Playing high or low frequency keno games

Feb 18, 2003 4:34 AM

Let’s look at a couple of eight spot pay rates this week. The tickets have identical house percentages of 24.97 percent.

The high frequency ticket starts paying on a catch of 4/8 and a winner is paid once every 9.77 games, while the low frequency ticket starts paying on 5/8 and pays a winner every 47.99 games.

If you look around some keno games you may find some ticket pay rates very similar to these, though of course not identical, as I have adjusted the pay outs in order to get a fair comparison.

The only difference between these rates is that the eight cents that is paid out on the 4/8 catch on the high frequency ticket is simply transferred to the 6/8 on the lower frequency ticket. (All figures are based on a one dollar ticket price.)

Since the house percentages are identical, the player will be returned in winnings the exact same amount over a long period from either ticket, so the question arises: "What difference does it make?"

If you play either ticket it can be said that if you play it for a dollar per game you will get back 75 cents in winning on average. That much is clear also, so are there any advantages in playing a higher frequency ticket? If you have an unlimited bankroll, no.

The key to the answer in the real world is however, that keno players do not have an unlimited bankroll.

If you play the high frequency ticket and you start with a bankroll of $10, you can expect some sort of winning ticket about one time before your bankroll is expended.

Your average winner (when you win) will be about $7.33. The situation is somewhat different on the lower frequency ticket. Since it pays once every 48 games or so, it is clear that almost four in five players will play their 10 dollar roll without seeing any winner at all, since a much longer session will be required in order to get the benefit of the eight cents loaded onto the 6/8 catch. (The average winner on this ticket is $36.02 when you win.

In plain terms, for about 80 percent of the players playing the lower frequency ticket the effective house percentage is 100 percent, while for a lucky few the house percentage is negative (a positive return for the player.) Life isn’t fair, and sometimes keno isn’t either.

The effects are most pronounced when you play with a smaller bankroll. In such a situation, stick to the highest frequency tickets you can.

Well that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in the lounge!