Keno FAQ

Welcome to the Keno FAQ guide, where players can get the answers to some of the frequently asked questions of this popular online casino game. Despite being similar to a lottery, Keno has been played live and online and remains a fan-favorite.

Read our in-depth Keno FAQ if you have questions that the main keno guide didn’t provide, or if you want to learn more about this game.

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What is Keno?

Online KenoOriginating in China and arriving in the United States in the 1800s, keno is a popular casino game which is all about getting very lucky. The game is attractive to many players due to the ability to win a huge amount from just a very small bet.

As we all know, casinos offer players a wide range of games to suit everyone’s preferences and choices. You’ll find card games, ball games, dice games, bingo style games, lottery style games, and video-based games. Online Keno falls under the banner of a lottery style game due to the way in which white balls with numbers on them are selected at random.

These balls range in value from 1 to 80 and correlate to random, or supposed lucky numbers, that players have chosen for themselves or had selected at random when they purchase a game ticket. If you’re lucky enough to match the numbers on your ticket with the numbers that are drawn at random then you could be a winner, with prizes awarded according to how many numbers match up.

Obviously, the higher number of matches will result in a larger prize for the player. In a standard game of keno 20 numbers are drawn, with a player usually selecting between 1 and 10 numbers on their ticket.

As you can see this is very similar to a lottery, however casino drawings happen frequently to allow players to play any time of the day. On top of this, individual keno games are available on automated video keno terminals and also via online casinos. In these types of games, the only player competing to win will be the operator of the machine or game in question.

Keno is very attractive to casino operators due to the fact it is now mostly completely automatic. You won’t find many casinos with actual ball drawings. It’s generally all done by computer these days. This means very little overhead for the casino operator and the ability for them to run games in a much quicker fashion.

The game is also attractive to players as no skill or strategy is involved at all. Players simply pick some numbers and choose how much they wish to wager, and then wait for the draw to see if they’ve won. Also, you can now us special quick pick numbers feature so the computer terminal will assign numbers to you at random, making it even easier to play.

The Wizard of Odds keno section may also be of use.

How Do I Play Keno?

Keno Online gameIf you’re seeking one of the simplest games to play in a casino, then you can’t really go past keno. It’s very simple to play and once you’ve received your draw ticket you can sit back and relax while the action unfolds on a screen in front of you.

When you’re playing in a live casino you’ll find keno games on video poker multi-game machines or standalone video keno machines, and also, the main keno game that will be running on TV screens around the casino. For the main game, you simply find a keno card which will be available at many locations around the casino, or in the keno lounge, and select the numbers you wish to choose and the amount you wish to wager.

Then you present the card to the keno desk or give it to a keno runner and pay the total wager amount to receive your ticket. For the main game, many casinos will now also have keno ticket terminals where you can select numbers and make wagers digitally.

In the old days, casinos had employees, called runners, who collected keno cards and returned with your ticket. This is mostly a thing of the past because players don’t seem to be playing keno as much today as they did in the past. And many players who do enjoy the game are playing on the video terminals instead of using the live draws.

If you’re playing online or on a video keno terminal, then the game is much simpler and is run on demand. To play a draw you simply pick numbers off a keno board and select a wager amount.

You then draw immediately and the machine will select winning numbers at random and automatically award you with a win if you’re successful. You’ll of course first need to add credits to the machine either by entering cash or a voucher, or transferring funds to the game from your casino wallet if you’re playing online.

Keno games will display payout and wager information on the games pay table, or via a keno booklet if you’re playing in a live casino. This will give you information on how much you can win compared to how much you wager and also information on winnings in relation to how many numbers you select each draw.

You can also get your numbers via a quick pick which will automatically choose a certain group of numbers at random for you to use in the next draw. This can be done both in real live casinos and online.  When you use the quick pick feature you simply click on the number of balls or numbers you want to use and choose a bet amount.

As you can see the game is extremely simple to play and it only gets slightly more complex when you start to play with different bet types and combination tickets.

Is There Any Good Keno Strategies to Winning?

