Aug 12, 2003 4:25 AM

There is no way to improve your chances at keno like you can with some of the "skill" gambling games like blackjack or poker, but there are methods of playing that work to the house’s advantage. If we avoid these methods, we can play keno at the optimum percentage for us.

One mistake that some players make is "overloading" their tickets. You can overload a ticket in two different ways. On a straight ticket, you can play so much money on the ticket that it would be impossible to receive the computed amount of winnings if you hit solid, due to the house limits on aggregate pay outs.

For example, you are playing an eight spot ticket at a casino where a \$1 eight spot pays \$20,000 for a solid eight, and the house limit is \$50,000. If you play a \$10 eight spot, your computed amount of winnings would be \$200,000 for a solid eight, but the house limit is \$50,000, so you would have to settle for the lesser amount in the event that you hit a solid eight, or even less if you happen to be playing a way ticket.

Assume that you are playing an eight king ticket, with one eight and eight sevens for a buck a way. You’re looking at a winner of some sixteen grand if you hit a seven out of eight. But what if you hit the solid eight? A solid eight will pay \$17,000 to \$20,000 depending on where you’re playing, plus you’ll have eight solid sevens at \$8,000 per, for a total computed win of over eighty thousand! But the casino will only pay you fifty thousand. This is overload, and the difference is expressed in a higher house percentage.

Well, you don’t want to give the house an EXTRA edge do you? Of course not. How can you avoid overloading your tickets? On straight tickets, it’s a simple process of division. Just divide the house aggregate limit by the pay out on the highest catch of the ticket you are playing, and you will find the maximum amount that you can play on the ticket without overloading.

For example, at a \$50,000 limit game where the eight spot pays \$20,000 for eight out of eight, your maximum wager without overloading would be \$2.50, which would pay \$50,000. On the way ticket above, we would divide the computed winnings (\$80,000) into \$50,000, and we’ll find that we can play this ticket for about 62 cents per way without overloading it. Most casinos will take the ticket for 50 cents per way, while some will book it for 60 or even 62 cents per way.

Some players feel that a ticket like a 190 way eight spot is a house ticket because it must be overloaded. Actually, this is not the case, because the odds against multiple solid eight hits on this ticket are so astronomical that the additional house advantage is negligible. I’m not saying it could never happen, just that the house percentage is for all purposes the same.

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