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A tasty Sweet 16

May 11, 2004 12:54 AM

In earlier columns, I’ve advocated using cluster patterns that involve marking eight 7-spots, all under eight numbers. Actually, one of my favorite clusters is to mark two such clusters, then "criss-cross" two or four other 8-spot tickets under the same numbers.

The result, as far as what the configuration looks like on the screen, is often two adjacent columns of eight numbers, such as the "8" and "9" columns, or the "3" and "4" columns, or the first four and last four numbers in, say, the "1" row, coupled with the first four and last four numbers in the "2" row.

It would be helpful to look at the illustration to see how the 16 numbers are marked.


In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with new clusters that involve marking 16 numbers into similar configurations; that is, two groups of eight numbers that "contain" eight solid 7-spots in each, as well as a couple of solid 8-spots.

One particular cluster has been quite successful. It involves two groups of eight numbers, marked above and below the dividing line.

Before getting into that particular cluster, let’s review some odds of how frequently numbers will fall into your cluster of 16.

The dream, of course, is to have all the numbers drop in, resulting in hitting all 16 of your 7-spot tickets, as well as your two 8-spot tickets. But those odds are a staggering 5.56 trillion to 1!

It’s also off the charts to expect hitting 15 of 16 numbers (29 billion to 1), 14 of 16 numbers (392 million to 1), 13 of 16 numbers (10.1 million to 1) ”¦ well, you get the picture.

In reality, since I’ve been playing this cluster, the most I’ve hit was 11 numbers (at odds of 29,388 to 1, which is about 44 percent less than the odds of hitting a royal flush in video poker).

But you don’t really need that many numbers to cash a nice payoff. In this configuration, you get a nice payoff when you hit seven of your eight numbers (which results in a solid 7-spot and several 6-of-7’s in the multiple 7-spot configuration, or a 7-of-8 in the 8-spot ticket).

Most of the time, you’ll get three, four and five numbers, but occasionally you’ll catch seven, eight, nine and even 10 numbers. If you’re lucky, they’ll fall into the "right" cluster and pay handsomely.

Now, back to the new cluster pattern. As you can see, it involves a "mirror" image of eight numbers (which conceal eight solid 7-spots) as well as two solid 8-spots that share the common four numbers — 23, 33, 43 and 53).

This past weekend I played this pattern exclusively on a Multi Card Keno game (also known as 20-card keno), but it can also work on Four Card Keno (simply mark the top and bottom eight numbers as two 8-spots).

The result was several 7-of-8 hits into the top and bottom clusters (resulting in several solid 7-spots), and an equal number of 7-of-8 hits into the solid 8-spots. I also hit a solid 8-spot in the side-by-side tickets, but have yet to hit all eight of the top and bottom numbers. When that occurs, it will pay eight solid 7-spots, which amounts to about $11,000 when playing nickel denomination keno (with four coins bet on all cards).

I haven’t hit it yet, but maybe you will! Let me know if — and when! — you do.

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