The type of ticket we have been discussing so far is known as a straight ticket or basic ticket. It is the most commonly played kind of ticket. Since the player may mark anywhere from one to fifteen spots on such a ticket, there are fifteen different kinds of straight tickets. The most popular ones are the six-spot and the eight-spot tickets. The illustration below shows an eight-spot ticket in which the player has bet on numbers 9,12,15,33,36,37,55, and 78. Note that in addition to marking the desire numbers with Xs, the player has written the number of spots marked in the right margin of the ticket and has also written the amount wagered in the box in the upper-right corner. Dollar and cent signs are not used in writing the amount wagered. Instead, the cents are distinguished by being written smaller and being underlined.
The casino's pay schedule printed in the brochure contains only the payoffs on straight tickets. This is because, strictly speaking, a straight ticket is the only kind of wager that a player can make. However, he may play as many different straight tickets as he wishes in each game. What makes things interesting - and sometimes complicated - is that he can indicate each of these different wagers on the same ticket. In its simplest form, this might involve playing three different three-spots on the same ticket. To do this, the player would mark the first three numbers he wishes to play and draw a circle around them.
He would repeat the process with the second group of three he wished to bet on, and then again with the third group, so that he would end with three circled groups of numbers, each of which contained three marked numbers. (Any unmarked numbers that happened to fall within the circle would be ignored.) To let the keno writer know that this ticket was intended as three different three-spot tickets, the player would write the fraction 3/3 in the right margin of the ticket. Below this, he would mark the amount he wished to bet on each of these three-number combinations. This amount would have to be one of te sums accepted by the house as indicated in the keno brochure. (If the player wished to bet different amounts on each group, he would have to go to the trouble of writing three different straight tickets.) Finally, in the box on the upper-right corner he would write the total amount he was wagering, which would, of course, be triple the sum he wished to wager on each three-spot.
However, it sometimes happens that a player wishes to make several wagers by combining several different groups of numbers in different ways. While no different in principle from the kinds of bets we have discussed so far, the details of such bets can become very complex. These types of wagers fall in to two categories, way tickets and combination tickets.
Suppose a player wished to make several six-spot bets. Instead of filling out a number of different tickets or circling different six-number groups on the same ticket, he might proceed as follows. He circles three different three-number groups. He then indicates that he wishes to bet each of these groups in combination with each of the others 3/6 in the margin. The denominator of the fraction means that he wants to play six-spot bets, while the numerator indicates that the groups he has circled may be combined with the second group, the first group combined with the third group, and the second group combined with the third group. Below the fraction he writes the amount he wishes to wager on each of these ways. In our example, this amount is seventy cents. Finally, he writes the total amount wagered in the box. This comes to two dollars and ten cents, seventy cents on each of the three ways. This kind of ticket is illustrated below.
Way tickets can become far more elaborate - and expensive - than the one just described. For example, if the player had circled five different groups of numbers, he would be betting on ten ways. If he circled nine groups, he would be betting on thirty-six ways. Players really do make such complicated bets. In fact, one popular way ticket involves betting on 190 eight-spot combinations. This is done by marking off every other group to form 190 eight - spot bets. When playing a way ticket, you must wager on every possible way, or the ticket will be involved. For example, on a ticket that permitted fifteen, if you only wagered on fourteen ways, the house would have no way of knowing which combination you wanted to exclude. If they were to allow such equivocation, if could be used by unscrupulous players who would decide after the drawing which ways they wanted covered. When more than three groups have been circled, it is far from obvious how many different ways these groups can be combined to achieve the desired bet.
A simple formula can be used for calculating all the possible bets on a way ticket. Let's assume you have circled four three-number groups to form a nine-spot way ticket. The fact that there are four groups and the fact that those groups must be taken three at a time to for a way provide the information you need to calculate all the possible ways. You are going to construct a fraction. The denominator of the fraction will be: 1 X 2 X 3. You stop multiplying at 3 because that is the number of groups needed to form each way. The numerator must have the same number of factors as the denominator. You will begin with the number 4 because that is the number of groups you have circled on the ticket. Your denominator will be 4 X 3 X 2. When this is all multiplied out, you will be left with the fraction 24/6, which can be simplified to the number 4. You now know that you have constructed a four - way nine - spot ticket. One more quick example should clarify the process. This time we will assume that you have constructed an eight - spot way ticket by circling five four - number groups. The calculation would be: 5 X 4/ 1 X 2 = 10. Your ticket is a ten - way eight - spot.