Tucked away in the corner of most online casino sites will be a game that you have probably never given much thought to playing. Indeed, only players who go out and actively look for this game will find it. It is hardly splashed across the lobby of too many internet betting sites. That game, of course, is keno.
Admittedly not the most popular casino game online, there are still plenty of reasons why you might wish to try your hand at keno, especially if you haven’t played it before. Don’t expect fireworks – keno is hardly the most explosive game around – but big wins can be snapped up if lady luck is with you.
What is keno, and where can you play at? Throughout this keno article, we will dive into the lottery-style game and reveal all. First, though, a little history lesson is required.
A Little History Lesson
Keno is believed to have originated in Asia, more specifically China, in around 200 BC. Since then, the game has scarcely changed. The original game is widely believed to have been created as a way of raising money for Emperor Cheung Leung when the Han Dynasty needed finances are lengthy periods of war. In a sense, what the Chinese had created was a lottery game.
Not much else is known about the early origins of keno, although it is believed that as many as a thousand numbers were involved in that game. As you can imagine, the Ancient Chinese didn’t have much hope of winning.
Your odds of success are considerably better today, even if they are at times on par with winning the lottery. Keno became a legalised gambling game in the USA in 1931 and has been available ever since. When the online casino gambling sector first appeared in the early 90s, keno – owing to its simplicity – was one of the first games to make its online debut.
Is Keno Really That Exciting?
Most people play the lottery, although they would hardly claim to be excited by the lotto. The same can be said of keno. Many players won’t find keno the riveting ride that blackjack, baccarat, roulette, poker or slot games can be. Even so, it is right on par with bingo, lottery games, sic bo and scratch cards. These games can also be exciting when you’re on course to win, but a touch on the dull side when you’re nowhere near a windfall.
Of course, there are players across the globe who think all the above is simply rubbish. They find keno a thoroughly exhilarating game. Many thousands of players in the United Kingdom (particularly those who have caught the bingo bug), Scandinavia and not to mention Asia, cannot get enough of keno.
Players shouldn’t think of keno as a game of high adrenaline fun. Instead, they should think of the game as a basic way to bet online and potentially scoop major prizes. The latter you can most certainly do when playing online keno.
Keno Is Arguably One of the Simplest Games You Can Play
One of the main reasons why you may wish to try your hand at keno if you’ve never played before is its simplicity. Even rank amateurs who have never gambled in their life can get to grips with keno in a matter of minutes. It takes virtually no prior knowledge or foresight to play. This is very much a game of chance, much like other lottery games.
For players who have played a wealth of different games before, there may still be a reason to play keno. Keno is the type of game you can run in the background while at work, it is relatively inexpensive and can deliver untold fortunes if you strike it lucky and nail all the numbers which are drawn. Keno is a low-risk game, which has considerably decent prizes to pay out. Both the reasons listed above may just make keno a game you want to check out, at least once.
Okay, I’m Sold – Let’s Play Keno
If you fancy trying your hand at keno, we’re right here to help. Of course, it is entirely possible for you to play keno without any idea of what is going on. In just a minute or so, you’ll have seen how the game works, and you’ll know as much as the next person. There aren’t pro keno players with oodles of insider knowledge that you won’t have. They simply don’t exist. Even so, we have taken the time to give you a heads up if you’re interested.
In just a few short paragraphs, we’ll have you fully ready to start picking numbers, and potentially winning prizes with this very basic instant win game. So before, you begin to play, why not look at the rules of keno?
The Basics of Keno Gameplay
Keno is the simplest game you can play online, but there are still rules. Fortunately, unlike blackjack, poker, or other traditional casino games, you won’t have to spend hours studying strategy charts to get the inside track on keno. We’re going to focus on online keno for this review, but land-based keno works in much the same fashion. In a nutshell, here is how keno works:
Once you have clicked on an online keno game, you will be greeted with a screen filled with numbers. Most keno games contain 80 of them, although this can vary in some games. For beginners, we recommend sticking to basic keno games with this amount of numbers. Experiment all you want later, but it helps to get a basic overview first, and 80-number games are the best way to go about that.
Players can go about selecting up to 15 numbers on a ticket, and the basic premise of the game is to then match as many numbers as you have selected, with those drawn by the game as possible. The more numbers you successfully match, the greater your prize will be. There you have it, keno is just like a lottery or bingo game, as promised.
Now, let’s look at wagers and winning a little closer, starting with the former.
Bidding for Balls – Setting Up Your Wagers
To the left or the right of the main keno screen (known as the board) will be a blank box. This is known as your ticket. Players can click on any of the numbers on the board to add them to their ticket. In most keno games, players can select between 1 and 15 numbers on a ticket. If you don’t have any favourite numbers, or you couldn’t give two hoots about the numbers on a ticket, most keno games will allow you to assign numbers to your ticket randomly.
After selecting however many numbers (between 1 and 15 remember) you want on your ticket, you need to set your stakes. These are often done via a slider menu or arrows. Typically, keno games can cost as little as 10p a game, though may cost £1. At the other end of the wagering range, keno can cost players with ample resources anything from £100 up to a thousand pounds, perhaps more, depending on the game. High-roller keno games don’t really need to exist, because very adjustable wagering ranges are already present in most keno games.