You won’t be able to implement any method or strategy in keno to result in a lower house edge or player advantage. It just isn’t possible. Due to the random nature of the game and the set payouts, you simply can’t do anything to make a win more likely. This randomness, in correlation to the payouts for hitting a certain amount of numbers, is set up in a way so that the casino always holds a large edge over the player.

That being said, you can implement some strategies just for fun and to make keno more enjoyable. Most games will have a list of hot and cold numbers. This list shows you which numbers are coming up frequently and numbers that haven’t come up much at all.

You could use this list to determine which numbers to pick in the next draw. Just keep in mind that every draw is independent and random and the numbers that have or haven’t come up in previous draws have absolutely no statistical impact on what will come up in the next draw. Although, as mentioned, this can make the game more fun and many people implement number selection strategies in line with hot and cold numbers to keep things exciting.

What Are Some of the Keno Bets?

When playing keno, you’ll be able to choose how many numbers you’d like to select in a draw and how much you wish to bet. The betting denominations change from game to game and will generally be lower in video keno and online casino keno. In traditional keno, you’ll have to bet a larger amount and also wait for an allotted amount of time between draws to allow all players to collect winnings from a previous draw and get a new keno ticket, or just the latter if they haven’t been very lucky.

Generally, players will choose between 4 and 10 numbers and will be paid out according to the initial amount they bet and the percentage of their numbers that they hit. It does get quite complex when it comes to betting in keno and determining what the actual payout will be. In video and online keno, this information is easily available in the game’s pay table, and in traditional keno, you can find an overview of this in the casino keno pay book.

One of the most popular bets in keno is to play 6. This means you choose 6 numbers to play in a draw. Generally, you’ll win back your initial wager if you hit 3 out of your 6 numbers. If you hit more than 3 then the winnings will go up significantly with the more numbers you hit. When you play 6 you’ll be able to wager $1, $3 or $5, and up from there, depending on the operators bet limits. Each with increasing payouts as you wager more. You can, of course, choose more or fewer numbers and this will directly impact the payout rate, and how many numbers you need to catch in order to win.

After these straight bets, you can do combination bets where you’ll have multiple sets of numbers. These can either can be played concurrently so you get an enhanced payoff, or separately. You’ll also find sectional bets, color based bets, king bets, and much more. As you learn keno you can slowly incorporate different bet types into your game to see what you like.

Keep in mind that making different bet options won’t change the house edge in keno and certainly won’t increase your likelihood of winning. The statistics and mathematics of the game stay the same irrespective of what bet options the player makes. It can add an extra level of excitement to your game, though. By changing things up and choosing different numbers and more or fewer numbers as you move through rounds it can keep things interesting.

What is the Keno House Edge?

If you’re looking for a casino game with an excellent house edge, then perhaps you should avoid keno. Coming in with a house edge of between 25% and 29%, it’s one of most unfavorable games for the player. This shouldn’t dissuade you from playing though as the gameplay itself is very enticing for many and it’s one of the few games where you can win $10,000 or more for a single $1 wager.

The ability to make random selections and then let the computer do the rest is quite enticing. You can’t make any errors in keno and it’s purely a game of luck. This makes it a very comfortable and easy option. On top of this, you can play keno easily while at a table or slot machine, meaning you can double your dose of action. It’s also a purely solo game with basically no social interaction.

If you’re playing video keno then the speed of the game is even faster, while still being very easy to play. Quite often video keno and online casino keno will offer far better odds for the player and a much lower house edge. You should be able to find games with a house edge between 5% and 10%, and you should definitely aim to play these games if you’re going to dabble in keno.

How Does Keno Compare with Other Casino Games?

As touched on above, the house edge isn’t great for the player in keno. The most favorable games have a house edge of around 25%. This is very large when compared to other casino games. The house edge in online blackjack is as low as 0.28%, in single zero roulette it’s 2.7%, and in Pai Gow Poker it’s 1.5%.

The edge in keno is huge compared to these other games, and the amount you win or lose is of course strongly dictated by this edge. However, the nature of the game is such that you can play in a very easy way with little input once you’ve selected your numbers to play with. This is why the house edge is so large.

