Combination Bets

What if you could take those same six numbers you played in our original example (see KENO Part One) and get a little more action. You can do this. You can split up your six numbers in such a fashion that you're playing different "ways" on the same ticket. A way ticket is simply a method of playing several games at the same time without using separate tickets but using the same numbers.

There are a lot of different combinations you can create using six numbers. If you're a mathematician, or like to fool around with numbers, you'd be able to figure out all the combinations instantly. But you don't want to bother with the kinds of spots that don't return any appreciable amount of money. For instance, you wouldn't want to divide your six spots into six different one spots, because the payback wouldn't be worth it -- especially since you can create other combinations that will get you the same return or more.

Ticket 4

What if you wanted to play a couple of two spots, a few three spots, and even a six spot in the same keno game? You could do it by marking the ticket with a circle around the numbers you want to group together. For example, using the same six numbers from Part One of this article, we decide we like the two-number combinations. We pick three combinations of two numbers and (or "group") them, and play what¹s known in keno parlance as two threes and a six (see Ticket 4).

Notice that we've chosen to play each combination for 50 cents rather than $1, thus cutting our costs a bit. This will allow our bankroll to last longer, but it will also cut the win amounts in half. So, if you hit the six numbers, instead of $1,600, you'll receive $800. But, you'll also receive payment for all the two spots.

Because the two-spot is such a low-paying possibility, we might want to bump our potential up a bit, choosing two three spots and a six (a three spot usually pays $12 for $1). In this case, we'd mark the ticket as illustrated (see Ticket 5)

If you hit all six numbers, you receive approximately $1,600 for that win plus $12 for each three spot.

Ticket 5

These are just a few of the examples of way tickets. Generally, the rules booklets provided by the casino show many more possible combinations. You can also get a thorough explanation of way tickets (and how to figure them) from the "Complete Guide to Winning Keno" by David W. Cowles. Though the prices and payouts differ a bit from casino to casino, the more ways you play, the less money per way it can cost. In many locations you can even play for as little as ten cents a way.

So what's the advantage of a way ticket? Well, let's say you mark six numbers only and hit just three of them. Your payback is $1. If you played the two threes and a six and the right combination of three numbers hit, you'd get $13 ($12 for $1 on the three spot plus the $1 for three out of six).

Like the straight ticket, you can play the way ticket for more than one game at a time.

One other note. Many casinos show the games on closed-circuit TV in their rooms, so if you find yourself getting tired, go to your room, kick off your shoes, turn on the TV, and there you are, in the middle of action without leaving the comfort of a king-sized bed.