With your stakes set and your numbers picked (or randomly assigned) it is time to play. This is done by hitting the play button. Once you’ve started, there is no going back, so make sure you’re happy with your ticket before you proceed.
Walking Away with a Keno Jackpot Prize
Once the game is underway, players will note that a series of numbers are drawn at random, just like in a lottery or bingo game. Ordinarily, a total of 20 numbers will be drawn. Again, this may vary depending on the game, and how many numbers appear on the board. Any numbers which are drawn that match your ticket are usually highlighted, both on the board and your ticket. These numbers are known as hits. The more hits you get on keno, the better your prize will be.
The amount you can win in keno depends on two things – how many numbers you selected, and how many hits were achieved in the game. The prizes vary from game to game, but, keno payouts typically work as follows:
- The more numbers you pick on your ticket, the more numbers you need to land to pocket big wins.
- The fewer numbers you pick on your ticket, the fewer numbers you need to have to pocket a win.
- Playing with just one number on your ticket will dish out prizes worth 3x your bet if that number is hit.
- Playing with ten numbers will see players win 0.5x, 1x, 2x, 3x, 5x, 10x, 30x, 600x and 1,800x their bet if they successfully hit 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or all 10 numbers. They won’t win anything for hitting a single number, or none.
- Placing with all fifteen numbers will see players win 0.5x if they land 3 or 4 hits, 1x, 3x and 5x for 5, 6 and 7 hits, and prizes worth 15x, 50x, 150x, 300x, 600x, 1,200x, 2,500x for 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14 hits. Bag all 15 hits on a 15-number ticket, and you’re looking at wins worth at least 10,000x your stake in keno, sometimes more. When playing with 15 numbers, prizes are not paid out for hitting 1 or 2 numbers, just like in most lottos.
You needn’t memorise the paytable in keno. Every keno game in existence online has a paytable you can view. Moreover, your ticket will let you know what can be won, either when the game starts or when you pick your numbers.
Five Top Tricks and Tasty Tips for Playing Keno Online
Keno is similar to online slots and other casino games, as it is a game of luck. There is no one secret which guarantees success; no one strategy which guarantees a win. Players can still use simple betting strategies (such as the Martingale System) to try and win back at least what they wager, but they forget about discovering a formula which guarantees wins in keno.
Even so, there are still a few tasty tips and top tricks you can incorporate into your keno gameplay which might make the game a touch more fun. Here are five of the best of them.
- Check Out the Keno Variants: There are several keno variants out there. Some games (such as Jackpot Keno) can dole out progressive jackpot prizes if all 15 numbers are hit on a 15-bet ticket. Alternatively, keep an eye out for keno games with fewer numbers, as these will likely have a lower house edge. These things can make a keno variant potentially more rewarding than your average, run-of-the-mill online keno game.
- Play Your Lucky Numbers: You’ll have the same chance of success whatever numbers you opt to play with. That’s how lotteries work. However, it might spice things up if you choose to use your favourite numbers. A word of warning, though. Once you play with a set of lucky numbers, you should always continue to do so. You’ll be kicking yourself if you change and your favourite numbers come up.
- Play with Fewer Numbers: Naturally, the odds of success dip the more numbers you are required to predict, even if the value of the prizes rises. Being expected to land fewer numbers maximises your chances of success.
- Ignore Superstitions: You can ignore superstitions outright. Some keno players believe that they cannot select numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc, or numbers which form patterns on the board, as they are less likely to occur. As any good lottery player knows, the probability of sequential or patterned numbers being drawn is precisely the same as numbers which have seemingly nothing in common. Play the infamous numbers from the television series Lost, last week’s lotto numbers, or other famous number combos if you want. It won’t hurt your chances one bit.
- Know the Odds of Success: There is plenty of material out there to help you with learning the odds. Again, like payouts, these vary depending on how many numbers you have picked and how many you need to hit. Learning the odds of success will help you decide what type of bet is worth a punt. For instance, your odds of success with just a single number is 25%. This is because 20 out of 80 numbers will be drawn. The odds of landing all 15 numbers (when 20 are drawn) and winning the jackpot are an absolutely astounding 1 in 428,010,179,098.40. Now you might see why playing with fewer numbers is ideal. There’s a 1 in 1,550 chance of bagging the top prize with 5 numbers, for instance.
Finding Somewhere to Play Keno Online
And you thought keno wasn’t exciting…
Hopefully, with our keno guide, you will have learnt a thing or two about keno while reading this article. We may even have persuaded you to give this often-overlooked game a run for its money? If so, where can you hope to find keno?
Virtually every major online casino site carries at least one keno game. In most cases, these will be RNG (random number generator) games. However, some online casinos may have a live dealer version of keno which they can offer you. They could provide the added kick and dose of excitement that you wish RNG keno had.
Either way, players won’t have to try very hard to find a game of keno that they can play online. Often, keno games will be available in sections of the casino known as “instant win”, “other” or “arcade” games. We’re almost certain you’ll find keno at your chosen casino with ease. Having done so, you might just find that you have a new favourite game to play for those times when you are in-between slot spins and poker hands.