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Multi-Card Video Keno

Learn this game and take your shot at multiple jackpots

by David Stratton

 

When Four Card Keno was introduced it was immediately embraced by veteran keno players, who recognized the obvious advantages of being able to mark up to four different keno tickets in the same game.

 

In the previous two issues of Strictly Slots, I gave our readers a closer look at video keno, and I explained how this game can be a solid gamble if you approach it the right way. In this third (and final) article of this series, I want to talk about multi-card video keno, which gives you a shot at multiple jackpots.

The introduction of multi-card keno games – Four Card Keno and later 20-Card Keno – revolutionized video keno, much the way Triple Play and Five Play machines revolutionized video poker.

These multi-card games gave the players the option of playing more than one keno ticket, thus expanding their chances of winning. The obvious advantage is that you can cover more numbers than with one card. The disadvantage is that you’re betting on more than one keno card and the costs can mount, especially with 20-Card Keno.

But, more important than simply being able to mark more than one card, multi-card keno games opened up play to strategy; that is, players now undertook choices that they never had before.

For instance, players now had the option of marking “smaller” tickets, such as 5- and 6-spot cards, within or underneath “larger” tickets, such as 9- and 10-spot tickets, thus opening up the possibility of multiple jackpots.

As we examine both Four Card and 20-Card Keno, you’ll see how a proper strategy can lead to some astounding jackpots.

When Four Card Keno was introduced it was immediately embraced by veteran keno players, who recognized the obvious advantages of being able to mark up to four different keno tickets in the same game.

But for me, I saw Four Card Keno as an opportunity to effectively shrink the size of the keno board by marking groups of numbers into distinct regions, zones, patterns or clusters. The reason this was important to me was simple: Numbers don’t land evenly across the 80-number board; instead, they seem to land in groups or clusters, oftentimes just missing the numbers on your keno card.

As a very simple example, let’s say you like to play 10-spot cards on the top two rows. With Four Card Keno, instead of marking just one row of 10 numbers, you could mark both rows, as well as the “cross-over” patterns consisting of the five upper left-hand numbers coupled with the five lower right-hand numbers, and the five lower left-hand numbers coupled with the five upper right-hand numbers (or you could mark the two 5-by-2 boxes on the top two rows).

By marking these additional 10-spot cards, it’s no longer necessary to catch eight, nine or 10 numbers in your row to hit a nice jackpot. You can cash in when only five hit on the top row when they’re coupled with three, four or five numbers on the bottom row.

I soon began marking “tighter” clusters of numbers, that is, tickets in smaller groups. For instance, instead of marking a single 10-spot ticket on a row of 10 numbers, I’d mark four 7-spot cards, or a combination of 7-spot, 8-spot and 9-spot tickets on that same row of 10 numbers.

The reasoning was that, on any given row, it was likely that seven numbers or more will eventually drop into the row, hopefully filling up one or more of your tickets. And since you’re marking smaller tickets, such as a 7-spot, you don’t need eight or nine numbers to land in the row to hit a nice jackpot.

Of course, it was always possible that the numbers would miss your tickets when they did land in your row. But that’s part of playing keno; sometimes, you just have to be lucky.

When 20-card keno arrived in casinos, the game was an instant hit with video keno fanatics. Many players used the additional cards to cover the entire keno board with tickets, oftentimes ensuring that every number drawn would land in at least one of their cards, somewhere on the board.

But for myself, the additional 16 cards (compared to Four Card Keno) allowed me to “load up” on my favorite clusters by marking more and varied tickets, hopefully ensuring better chances of catching multiple jackpots.

Before proceeding, a note about multi-card keno machines: most casinos (but not all) use slightly reduced pay tables for multi-card keno games. Make sure you’re playing a machine that pays very close to the payoffs found on “straight” keno machines.

For instance, most multi-card machines still pay 7000-for-1 for catching 7-of-7 but the payoff for catching 6-of-7 might be reduced to 335-for-1 from 400-for-1. That’s an acceptable cut.

Similarly, a 9-spot game might return 300-for-1 for catching 7-of-9 instead of the standard 335-for-1, but you should still get 4,700-for-1 for catching 8-of-9.

But if you find a machine in which the 7-of-7 jackpot is cut to as low as 3000-for-1, or the 8-of-9 award is chopped to anything less than 4000-for-1, then the machine is not worth playing; find another machine or go to another casino.

Now, as I pointed out earlier, 20-card keno is a way to play clusters, using many more cards, as well as a variety of different cards (such as 5- and 6-spot tickets).

One of my favorite patterns is playing the two right-hand columns (the “9” and “10” columns) on the keno board. Those two columns gave me six distinct patterns of eight numbers worth playing: the two columns, the two 2-by-4 boxes above and below the center line, and the two “cross-over” patterns. Note that each pattern has a “mirror image” of itself (the two columns mirror each other, as do the two boxes, as well as the cross-over pattern).

This concept of mirror patterns is key here because, using the 20 cards, I would bet all eight 7-spot cards in two mirror patterns (utilizing 16 cards), then mark four 8-spot cards in the remaining patterns.

Thus, if 7-of-8 numbers would land in any of the six patterns, I would have hit at least one 7-of-8 jackpot, or a solid 7-spot along with seven 6-of-7 awards.

In practice, this pattern has become one of my favorites – taking an 8-spot pattern, such as a box or column or the outside (and inside) eight numbers of a row, and filling it with eight 7-spot cards.

As noted, hitting seven of the eight numbers pays a solid 7-spot jackpot plus seven 6-of-7 awards, and is nearly double the payoff of hitting 7-out-of-8 numbers. But the real kicker comes if you can get all eight numbers to hit, creating a payoff of eight solid 7-spots! With only one nickel bet per card, the payoff is a healthy $2,800 or so. But if you have four coins bet per card, the payoff is a mind-numbing $11,200!

To see how this cluster of overlapping patterns would look, see the accompanying photograph.

Keno

20-Card Keno opened the floodgates for multiple jackpots such as this one. The bottom row features eight 7-spot cards under the outside eight numbers, plus several 7-spots under the inside eight numbers. The result was 10 solid 7-spots that paid $2826.80 with just 4 cents bet per card!

 

As noted, multi-card games expand the scope of your keno patterns, and they let you capitalize on smaller jackpots when you insert smaller tickets “underneath” cards such as 7-, 8-, or 9-spot cards.

For instance, instead of marking all 7-spot tickets (as in the above example) under a given set of numbers, you could mark a combination of 5-, 6- and 7-spot tickets. This way, you actually have a chance of winning something when only five and six numbers land in your pattern.

See the second photograph for an example of how multiple jackpots can mount when several tickets are marked within a pattern.

 Keno

In the 7 column I marked nine 5-spots, six 6-spots and four 7-spots (they all hit when the column filled in). The last card was a 10-spot card that wasn’t part of the winning column.

 

Let me point out that, in the last example, getting all eight numbers to fill the column is rare, though not impossible. Most of the time you will be lucky to get six numbers or even seven numbers, but because you have 5-spot and 6-spot tickets, there’s plenty of opportunity for nice jackpots.

 

Multi-Card Video Keno.

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