Choosing the right tickets

Door Joebill gepubliceerd op Monday 25 February 16:49

Leafing through the keno brochure, the words whirl inside your head. $l.90 Super Bonus. Super 7 Special. Way ticket. Catch-All ticket. Eight spot. Fifteen spot. Progressives. With all these choices, how do you know which ticket is your best bet?

Your first step is to examine your goals. Do you want to go for a huge jackpot or just win enough to break even?

Your goals will determine which keno ticket to play. If you want to win the big bucks, and you don’t care to win smaller jackpots along the way, then play a Catch-All ticket with a good high-end payout. However, if you’re happy winning smaller jackpots, then your best bet is to avoid Catch-All tickets. Some keno games might pay you $12 million on a nine-spot, but you’re faced with the daunting task of catching all nine numbers to win the jackpot.

“If you’re not looking for a big jackpot,” says Jim DeFevre, Director of Keno Operations, Riviera Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, “play a four-spot or five-spot because the odds are more in your favor. The more numbers you have to catch, the harder it is to win. But the best ticket for a customer to play is one where they invest the least amount of money for the most return on the dollar betÑthe eight-spot, which has some of the legal us sportsbooks. But if you jump to a nine-spot, odds shoot up in the house’s favor. The eight-spot is the best ticket for the customer to play because if they hit seven out of eight they get $1,500. They also get paid for five out of eight. Some places even pay for four out of eight. When you start getting above ten numbers, you’re playing against yourself.”

Scrutinize the house’s special tickets. They can be a good deal. But choose carefully.

What you’re looking for,” says Annette Dearinger, Keno Manager, Stardust, Las Vegas, “is what’s going to pay the most for your money. Most special tickets have a low hold percentage for the house so you have a better advantage to win. But on most special tickets you have to pay more. If a casino’s minimum regular ticket costs a dollar, their special ticket will be anywhere from $2 to $10. So if you’re planning to play $2 or more on a ticket, you might as well go with their special because it’s to your advantage.”

When deciding among the special tickets, look at the payoffs on both ends of the scale. Does it pay all the way up the line or do you have to catch an impossibly large amount of numbers to get a payoff?

“On our regular six-spot ticket, for $1, you get $1,500 if all of your numbers come up,” points out Virginia Smith, Keno Manager, Sam’s Town, Tunica, “but you also get a free game if three out of six numbers come up. On the other hand, we have a special ticket for $1.25, which pays $2,100 if all six numbers come up. The drawback is that you lose the free game for three numbers. So if you’re going for the big money, play the $1.25. If you want to go for enough wins to keep on playing, just go for the regular $1 ticket. With the specials, you may lose on the small end, but you can make more money on the high-end.”

“Special tickets can be good,” agrees Rick Petrali, Keno Manager, Harrah’s Tunica. “For example, the 20-spot we have at Harrah’s Tunica has a top payoff of $1 million. It’s obviously a difficult ticket to hit, but even if you don’t catch all 20 numbers, there’s still a pretty decent payoff.”

When searching for special tickets, do your research. Find out where the locals play, because they often know where the best deals are located.

“At the Rio we have a strong local clientele, so we have to compete with the Gold Coast across the street and some of the other local hotels,” says Stu Craigie, Assistant Keno Manager, The Rio, Las Vegas. “On the Strip, a $1 five-spot will pay $500. We pay $800. It’s like buying a carÑyou have to shop around.”

Visit different keno lounges in town. Collect pay books from each one and compare their different payouts, recommends Virginia Smith. And don’t be afraid to ask questions.

“Talk to the crew,” says Petrali. “They can give you advice on what kind of ticket to play in that house. The keno crew might know what series of numbers have been coming up a lot.”

Don’t be intimidated by way tickets, either. First, find a house which is knowledgeable about way tickets. See what deals they’ll offer you.

“At the Rio we’ll let beginners play way tickets for discounted rates,” says Craigie. “Way tickets can get complicated so we let them play for 10 cents a way. Instead of costing $50, the ticket costs $5 so they can see how it works.”

Why not stay in your straight ticket cocoon and never emerge into the more adventurous way ticket? Two reasons. First, with way tickets, because you’re purchasing multiple tickets in one, you’re playing at a reduced rate, says Dearinger. Second, way tickets increase the number of ways you can win.

“Way tickets increase each number’s individual winning power by combining with other numbers,” says Petrali. “The more combinations of numbers you have on your ticket, the more likely you are to win. It’s not going to change the house percentage to your favor but it does increase the ways you can winÑand when the winning begins, the progression of wins happens more quickly.”

In addition to playing way tickets, look into playing multi-game keno. In Nevada, multi-game keno allows you to use the same group of numbers for 21 to 1,000 gamesÑwith a year to collect your winnings. When you’re playing fewer than 21 games, you have to collect your winnings immediately after each game ends. In Mississippi, you can play 21-200 games of keno, and you don’t have to collect your winnings until leaving the property.

Not only is multi-game keno more convenient, it can also work to your advantage.

“If you’re going to go for an eight-spot, you should buy a multi-ticket and play at least five or ten games,” says Craigie. “Give it some time and see if it’s going to happen. Otherwise, it’s like playing the lottery. You’re going to throw down a $1 for six numbers and play against 20 million people for a one-shot chance. But if you play at least ten games in a row, there’s a better chance.”

Progressive keno tickets can also be a good bet. But once again, beware of the catch-all.

“I wouldn’t go for a progressive that only pays as a catch-all,” says Dearinger. “In other words, you have to play a $3 nine-spot and catch all nine numbers before it pays anything. But if you have a nine-spot progressive that pays if you catch five numbers or more, I think it’s definitely to your advantage. Nine out of nine on a regular ticket may pay $50,000, whereas nine out of nine on a progressive could pay up to $1 million.”

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