# What is Keno system?

Keno is a lottery-like gambling game often played at modern casinos, and also offered as a game by some state lotteries. Keno is similar to a lottery in that players choose numbers and hope the numbers drawn match the chosen numbers to win.

## How to Play Keno

To play Keno, players first select between 1 and 15 numbers from a field of 80 possible choices. The more numbers a player chooses, the more they can win if those numbers come up in the draw. However, correctly guessing more numbers is less likely. After selecting numbers, the player places a wager on that set of numbers.

Next, 20 numbers from 1 to 80 are drawn at random, either by a computerized random number generator or by drawing numbered balls from an air-mix ball blowing machine. Players win based on how many of the numbers drawn match their original set of numbers.

Payouts vary based on how many numbers are matched and how large the player’s original wager was. Typically, the more numbers matched, the larger the payout. Some versions of Keno allow players to choose the same set of numbers for multiple games in a row.

### Selecting Numbers

Players can select their numbers by marking them on a paper Keno card and handing it to a Keno runner. Many casino versions now also allow players to make and track selections digitally on a video Keno machine. Some strategies for choosing numbers include:

• Choosing consecutive numbers in a line or pattern on the ticket
• Selecting numbers that have special meaning to the player like birthdays
• Letting the computer system or “Quick Pick” feature randomly select the numbers
• Trying to distribute numbers evenly across the field of 1-80

However, Keno outcomes are truly random, so no strategy has been proven to give players an advantage.

### Odds and Probabilities

The probabilities and payouts in Keno depend on how many numbers the player tries to match compared to how many numbers are drawn in total by the casino. Some key probabilities include:

• Hitting 0, 1, or 2 numbers has very low odds but offers a small payout
• Hitting 10-15 numbers has very high odds but offers large payouts
• The most likely outcome is to match 3-4 numbers

For example, the probability of correctly matching 3 of 20 numbers drawn is around 1 in 9. The most probable outcome when selecting 4 numbers is to match 2 and win back part of your wager.

### House Edge

Like most casino games, Keno has a built-in house edge that gives the casino a mathematical advantage over the player. Two factors primarily contribute to Keno’s high house edge:

1. The high probability of losing wagers since hitting a large number of matches is unlikely
2. Lower payout rates compared to the true mathematical odds

This can lead to the house edge in Keno being around 25-30% in many casinos. However, the house edge varies based on factors like the number of spots marked and payouts at each casino.

## History of Keno

The earliest forms of Keno can be traced back over 3000 years to China during the Han Dynasty. The game was played using Chinese characters from the poem the I Ching and was later brought to the United States in the 1800s as Chinese immigrants came to work on the Transcontinental Railroad.

Once in the United States, the game evolved, switching the Chinese characters to numbers to make the game easier for English speakers to play. Instead of the I Ching, American Keno began using the numbers 1-80 on tickets. Keno became popular in gambling halls and saloons in western towns and cities.

When Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, Keno games started appearing in Las Vegas casinos. The game’s popularity grew along with Las Vegas in the 1940s and 50s. Keno lounges with ticket writers became a standard casino feature and part of the Las Vegas atmosphere.

Today, Keno remains popular at casinos around the world as both an in-person and online game. Players can find digital Keno games online or play live with a Keno ticket writer at many casinos.

### Ancient Chinese Roots

The earliest form of keno used Chinese characters from an ancient Chinese poem, the Thousand Character Classic. Rulers in China used the game as a way to fund projects like building the Great Wall of China.

The traditional Chinese version had 120 characters used for the numbers. Players would select 10-15 characters and city employees would draw the winning characters. The poem gave the game a lofty reputation before it spread to America.

### Bringing Keno to the U.S.

Thousands of Chinese immigrated to America in the 1800s, bringing the game of keno with them. Keno became popular in city Chinatowns before spreading to American saloons and casinos. The game used more recognizable numbers 1-80 to appeal to American players.

Keno gained acceptance in casinos alongside poker, blackjack, and slots. Las Vegas casinos like the Golden Nugget and Golden Gate featured keno runner boards and lounges.

### Modern Video Keno

The digital revolution in casinos also affected keno. Video screens and random number generators began replacing the live draws and paper tickets. However, casinos still often keep live keno lounges alongside the video version.

Online casinos have also adopted keno, allowing for fast-paced automated games. However, online keno lacks the historical atmosphere that has helped make the game a casino staple.

## How to Win at Keno

Keno, like most games of chance, comes down primarily to luck. No strategy can overcome the mathematical house edge. However, some tips can help improve a player’s chances and enjoyment:

• Play more tickets – More tickets equals more chances to hit numbers
• Avoid spread bets – Wagering on many spots reduces chances to win big
• Try patterns – Covering clusters of nearby numbers can be fun
• Use special bets – Casino bonuses like Bullseye can add variety
• Manage your bankroll – Only risk what you can comfortably afford to lose

Ultimately, keno is designed more as a relaxing, social game than as a highly competitive way to win big money. Focusing on having fun rather than chasing a huge jackpot can make keno more enjoyable.

### Play Multiple Tickets

One of the easiest ways to improve your odds at keno is to simply play more tickets during a session. Each ticket represents another chance at hitting the right numbers. Playing 5 tickets at once improves your odds versus only playing 1.

