Keno Guide for Beginners

Ethan Williams
Written byEthan WilliamsWriter

Keno is a lottery-style game that is often overlooked by players. It is available in many online casinos and works like bingo. Players must select one to ten numbers from a table that contains numbers ranging from one to eighty. The winnings are determined by the number of selected numbers that match those drawn. Our team of casino gaming experts can teach you how to play keno. With practice, you can improve your keno skills and enjoy the benefits of winning.

Keno Guide for Beginners

A Quick Keno History

Keno is a betting game that has reached different parts of the world, including Asia, South Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Its origins can be traced back to China, where it was initially called "baige piao" or "pai-ko p'iao," meaning "white pigeon ticket." The game evolved from a wagering competition that involved homing pigeons. When people played Chinese keno, they would select a few detailed characters from the "Book of a Thousand Characters" (or "Qianziwen"), a mystical book that is over 2,000 years old.

According to some sources, General Cheung Leung created Keno during the Han Dynasty battles to raise funds for the construction of the Great Wall of China and to support Chinese soldiers in their fight against Northern invaders. At the time, lotteries were illegal, so the participants would substitute the titles of racing horses for numbers.

Keno gained popularity in the United States, particularly in Reno, Nevada, where it arrived in 1933 from China. The current name "keno" is derived from the French and Latin words "quine" and "quini," respectively, which refer to the five lucky digits of each participant. The combination of these digits resulted in the American name for the game.

In 1951, Nevada's regulations were changed to allow keno as an authorized lottery-style game. Today, keno is a game of guessing winning numbers and remains a popular form of entertainment.

The Basics of Playing Keno

Keno is a popular lottery-style gambling game often found in modern casinos and also offered as a game in some state lotteries. Here's a basic guide on how to play:

⭐️ Choose Your Numbers: In Keno, you select numbers from a pool typically ranging from 1 to 80. The number of choices you can make varies, but usually, you can pick anywhere from 1 to 10 or 20 numbers.

⭐️ Place Your Bet: After selecting your numbers, you place your bet. The amount you can bet often has a minimum and maximum limit set by the casino or lottery.

⭐️ The Draw: The game then randomly draws a certain number of winning numbers. This number also varies but is often 20.

⭐️ Check for Wins: You win if a certain number of your chosen numbers match the winning numbers. The more numbers that match, the larger the prize. Payouts vary based on how many numbers you picked, how many of those numbers were hit, and the betting rules of the specific Keno game you're playing.

⭐️ Frequency of Games: In casinos, Keno games are often run every few minutes, while state lotteries might have daily or weekly draws.

⭐️ Odds and Strategies: The odds of hitting all of your numbers in Keno are quite high, so it's generally seen as a game of chance. There's no real strategy that can significantly increase your chances of winning, as the numbers are drawn randomly.

Remember, like all forms of gambling, Keno should be played responsibly, and it's important to be aware of the odds and the fact that it's a game based more on luck than skill.

How to Play Keno — A Step-by-Step Guide

One of the most popular ways of enjoying this lottery game is to play Keno online. Here's a handy guide to how to play keno.

  1. Find and join a reliable online casino. Check out sites like LottoRanker and CasinoRank for information, and sign up in no time. You can play keno online by starting a game you enjoy.
  2. Have your number picked up on the virtual keno card. It's up to you whether you want to click them or utilize auto-pick. Depending on the game, you'll be able to select anywhere from two to twenty of the possible options from a selection of one to 80. Let's say you want to play keno and pick ten random numbers as your spots.
  3. Set your bets. You can adjust your bet using the buttons usually found at the bottom of the page. In most games, this runs between $50 and $5. If you're just getting started, a single dollar is a great beginning point. Some games may include a multiplier option.
  4. Play a game. Start the game by clicking the "Play" or "Draw" option. A Random Number Generator (RNG) selects 20 numbers and highlights them on the online keno card. There are keno games where you can start several full rounds.
  5. Verify the results. If you match a certain amount, you win a prize. In some games, you may win between 1x and 10.000x on your stake for three matched numbers. Each variation of Keno has its own set of odds and rewards.

Odds in Keno

  • Picking the Correct Numbers: The probability of hitting all of your numbers in Keno is extremely low. For example, if you pick 6 numbers, the odds of all 6 being drawn are about 1 in 7,752. The more numbers you pick, the longer the odds, reaching astronomical levels very quickly.
  • Frequency of Hits: The odds of hitting a certain number of your picks also vary greatly. For instance, hitting just 1 number out of 6 selected might have reasonable odds, while hitting 5 out of 6 will be much less likely.
  • Overall Odds: Each casino or lottery has its own paytable, which dictates the odds and payouts for different scenarios. It's important to familiarize yourself with these before playing.

