Keno is a popular lottery-style game in land-based casinos and bars across the US. Gameplay is as simple as choosing your lucky numbers, placing a bet, and crossing your fingers during the draw. Match enough of your picks, and you get a prize.
This Keno guide explains the rules, how to play, and some basic strategies to help you win big. We’ll also show you the best online casinos with Keno for USA players and a few of our favorite game variants.
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What is Keno?
Keno is a game of chance offered by casinos, restaurants, bars, and some state lotteries. You select a handful of numbers from 1-80, turn in the ticket with your wager, and wait for the next drawing to see if you match and win. Payouts depend on how many you select versus how many you hit and the house paytable.
The game we know as Keno started in China more than 2000 years ago. The original name baige piao, meaning “white pigeon ticket,” is also the predecessor to bingo and modern-day lottery drawings.
Before the game made its way to the US around 1840, tickets used the first 80 characters of a Chinese poem instead of numbers. Today, Keno games happen in nearly every gambling establishment worldwide.
Keno is simple to play, and there are only a couple of rules to learn before you get started. The game’s objective is to choose numbers, called spots, that you think will get drawn. The more of them you match during the corresponding drawing, the more money you win! Yes, it’s that simple.
Choosing only a few spots means you can hit one or two for a payout, but the max prize you can get is smaller. When you select several numbers, you have to land more of them to win, but you have a chance to get a larger sum of money as you match more balls.
When are Keno Drawings?
Land-based casinos and bars schedule Keno drawings in even intervals throughout the day. There are usually 10-15 opportunities to play every hour. Online, you can reuse your numbers quickly and start a new round with the click of a button.
Common Rule Variations
In standard live Keno, you pick up to 15 numbers between 1 and 80. However, at real money online casinos and certain establishments, you may see any one of several slight changes to the game. Let’s look at a few of the common rule variations you might see.
Video Keno terminals and online games let you pick your numbers on a screen. Then once you’re ready, the software draws all the balls instantly.
Some games have a bonus ball or special number. If you hit that, you’ll get an additional payout or multiplier depending on the house rules.
40 Ball Keno
Sometimes called instant Keno, 40 ball games are quicker since they use fewer balls. You choose up to 10 numbers from 1-40, and they pull 10 balls.
Keno Tickets and Bets
Online games are usually straight tickets, but there are a few ways to bet when you fill out Keno tickets in brick-and-mortar casinos. Let’s look at some ways you can select spots to spice up the next drawing.
Straight TicketsStraight bets are the way most people play. You pick a single set of numbers and enter the next drawing. Wagers usually start at $1 for the base game.
Way TicketsWay betting utilizes multiple combinations of the selected numbers. You could play two sets of 3 spots separately and together as a set of 6. That would be three bets.
King Number TicketsWhen you put a single number in a group, it is a king number. You can add it to ways and combinations or choose to bet on it alone in a single spot game.
Split TicketsThis bet is like playing two tickets at once. You select your numbers and circle them in groups or divide them with a line. Each set of spots gets a wager.
Combination TicketsSpot combinations can overlap to create even more wagers. You could choose 20 spots and divide them up in creative ways for numerous bets.
Progressive Jackpot GamesJust like progressive jackpot slots, there’s a pot that builds as people play. It may be an additional side bet to buy-in for your chance to win a massive prize pool.
How to Play Keno
Next, we’ll look at how to play Keno from start to finish. There’s not much to it, so in just a few quick steps, you’ll know your way around the game.
Find a Keno Card
The first thing you need to do is find the tickets. Casinos usually have them in designated Keno lounges. Bars and restaurants keep them in a small caddy on the bar. Online games and video terminals use virtual cards with numbers you click to choose.
Fill Out Your Ticket
Decide how many spots you want to play and choose your lucky numbers. Some online game variants have an auto picker that will choose for you.
Define Your Bets
If you plan to make way bets or multiple combinations, make sure to group, circle, and notate your tickets correctly. You can always ask for assistance. Each set of numbers you play requires a wager.