Some video keno machines allow you to quickly play multiple tickets in a row. However, take care not to overspend. Play an amount of tickets you can comfortably afford.

Some keno games tempt players by offering an option to place a “spread bet” that covers many numbers at once. For example, a bet that hits if any of your numbers match the draw.

While spread bets seem like an easy way to win, they dramatically reduce the potential payout you can earn. You’re very likely to hit at least 1 number, but the payout will be small. Play more standard tickets instead.

### Make Pattern Bets

To make keno more fun, try playing tickets in patterns or clusters rather than random numbers all over the board. Common patterns include circles, boxes, or lines across the keno card.

This probably won’t increase your odds, but it does add a bit more strategy and variety to keno gameplay.

### Use Special Bets

Many keno games now offer “special bets” that let you win bonuses beyond just matching standard numbers. For example, a bullseye bet rewards you if your matched numbers make a circle pattern around the center of the card.

These special bets add some excitement and variety to keno. They can give you another way to win besides just hitting more numbers.

As with any casino game, managing your bankroll wisely is critical. Don’t risk more money than you can comfortably afford to lose. Set a budget for keno and stick to it, rather than recklessly chasing losses or jackpots.

Remember that keno has a high house edge, so managing losses and payouts responsibly is important. Playing smart will keep the game fun.

## Variations of Keno

While the core keno gameplay remains the same, casinos around the world have developed many different variations on the rules and options:

### Live Keno

The classic way to play, with a live keno ticket writer and numbered balls drawn from an air mixer machine. Live keno creates a fun social atmosphere and sense of tradition.

### Video Keno

Plays just like live keno, but uses a video machine and random number generator to draw the numbers. Video keno allows for faster gameplay.

### Online Keno

Play keno from a computer, mobile device, or smartphone through online casinos. Online keno brings convenience and allows you to play from anywhere.

### Multi-Race Keno

A keno variant where players can place one wager and play that same ticket through multiple keno draws in a row, saving time.

### Way Keno

Allows players to group numbers on a keno ticket, and then match numbers within each group. Adds more winning options.

### Progressive Jackpots

Keno games where a portion of wagers goes to a growing progressive jackpot. Hitting all numbers wins the full mega jackpot prize.

### Fast Keno

Games speed up the pace, with draws occurring every few minutes rather than every 5-10 minutes. Fast keno appeals to impatient players.

## Where to Play Keno

There are thousands of places to enjoy a game of keno today, both online and in the real world. Here are some top places to play:

Keno got its start in Las Vegas. Playing keno in a Nevada casino like Caesars Palace or the Golden Nugget offers a classic experience.

### Atlantic City

Casinos like Bally’s and Harrah’s in Atlantic City, NJ also feature lively keno lounges drawing in players from across the East Coast.

### Native American Casinos

Many tribal casinos, particularly in areas like California and Oklahoma, offer keno as a featured gaming option.

### Racetracks

Horse racing tracks like Pimlico or Churchill Downs often have keno lounges to entertain fans between races.

### Online Casinos

Most online casinos like BetMGM, Caesars, and Golden Nugget feature digital video keno you can play directly on your device.

### Lottery Keno

Some state lottery programs offer keno-style drawings. For example, the Michigan Lottery allows keno wagers.

## Key Terms to Know

Here are some key keno vocabulary terms to know:

### Keno Board

Display that shows the field of 80 numbers players can choose from. May be video screens or a physical display board.

### Keno Counter

Desk or booth where players purchase keno tickets and make wagers. Staffed by keno ticket writers.

### Ticket

A keno ticket is a card where players mark their number selections. Can be paper or electronic.

### Ticket Writer

Casino employee who helps players purchase keno tickets and place wagers.

### Cage

Secured area where the keno draw takes place. Protects the numbered balls.

### Race

The drawing of 20 random numbers each game. Also known as a “draw.”

### Spot

The numbers a player chooses to play for each game. Also called “spots.”

### Catch

The number of spots that match the draw. Determines if and how much a player wins.

### Is keno pure luck?

Yes, keno results come down to pure luck. There is no skill involved, and no strategy can overcome the mathematical house edge built into keno odds.

### What are the best numbers to play in keno?

All numbers have an equal chance of being drawn each game. No numbers or patterns give players better odds than others. Playing favorite numbers is as valid a strategy as any.

### Can you make money playing keno?

While winning is possible, the house edge means keno is not a profitable long-term play. Small wins and enjoyment are realistic goals, but sustained profits are extremely unlikely.

### How do you pick keno numbers?

There is no “right” way to pick keno numbers. Many players use lucky numbers, special dates, patterns, or Quick Pick random selections. Focus on whatever brings you enjoyment.

### What happens if I hit all 20 numbers in keno?

Hitting all 20 numbers is incredibly rare – the chances are 1 in over 3.5 quintillion! Casinos typically do not even list a payout for hitting the maximum 20/20, but it would likely pay at least \$1 million.

## Conclusion

Keno offers casino players simple, lottery-style gameplay full of anticipation and exciting wins. While becoming a professional keno player with a foolproof system is unrealistic, the game still provides hours of entertainment. With origins going back thousands of years to Ancient China, keno has stood the test of time as a classic casino game.

Next time you visit a casino or browse online gaming sites, consider giving keno a try. Just sit back, relax, and let the numbered balls fall where they may. Who knows – with a bit of luck, you could be the next big keno winner!