When I started visiting the casino, the table games dominated the floor and slot machines were relegated to the perimeter of the casino or small areas set aside to accommodate them. Of course, this has all changed and nowadays the rolls have been reversed and the machines rule the casinos. This is not to say that live casino games are going to be defunct any time soon. Games like Blackjack, Let it Ride, Roulette and Craps have their loyal following and remain some of the most popular casino games of all time. Although many of the live games are popular, there are still some casino players who are hesitant to sit down to play a table game either because they are intimidated by playing with others at the table or they are uncomfortable with the higher wagering limits required at the tables.
Over the last 20 years or so, the slot makers have been trying to incorporate some of the more popular table games into the slot machines. For the most part these electronic versions of the games have fallen short and never really caught on with the players. The live casino games offer the players some of the best odds and they have low house edges. However when these games are converted into a slot machine game, they are manipulated so the house edge is increased by several percentage points, turning a good table game into a bad slot game. This is usually done by changing the pay structure for a winning hand. For example: In a live Blackjack game a natural blackjack pays 3 to 2 but in the machine game it pays even money. This is why many of the popular table games have never caught on when they were converted to a machine game. There is however one exception where a notoriously bad casino game has been converted into a great machine game. The game is Keno.
Keno is played with 80 numbered balls. In each game 20 out of the 80 will be drawn. The numbers are matched to the spots on the player's ticket. The winners are paid based on the pay table for the number of winning spots that are drawn for that game.
Live Keno has the distinction of being one of the worst games you can play in the casino. Keno is a game similar to the lottery. The odds for drawing any number of spots doesn't change, the house edge comes from the payout for the winning numbers. This varies from casino to casino but usually runs from 25 to 40 percent or higher.
Video Keno offers the player much better returns than live Keno. Because it is actually a slot machine the payback percentage must be in line with the other slot machines on the casino floor. Because the probability of hitting any number of spots is the same in live or video Keno, the return percentage for the game is altered by changing the pay table.
Like video poker the pay tables can vary from casino to casino. The number of winning spots needed to collect may change as well. For example, if you pick eight spots, you may get paid something if you hit five, six, seven or eight spots on one machine but only get paid if you hit six, seven or eight on a machine with a different pay schedule.
The amount of money you collect on the top prize can also vary dramatically from one machine to the next in the same casino. Payouts for the bigger hits like 6-out-of-6 or 7-out-of-7 or 8-out-of-8 can vary by hundreds of credits per bet. For example, an 8-for-8 can pay 8,000 credits on one machine and pay 10,000 on another. This is why it is so important to check the pay tables of the game before you play, just as you would in video poker. You should check out several machines before sitting down to play.
Video Keno has been growing in popularity with the players looking to hit a jackpot that is comparable to a video poker game.
The odds of hitting a royal flush in video poker are about 40,000 to 1. When you hit a royal flush you will be paid 4,000 credits when you bet five credits. This works out to a payout of 800 to 1. The odds of hitting 5-for-5 on video keno are 1,550 to 1 and you will get paid 810 for a one credit bet. This may vary with the pay schedule but the video Keno payout is about the same with a much lower probability.
Of course, when comparing the two games you have to realize that this is just for the top prize. Video poker offers more payouts on hands other than the royal flush. These smaller wins will keep you going longer and gives video poker a much lower house edge. However with video keno you have different betting opportunities. If you are looking to hit more frequent jackpots you can change the amount of numbers that you play.
Video Keno bridges a gap between video poker and the regular slot machines. The game does not require you to learn any basic playing strategies but you still have decisions to make regarding the amount of numbers you want to play per game and in choosing the best pay schedule.
Video Keno may or may not be for you. Some players I know love playing the game but some others I talk to tell me there is not enough excitement for them. The only way to know for sure is to give it a try.
Until next time remember:
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.