Turn in Your TicketHand your filled-out ticket to an employee. They will give your original slip back with a printed receipt that shows the drawing ID, bet ways, and number combinations. Hold on to the card you filled out if you plan to play the same thing in another draw.
Watch the Draw & Win
Screens placed throughout the establishment will display the drawn numbers. Sit back and watch as 20 numbers come up one after another. After you match some numbers, take your receipt back to an official and collect your prize. Online games automatically put your winnings into your bankroll.
The best Keno strategy is to play the number of spots with the best odds of winning. It’s a game of chance, so there’s no skill you can apply to lower the house edge.
Some people believe they will have better odds of winning if they apply strategies like picking cold numbers, the bottom 40, or spots they think will show up more frequently. The truth is you can’t really follow a pattern in Keno. Each draw is unique and resets the probability of any single ball coming up.
How to Win More Keno Games
Your odds of getting a payout change depending on the number of spots you play. To use this Keno strategy, you’ll need to look at the payouts closely.
It’s not always ideal to select the max amount of numbers for a draw. When you choose more numbers, you have to hit more for a minimum payout.
This table shows an example of how your odds change depending on how many numbers you pick. The min matches needed for a payout become more and more as you make more selections.
Comparing 8 spots to 9, you can see you need to hit four balls for a payout in both cases. You have a better shot of getting there with 9 options to match.
Based on our example table, the recommended strategy would be to choose four, seven, or nine numbers. This strategy plays the best odds for the minimum matches at each level.
|Spots Selected||Min Matches to Win||Odds of Hitting|
|1||1||1 in 4|
|2||2||1 in 17|
|3||2||1 in 8|
|4||2||1 in 5|
|5||3||1 in 12|
|6||3||1 in 8|
|7||3||1 in 6|
|8||4||1 in 13|
|9||4||1 in 9|
|10||5||1 in 20|
Min. matches needed for a payout may vary from game to game.
Test Your Keno Strategy With This Free Online Game
This online Keno game is available at BetUS. Depending on how many spots you select, the paytable and minimum matches you need to win change. Apply what you learned above and test different methods here before you wager real money.
Gamblers in the US have great options when it comes to playing Keno online. Unlike land-based games, there’s no need to fill out a paper ticket with a pencil or wait around for the next drawing.
You can wager real money, pick your lucky numbers, and enjoy instant video Keno games from your home.
Best Online Casinos with Keno
OUSC’s experts go to great lengths to find excellent online casinos for US players. Below we list some of the top options specifically for Keno.
|RANK||ONLINE CASINO||KENO GAMES||BONUS||START|
|1||Las Atlantis||KENO GAMES 1||BONUS 280% up to $14,000||Play Now|
|2||Wild Casino||KENO GAMES 5||BONUS 100% up to $5,000||Play Now|
|3||BetUS||KENO GAMES 4||BONUS 150% up to $3,000||Play Now|
|4||El Royale Casino||KENO GAMES 1||BONUS 250% up to $12,500||Play Now|
|5||BetOnline Casino||KENO GAMES 6||BONUS 100% up to $3,000||Play Now|
Tips for Playing Online Casino Keno
Watch this video to get an inside look at online Keno. You’ll quickly see some of the perks that online gamblers get over land-based players.
Though the base rules don’t waver much, Keno games come in a variety of formats. There’s the traditional version, power Keno, bonus features, speed options, and more. When you take online gambling into account, you have no shortage of exciting possibilities.
Popular Online Keno Games
Below we listed some of our reader’s favorite real money keno games at online casinos. You can win real money, play multiple tickets simultaneously, and enjoy simple gameplay with excellent animations and sound effects.
You’re Ready for Keno Online
This page gave you the basic rules and a little strategy when it comes to picking your numbers. Next time you see the screens with the drawings at the bar or casino, go fill out a ticket and give it a shot.
If you want to play right now from home, sign in at one of the Keno casinos above and head to the table games or specialty section. Start with low-limit wagers to get the hang of the software and enjoy more rounds.