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Try a 9-spot for all-around chance to win

Nov 30, 2004 12:11 AM

Thanks for the notes from players who wrote in the last couple of weeks. Many people are wondering about playing single-card tickets, as opposed to those multiple tickets I’ve (Four Card Keno and Multi-Card Keno) I’ve been waxing about the last few weeks.

Of course, there is no simple answer as to how many spots you should play because it depends on what the player wants to get out of the game.

For players who are content to play for modest jackpots without a lot of outlay, then the 5- and 6-spot games are ideal.

These games offer a good chance of hitting a decent payoff (about $800 and $1,600 for a solid five or six, respectively, for four quarters bet). They also have enough "lower level" payoffs — 4 out of 5, 4 out of 6, 5 out of 6, etc. — to ensure there is a return of coin so players aren’t simply feeding the machine.

The 7- and 8-spot games also offer good odds, especially for catching the "consolation" jackpot, which is 6-out-of-7 in the case of the 7-spot game (which pays $400 for four quarters at odds of about 1300-1), and 7-out-of-8 in the 8-spot game (a payoff of $1,652 for four quarters at odds of about 6200-1).

Of course, the big attraction of the 7- and 8-spot, as well as the higher-number games, is the chance of hitting a lottery-like jackpot. And, isn’t that what most of us want!

Toward that end, the 9-spot game probably offers the best of both worlds. It offers the chance of hitting a huge payoff (for catching either eight or all nine numbers), but also holds out a decent "consolation" payoff with a 7-out-of-9 jackpot.

The 7-out-of-9 jackpot pays a very respectable $335 (for four quarters bet) at odds of about 1690-1. While the 6-out-of-7 jackpot of $400 has a smaller house edge (the odds are about 1365-1), the opportunity to hit the 8-out-of-9 jackpot might make the 9-spot slightly more attractive than the 7-spot.

While it’s always possible to hit a solid 9-spot, most players should realistically hope to hit the 8-out-of-9 award. This one pays $4,700 for four quarters with odds of about 30,000-1.

Note that the odds of hitting the $4,700 jackpot is about 25 percent less than hitting a royal flush on a poker machine, but the payoff is a healthy seven and a half times better!

Moreover, there are casinos around town that offer a progressive jackpot for the 9-spot game, which can range anywhere from $10,000 to $70,000. (The latter has been climbing at the Gold Coast!) Obviously, the player’s edge increases as the jackpot climbs above the standard $10,000 payout for a solid nine (on a quarter machine).

My Cluster Keno system has been used to hit several 8-out-of-9 jackpots. The clusters or "zones" that were successful include an eight-number column coupled with a single, adjoining number; a solid three-by-three box; nine of 10 on a horizontal row; and a U-shaped pattern with a single number connecting two four’s.

When playing Four Card Keno, there have been several patterns that have proved successful. One of them 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 Âí­often produces twin 7-out-of-9 winners, and an occasional 8-out-of-9 jackpot.

The Four Card Keno always lends itself to experimenting. But I’ve found that the best bet is to overlap your cards. This way, when the "shared" numbers hit, there is the increased likelihood of multiple payoffs. Try it with your own numbers and let me know.

(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.)