Don’t chase numbers!

Sep 30, 2003 3:20 AM

Admittedly, anyone can sit down at a video keno machine and ring up a jackpot. But to consistently win significant jackpots over a period of time must be the result of some pattern or methodology that, for whatever reason, produces winners.

I’ve found that my jackpots have come almost immediately after changing the numbers or re-setting the machine (more about this later). This means, playing the coins or credits, then erasing the numbers and marking the card again.

Now, I’ve often marked the exact same numbers as previously played, but the key point has been to re-set the machine. I haven’t a clue why this would have a bearing on the outcome, but that’s been my experience.

Here are a few factors that have convinced me that the video keno game is not run the same way as a "live" game.

First, the action of the numbers just doesn’t follow the totally random nature of a live game. Of course, anything can (and is supposed to) happen when numbers are chosen at random, but it just doesn’t happen in a computer game.

Here’s a common complaint: As soon as I leave some numbers, the machine fills in those very same numbers!

If you’ve never experienced this unlucky phenomenon, then you simply don’t play video keno.

I can recount countless times I’ve played an entire (eight spot) column, perhaps for hundreds of games, and never hit more than six out of the eight. But as soon as I reset, erase and pick new numbers, seven or even eight of the eight numbers rush to fill the vacated spots!

Is this just poor judgment on my part? Should I have just played a few minutes longer?

Don’t worry, it’s not likely you would have hit those numbers even if you’d kept playing until the lights went out.

The reason I believe this is because of a theory I once heard on the operation of a video keno game. The theory, which came from a regulator close to the electronic gaming industry, stated that a video keno game is an "output device" that simply displays the results of a random number generator’s selection of an outcome.

Applied to video keno, there would be a computer program that determines the outcome, say, for a 10-spot ticket ”” no hits, two spots, three spots, six out of 10, etc. ”” and then directs the game to fill in the numbers that correspond to the outcome. Thus, if you mark an entire 10-number row, such as the bottom line, you will only get the number of hits prescribed by the computer program. The numbers don’t just fall at random, like they do in a live game.

That’s not to say the game isn’t random. It would not be possible to pass regulators if the outcome of the games weren’t random. But that doesn’t mean the device is an actual electronic version of live keno.

Next week, I’ll offer more case studies of hitting after resetting the machine.

(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.)