THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A ‘KENO SYSTEM’

There’s no such thing as a keno system. It doesn’t exist. It can’t exist due to the house edge in keno (anywhere from 20% to 35%) or even video keno (5% to 15%). That hasn’t stopped scam artists from trying to get people to believe that keno is ‘beatable’. People even believe that keno’s closest gambling ‘relative’–the lottery–can be beat. It can’t. Etch this into your memory and don’t forget it–there’s no such thing as a system that can beat a game with negative expected value in the longterm.

Like P.T. Barnum said, there’s a ‘sucker born every minute’. Some people think there’s a difference between the two major US political parties. Some people think that terrorism is a serious threat to the United States (you’re more likely to be killed by your bathtub than by terrorists). Some people think that their vote actually matters. And some people think you can beat the lottery with a ‘system’. And as long as suckers exist to buy into these dubious ‘systems’ there will be scammers trying to sell them.

LOTTO SYSTEMS SOLD VIA SPAM

Do you think I’m kidding? I got this spam just today–it was in an email designed to look like a phony ’60 Minutes’ press release. It featured an old guy holding a check for $200,000 and had the following text:

13 Lotto Wi-ns Already This Month!!

He’s already considerd the most successful wi-nner of all time and this simple explanation tells all.
Lately his numbers keep coming up because he has a system that works almost every time.
(misspellings in the original)

The average state lottery has jackpot odds of around 100 million to 1. The odds of lottery games vary but none of them are good. The odds of winning the lottery twice are 1 to the tens of trillions. I’ll let you do the math to figure out the odds of winning the lottery 13 times at all, let alone in a month. The exact numbers vary from game to game and state to state but the ‘house edge’ on most ‘number picking’ type lotteries is 50% or more.

If you think that there’s a system that can overcome these odds and negate this house edge you deserve to have your money taken. The reality is that despite the many superstitions that people have about picking lottery numbers none of it matters since the draw is random. You have as much chance of winning by letting the lottery machine ‘autopick’ your numbers as you do with any system. And assume for a moment that the guy *did* hit 13 lotto wins in the past month. Don’t you think that the various state lotteries would have ‘caught on’? Don’t you think that some math PhD at MIT would have reverse engineered his system? If this guy existed he wouldn’t have his picture in spam emails–he’d be keeping as low of a profile as possible.

THE MATH OF GAMBLING IS INVIOLABLE

You’ll notice a common theme in the gambling theory and strategy articles on this site–we want you to understand the reality of casino gambling. More specifically, we want you to understand the math of casino gambling. It’s amazing how many experienced (though not necessarily successful) gamblers are actually disdainful of math. The fact of the matter is that if you want to be a successful gambler–no matter the game–you need to understand the challenge at hand and math is the only way to do that. With negative EV games–and that covers most casino games–knowing the math will validate the fact that it’s impossible to win in the long term. At ‘beatable’ casino games like blackjack, video poker, sports betting, etc. knowing the math is essential as well. ‘Edges’ in gambling are found only at the margins and professionals don’t look for ‘big edges’ but rather an aggregation of small edges. The math is essential for finding and understanding these edges.

There’s nothing wrong with playing a negative EV game. There’s also every reason to think that you can win in the short term. People hit big jackpots and small payouts in the casino every day. The problem begins when players are deluded into thinking that there’s some ‘system’ or ‘trick’ that will allow them to derive consistent profits from a negative EV game. No such thing exists and once you understand the mathematical theory you’ll know that no such thing *can* exist.