The next few months are the prime months for keno tournaments, so it’s time to take a look at how these things are organized. How can you, the player, determine which tournaments offer the best deal for you? First, for review, here are a few terms which are present on most entry forms, along with their explanations.
Entry Fee. This is the fee that is charged you to participate in the tournament. In most cases, but not all, this entry fee is applied towards the prize fund. In some cases, early entrants receive a discount on the entry fee. Some tournaments have no entry fee, and in general, but not always, these are better deals for the player. Some tournaments have disguised entry fees. For instance, I ran across one that stated, "No entry fee, $550 buy-in." Later in the rules you discover that your $550 buy-in gets you only $450 in live keno action. Sounds like a $100 entry fee to me!
Buy-in. This is the amount that you must play to participate in the tournament. In most cases, this must be paid up front along with the entry fee, and you will be issued scrip to pay for your tickets. Some tournaments allow multiple buy-ins, while some don’t. Some tournament rules treat multiple buy-ins as separate entries, while some allow additional buy-ins under the same entry. Since variances in these rules can drastically alter the outcome of a tournament, this is part of the rules that you must clearly understand.
Point Value Tournament. In this type of tournament, you do not get any live action keno play for your entry fee or buy-in. Instead, during the tournament, you receive "points" based upon the results of the tickets you are playing. If you think you might get upset to hit a solid 8 and get 50,000 "points" instead of $50,000, you might want to avoid these kinds of tournaments. Of course, your 50,000 points will probably win the tournament for you, but in most cases the prize money just won’t compensate. In general, (but not always) point value tournaments aren’t such a great deal for the player.
Live Action Tournament. A live action tournament gives you real keno play for most or all your buy-in amount. You have the potential of cash winnings on your live keno tickets in addition to the potential tournament winnings. In general, a live action tournament is a better deal for the player. There are a couple of caveats here, also. The first is to watch out for the hidden entry fee discussed earlier. The second is to watch out for a special "tournament" pay table, one that is different from the casino’s normal pay table.
Guaranteed Prize Fund. Most tournament prize funds are "guaranteed" to be a certain amount, based upon a certain level of participation. Very few tournament prize funds are "guaranteed" on a flat out basis, no matter how many players participate. So in most cases, if the turn out is not as great as the casino anticipated, the prize fund won’t be as large as advertised. Be prepared for this eventuality. This usually doesn’t hurt the participant financially, because of course the larger the turn out the less chance for you to win the larger prize.
Determination of Winners. There are only two methods currently being used to determine winners. The first awards prizes to the players who accumulate the most winnings over the course of the tournament. The second method awards prizes to the players with the biggest single game or single ticket winners. Be sure that you are aware of the method of determination, as it makes a big difference in your tournament playing strategy.
Miscellaneous Rules. There are a few other tournament rules that are important to be aware of. Some rules require that you play every tournament game, while some only require that you play the first and last games. Some only require you to play one game during the tournament. Some tournaments require you to play a certain price ticket, and some require you to play a Multi-Race ticket. Be aware of all these rules, so you don’t have any surprises when you appear at the tournament site.
Well, that’s it for now! Good luck, I’ll see you in the winner’s circle!