Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 7, NO. 3 / JULY 1988

Bonus Game

Cheapo Keno

Gambling thrills without losing your shirt


Cheapo Keno lets you get your gambling fix without losing your shirt--or even leaving your chair. This quick, slick BASIC version of Keno runs on Atari 8- bit computers of any memory size, with disk or cassette.

"I will not play Keno!"

Those five words had become my motto. I would chant them to myself whenever I entered a casino. Unfortunately I would invariably find myself walking away from a Keno machine three or four hours later--and quite a bit poorer.

What was I to do? Getting that Keno fix had become all-important and very expensive--so expensive, in fact, that I had to sell my car, my house, my wife and kids, just to satisfy my dreadful habit.

While walking home from Las Vegas to Cathedral City, California, after a particularly expensive trip to the casino, a thought struck me as my bare back sizzled in the desert sun. Maybe my Atari could be used to satisfy my masochistic desire--and maybe I could save just enough money to buy back my wife and at least one kid. Thus was born Atari Cheapo Keno.


Type in Listing 1, KENO.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it.

The principle of Keno machines is diabolically simple. It's a variation of Binge or Lotto. You bet from one to four quarters, pick one to 10 numbers on an 80-number grid and start the game. The computer randomly picks 20 numbers. The more correct guesses you have, the more you win.

When RUN, the program draws the grid along with boxes containing the words START, ERASE, BET and PAY. The cursor will be in the BET box. Pressing the joystick button lets you increase your bet.

Move the cursor to a number you want to pick, and press the joystick button to mark it. If you accidentally mark the wrong number or want to change your mind, move to the ERASE box and press the joystick button. This will remove all the numbers you picked.

Pressing the joystick button when the cursor is over the PAY box gives you the payoff schedule and a tally of your bets and winnings. After you place your bet and mark your numbers, go to the START box and begin.

The more numbers you pick, the larger the jackpot-- and the greater the odds against your winning. Hitting one out of one, for instance, is relatively easy because the odds are one in four. Hitting 10 out of 10, however, is a feat comparable to standing on your head on a merry-go-round and knocking a fly off a pig's back with a slingshot at 100 yards--which might be more impressive than hitting 10 of 10 in Keno.

Several "systems" for winning at Keno have been developed, but since the numbers are picked randomly these systems usually end up in cold storage. But since you're not playing with real money in Atari Keno, this program might be a good testing ground for your own systems--or a good way to develop your own theories on winning.


0-60             Declare variables, set screens.
205-255       Betting routine.
260-275       Erase numbers.
350-420       Main joystick routine.
480-490       Set screen memory pointer to payoff Screen.
650-695       Pick computer numbers.
1001-1010   Data for jackpot amount.
1100-1190   Draw payoff screen.

Maximillian Eissler is a retired Norwegian Air Force pilot living in Cathedral City, California, and Chester Wozniak is the director of security at a country club in Rancho Mirage, California. This is their first publication in Antic.

Listing:KENO.BAS Download