Have you ever tried your hand at the game of Keno? It is a lottery-style game that is offered by many online casinos as well as real world casinos. It is also very popular with punters who like games that offer low risk/high potential reward types of wagering.
As with lottery games, there are also many different forms of Keno that are available to play nowadays, but for the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on the most common variant of the game offered by casinos, which is the 80-number version.
So, what is Keno, where did it come from, how do you play it and what are the secrets the casinos don’t want you to know about the game? Read on to find out!
What Is Keno?
Keno is in essence a lottery style game where the aim is to match as many numbers from your selection, with the numbers selected by the random machine that generates the number selection process.
The modern game usually has 80 numbers available to select and players can select a number of these to match with the 20 balls selected by the machine.
The more of their numbers a player matches with the numbers selected by the machine, then the greater the value of their win.
The amount won based on the number of ‘hits’ a player lands in a game is decided by a series of payouts on the pay table. How much they win is based on the number of matches a player lands and their stake that they placed on the bet.
Unlike bingo, which can take a relatively long time to play a single game to completion, Keno is typically a much quicker game to play, and many online games offer players options to select the same numbers for successive games, select a random set of numbers and similar in order to speed the action up.
Similarly, the balls are drawn much more quickly in Keno than in Bingo, which again makes it easier to play through multiple games in a short space of time.
More modern versions of the game incorporate other features into the game, such as the option to draw more numbers, win instant cash prizes, receive free games and similar.
Where Did Keno Originate?
It is tempting to think that Keno has its origins as an offshoot of the game of bingo, with which it shares many similarities, but in fact that is not the case at all.
Rumor has it that the game of Keno, although the name has French or Latin roots, originated in China. The legend persists that the game was invented to help raise funds to save an ancient city at a time of great unrest in the nation. The funds used helped to build what we now know as The Great Wall of China.
The original game was played using Chinese characters and it is believed that Chinese immigrants to the United States brought the game with them in the 19th century.
Rather than keep the linguistically difficult Chinese name for the game, the name was westernized into boc hop bu and puck-apu, but by 1866, a version of the game had become hugely popular in Houston, Texas under the rather simpler name Keno.
Since then, it has become arguably the most popular lottery-style game you can play in casinos, both online and real world, across the globe today.
How Do You Play Keno?
In a game of Keno, you start by selecting your numbers. Usually you can pick up to ten (on some games this increases to 15) numbers between 1-80 and you do this by clicking on the number on the screen. When you have selected a number it will be indicated in some way (in the screen shot, this is notified with a red cross over the number).
The minimum amount of numbers you can select depends on the game, on some it is one, on others it is two.
Once you have made your selection, you then click the start button and then the 20 numbers are randomly selected in the game. Any hits you have are registered and if you land enough hits to earn a pay out, then you will receive the cash sum shown via the pay table.
Some games, as in the one illustrated, offer players the chance to earn additional bonus features if they hit on enough numbers that hide a bonus from their game.
The more you wager per game, then the higher the value of the pay out you can win on each spin, as it is calculated as a multiplier based on your bet amount.
Games of Keno are very quick to play and you can race through a number of games in a relatively short amount of time.
What Are The Secrets You Need To Know About Keno?
So if you are going to play online keno at a casino, what do you need to know other than what we have already told you about the game?
Well the first thing we would advise is to shop around. There are many different games of Keno you can play and each game, depending on the number of picks you make in a game, will have a different house edge. Some games see a house edge massively in favor of the casino, sometimes as much as 35% and these are best avoided.
However, there are other versions of casino which have a much smaller house edge, typically between 6-8% and these are the games that tend to offer you a better chance of earning yourself a return.
That said, the variance level in Keno games is typically high, so it is unlikely you are going to win consistently. Instead, you are more likely to find you have occasional small to medium value wins with the rarer higher value win, interspersed with a number of losing games.
The final thing you need to know about Keno is that the optimal number of numbers to select to get the best house edge on your game does vary from game to game. Common sense would dictate that selecting the maximum amount of numbers (10 or 15) would offer you the best house edge.
However, in many games where you select up to 10 numbers, it is actually 6 or 7 number selections that offer the best odds more often, with just a few games offering 8, 9 or 10 selections as the lowest house edge option.
The situation is more complex for maximum 15 number games, where you can find almost any of the number of selections offers you the best house edge, depending on which game you play.
Keno is a game of chance, there is no strategy you can employ to help you pick more winning numbers, however the advice and guidance we have given you here can help you understand more about the game and help you make the picks which offer you slightly more chance of a win than others.