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What Is Keno and How Do You Play It Successfully?

A keno ticketSource: Bartosz Senderek

Keno is a remarkably simple gambling game that is now enjoyed in casinos all around the world. Although the exact origins of keno are disputed, most people agree that the game began in China before being transported to Europe via Portuguese settlers. Keno is run in a variety of ways and you can play it online as well as at a bricks and mortar gaming establishment. However, the basic rules for keno are the same online or in person and most casinos conform to the form that is outlined below. Read on to find out all you need to know to get started playing the game and then progress to some of the strategies which will help to maximise your chances of success.

Playing Keno – The Basics

Keno is a paper-based game. With your stake, you purchase a ticket in paper form which will have a series of numbers printed on it. Generally speaking, these are one to eighty. The numbers tend to be laid out in rows of ten with the numbers printed inside little boxes. To play, you simply mark off up to ten numbers on your keno ticket and hand it in along with your stake. In some cases, you will be allowed to mark off more than ten numbers – it just depends on the house rules. You don’t have to have any pattern to your choices. You could form a straight line, only choose numbers under twenty or even go for odd numbers only. It is entirely up to you.

Once your choices have been made, a keno caller will pick some winning numbers at random. This means that if a number appears that matches one of your choices that you will win a prize. The same goes for any other player who has purchased a winning keno ticket for that turn, too. Crucially, however, you are not in competition with the other players – unlike bingo, for example. You are playing against the house.

Of course, if a number is selected that does not match one of yours, then you won’t be able to claim a prize. Fortunately, several numbers are generated by the keno caller so you have multiple chances of winning. The more numbers you match, the bigger the prize you will be able to claim. Prizes are worked out according to the house’s pay table. These differ according to the establishment you are betting in and it is here that the house advantage is set.

Finally, it is worth knowing that you can play multiple games of keno with one ticket. Most will allow you to choose how many times you wish to play with your ticket by simply writing this down when you submit it. So, for example, if you want to play five games of keno using the same numbers, then you would need to write this on your ticket. Equally, you will need to provide five times the stake price because you will be playing this number of times.

Strategies For Winning at Keno

Keno may be easy to pick up but that does not mean that it is a game of complete chance. If you want to ensure that your chance of winning is as good as it possibly can be, then consider employing the following tactics when you play your next game.

Keno differs from other lottery games, like bingo, because you are only playing against the house.Source: Michael Cote

Don’t Choose All Your Numbers

When you play keno, you can usually select up to ten different numbers. Given that you don’t have to increase your stake if you choose all of them, then it would make perfect sense to do so, right? Well, no. In fact, most of the pay tables that are associated with keno will offer you a lower return if you have selected more numbers, rather than fewer. So, although your chances of winning are genuinely increased when you select all ten numbers, the likelihood of you winning big are necessarily diminished.

For example, if you were lucky enough to have correctly selected five numbers following a randomised draw, then you would be due to win a multiple of your stake. If you used up all ten of your numbers when you filled out your keno ticket, then this might constitute a payout in the region of three to one which is not bad. However, if you chose just five numbers and all of them came up, then your prize is likely to be in the region of fifty to one. That is a big difference!

Of course, there is a balance to be had with any keno game. Sometimes, you will want to maximise your chances of winning at all and sometimes you will want to increase the chance that you will win big. Think about it like the equivalent of placing an even money bet at the roulette table or selecting just one number.

Study the Pay Table

As mentioned, choosing whether to use all of your numbers when you play keno is important. The only way to work out whether it is best to do so – or whether it might be better to select fewer numbers – is to study the pay table concerned. Somewhere in the pay table will be the right balance between the chance of winning and the chance of getting a big prize.

That said, this is not the only reason for studying a keno pay table. These differ from establishment to establishment so you are able to maximise your luck at keno by choosing the most favourable pay table to begin with. Some offer house advantages of around four or five per cent. Others are much less attractive so these are worth avoiding.

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