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Playing the multi-cards

Sep 7, 2004 2:14 AM

In recent weeks I’ve been discussing some of the winning patterns while playing Four Card Keno and Multi-Card Keno.

Several readers, who exclusively play "regular" single-card keno, have asked for details about these multi-card games.

Basically, these multi-card games are the video keno equivalent of the multi-hand video poker games — Triple Play, five-hand poker, 10-hand poker and the like.

And, just like video poker, playing multi-card keno gives players more chances to hit something big. And players seem to like the additional chances.

On a recent visit to downtown casinos, more video keno players were hunkered down on IGT Game King machines (which offer Four Card Keno and Multi-Card Keno), rather than dedicated keno machines.

Four Card Keno allows players the chance to play four keno cards during one game. Thus, they can cover more numbers, the same way a bingo player can cover more numbers by buying more cards.

Of course, the converse is also true: you’re betting four cards instead of one, and thus the costs can mount.

But because Four Card Keno is available in various denominations, from one- and two-penny games to nickels and up to a dollar, players should be able find a comfort level with their bankroll.

I’ve also embraced Four Card Keno, first for the obvious reason that you have more chances to win. And when playing virtually any keno, "winning" often means hitting a lottery-like jackpot.

But I also like Four Card Keno because it lends itself to my strategy of playing "clusters" or zones of numbers.

This strategy came about after years of playing games in which numbers always seemed to land right next to my chosen numbers, almost as if they had "eyes" and knew how to just miss!

Well, by playing numbers in clusters that are in close proximity to each other, it became more likely to catch those numbers and hit a jackpot.

Here are a couple of examples: A 10-spot player often bets the entire horizontal row, which is fine. But you can get a lot more mileage out of playing two 10-spot rows on top of each other (such as the 20’s and 30’s rows), as well as the two 10-spot cards made up of 21-25, 36-40 numbers and the 31-35, 26-30 numbers. This way you have an overlap, in which you can sometimes hit, say two seven-out-of-10, or even two eight-out-of-10 jackpots.

Similarly, I like to play two solid eight columns (vertical), such as the 3 and 4 columns, coupled with the two 8-spot cards made up of the 3, 13, 23, 33, 44, 54, 64, 74 and the 4, 14, 24, 34, 43, 53, 63, 73 numbers. Again, you have overlap, opening the possibility of "doubling up" on a six-out-of-eight or even seven-out-of-eight jackpot.

I’ve also had success playing 9-spot cards in Four Card Keno. One pattern that has proved successful involves playing the first nine numbers and second nine numbers on a horizontal row. Once, this method actually hit two 8-out-of-9 spots on the same row!

Another method that has worked is overlapping four three-by-three boxes. This has in the past produced twin 7-out-of-9 winners, and an occasional 8-out-of-9 jackpot.

In any case, it’s fun to experiment with various patterns. It’s even more fun when the numbers hit and the bells go off!

As the name suggests, Multi-Card Keno takes Four Card Keno to another level. The player can play up to 20 cards (though you can play as few as you like), which really multiplies the chances for victory.

Of course, playing 20 cards with four coins bet on each card can be expensive, so players have to have a prudent strategy. We’ll explore 20-card strategy in more depth next week.

(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.)