With the advent of advanced computer technology, game manufacturers have
introduced many variations of the standard keno game. I've previously noted the
Bally Game Maker machine, which features a touch-screen keno game, as well as
several variations of keno. But for the most keno choices, Bally's Keno Plus
machine should satisfy any keno enthusiast.
In addition, IGT’s Game King
features a variety of keno games as well as multi-denominational play. Although
I don't spend much time on the keno variations, they can be fun and offer a nice
alternative to the standard keno game.
One of the most amusing games I've
ever played can be found on the Bally Keno Plus, called Triple Trouble. The
concept behind this keno game is that you pick your numbers in the standard
manner, choosing up to 10 spots, as you would in a standard game.
But the game features a bonus round
that kicks in when three of the famous Bally "Devils" appear on screen
(all three have to pop up in order to enter the bonus round). During the three
ensuing, automatic games (you can't re-set your numbers once the bonus round
kicks in), all payoffs are tripled.
To compensate for the possibility of
paying back "too much" to the player, the pay tables on many of the
rewards are reduced.
Nevertheless, it makes for some
exciting play when the red devil comes up and you have a shot at some nice
payoffs during those three games.
The only time I've been able to hit
anything of significance playing Triple Trouble was at the Stardust, where I
caught 7-of-8 numbers during the bonus round for a payoff of $4,800 (three times
the standard 7-of-8 payout of $1,600).
The only other jackpots I've ever hit
during the Triple Trouble bonus round have been 7-of-10, 7-of-9 and 6-of-7.
Another keno variation that has
developed quite a following is Caveman Keno, which is among the choices on IGT's
Game King. In addition to its molar-rattling sound effects, Caveman Keno
features a novel screen with prehistoric volcanoes, dinosaurs, and blond-haired
prehistoric man, and — hopefully for the player — dinosaur eggs.
The eggs are the key, and they
function in much the same manner as the red devils in Bally's Triple Trouble.
Here's how the game works: The player
chooses from 2-10 spots, just as in regular keno. The computer will then draw
three numbers at random (among those that the player did not pick). These three
numbers will be marked with a dinosaur egg.
The game proceeds with the machine
pulling 20 numbers, and the player wins or loses depending on his catches.
If the player has hit enough spots to
win something, that award is multiplied by a factor depending on whether the egg
numbers match the 20 numbers chosen by the machine.
The multiplying factor is 1 if the
number of egg matches is 1 or less, 4 if two eggs match, and 10 if all three
As you can see, the bonus feature is
similar to the devils in Triple Trouble, but you don't need all three to appear
in order to gain a multiplier.
As with Triple Trouble, the pay tables
are reduced to compensate for the possibility of a high multiplier (see chart).
But you also get an even money payback
for hits such as 3 out of 7 and 4 out of 10, both of which normally don’t have
As you can see, with a multiplier of
10X, the jackpots can reach into the thousands of dollars for four quarters bet,
but you need all three eggs to be hit (at odds of about 72-1; two of three eggs
has odds of about 7-1), and the “egg numbers” are chosen exclusive of the
numbers you pick, which makes it a little more difficult to hit a high catch
plus the three eggs on the same draw.
The only other keno variation that I've played with any semblance of
regularity is the 3-6-9 Way Ticket game, which is found on both the IGT Game
King and Bally Keno Plus.
Like any other kind of way ticket, the
3-6-9 game allows for hitting many small payoffs with the possibility of hitting
multiple medium jackpots. The abundance of minor awards allows for playing a
longer period of time, but you seldom have a shot at some huge awards (which is
the reason most of us are attracted to keno in the first place!).
Here's the reason: In the 3-6-9 game,
you're playing seven coins per game, but never do you ever have four coins bet
on one card. Thus, if you ever hit the top payoff, say 9-of-9, you will have
done it with only one coin bet (even though you were betting seven coins each
Of course, if you hit 9-of-9, you will
also have hit three solid 6 spots and three solid 3 spots, as well. But the
jackpot still would not be as much as hitting a solid 9 spot with four coins
Nevertheless, playing the 3-6-9 way
ticket is fun, and you will frequently hit the minor payoffs, including the
7-of-9, which hopefully brings along with it a solid 6-spot from the three that
In playing 3-6-9, you basically mark
three 3-spots (noted by A, B and C on the screen). The combination also results
in three 6 spots (A+B, A+C and B+C) and one 9-spot (A+B+C).
You can spread the numbers out, put
them in rows or columns or create boxes, but I've had the most success playing a
simple 3 by 3 box, just like in the Four Card Keno. Here's a hint though: Mix
the A, B, and C numbers up so you don't have three A's across the top, three B's
in the center and three C's across the bottom of the box. The numbers rarely
"come in" that way, and you can hit more solid 3 spots, which helps to
keep your credits up. L.J. Zahm is the author of Cluster Keno: Using the Zone Method to win at Video Keno. For information about the book, write to Cluster Keno, P.O. Box 46303, Las Vegas NV 89114
L.J. Zahm is the author of Cluster Keno: Using the Zone Method to win at Video Keno. For information about the book, write to Cluster Keno, P.O. Box 46303, Las Vegas NV 89114