Does it get any easier than this?
- Choose your numbers carefully.
- Fingers crossed
Okay, maybe there’s more to keno than that… but just a little bit. Not that there’s anything wrong with simplicity.
Anyway, one of the great things about keno is that you’ll find it everywhere. It’s not just any casino game. Many states also have it (online) as part of their state lottery offerings. You will also find apps and free arcade games.
In brick-and-mortar casinos, you’ll find keno heavily advertised in bars and restaurants. It is one of the few games that you can play from your table. Just pick your numbers and place your bet with the waitress.
The bottom line is that keno is a popular game. It’s available everywhere. And if you’d like to learn more about it, including where it comes from, how to play it, and what variations there are, read our guide below.
Records show that keno originated in China.
It is over 150 years old. At least according to the date when the lottery was first documented in 1847. That’s when the government of Macau decided to grant a lottery licence to operators first.
However, rumour has it that Keno saved the city.
It helped raise the funds needed to build the Great Wall of China.
Most of the Great Wall was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). That means keno can be 350-650+ years old.
It is also rumoured that keno results were sent to remote villages by carrier pigeons. They were printed, often with the first eighty Chinese characters of the Thousand Character Classic. In western countries, they were called “white pigeon tickets” or “pakapoo.”
Keno eventually spread to western countries when the Chinese sailed across the Pacific in the 19th century. By 1866, it had become a very popular game in Texas.
There they call it keno.
How do you play Keno?
The game is simple. It is usually played live or on video.
- Live Keno: Gamblers use paper and markers to mark spots. Then, every few minutes, numbers are drawn from a hopper filled with numbered balls, just like bingo.
- Video Keno: Gamblers use a touch screen to choose their numbers. Then a machine randomly draws random numbers. This is similar to how it’s done online, minus the touch screen.
Keno is pretty much the same no matter which way you choose to play it. That said, we’ll use Bovada’s keno game to explain how to play it.
The standard game is played on a board with eighty numbers. The goal is to select numbers that you think will be picked during the draw round. Again, it’s like playing bingo.
At Bovada, you can select a maximum of fifteen numbers. But how many numbers you can pick varies from casino to casino. Some allow only ten or twelve, while others let you choose as many as twenty.
It depends. But twenty is (usually) the maximum.
The number of numbers you pick determines how many hits you need to get a payout, as does the amount of the payout itself.
It goes like this:
- The fewer songs you pick, the fewer hits you need to get paid for and the more each hit is worth. But fewer numbers means less money you can win in total.
- The more songs you choose, the more hits you need to get paid for and the less each hit is worth. But the more numbers you pick and hit, the more money you can win in total.
That is how it works. sort ofIt makes more sense if you load up a game and play a few rounds. Here’s a real-life example of Bovada’s keno game:
- Choose one number. It only takes one hit and it will give you three credits.
- Pick two numbers. It takes two hits, and it yields fifteen credits.
- Choose three numbers. Two hits earn two credits. Three hits yield forty-five credits.
- Pick four numbers. Two hits pay off one credit. Three hits yield five credits. Four hits yielded 155 credits.
It works on a sliding scale. The more numbers you choose:
- The minimum number of hits you need to get paid.
- The less each hit is worth, You need to cover more of your spots for the big payouts.
- The more it is worth to cover all of your chosen numbers, the moreAt Bovada, you can win 100,000 credits for all your fifteen numbers.
That’s the general idea, anyway.
You can pick your numbers, or many casinos have a quick pick option. These randomly pick numbers for you. The most we have picked for you is ten.
After you’ve chosen your numbers, you have to decide how much you want to bet per round. This varies, but most (online) casinos allow you to wager anything from $0.01 to $20. With Bovada, you can bet from $0.01 to $10.
Now it’s time to draw numbers. You have a few options. :
- Play one.
- Play five.
- Play ten
These are the drawing rounds. Each round requires a bet.
For example, say you bet $1. If you choose “Play One”, you bet $1 and continue through one round of draws. If you chose “Play Ten,” you would wager $10 and go through ten rounds of drawing.
