How to Play Keno – Rules and Tips

How to Play Keno

Keno has the distinction of being one of the worst odds games offered in a casino. The best bet is not to play this game. However, if you are dating a girl that loves it; suck it up and bet as little as possible while still making her happy.

Keno Rules

In Keno, 80 numbers are placed in a “hopper”. After you place your bet, you pick 1-10 numbers. 20 numbers are then drawn out of the hopper. How much you win is based on how many of your numbers are called.

Keno Table Layout

Keno Strategy

There is no real strategy involved in Keno. Every number has an equal probability of being called. If you are going to play Keno, have fun and play your birthdate, your favorite number, your street address, or your number of sexual partners. Pro-tip: ‘0’ is not in the hopper.

One thing you can do to help improve your odds is to compare the payouts from location to location or online casino to online casino. Play at the one with the better statistical payouts.

Keno Payouts and House Advantage

The table below provides all of the Keno betting options and the payouts for each occurrence based on a $1 bet at a standard Las Vegas casino. Also included is the house edge based on the amount of numbers picked.

Keno House Edge & Payouts
House Edge Numbers Picked Numbers Called Payout
25.00% 1 1 $3
  2 1 $0
27.85% 2 2 $12
  3 1 $0
  3 2 $1
27.85% 3 3 $42
  4 1 $0
  4 2 $1
  4 3 $3
25.94% 4 4 $130
  5 1 $0
  5 2 $0
  5 3 $1
  5 4 $15
28.32% 5 5 $700
  6 1 $0
  6 2 $0
  6 3 $1
  6 4 $2
  6 5 $85
29.20% 6 6 $2,000
  7 1 $0
  7 2 $0
  7 3 $0
  7 4 $2
  7 5 $30
  7 6 $300
28.48% 7 7 $5,000
  8 1 $0
  8 2 $0
  8 3 $0
  8 4 $0
  8 5 $3
  8 6 $100
  8 7 $1,500
30.01% 8 8 $30,000
  9 1 $0
  9 2 $0
  9 3 $0
  9 4 $0
  9 5 $3
  9 6 $30
  9 7 $400
  9 8 $4,000
33.46% 9 9 $40,000
  10 1 $0
  10 2 $0
  10 3 $0
  10 4 $0
  10 5 $1
  10 6 $10
  10 7 $100
  10 8 $1,000
  10 9 $5,000
39.44% 10 10 $1,000,000

The house advantage, as you can see, is quite high. Other than not playing, your best bet is to play just a single number.

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Sample Keno Play

Below is an example of selecting 10 numbers on a standard Keno game.

Numbers Selected – 10,20,25,30,35,40,50,60,70,80

Sample Keno Board

In the example above, 7 out of the 10 numbers were called. This would win $100 on a $1 bet.

Is Keno like Bingo?

To sum it up in a single word, no. Although Bingo and Keno have some similarities, the games are completely different.

History of Keno

Although the origin of Keno is hazy, it is believed the first games originated in China and the proceeds were used to help build the Great Wall of China.

Since the origination of Keno, many variations of the game have emerged.

  • Power Keno – Catch the 20th ball chosen and your payouts are quadrupled.
  • Super Keno – Catch the 1st ball chosen and your payouts are quadrupled.
  • Jackpot Keno – Also known as Progressive Jackpot Casino, the payout for a perfect card increases until it is won.
  • Combo Keno – Play groups of numbers for added excitement and additional payouts.

Keno in Pop Culture

The most famous game of Keno to be played in the movies occurred in Vegas Vacation. When Clark Griswold lost all of his money, including cashing in the plane tickets home, he bet his last $2 in a game of Keno at the MGM Grand. **Spoiler Alert** Although his ticket loses, the old man who wins the jackpot dies and they collect on his winning ticket.

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