Here's a table that breaks down your chances of winning based on the total number of hits:

# of Correct MatchesCalculated Odds
01 in 843.380
11 in 86.446
21 in 20.115
31 in 8.009
41 in 4.877
51 in 4.287
61 in 5.258
71 in 8.826
81 in 20.055
91 in 61.420
101 in 253.801
111 in 1,423.822
121 in 10,968.701
131 in 118,084.920
141 in 1,821,881.628
151 in 41,751,453.986
161 in 1,496,372,110.872
171 in 90,624,035,964.712
181 in 10,512,388,171,906.553
191 in 2,946,096,785,176,811.500
201 in 3,535,316,142,212,173,800.000

Keno Strategies & Tips

If you want to learn how to win keno games more frequently, find a keno game strategy that might be beneficial. Here are the best keno online tips and methods for increasing your chances of winning.

1. Choose the Games with the Highest Payouts

Always look for the keno games with the biggest prizes. It's only natural to want to maximize your chances of winning with the stakes you're willing to place.

You may believe keno prices are the same, but that's rarely the fact. Evaluate the game's rewards before starting.

If you're looking for higher rewards, you should try an online casino instead of a brick-and-mortar one. So, if this is your primary goal when playing keno, it's best to play Keno online.

2. Don't Pick More than Eight Numbers

Picking between four and eight numbers is widely recognized as the optimal keno game strategy by gambling gurus. The best possible odds are found within this range, as shown in the table above.

The term "keno" means "five winning numbers" in its French origins, which may provide some insight as to why picking numbers between that range is the best strategy: the sweet spot between odds ranges from four to eight. Choose too many or too few numbers and your odds of winning decrease dramatically.

3. Don't Strive to Gain an Advantage

There is nothing you can do to lower the house advantage in a keno game, which is famously high. As there is no real guide on how to play a keno game that will give you an edge or deploy a secret strategy to gain an advantage, you should be wary of anybody claiming otherwise.

So, take this not as a keno game strategy on what to do to improve your odds, but rather as advice on what not to do.

Don't try to learn any special methods or exploits, because doing so will distract you from finding a useful keno game strategy such as the ones discussed above.

4. Practice your Keno Game Strategy Online for Free

While there may not be a certain way to improve your keno skills, playing the game online for free will let you find the right keno game strategy for you.

This advice is especially useful for amateurs, since you should ensure that you grasp all of the game's mechanics before gambling for real money. You may play keno online in free demo modes in many online casinos.

Even while keno isn't a very difficult game, it's still a good idea to get some free practice before betting for any cash.

Final Thoughts

You now have a good understanding of how to play keno, thanks to our comprehensive guide. Are you ready to put your newfound knowledge into practice and play with your ideal keno numbers? Your lucky numbers may have some connection to significant events in your life, or they may be based on the numbers that have been drawn most frequently in the game of keno. The bottom line is that you are now well-prepared to play keno online at a top casino.

About the author
Ethan Williams
Ethan Williams

Ethan Williams, a lively 24-year-old lad from the UK, brilliantly fuses his passion for online casinos with top-notch English localisation, creating bespoke casino guides for Britain's keen gaming lot.

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What is Keno?

Keno is a lottery-style gambling game found in many casinos and offered in some state lotteries. Players choose numbers from a set, typically 1 to 80, and win based on how many of their chosen numbers match the randomly drawn numbers.

How do you play Keno?

To play Keno, select a number of digits (usually between 1 and 20) from a pool of 1 to 80. Place your bet, then wait for the game to draw a set of winning numbers. Your winnings depend on how many of your numbers match the drawn numbers.

What are the odds of winning in Keno?

The odds of winning in Keno vary greatly. For example, hitting all 6 out of 6 chosen numbers has about a 1 in 7,752 chance. The more numbers you pick, the higher the potential win but the lower the odds of hitting all your numbers.

Are there strategies to improve winning chances in Keno?

Keno is a game of chance, and no strategy can guarantee a win. Some players choose numbers they believe are due to be drawn or use personal significant numbers, but these methods do not statistically increase winning chances.

Is it better to play fewer or more numbers in Keno?

Playing between 4 and 8 numbers is often considered optimal in Keno. This range offers the best balance between the odds of hitting your numbers and the potential payout.

Can you play Keno online?

Yes, Keno can be played online. Many online casinos offer Keno games, where you can pick numbers and place bets digitally, with the game using a Random Number Generator for draws.

How do you pick Keno numbers?

You can manually select your Keno numbers or use an auto-pick feature available in most online Keno games. Some players choose numbers based on personal significance, while others select randomly.

What is the house edge in Keno?

The house edge in Keno is typically high, often between 20-30%. This means the game favors the casino more than some other types of gambling games.

Can you play Keno for free online?

Yes, many online casinos offer free demo versions of Keno. This is a great way for beginners to understand the game mechanics without risking real money.

What should beginners know before playing Keno?

Beginners should know that Keno is primarily a game of chance with high odds against winning large payouts. It's important to play responsibly, within your means, and for entertainment rather than as a way to make money. Understanding the game's rules and payout structure is also crucial before starting.