A potpourri of keno odds & ends

Jul 15, 2003 3:02 AM

I have lately seen an upsurge again in a couple of ideas that don’t hold water, the strategies of playing a Martingale (a doubling system) and the idea of "hot and cold numbers."

Martingales are simple systems to play and their appeal is strong: You have the idea (true enough) that "sooner or later" your number will come up.

Let’s take a Martingale at its simplest when played at a keno game. Start with a $1 one-spot. If you play it and win, you collect $3 (a $2 profit) and if you lose, the idea is to increase your bet enough on the next win to recoup your previous losses and perhaps make a small profit.

Assuming you lose your first bet, you are $1 in the red. Your next bet can still be a dollar. If you win, you will be a buck ahead in total; if you lose you will be down $2.

Your third bet can still be a dollar, but if you win you will have broken even, if you lose you will be down $3. Assuming you lose your first three games (42 percent chance) you will have to increase your bet at least to $2. You will have a total investment of $5, and if you win you will be $1 to the good.

But if you lose, you must again increase your bet to $3. This goes on and on, and the amounts you must risk at each game increase greatly. Proponents of Martingales in keno argue that there is no limit to what you can bet at keno, so there is no problem, but in fact there is a limit to what you can win (the house aggregate limit) so in theory you could bet $100,000 on a one spot and win only $100,000 maximum at many keno games. This will not work. Losing streaks of 20 games or more on a one-spot are not uncommon. This is a strategy that should be avoided.

The idea that "cold numbers" are "due" is totally fallacious if we agree that keno draws are essentially random. If draws are random and independent events, then there can be no correlation between past events and future events. A familiar way of stating this idea is that the "balls have no memory." This is simple to understand. You should understand it if you want to play keno.

Ahhh, you say, "But what if the draws are not random? Would not the cold numbers be due then?" Unfortunately no, because if the draws are not random, and certain numbers are not coming up, the only reasonable assumption is that they will continue not coming up! Is there any part of this that anyone doesn’t understand?

I recently saw on an Internet group someone post a request for partners in such a system, and the poster stated that he was making a six-figure income using the system. Why would he need partners if he’s making six figures already? Something is wrong with his picture. Don’t do it.

Well, that’s it for this week, good luck, I’ll see you in line!