Keno is an easy to learn, easy to play lottery style game with a rich history. It gives players the opportunity to win large amounts of money from small bets, which makes it a popular option in online casino's. Another appealing aspect of Keno is the random nature of the game. Numbers are drawn randomly, which means no skill or strategy is needed to win big at the game, making an even playing field for professional and amateur gamblers alike.
History of Keno
Keno was created around 3000 years ago by the ruler of the Han Dynasty in China, Cheung Leung as a way to raise money to fund his war. It was based on the popular Chinese poem, "The Thousand Character Classic", which used 1,000 Chinese symbols as a way to try and help the people count. Leung originally used 120 of these symbols, later reducing that number to 90 and then again to 80.
Keno was introduced in the United States as far back as the mid-1800s by Chinese immigrants who came to work on the railway lines. Following its introduction into America, the Chinese symbols were replaced by numbers as a way to attract more American players. When the legality of keno came under question in the US due to it being considered a lottery, the name of the game was changed to "Racehorse Keno", and the numbers represented horses. When keno became legal and off-track betting started to be taxed, the name reverted back to keno, which is why to this day, draws in keno are still often referred to as "races".
The Aim of the Game of Keno
The aim of the game of Keno is to have your numbers on a pre-marked card called. The more of your numbers that are called, the more money you will win. It's that simple! For a more detailed description, check out the rules of keno.
Choosing the Numbers on a Keno Card
Before the game of keno begins, you must mark your numbers on a keno card. Typically, you must select at least four numbers (known as spots), but no more than 10 numbers out of a total of 80 available numbers. Some casinos may allow you to select more spots, up to as many as 15. If you are playing keno at a land-based casino you must hand your marked keno ticket and bet in at the Keno booth or give your ticket to a "Keno Runner", a Casino employee who's job is to collect Keno cards from the players. If you are playing online Keno, you simply mark your tickets and place your bets. If you want to increase your chances of winning, take a look at our article about Keno systems and strategies
Playing Land-Based Keno
Playing in land based casino's can be more challenging than playing at an online casino due to the fairly fast paced nature of the game. Anyone familiar with bingo games in general will be aware that you have to pay close attention to the numbers being called out so that you can mark off your winning numbers.
To make the game easier for yourself, it is best to get a seat where you have a clear view of the screen where the randomly drawn keno numbers are being displayed, and mark off your winning numbers as quickly as possible.
If your card's a winner, you'll need to take it to the Keno booth to collect your prize, and if you're feeling really lucky get yourself another ticket for the next game.
Winning at Keno
Twenty balls are randomly selected out of the 80 possible balls. If the numbers you have chosen match any of the selected balls you may be a winner. The payouts vary between casinos so you should make sure to be familiar with the payout structure before you begin. Typically, if you choose 5 numbers on your Keno ticket, you will need at least 3 of those numbers to be drawn in order to win money. Your winnings increase dramatically the more numbers you match to the winning numbers. For example, if you have 3 out of 5 winning numbers, you may be paid out at 3 to 1. If you hold 4 out of 5 of the winning numbers, you may be paid out at 26 to 1 and if you hold 5 out of 5 of the winning numbers you may be paid out at a whopping 332 to 1