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The Heart and Soul of keno

Jun 22, 2004 1:33 AM

One "power ticket" that was once very popular but is rarely played these days is the way-nine. It was usually marked using groups of three numbers, in which six groups of three gives you a 20-way nine and seven groups of three gives you a 35-way 9. Since we investigated a 28-way 8-spot several weeks ago (and decided that it was superior to the 28-way 6-spot in many ways), we’ll use the way 8-spot as a benchmark ticket. Just to be fair in comparison, we’ll use a 35-way nine, and pro-rate the price and the pays down to 80 cents per way, so the two tickets will cost the same ($28) per game.

The 35-way nine is marked using 21 numbers grouped in threes. There are a total of 119 possible different catches on this ticket, and 111 of them produce some sort of winner on a standard nine that pays for five hits or more! Below is a chart that compares the 28-way 8-spot with the 35-way nine:

35 way 9

28 way 8

Any winner

3.13

3.57

$28.00 or more

10.24

16.07

$100.00 or more

28.57

18.32

$1,480 or more

932.00

228.42

$5,000 or more

6,107.06

8,232.81

$10,000 or more

30,520.13

8,234.22

The 35-way nine has a slight edge in small winners, producing a winner of some sort every 3.13 games, and $28 or better once every 10.24 games. In the mid-range of pays (up to $5,000) the 8 spot enjoys a sizeable advantage in frequency of pays. In the range of $5,000 to $10,000, the 9 spot is once again the leader in frequency of pays, while the 8 spot once again provides more pays on the top end, $10,000 and more. This is kind of a mixed bag, and is really the result of the way pays are structured on the two tickets. A 5-of-9 is much more common than a 5-of-8, and this means that small pay outs on the 35-way nine will be much more common. On the other hand, the 8-of-9 is about eight times as likely as the 8-of-8, and since the 8-of-9 pays about $4,000 at most casinos, the way 9 spot holds an advantage in this area. The 8 spot is still the champion for big winners though, chiefly because a solid 8 spot is much easier to hit than a solid 9 spot. I feel, for these reasons, that the 35-way nine, while playable and superior to the 28-way six discussed a few weeks ago, is inferior to the 28-way eight, unless you are aiming for winners in the $5,000-$10,000 class.

On a scale of one to five spikes, with five spikes being the highest, the 35-way nine gets a rating of four spikes:

Just for fun, here is the same comparison with the 6 spot:

35 way 9

28 way 6

Any winner

 3.13

1.30

$28.00 or more

10.24

14.81

$100.00 or more

28.57

15.29

$1,480 or more

932.00

283.21

$5,000 or more

6,107.06

924,849.13

$10,000 or more

30,520.13

7,439,526,596.95

As you can see, the 9 spot is superior to the 6 spot in both small pays and big pays, with the intermediate level of pay off the only level where the 6 spot has any advantage. Perhaps you should give it a try for 10¡ a way at your favorite game, where a 35-way nine will cost only $3.50!

Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!