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  • Jeff Young

Low Rollers Need Love, Too

Updated: Nov 4


We enjoy watching those high roller videos where people play $25 -200 per slot pull and rack up hand pay after hand pay, but those folks are the exception, not the rule. Most players walk into a casino with a couple hundred dollars, hoping to stumble over a miracle. There aren’t many of those - but hope springs eternal.


The key for me is to maintain my bank until I can lift off a substantial win. I start low and slow, then hope to build.


How exactly?

Mainly on 4 Card Keno with the maximum bet on just a few spots. Starting at a nickel machine, I may go all in while betting on 3-4 spots per board. The average payoff with 4 coins wagered on a 4-spot is 364 units. That’s $18 on a nickel machine, $36 at the dime level, and $91 on a quarter machine. Play at the level you’re most comfortable with, occasionally going out on a limb when you feel the timing is right. I know all about going out on a limb because I used to play Michelle Branch songs on the radio. But let's pretend I never said that.


If your machine is repeatedly hitting close to the numbers you picked, chances are it’s going to zero in on them soon. I’ve seen it happen a few times, but if you’ve fed your third $20 into the machine and still aren’t landing in the “zone” much, you may want to call it a session. If you CAN afford to stay, play, and wait it out, feel free. But if what you're feeling is anxiety creeping into the equation, you’re done. Or should be. That’s why the Problem Gambling people say to call them “When the Fun Stops.”


It’s much easier to hit 3-4 numbers than it is 7,8,9, or 10. Sure, you can pick up $350, $500 or $1000 with one or two coins bet on more numbers, but it’s going to take a while.


One trick to help maximize your win with 3 or 4 spots bet is to group them tightly together. Overlap 'em. Play spots within spots.


I like to bet a 3-spot within a 5-spot within a 7-spot within a 9-spot. Or some variation thereof.


The whole point of overlapping and layering bets is so that when the smaller boards hit you at least have some revenue coming in – IF you bet more money on the boards where you’ve played fewer spots.


Betting the minimum 4 coins across the four boards means your 3-spot will only pay about 90 coins. Wager more on just that board for a larger return when it hits – the 364 I mentioned with 4 coins bet.


Bet one coin each on the 9 and 7 spots, two or three coins on the 5-spot, and at least 4 coins on the 3-spot. If you hit the 9-spot, you’ll hit all the rest and will wind up with a hand pay if you’re playing more than a nickel machine. Check our YouTube channel for examples of when this approach paid off for us. We also discuss it further in our post Reel & Video Slots Vs. Video Keno, with illustration.

Bottom line: We’re happy to hand Uncle Sam his cut when the time comes. But we’re also content to keep those smaller jackpots rolling in, hoping to maintain or boost our bank, so that we can make bigger plays when it feels right.

There are plenty of exceptions to these general guidelines. We'll discuss them at some point.

Your 2 Cents welcome.

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