Keno comeback!

Jul 1, 2003 8:32 AM

For video poker players, the latest rage is multi-hand poker, in which players can bet on more than one hand at a time.

For video keno players, the equivalent has become Four Card Keno from IGT.

"Since I began playing Four Card Keno, I don’t play anything else," said Ada Norman, a player at the El Cortez downtown. "There are so many more chances to win."

Norman is not alone. On a recent visit to downtown casinos, more video keno players were hunkered down on Game King machines (which offer Four Card Keno), rather than dedicated keno machines.

Four Card Keno allows players the chance to play four keno cards during one game. Thus, they can cover more numbers, the same way a bingo player can cover more numbers by buying more cards.

Of course, the converse is also true: you’re betting four cards instead of one, and thus the costs can mount.

But because Four Card Keno is available in various denominations, from one- and two-penny games to 5 cents and up to a dollar, players should be able find a comfort level with their bankroll.

I’ve also embraced Four Card Keno, first for the obvious reason that you have more chances to win. And when playing virtually any keno, "winning" often means hitting a lottery-like jackpot.

But I also like Four Card Keno because it lends itself to my strategy of playing "clusters" or zones of numbers.

This strategy came about after years of playing games in which numbers always seemed to land right next to my chosen numbers, almost as if they had "eyes" and knew how to just miss!

Well, by playing numbers in clusters that are in close proximity to each other, it became more likely to catch those numbers and hit a jackpot.

Here are a couple of examples: A 10-spot player often bets the entire horizontal row, which is fine. But you can get a lot more mileage out of playing two 10-spot rows on top of each other (such as the 20’s and 30’s rows), as well as the two 10-spot cards made up of 21-25, 36-40 numbers and the 31-35, 26-30 numbers. This way you have an overlap, in which you can sometimes hit, say two seven out of 10, or even two eight out of 10 jackpots.

Similarly, I like to play two solid eight columns (vertical), such as the 3 and 4 columns, coupled with the two 8-spot cards made up of the 3, 13, 23, 33, 44, 54, 64, 74 and the 4, 14, 24, 34, 43, 53, 63, 73 numbers. Again, you have overlap, opening the possibility of "doubling up" on a six out of eight or even seven out of eight jackpot.

I’ve also had success playing 9-spot cards in Four Card Keno. One pattern that has proved successful involves playing the first nine numbers and second nine numbers on a horizontal row. Once, this method actually hit two 8-out-of-9 spots on the same row!

Another method that has worked is overlapping four three-by-three boxes. This has in the past produced twin 7-out-of-9 winners, and an occasional 8-out-of-9 jackpot.

In any case, it’s fun to experiment with various patterns. It’s even more fun when the numbers hit and the bells go off!

(L.J. Zahm is the author of "Cluster Keno: Using the Zone Method to Win at Video Keno." For a copy, send $19.95 to Cluster Keno, P.O. Box 46303, Las Vegas, NV 89114; or, pick up a copy at Gamblers Book Shop in Las Vegas.)