A $64,000 keno binge!

Dec 16, 2002 11:30 PM

   One of the most frequently asked questions from players is how much money they can win playing video keno. Of course, that’s like asking how much money you can make selling Mary Kay cosmetics: it depends on how much people are willing to buy.

   There’s no way anyone - unless they’re totally irresponsible - can predict you will win any specific amount of money gambling. If they do, start walking the other way because they have a scam up their sleeves.

   What you can win is totally dependent upon how much money you are willing to risk, how dedicated you are to playing within sound betting strategy, and, of course, how lucky you are!

   But if I were forced to answer the $64,000 Question, then I would say without hesitation the amount would be $64,000!

   The amount, $64,000, is not a frivolous one: That’s the amount of W-2 jackpots that I accumulated in the course of one year, exactly 365 days. To be completely precise, the figure is $64,378.50.

   Actually, the amount won would be higher because of all the non W-2 jackpots that were earned, such as $1,000 for hitting 8-of-10, $335 for 7-of-9 and $400 for 6-of-7 spots (all quarter machines with four coins bet). But because they are verifiable, I chose to simply include the W-2 jackpots in the count.

   In my book, “Cluster Keno,” I chronicle, day by day, what those jackpots were and how they were won playing video keno. I think this can be helpful information to players, so they can actually see the process that led to the awards. Some so-called experts, when they describe their "winning strategy," cite computer models and statistics or probability theory. But my contention is that all those things don't compare to the actual experience of winning.

   (Note: my aforementioned book, “Cluster Keno,” was delayed for a couple of weeks at the printer, but shipments will take place this week, within plenty of time for Christmas!)

   Listed in the accompanying chart are the video keno jackpot amounts and the dates on which they were won.

   A brief explanation of several selected jackpots will follow, noting the kind of machine and method of play that seemingly led to the award. It is hoped that this would be helpful for other video keno players.


Oct. 21:    $6,416.45

Oct. 28: $   7,000

Nov. 18:    $1,652

Feb. 12:    $1,652

Mar. 11:    $7,953.95

Mar. 23:    $1,652

Mar. 25:    $4,700

April 3:    $1,652

April 15:    $4,700



April 24:   $1,652

May 1:    $3,304

May 7:    $4,000

June 11:   $4,700

June 26:   $1,652

Aug. 10:   $1,652

Sept. 20:   $4,700


   Oct. 21 — $6416.45: This was my first big jackpot, and it occurred on a 5-cent progressive keno machine at a downtown casino. The payoff was for hitting a solid 8-spot (there were also progressives for 9-spot and 10-spot keno). The method of play was simple: I made it a point to play the same machine daily, and I always bet a solid column of eight numbers.

   Oct. 28 — $7000: Exactly a week after the nickel progressive, I hit this 7-of-7 jackpot on a 25-cent, IGT Fortune machine, one of the old timers that I came to love. It’s notable that I hit this jackpot trying out a theory of mine, that is, that it’s possible to hit multiple jackpots on the same machine if you’re dropping down in the number of spots picked.

   Briefly, I had hit 7-of-9 twice on the machine ($335 each time) and was accumulating a couple of buckets of quarters. So I dropped down to a 7-spot, and it didn’t take long, perhaps 15 minutes, before the machine hit the solid 7-spot.

   Nov. 18 — $1652: This represents the most common payoff, 7-of-8 on a 25-cent keno machine. Most of these awards were hit playing the eight numbers in a column. A few occurred while playing a solid two-by-four number box, either above or below the midline (but never straddling it).

   Mar. 11 — $7953. 95: This is significant because this is another nickel progressive at the same downtown casino. Since I won the first nickel progressive, I had been playing other machines, mostly quarter machines. But I returned to the nickel machines when I saw how high the progressive jackpot had soared (it started at $5,000).

   Once again, I hit the solid 8-spot playing an entire column of numbers.

   Mar. 25 — $4700: This was the first time I hit 8-of-9. It occurred on the older IGT Fortune machine, the upright model with two screens, top and bottom. I hit several over the course of the year, most of them being 9-spots composed of nine numbers of the 10-number rows.

   April 15 — $4,700, $1,340, $4000: Obviously, this was quite a morning! It started off with an 8-of-9 jackpot on an IGT Fortune keno machine. I then moved my play to a Bally GameMaker machine and hit 7-of-9 playing $1 keno for the $1,340.

   After a break from the machine, say, about a half hour playing other games, I returned to the GameMaker and hit 8-of-10 for the $4,000 payoff.

   Not a bad day, especially since it fell on the IRS tax filing day!

(L.J. Zahm is the author of Cluster Keno: Using the Zone System to Win at Video Keno. For information write to Cluster Keno, P.O. Box 46303, Las Vegas NV 89114.)