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A few notes on Caveman Keno

Discussion in 'Casino Gaming' started by JR Swift, May 15, 2016.

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  1. JR Swift

    JR Swift High-Roller

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    A few months, I asked a couple of questions about this game that no one could really answer. So this past week, when I was in Vegas, I did a bit of research and thought I would share it if anyone cares.

    First of all, there are several versions of this game and, within each version, there are different paytables. The three primary versions are the older (I believe original) version of the game that tends to offer higher payoffs on the rarest hands. For example, it pays around 500 coins for 7 out 8 and 2000 coins for 8 out of 8. That compares to the second version of the game which typically pays between 150 and 200 coins for 7/8 and 1000 for 8/8. It makes up for this by paying better on the (much more common) 5/8 and 6/8. Wizard of Odds did an analysis of the second game a year or so back and it is a pretty decent play at about a 95% payback. I would note than the paytable he uses is a very good one and quite rare. I did see it at a casino bar at the Orleans though so it does exist I suspect that second game is a better one but I like the first version because of the mini-jackpot at 7/8 and the higher jackpot 8/8. The final version is called Caveman Keno Plus and I have not played it very much. Both version 2 and Plus are also occasionally available in a 4-card version. As with any 4-card game, it is a lot of fun but takes a bigger bankroll.

    Getting back to the original version of the game, I discovered at least 3 distinct paytables. I will use the pays for the 8-spot again as an example, because it is what I usually play and because the different paytables all appear to offer the same pays on each spot so using that should allow you to distinguish what game you are playing. I'll give an example. What I will call the "short pay" version pays 46 coins on 6/8 and 450 on 7/8. It also pays 60 coins on 4/4. I refer to that paytable as 46/450. This game is available almost everywhere. It is the only paytable I spotted at the Total Rewards casinos in Las Vegas. The second paytable is one I spotted at a number of downtown casinos, the Hard Rock and the Orleans. It pays 48 coins on 6/8 and 500 coins on 7/8. Again, as an example, it also pays 67 coins for hitting 4/4. You might guess that I will refer to this game as 48/500 and you would be correct. The final version which I saw at the Palms and on a few machines at the Orleans is a 52/550 paytable. If you can find that one, it is, so far as I can tell, your best play available. If any of you all are mathematicians and want to try to figure out the returns on these different games, I did take pictures of each different paytable and could provide you with the rest of the numbers if requested.

    Finally, a big question you need to ask if you are going to play these machines is whether or not you are going to earn points at the same rate you would playing slots or whether they earn the same as playing video poker. While it is may be fun to play the game, I suspect the math would show that the return would be worse than almost any version of video poker you are likely to encounter. Unfortunately, most times you will find that the game is found on Game King machines mixed in with video poker. In my experience, you will earn points on these machines at the VP rate. However, if you run across a dedicated Game King Keno machine (pretty much all the TR casinos have them,) you will earn points at the slot rate of $5 per tier credit. Of course, since their machines are all of the "short pay" variety, that would seem to be the least they could do. Curiously, I had emailed TR with that very question and the reply from them was that those machines would be $10 per tier credit. So even they don't seem to know. Always check though before assuming that information is correct.

    In conclusion, I would say the best Vegas play that I found would be the "full pay" 52/550 paytable at the Orleans. It is available at the unnamed casino bar nearest the Keno lounge. Quite a number of these machines are $1 only but I think there are a few quarter machines as well. That, combined with the fact that they also have the highest paying paytable of version 2 of the game (I believe I saw it at the Mardi Gras bar) and the fact that you still earn points at the $1-1 rate makes it my personal choice.

    If anyone else can contribute any other information along these lines, please feel free to post it. I would love to get to the point where this information could be available in a central location online such as VPfree for video poker so more info about Caveman or any other electronic keno game would be welcome. Thanks for reading
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
  2. flysrb

    flysrb Hey Now!

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    Hey Now!
    Mayhaps the unnamed bar nearest the Keno lounge is the Crawfish Bar? a.k.a. Crawdad Bar....
    Thanks for the info!
     
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  3. buffalo

    buffalo Low-Roller

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    I like your analysis and insight. I occasionally play Cman Keno at my local Hollywood when the slots are not hitting (which is happening pretty regularly nowadays). I'll compare the paytables with your observations.

    I like playing at Orleans but it's been a few years since we stayed there. Hard to take comped rooms at Orleans when we have comped rooms on the Strip.
     
  4. JR Swift

    JR Swift High-Roller

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    I think the name of the bar is the Crawfish bar. It is also right next to the stage where they have bands play in the evening. The one that was there on Friday was actually pretty good.
     
  5. JJLV

    JJLV Low-Roller

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    Adding a quick note of perhaps a wee interest on Caveman Keno. I had never played it... We're at at the bar in the old Bill's to watch Big Elvis. Slid 10 bucks in to play and get drinks. No clue what I was doing. Betting one quarter at a time, picked some fav numbers. On second bet... boom boom shake the room a cool, quick $1,000 hit! Yes, have played it since but only at Poker bars to get drinks and no go an any thing close to a grand. It's mind numbing while numbing the mind. I do favor Cleopatra keno now if I am partaking. Got a few hundy hits just this last week in Laughlin. That $1000 first time playing off a quarter sure was fun though.
     
