Beginners Guide to Keno
Keno is one of the more easily accessible games to play when you visit a local casino or sportsbook.
You don’t need any strategy cards to play keno. There’s nothing to learn. You won’t find a variety of different types of keno games at casinos either – they all follow the same rules.
So you don’t have to visit a casino and ask them how their keno works – you simply get a card and start playing.
Now if you are attempting to play online keno, that’s where you will have to take a minute. There are a wide variety of different games which I will get into shortly. But for now, let’s give you a beginner’s guide to Keno:
Guide to Playing Live Keno
At its core, Keno is like playing the lottery.
Cards will normally have 80 numbers on them. There may be slight variations where they have 40 numbers as opposed to 80, but most Keno games will have 80 numbers on them.
Unlike the lottery where you are required to pick a certain amount of numbers, you get to choose how many numbers you pick in Keno from 1 to 10. Again, this may vary slightly at the casino and it may end up being a maximum of 15 numbers, or a maximum of 20 numbers.
You then have to hope that the numbers you picked come up, and the odds actually differ depending on the numbers that you picked. Odds can also vary depending on the casino itself.
Once you have picked your numbers, 20 balls will be picked out.
As an example using a Keno game where you can pick 10 numbers – if you pick one number, the odds will be 1 in 4 odds that that number actually comes up. Those are the true, mathematical odds. A casino however will only give you a payout of 1/1, or 2/1 when the actual odds are 3/1.
That is known as the house advantage and where casinos make money.
So let’s ignore the actual true odds, and list a standard payout for a casino game.
If you bet just 1 number, this particular casino gives a $3.30 return on a $1 bet if it hits.
If you pick a second number, you now have two numbers. You won’t get a payout if one number comes up, but if both numbers come up you get $12.
The more numbers you bet, the more numbers that are required to come up for you to get a payout, and then it is spread out.
So if you bet five numbers and 1 or 2 come up – you get nothing. If three numbers come up, you get $2. If four numbers come up, it’s $13. And if all five come up, it’s a $400 return. For the record, the odds of that actually happening is a hair over 15000/1.
So that’s how keno works. You don’t have to worry too much – they’ll give you an instruction sheet showing what the payouts are or it will be on the card as well.
Once all bets are made, they pull out the balls and pick the numbers much like the lottery.
Online Variations of Keno
There are literally hundreds of variations of Keno online which is why, when you go to play at an online casino, you should spend time reading instructions first. Here are a few different features you may find:
Winning Multiplier: Some keno games will have a multiplier that starts at x1. If you get a payout, it will go to x2, and so on. Basically rewarding you for a winning streak. Some casinos will also just randomly set the winning multiplier after you click the “Play” button to add some randomness and fun to the game.
Multiple Cards: Known as Multi Card Keno – you pick your numbers and then play four cards at once basically.
Double Down: Also known as the “Extra Draw” feature where they will draw half the balls, then ask you if you wish to double down like in Blackjack.
Heads or Tails: A common feature in a casino game – if you win, you get the choice of flipping a coin where you can either double your wager or lose it.
Power Ball: Ah who doesn’t love a power ball? Rules will vary but generally, if this ball comes out and lands on your picked number, it will increase the payouts.