Video keno is the kind of game that requires patience. And, yet, I’ve found that you can help things along by "re-setting" the machine frequently, which seems to "prod" the program out of its dreaded "doldrums" phase.
By doldrums I’m referring to those ghastly periods when you can’t hit anything. If you’ve marked eight-spot cards, you keep catching three numbers (one less than the minimum for a payback), and it’s like a slow death as your credits drain away, like the blood from you lifeless body.
Do you like the symbolism here?
Actually, it’s probably not that bad, but it can feel that bad when the machine is taking your credits and giving nothing in return.
To illustrate the power of patience coupled with the knack of speeding up the process, I’m going to relate a playing experience I had last week at the Gold Coast.
I like playing at the Gold Coast, among other casinos, because they have the Multi-Card Keno games I like so much, and the pay tables are the "good" ones for nickel denominations, although for 1Â¡ and 2Â¡ games the pay tables revert to a lower payoff. I would avoid these like the plague, because the jackpots are considerably less on these games.
For this episode of play, I marked one of my favorite clusters: eight 7-spot cards under the eight "stair step" or cross-over numbers in the "3" and "4" columns. (See the illustration.)
In conjunction with this pattern, I also marked four 8-spots: the entire "3" and "4" columns, as well as the 2-by-4 boxes above and below the center line. These are a kind of insurance because catching 7-out-of-8 pays far less than catching the solid 7 in the cross-over patterns.
In any case, I started with a fixed amount, $300, and began to play with one nickel bet on the cross-over 7-spots (a total of 16 coins bet), and two coins bet on each of the 8-spot cards (8 more coins), for a total bet of 24 coins ($1.20) per game.
Here are the winners I was looking for: The best, of course, is filling in all eight numbers in the cross-over patterns, which would result in eight solid 7-spots for a payoff of about $2,875. Catching seven out of eight would result in one solid 7-spot for a reward of about $490.
If I hit any of the other solid 8-spots, the return would be about $800, and catching seven out of eight would pay about $150.
During the first hour of play, the best I could catch were a couple of six-out-of-eight hits in the cross-over pattern, which paid off about $45 twice.
Just when most of the $300 bankroll was nearly gone, the machine filled in seven-of-eight in one of the 8-spots, resulting in a payoff of about $170.
During this time, I was cashing out and re-starting very frequently, but always after the times the machine paid six-of-eight.
It wasn’t long — in fact it was within moments — before I caught seven-of-eight in one of the cross-over patterns for a payoff of about $490.
After playing for about another hour, and cashing out quite frequently, I upped the ante to two coins bet per card (that’s 40 coins or $2 per game).
The move paid off handsomely as the machine coughed up another seven-of-eight in the other cross-over pattern, resulting in an award of about $940. Coupled with what was left from the first award, I had about $1,200, or $900 more than when I started.
Remember, most of this play was with one nickel per 7-spot card and two nickels per 8-spot, so you can see how much better the rewards could have been if I had been playing the maximum of four coins per card.
There were several keys to this session. The first was hanging around when it looked like the machine wasn’t ever going to spit out a seven-of-eight hit.
But over the time span there was frequent re-setting — cashing out with the tickets and replaying the ticket back into the machine. I can say with certainty that the jackpots nearly always occurred within a few games of re-setting the machine.
Also, I never varied from the numbers I had selected. I didn’t wander the board, looking for greener pastures.
Quite frankly, I don’t think it’s that important which numbers you choose. I think re-setting, cashing in and out has a lot to do with "jarring" the computer program into the winning mode.
Try it and let me know if you have any similar success.
(L.J. Zahm is the author of Cluster Keno: Using the Zone Method to Win at Video Keno. It’s availabe at Gamblers Books Club.