  6. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    VP has gotten so bad at the Nugget that I will probably sit and listen to the band in the lounge while playing Caveman Keno one quarter at a time. I wonder if I will still get served drinks.
     
  7. stripes46

    stripes46 Tourist

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    The bar by the band's at The Orleans is the Bourbon Street bar!
     
  8. VegasDragon

    VegasDragon Roller

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    Thank you for the info. I hope to use it this weekend!
     
  9. buffalo

    buffalo Low-Roller

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    Here's some Caveman Keno pay tables from my local Hollywood Columbus. Is it normal for a cap of 2000 on a ten card? Or is that how the casino limits it's losses?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    I did a write-up a while back on the best payscales..let me see if I can't find it...
     
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  11. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    Obviously, do the math on this one..but here is the best paying keno...6 spot on Caveman keno, something like 95-96% payback
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Not really to limit the casino's loss (the odds of hitting all ten numbers is 1 in 8.9M, so quite a long shot) but to make the pay table meet the game's payback: most pick 10 keno only pays if you hit 5 or more, the odds of hitting 5 numbers is 1 in 20 - that wouldn't be very alluring for a Caveman Keno player if that was the easiest win because the odds of hitting that are pretty long and then on top of that you have to match up the eggs... instead they are making hitting 4 numbers a win, which is only 1 in 7 odds, making it much more attractive for players to want to play. Its the same thing for Cleopatra Keno and why hitting 4 pays on a pick 10 on that game as well.
     
  13. buffalo

    buffalo Low-Roller

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    Here's the payout from the Ohio Lottery for Keno, which they draw every few minutes. I think we're looking at two different goals. I'm aware of the multipliers that show up in Cman Keno, so this isn't a direct comparison.

    The Lottery makes money from attracting players by offering huge wins, just look at the press coverage when the mega ball gets in the hundreds of millions. The Lottery wants huge wins possible, it attracts players. The drawback is lower wins are reduced.

    The casino has a different goal, they have folks in their casino and don't want them to leave, especially with house money. As a result, they have a different weighting on the wins, much less top heavy than the lottery. If a casino player wins a huge amount, the casino knows there's a good chance that player will more than likely leave with most of that money-not the casino business model lol. If they can give many smaller wins and less huge wins, they know the player will more than likely recycle those wins back into the machines and keep the money in house. Auggie, that's what I was referring to.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  14. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Yeah thats not why they do it.

    Most video keno games in the casino have around a 95% payback, all the numbers from the paytable calculated against their winning combinations divided by total number of combinations will equal the 95% payback

    You might look at it like: "Gee, a 10 out of 10 on Caveman Keno only pays $2000 on a $1 bet, whereas my state lottery pays $100,000 - what a ripoff" but it isn't because the pays for other hits are different plus the chance for matching the eggs also factors in there. I'm too tired to do the math right now, but Caveman Keno probably has a 20-30% higher payback than the state keno game, even though the state game has those big juicy prizes up top.
     
  15. JR Swift

    JR Swift High-Roller

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    Wow! Some great posts here in my absence. I have played this game a lot over the last 10 years or more and, while I have hit 7/8 quite a number of times, I have never gotten 8/8 and getting 10/10 would be even harder. For me, the appeal of the game is the mini-jackpots that you can get while still missing a number or two, particularly if you can get a multiplier in place. If I ever do hit 8/8, I think I'll be pretty happy with my $2000+ win and won't worry too much about how I got ripped off, compared to the lottery.

    I often compare video keno to video poker and there was a very good article a few years ago in Casino Player or Strictly Slots which did the same, discussing pay tables and odds. I would have to think (and my experience would bear that out) that keno has a much greater level of volatility but I wonder how it would compare to a game like DDB or TDB.
     
  16. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    The odds of hitting 8/8 is 1 in 230,000... doable, but it is quite a long shot. Hitting 10/10 is 1 in 8,911,712 which puts it up there as one of those "miraculous once in a lifetime" hits.

    Keno has a higher volatility than video poker, including DDB and TDB, but thats because for comparable prizes the odds of hitting the top prizes in keno aren't as long as they are in video poker, which means the trade off is how often/likely you hit the smaller and mid level prizes (which is less in keno).

    To compare a pick 5 in keno to video poker would be:
    --> If you bet 5 quarters in video poker the top prize is 4000 quarters, the odds of hitting it are 1 in 40,388
    --> If you bet 5 quarters in video keno the top prize is around 4050 quarters, the odds of hitting it are 1 in 1,551

    So keno actually pays more if you hit the top prize, and the top prize is hugely easier to hit (26 times easier)!

    But thats where there volatility comes in: because there aren't many smaller prizes you can hit (pick 5 keno only pays on 3/5, 4/5 or 5/5) that would be like playing video poker where the only paying hands were three of a kind, a full house or the royal flush.
     
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