Would Keno Lil play this ticket? Well, under the influence of a full moon and three shots of Tuaca, Lil has been known to be susceptible to all manner of propositions, but she still wouldn’t play this ticket! Lil will stick to her trusty old eight spots, and hope for a winner. But it is a safe ticket to play, with a reasonable chance of winning $500 to $1,000. (Look for a twenty spot that pays the grand for the zero out of twenty.)

This 20-spot ticket is a straight variation of what used to be called a “bar ticket,” which you could play while sitting at a bar having a drink. A “bar ticket” always had these features: It wasn’t too expensive, it produced a lot of playbacks, and you had the chance of hitting something big. In this regard the standard 20 spot tickets are admirable examples of “bar tickets.”

One way of “turbo-charging” one of these 20 spots is to play five groups of four, thus adding a ten way eight to the ticket. If you play 10 eights for a dollar, and the 20-spot for $5, you have a $15 ticket which is quite serviceable. In many cases, the small catches on the 20-spot will help support your eight-spot habit!

Of course, you could also play four groups of five, giving you a six-way 10 and four fives, which would also be a $15 ticket.

But when we’re talking 20 spots, I have to mention my all-time favorite ticket, which is four groups of three, and four groups of two. I play this for a 25 way eight, 50 cents per way when I am poor, or $1 a way when I am flush (or when somebody nice is paying for my tickets!) Keno Lil has hit two seven out of eights on this ticket!

Try this on for size: 20 spots, grouped 3-3-3-3-2-2-2-2. This ticket has a 16-way 15, 10 way 14, 24 way 13, 25 way 12, 20 way 11, 36 way 10, 20 way nine, a 25 way eight, 24 way seven, 10 way six, 16 way five, six way four, four way three, and a four way two.