How to ‘work’ the keno machine’s

Jul 22, 2003 2:49 AM

In recent weeks, we’ve been looking at a lot of different ways to mark your keno ticket while playing video keno.

We’ve identified various ways to "cluster" your keno card, whether you’re playing standard keno, Four Card Keno or the new 20-card Keno.

Incidentally, next week we’ll take a closer look at the new 20-card Keno game that can be found on IGT’s Game King series of multi-game, multi-denomination machines.

In the meantime, let’s switch gears and examine ways of "playing the machine."

These comments are related to one of the tenets in my book, "Cluster Keno," which states that you should frequently "re-set" the machine, rather than mark your numbers, then play them until they either hit or you run out of "ammunition."

As a refresher, I have always advocated re-marking your keno card every three or four games, even if you re-mark the same numbers.

I call this re-setting the machine. The alternative ”” playing the same numbers, game after game ”” has never worked for me. Maybe in a "live" game, where you can mark your numbers and "wait for them to come to you," it might work. But I’ve never had any luck playing that way on a keno machine.

The idea of re-setting the machine frequently is based on the fact that most of my jackpots have come either immediately or shortly after the numbers have been re-set.

And, based on the experience of those who win big, there seems to be some kind of trend. For instance, how many times have you heard about the Megabucks or Wheel of Fortune winner who had played for just five minutes and put in $10?

Quite frankly, I’ve never heard of a mega-winner who sat for hours, playing every coin he or she had ever earned, then finally hitting the top-line award.

Getting back to "playing the machine," I’ve found that you can sometimes mix up your play when not having much Âí­success playing one kind of keno game.

For example, recently I’ve been switching between playing standard keno and Four Card Keno on the Game King Âí­machine. And I’ve found that, if the numbers are uncharacteristically difficult to hit on one game, I’ll switch to the other and can frequently change the hit frequency.

Here’s a for instance: Just this past weekend, I was playing a 9-spot on the standard keno game. No matter where I marked the numbers, I couldn’t get anything but an occasional 5 hits.

So I switched to Four Card Keno, but played only one card, again marking several 9-spots. It wasn’t long before I caught 6-of-9 then finally 7-of-9 for a nice 335-1 return.

Then, I switched back to the standard keno game, and it wasn’t long before I caught another 7-of-9 mini jackpot.

In addition to switching between games, I’ve found the machines behave differently, based on "fresh money" that’s inserted into the bill acceptor.

Basically, I’ve found that the machine often responds differently when I insert, say, four $5 bills (allowing the credits to go to zero each time), than when inserting a single $20 bill.

I have no clue why this would make a difference, but it seems to. Perhaps it’s related to the "re-setting the machine" tenet, but who knows.

In any case, if the machine behaves "properly" with the first $5 bill, I insert more bills before allowing the credit meter to hit zero.

If the machine is "cold," then I let it run out to zero, then try again with a fresh bill. For some reason, the machine seems to perk up within a few plays after fresh money is inserted.

The problem with inserting a $20 or a $100 bill at the outset is, if the machine is cold, it doesn’t usually warm up no matter what you do.

Then you’re stuck with having to "wait out" the machine. It’s no fun waiting when you’re losing!

(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 89102.)