Stir up the pot!

Nov 18, 2003 1:17 AM

A little while ago a video poker player, who said his goal is to always hit the royal flush, was asking me about playing video keno.

Specifically, he wanted to know about theory, the payback return on machines, probability, how much you have to bet in order to win. (My standard response to this one is, "The machine will pay off when you’ve put enough coins into the slot!)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any specific, technical data to justify play. I don’t have any computer-simulated games. I don’t have any probability theory. I don’t have any permutation charts, or any of that stuff.

Instead, all I have is the personal experience of having played countless numbers of video keno games, and a stack of W-2 forms for all the jackpots I’ve hit in excess of $1,200.

Now, I don’t offer this latter tidbit as a kind of in-your-face arrogance. But I’ve always believed, like Cervantes, that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And the only thing worth feasting on in the casino are the jackpots. So, unless someone can show me the jackpots they’ve won using a specific play strategy, all of their sentiments are pure speculation.

In my book, Cluster Keno, I list dozens of W-2 verified jackpots which include payoffs of $7,000 (seven out of seven), $4,700 (eight out of nine), $7,800 (eight out of eight nickel progressive), $5,000 (eight out of eight), to name a few.

More importantly, I describe the circumstances surrounding how these awards were won ”” the steps that seemingly led up to the winning payoff. The scenario will probably surprise long-term video keno players.

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.

There’s no way I or anyone else can guarantee a winning system. If anyone offers such a system, run the other way.

All I can do is delineate what happened at these keno machines when a certain style of play was used. That’s all I can do.

As pointed out before, the tenets of my system are simple.

The first one is very similar to the theme in that classic Seinfeld TV episode in which his buddy, George Castanza, in an effort to turn things around in his miserable life, decides to do everything contrary to what he would ordinarily do. In essence, he said and did the opposite, without regard of where the chips would fall.

As a result (you saw this coming!), he instantaneously became a winner: George was offered a lucrative job after behaving like a complete imbecile in the interview; he landed a beautiful girlfriend by being totally obnoxious and repulsive, are two examples that come to mind.

My take on this theme, as it relates to video keno, is to do the opposite of what most keno players do. That is, they wait for the numbers to come to them.

This has never worked for me at a video keno machine. Playing the same numbers over and over results in nothing more than a depleted billfold.

Instead, I’ve found that my jackpots have come almost immediately after re-setting the machine. 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.

I’ll give further examples next week.

(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, or pick up a copy at the Gamblers Book Shop in Las Vegas.)