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Cluster keno ups the odds

Oct 8, 2002 2:59 AM

(Editor’s note: Due to popular demand, GamingToday next week resumes its series of articles on winning at video keno, featuring the Cluster Keno system created by L.J. Zahm. This week, Zahm reiterates the reasons for playing keno over video poker.)


by David Stratton

GT: Video keno has traditionally been perceived as the casino’s stepchild ”” a slow-moving, nickel-and-dime game for low-stakes gamblers. But the game has remained popular with players who want a shot at a significant payoff. How do the odds benefit players?

LJ: Because keno machines allow players to bet many games in a short period of time, you can cut into those odds. Moreover, machines give players a chance to play for as little as a nickel a game (a penny in some downtown casinos!), so players can also "last" significantly longer with a given bankroll, thus increasing the chances of hitting a jackpot.

Surprisingly, keno odds are more favorable than video poker odds, while the payoffs are actually significantly higher.

For instance, the top jackpot on a poker machine is a royal flush, which usually pays 800-to-1 ($1,000 for five quarters bet). The odds of hitting a royal are about 40,100-to-1 on a jacks-or-better machine and slightly higher on a joker machine (the extra card increases the odds).

Of course, keno payoffs vary with the number of spots picked. But using a 7-spot ticket as a comparable example, the odds of hitting 7-for-7 are about 40,900, nearly the same as the royal flush. But the keno payoff is a staggering 7000-to-1, more than eight times higher than the royal payoff!

Another way to illustrate the more attractive keno jackpots is to take a 5-spot, which pays a top jackpot of 810-to-1, virtually the same as the poker’s royal flush. But the odds of hitting 5-for-5 are only 1550-to-1, which means the comparable keno jackpot occurs 25 times more frequently than the royal!

The keno jackpots also out-pay the poker jackpots for hands other than the royal flush. Next week we’ll examine ways of cashing in on those "lesser" jackpots, that is, those payoffs below the top tier.

(For free information about L.J. Zahm’s Cluster Keno system, write to Cluster Keno, P.O. Box 46303, Las Vegas, NV 89114.)