Figuring the house edge on progressive tickets

March 19, 2002 2:23 AM


So just how do you calculate the house percentage on a progressive Keno ticket? I know that you were left in suspense by last week’s column, mourning the “bad beat.”

Let’s start off by calculating the percentages on a typical straight $1.00 six spot:

$1.00 0.12982
$3.00 0.08561
$100.00 0.30956
$1,480.00 0.19090
House edge: 28.41 percent 

Let’s make the ticket a progressive, with initial pay outs as they stand and a 1-cent per ticket increase in the progressive 6/6 meter. Now you may reason that since the Keno game is going to pay you back, on the average, the 1-cent per ticket, that you are only really playing a 99 cent ticket with straight pay outs as above. Calculating the percentages we get ($0.99 ticket):

$1.00  0.12982
$3.00  0.08561
$100.00 0.30956
$1,480.00  0.19090
House edge: 27.69 percent 

Unfortunately, this is not the house percentage of this ticket, because it is in reality two bets: A $0.99 Ticket that pays out like above, and a 1-cent ticket with a house percentage of 0 percent. This is an error of omission that some writers of books on Keno simply don’t understand. Adding these two components together in proportion to the wager on each, we get:

0.99 x 27.69  = 27.41

Thus 27.41percent is the real house percentage on this ticket.

We can verify this by using another method. Since 1 cent will be added to the jackpot for every ticket played, we know that on the average the jackpot will have increased by $77.53. Thus the payouts should be, on the average,









House edge: 27.41 percent

This coincides with the correct method above.

More simply, the house percentage of a progressive ticket is the house percentage of the base (initial) ticket less the incremental percentage (in this case 1 percent.) Thus 28.41 percent - 1 percent = 27.41 percent.

Of course all these calculations depend upon knowledge of the progressive increment percentage.

Next week: How to find out the incremental percentage.

If you have a Keno question that you would like answered, please write to me care of this paper, or contact me on the web via email at Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!