Cluster Keno fends off
Fezzik assault!

Jan 6, 2004 6:46 AM

It was recently brought to my attention that a sports bettor, Steve Fezzik, took a swipe at my column, Cluster Keno, at the Stardust Invitational Handicapping Contest two weeks ago.

It seems that Fezzik, who was about to battle GamingToday Editor David Stratton in the contest’s championship round, suggested the newspaper would do well to dump my column (as well as Rob Singer’s video poker column) and publish articles that can actually help people win in the casino.

Considering Fezzik bills himself as a sports bettor with a six-figure bankroll, it seemed surprising that he would concern himself with video keno, a game that gives a lot of "average players" recreational pleasure, as well as a few healthy jackpots along the way.

It was less surprising when I found out that Fezzik was aligned with the Las Vegas Advisor, a 16-page monthly newsletter for casino players.

Apparently, Fezzik was advised to disparage that which the Advisor fails to provide: a winning video keno strategy and a video poker writer who dares to vary from the "traditional" Las Vegas poker wisdom.

Of course, the Advisor wouldn’t have time for such trivial pursuits; it’s too busy rooting out 99¡ breakfasts and $5.99 steak dinners. That’s pretty heady stuff, especially if you’re into clogged arteries and high blood pressure.

I won’t dwell on defending my column, except to say I’ve received nothing but positive feedback from readers, many of whom report success using my Cluster Keno system.

Instead, let me offer a typical note from a reader, Paula Tessier, in New Jersey: "It’s about time someone devoted articles to video keno. That is just about all my husband and I play. We have played video keno in Connecticut, New Jersey, Mississippi, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada and several places not even on the map. We love to play in Tunica, Mississippi. We look forward to L.J. Zahm’s articles, he’s right about cluster keno: I only play patterns; all my wins have been in patterns. I have had some good hits, seven-out-of-seven, six-out-of-six. My husband even hit a solid nine spot and a solid eight. I once hit a solid eight spot. We look forward to every video keno article. Keep them coming!"

Enough said on the subject. Incidentally, my boss won the Stardust Invitational when his football picks went 5-2. Fezzik was 1-6. Ah, Fezzik under glass!

Back to the chore of winning. I’ve received word that IGT’s new 20-card keno game has been installed at the California Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. Also, the El Cortez has added another bank of the machines, making it a hot spot for Cluster Keno players.

While experimenting on the machine, I found another winning cluster of numbers: try marking all eight 7-spots that occur on the two "staircase" columns of numbers, consisting of 2, 12, 22, 32, 43, 53, 63, 73 and 3, 13, 23, 33, 42, 52, 62, 72.

That will use up 16 of your 20 cards. Be sure to throw in the entire "2" and "3" columns (two 8-spots) as well as the upper and lower 2-by-4 boxes (two more eight spots). Now you have 20 cards working.

I would suggest betting one coin on each of the 7-spot cards, but four coins on the 8-spot cards. Thus, you will have invested a total of 32 coins per game.

Because the machines come in 1¡, 2¡ and 5¡ denominations, even the lowest of low rollers should be able to afford this ticket.

Using this system you’ll probably hit several 7-of-8 jackpots and solid 7-spots. Occasionally, you’ll catch all eight numbers in your staircase pattern, and collect on eight solid 7-spots. Not a bad payday!

(L.J. Zahm is the author of Cluster Keno: Using the Zone Method to Win at Video Poker. For information, write to Cluster Keno, P.O. Box 46303, Las Vegas, NV 89114.)