Multi-card muscle!

Aug 19, 2003 4:33 AM

It’s taken awhile, but I think I’ve found a chink in the armor of the new Multi-Card Keno game, which is also known as 20-card video keno.

If you’ve been following this misbegotten saga, a few weeks ago I announced that IGT had come out with a new video keno game that allows you to mark up to 20 cards.

My first few experiences were all right, but I didn’t catch the lovely big jackpots that only keno lovers will understand. Notably, I was looking for a solid 7-for-7 or an 8-out-of-9, which are two of my favorite jackpots.

Instead, I caught many 6-of-7’s and 7-of-9’s, but never felt like I was "winning."

Until last week. Starting on Sunday, I caught a nice 7-out-of-7, then hit four 8-out-of-9 jackpots over the next five days.

Two of those 8-of-9 jackpots actually had two winners on the same hand, that is, the numbers I had marked overlapped, and thus, I caught two 8-of-9 payoffs on the same game.

There were a number of changes I made to my play, and I think these changes made the difference in improving my "luck."

Actually, these "changes" are perhaps more appropriately just a reinforcement of the principles contained in my book, "Cluster Keno." Sometimes it pays to just stop, and go back to the basics!

First, I decided to avoid the temptation to bet all 20 cards, or even to bet a majority of the cards, say 14 or 16 cards.

I’ve found that when you’re playing 7-, 8-, 9- or 10-spot cards, you will only hit it big on one, two or maybe three of your cards.

That’s because ”” and I point this out repeatedly in my book ”” keno numbers seem to fall in clusters, rather than spread themselves evenly across the keno board.

So, if you’re marking 20 cards and only cashing on two or three of them, you will be losing at a fast rate, one that you might not be able to maintain for very long. Unless, of course, you have an unlimited bankroll!

So, I decided to play no more than eight (8) cards. This way, I felt I was effectively covering a certain "zone" that I had targeted with my play.

Secondly, I decided to make an effort to "re-set" the numbers as much as possible. As anyone who’s followed this column knows, I have always stressed that winning seems to come with changing your numbers, even after three or four games.

As I’ve pointed out before, you don’t have to change your numbers, just clear them, re-bet and then re-mark the numbers.

With the Multi-Card Keno, I had grown lazy about re-setting the machine. Especially because it takes so long to mark a lot of different cards.

But regardless of how many cards you mark, it’s worth it to keep re-setting.

Finally, I decided to fall back on some of the cluster patterns that had worked well in the past. Only this time, instead of marking those patterns on a four-card game, I put them on eight cards.

But, and I think this is key, I put those eight patterns on the same zone as I might have used on four-card keno.

Some examples may help. I’ll use the 9-spot clusters, since this one seem to fare very well.

Like I had previously done, I used two overlapping 9-spots on two rows that piggyback each other, such as the 40s and 50s row (see illustration.)

These patterns would account for four cards. For the other four cards, I also marked two 9-spots on each row, using the first five numbers with the last four, and the first four with the last five (see the illustration).

This seemed to work very effectively. I found that you seldom caught a 6-of-9 without catching two or three of them at once ”¦ ditto for the 7-of-9.

And, like I noted before, when you catch 8-of-9, it’s very likely you’ll catch a second one, plus at least two 7-of-9s as well.

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