Each drawing round is independent of the rest. In other words, if you didn’t get enough hits for a payout in the first round, the hits you got in rounds two, three, and so on wouldn’t change that.
Most casinos have a scoreboard that keeps track of which numbers are hit. Online, they track your hits and payouts for each round.
After the drawings are done, you will be paid what you owe. Then you can clear the board and start all over again.
Keno Variations and Side Bets
If you want to be technical, there are many keno variations. Every state, casino, and software company has their own versions.
We can’t cover everything. So what we’ll do instead is share a few examples below to give you an idea of what’s out there.
- 0-Spot Bonus: Some casinos pay $500 or $1,000 for a catch of 0/20 spots (no hits) with a bet of $5.
- Lottery in Kansas –Twenty numbers are drawn at random every four minutes. Games are played every day from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. Here’s their paytable for their tenth-place game:
- Michigan Lottery: They have three different keno games:
- Instant Keno: Tickets cost $0.10–$20. This is a regular three-speed keno game (the third is FAST), but it doesn’t have a multi-round option.
- Instant Keno Multiplier—Tickets cost $0.25–$20. This is an interesting option where you get a few free boxes (like bingo), which if hit can give you a multiplier on the amount you have won during that round. But you don’t have to spend extra to get it.
- Fuzz Ball Keno – Tickets range from $0.10 to $20.You can still win money even if you don’t hit enough of your numbers. For example, you get a few credits for missing all your spots. But then you earn nothing for hitting one or two spots. The next time you get paid is for getting three spots. This has a sliding scale where the more numbers you pick, the wider the gap becomes between getting paid for hitting nothing and getting paid for hitting something.
This is played online. You can play a free demo of each game.
- You can play the Keno Mega 10 right now.This is the only casino on the east coast to offer it. This is a nationwide progressive with a payout of approximately $1.9 million. Tickets cost $1.50 to play.
There are many variations like this one. Not only can you play live in different states and casinos, but you can also play online.Each casino may have different keno variations compared to their competitors.
For example, Drake Casino offers four different keno games.
- Instant Keno
- Klub Keno: Get a starball and you’ll get twice the payout.
- Krazy Keno: This is instant keno with 40 balls.
- Traditional Keno: A normal game of keno
The bottom line is that keno variations, side bets, and themes—their availability depends on where you play and whether you play live or online.
The best strategy for beating Keno
Want to know how to beat keno for thousands of dollars?
Here’s what to do:
- Choose your favourite song. The birthday of your partner or child also works.
- Fingers crossed.
- Pray (optional).
That is it. Now you owe me $99.95.
Just kidding. Kind of.
The point is that there is no strategy for beating Keno because Keno is purely a game of chance.
There is no way to beat the game, so there is no strategy you can use to gain an edge over the house.
That sucks, because keno has one of the worst house advantages of all casino games. The house edge ranges from 4% to 35% depending on where you play it. More often than not, it’s in the high 20%–30% range.
In fact, in 2001, the Wizard of Odds did a survey of every live keno game in Las Vegas. His stats showed a return of 65%-80%, meaning a house edge of 20%–35%. These are terrible odds.
He repeated the survey in 2012. The returns were much worse: 50%–74.4%.
He also did one in San Diego in 2008. The returns were much better, at 84% to 95%. This means a house edge of 5%-16%. It’s still not great, but it’s WAY better than Las Vegas. However, he said these were video keno machines, which are 50 times faster than live keno. You’ll end up playing more rounds than you would live, meaning you’ll lose more money overall.
According to the Wizard of Odds, a better option for keno players would be to convert to video poker.
He argues that this is a much smarter strategy because of the lower house edge. He suggests that live players convert to bingo.
But us? We think playing keno is okay as long as you play for free. If you want to play for real money, you’d better look for games with better odds.
Because the odds of ever having a big chance while playing keno are similar to those of winning the lottery. For example, the probability of a player hitting all twenty numbers on a twenty-seat ticket is about 1 in 3.5 quintillion (1 in 3,535, 316, 142, 212, 174, 336 to be exact).
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The odds also change a lot based on the number of seats chosen on each ticket.
