How to Play Keno


Keno is one of the most popular and easy to play casino games available. This because of its simplicity, you can learn the game in mere seconds. First, you need to get a keno card. There are 80 numbers on this card and you are expected to pick 20 of them. (In some casinos, you can pick 10 or 15 numbers too.) After the picking, you make a wager and give the card to the booth. Right after that, the casino starts to draw the winning numbers. Usually, random number generators (RNG) are used for this job, but some casinos still prefer to use ball machines. If the numbers you picked are displayed on the screen, this is called “catch” and you win the round. If not, this is called a “miss” and you can try your luck on the next round.

This happens sooner than you think – Keno is a very fast game and each round takes 3 or 4 minutes to complete. You can play 20 – 25 keno games in one hour easily. The keno payouts are determined by how many numbers you catch. If you manage to catch all 20 of them, you hit the jackpot and get the big prize, usually hundreds of thousands of dollars. But what if you catch, let’ say, 5 numbers only? How much does it pay? This changes from casino to casino – each place has its own paytable. For example, you can get 500 USD for catching 5 numbers in one place and 1.000 USD for the same amount in another. The paytables are clearly visible in each casino, so it is important to view them all before starting to play.

How to Win At Keno

Keno is a game with very low odds. To give an example, we can look at the RtP (return to player) values of video poker and slot machines. Video poker games have a RtP percentage of 100.2 and higher. For slot games, this percentage is usually around 92 – 96. In most Keno games, RtP percentages are 60, maximum. In other words, the house edge is very high in Keno and that is why it is important to find a good casino. As we mentioned above, each casino has its own paytable and this affects your winning odds and payouts. Don’t get fooled by the big jackpot prizes; to win them you need to catch all 20 numbers. Mathematically, the probability of this happening is 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,180,000. In other words, you have a much better chance of finding a bag full of million dollars on the street. Check for “small” payouts. For example, if a casino pays 100.000 USD for catching 20 and 100 USD for catching 5, this means you need to try your luck elsewhere. But if a casino pays 10.000 USD for 20 and 500 USD for 5, this means you have better odds in there.

Keno strategy depends on how many numbers you picked. Unfortunately, there are no mathematically proven tactics to win at Keno, the probabilities are too high for that. But we can give tips and recommend numbers to pick to increase your odds. For starters, always pick the minimum amount of numbers allowed. This may seem odd, but your winning odds significantly lower with each number you pick. Never pick all 20 numbers available, this will increase your wager too and result with a heavier loss. Play with 5 or 6 numbers if possible, if not, play with the minimum number allowed in that casino. Let’s take a look at the odds of how many numbers you can catch:

Number Odds
1 1 in 843.380
2 1 in 86.446
3 1 in 20.115
4 1 in 4.877 (%20)
5 1 in 4.287 (%23)
6 1 in 5.258 (%19)
7 1 in 8.826
8 1 in 20.055
9 1 in 61.420
10 1 in 253.801
11 1 in 1.423.822
12 1 in 10.968.701
13 1 in 118.084.920
14 1 in 1.821.881.628
15 1 in 41.751.453.986
16 1 in 1.596.372.110.872
17 1 in 90,624,035,964.712
18 1 in 10,512,388,171,906.553
19 1 in 2,946,096,785,176,811.500
20 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,173,800.000

In other words, it is almost impossible to catch more than 7 numbers in any game. So, your maximum pickings should be 7. Other than this, there are no real Keno strategies available, this is a game based on pure luck and your odds are really low, if you insist on playing in the land-based casinos.

Best Way to Play Keno

This is why it is recommended to play keno online. In online casinos, the house edge is very low and the RtP values are significantly higher. You can check paytables very quickly and find more alternatives. It is possible to find a Keno game with a RtP percentage higher than 80 in online casinos. This percentage is maximum 60 in land-based casinos, as we mentioned above. Before risking real money, you are advised to play free keno games online. These are instant play games and no download & no registration are needed. Rules (and the game) are the same; the only thing missing is the real money. Practice first, become the better player and take risks only after that. But if you want to play for real money keno you can do it too.

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