If you can see past the house edge and are playing for purely recreational purposes, then keno can be an excellent option for you. You may also be able to find more favorable games in video keno and also at online casinos, often with a house edge around 10%, as opposed to the traditional game played with cards and crayons in a brick and mortar casino.

Keno also offers a large possible payout for a small wager. This appeals to many players because they look at it much like the lottery. They say it only costs a dollar, so why not take a shot?

What is the Difference Between Live and Video Keno?

While the basics of a video online keno game are the same as traditional casino keno, there are some minor differences that may make the game more appealing to you. You’ll often be able to bet in much smaller denominations on video keno and the rate of the game is much faster. Once you make your selections and bet size you can draw right away to see if you’re a winner, without having to wait for the main game to draw.

On top of this, the payouts may be slightly different in video keno, which means you can find a game which may be more favorable to the player and have a lower house edge.

Online casinos will mostly offer video online keno, and will usually offer better conditions for the player when compared to video keno in a live casino. The payouts may be better and the house edge is lower as a result. Playing keno at an online casino is probably the best bet statistically for the player.

What is the Red and Black, or Red and Green Game in Keno?

Sometimes online keno games will offer a red and black game on top of the standard keno game. The blackboard is sometimes a green board, depending on where you play. This is just another bet option where players can choose to wager on either of the colors. It’s essentially just another set of numbers and it doubles the draw in a particular round. You’ll find there’s no real benefit to playing both colors, other than wagering twice as much to have the same chances of winning.

Most players play on both boards to ensure they don’t miss out on a win if they’re only playing on one board and their numbers come up on the second one.

On top of this, some casinos and gaming establishments will allow players to make even money bets on number colors. In this type of keno, every number has a color assigned to it and the player can make a wager on which color will appear more often. If this bet is available it’s probably the best one to make in the game as the house edge will be much lower. This type of bet and game is only available in certain places, though, so you may not be able to find it where you usually play.

Should I Study the Odds in Keno?

You won’t find many benefits in studying the odds in keno and it’ll most likely just turn you off from playing the game. The game is completely based on luck and there’s no decision making or strategy involved. Therefore, knowing the odds and probabilities won’t arm you with any information that can be implemented into your game to make a difference.

The odds of certain numbers coming up are all the same and the odds of winning, particularly the large jackpots, are astronomically high. These odd are so high that even if it’s only a dollar a try, you could play your entire life and never hit a big payout. This is starting to approach the odds of winning the Powerball lottery. Most keno players won’t study the odds, and purely play the game for a bit of fun in the hope of getting lucky and having a win.

The Wikipedia page on keno has some additional odds calculations.

Should I Play Keno?

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you play keno or not. If you’re seeking a casino game that’s purely based on luck and has no decision making or strategy involved at all then keno could be for you. You’ll be able to find a keno game at pretty much every casino, online and bricks and mortar, and also other gaming establishments.

Video keno and online casinos will often offer the game with lower betting limits, and also in a more rapid fashion as you don’t need to wait for the countdown clock to reach zero as you do with traditional casino keno. Most importantly, online keno will offer a game with a much lower house edge, usually between 5% and 10%. This means that the edge is very similar to slots, so it’s a much better option to play online on these types of keno games.

It’s also a good option for those who wish to play more than one casino game at once as keno is easy to participate in without actually having to sit down at a particular table or location. Additionally, you won’t need to make decisions or take any action while you play.

You can simply choose your numbers, pick how much you want to wager, and how many draws you wish to play in, then sit back and let the rest happen itself. While this happens you could be playing another game which is more action packed such as blackjack or roulette. Video and online keno will let you play a number of draws very quickly. This gives you plenty of chances every minute and hour to hit a big win, but it also gives the casino as many chances per minute or hour to take your money.

If you’re a stickler for statistics, odds, and lessening the house edge as much as possible then keno is certainly not your game. The huge house edge makes it very unfavorable to players and ensures that you most likely will lose most of your money on a consistent basis. People do of course win at keno but they’re in the minority and got very lucky. They won’t win in the long term however and you’ll never see a professional advantage gambler playing keno.