You have to ask yourself one question:
Do you feel happy?
For most people, the answer will be no.
Keno is a fairly simple game. There’s not much else to do than pick a few songs and hope they appear.
You will have no problem playing it online. Almost every casino offers it. And why wouldn’t they, when the odds are so heavily in their favor? Clearing bonuses when playing keno is also no problem.
Honestly, if you’re looking for a game with good odds or a good chance of winning money, you’d better play a game like blackjack. Heck, we even found better odds at some slot machines.
But we are not here to judge. Everyone has their favorites. And if keno is one of yours (or if you want to know if it is), go to a casino like Bovada and give it a try.
Here are some frequently asked questions (and our answers) about keno.
Are there any keno apps?
A quick Google search for “keno apps” shows a few options:
- Free Keno Keno (iOS)
- Free Keno Bonus (iOS)
- Las Vegas Casino Keno (Android)
Apparently, these were all made by the same person.
You’ll also find a top list of keno apps for Android here and for iOS here.
Keep in mind that unless you play keno at an online casino or on your state lottery website, you cannot play for real money. That’s the downside of downloading apps from your app store.
What is a keno bonus?
There are a number of different keno games called “Keno Bonus.” One of them is an app that we have mentioned above. But there is also a real-money version.
Net Entertainment (NetEnt) has created a game called Keno Bonus. Their version includes a bonus round that offers free play with the option to double the regular payout. You get to play the bonus round if you spell the word “bonus.”
You get letters that spell out the word “bonus” when one of your spots is selected and reveals a bonus symbol. Do this often enough to spell “bonus” and you can play the bonus round.
How do I play keno games for free without downloading any software?
The best way to do this is to find a casino that offers an instant-play or browser-based casino. These are casinos that offer games that you can play from your browser. No software or download is required.
Some casinos don’t even force you to create an account or login to play. A few examples are Bovada and Ignition Casino.
What is a keno girl?
According to a Yahoo Answers expert:
I’m from Massachusetts, which has Keno. A Keno girl takes the money and the bets from the customers, makes the bets, and returns the Keno tickets and the change to the customers. And she gets a nice tip if her customers win. 😉 ”
What is a keno generator?
It is a programme that you can use to dial your numbers.
Random.org, for example, has a programme that you can use from your browser. This is what you do:
- Choose the number of tickets you want to purchase.
- Select how many songs you want.
- Select how many numbers are on the board.
- Press “Choose tickets”
When I chose two cards, each ten numbers on an eighty-digit board, I got this:
Your next step is to buy two lottery tickets with these numbers selected.
How do you win at keno?
Best wishes.There is no other way to win.
We found an article on WikiHow.com that shares seven tips for winning at Keno. Some of their tips are:
- Play the progressive jackpot.Their reason why is that Keno has bad odds.
- Getting serious They say you need to calculate the expected value of any non-jackpot win. Then calculate the probability of winning the progressive. Then use that information to know exactly when it is +EV to bet on the progressive jackpot.
- Find a casino where the payout is not terrible.
And so on.
We’ve also seen some books on how to beat Keno.
It’s all ridiculous. It’s all a waste of time. period of time.
If you want to make money with keno, don’t play it. It has some of the worst odds in the casino, even if you find a casino with higher payouts.
Only play keno if you like it. That way, the losses won’t be too bad.
What is the largest keno prize won?
We’re not sure if these are the biggest, but we did manage to dig up some great past victories:
- Someone in Australia won $4.36 million in June 2013.
- A group of eight colleagues and two friends won a jackpot of $86,204.70 in January 2013 using the eight-seat Keno Rolling Jackpot Bonus game.
- A nurse won nearly $6.4 million from a progressive keno jackpot at Sam’s Town in Las Vegas. The report suggests that this is the largest keno jackpot in history. This was in October 2007.
- A semi-retired businessman won $3.29 million from a keno jackpot at the Runaway Bay Tavern in Queensland. This was in 2016 and was the biggest jackpot won there since 2009.
Those are the biggest examples we could find. You will definitely find more with a Google search.
Do you have a question you would like us to answer about Keno? Send us an email!