Keno

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Keno is a very popular game, and although not everyone has tried it, they usually know what the game is about. In many ways, keno resembles a lottery, but it’s not quite the same. The main difference is that keno offers more opportunities for players to decide what they want to bet on, meaning they can also determine what the odds for a win will be. Although keno is a game of chance, by choosing the numbers you want to bet on and how many, in addition to selecting what type of keno game you want to play, you can impact how often and how much you win.

In this keno guide from GoodLuckMate, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to play keno, what your chances of winning are, and which games you should play to increase your winnings.

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What is Keno?

If you want to know how to win at keno, you first need to understand how the game works. Casinos can have many different versions of keno, but a normal keno ticket has 80 numbers, although you can also find tickets with up to 120 numbers. You can usually choose between 2 and 20 of these numbers, but some games might also limit the maximum number you can choose to 10 or 15. You can find information about these limits in each game, and unless you have specific numbers you always choose, this won’t affect your chances of winning. 

What can impact your chances of winning is the available numbers on your keno ticket. Naturally, you’ll have a greater chance of picking the correct numbers on a ticket that has fewer numbers. 

But let’s get back to the main question: what is keno, and how do you play? Keno is a game where you pick numbers on a ticket and hope these numbers will match the results of the keno draw. After you’ve filled in your keno ticket, you’ll have to wait for the draw, which works in the same way as most other lottery games. 

All of the numbers that are available on the ticket are part of the draw. The winning numbers will be revealed with the help of a tombola or a random number generator. The numbers are therefore drawn completely randomly, making keno purely a game of chance.

How to Win In Keno

Keno is all about the odds. It’s not like you always win if you have five correct numbers; similarly, if you win with five numbers, there’s no fixed payout for this. It all depends on how many numbers you have chosen to play in the first place. If you’ve chosen to play 20 numbers, only having five correct will most likely not give you a win at all. But if you’ve only chosen to play five numbers, your win will be massive. 

Basically, the keno odds and payouts all depend on the likelihood of you guessing correctly based on how many numbers you chose to bet on and how many numbers there are in the draw. 

What makes keno a bit different from most other casino games is that there are no fixed prizes for any given result. If you play on a ticket with 80 possible numbers, you choose 20 of them, and 10 of these are correct, your win could differ from game to game. It all depends on the paytable set by the casino or game provider. 

Even though there are no strategies for how to win at keno every time, if you win, there are ways to influence how much you win. Choosing the game with the highest payouts is the best way of ensuring you’ll win in the long run since the chances of winning are always the same in every game. So, when you do win, you want to make sure you win as much as possible. 

Usually, the highest percentage for return to player, RTP, is found in keno slots, or RNG keno games as they’re also called. If you want to find out how to play keno and win, you should keep reading.

How to Play Keno Online

There’s no one way to play keno online; there are three different ways of playing. The first option is to buy a ticket for one of the weekly keno draws. Most lottery providers also offer some sort of keno, and the tickets can usually be purchased online. This is, however, a very slow way of playing, and it’s usually not the most popular version at online casinos. There are also a limited number of online casinos offering keno tickets for local draws.

The second way of playing keno is basically to play the same way you play bingo. Some casinos have keno rooms where there are different draws every 5 or 10 minutes, and you choose the keno room with the type of game that suits you best. There are different types of tickets, different prices per ticket, and different numbers of tickets you’re allowed to buy per draw. You’ll find information about this in each room. However, not many casinos offer this type of keno.

The most common versions of keno at online casinos are slots, or rather, fully digital games operated by a random number generator where you play alone against a machine. There are plenty of different machines like these at most casinos, so you can choose the one you like best. 

RNG Keno Games

Nothing could be easier than learning how to play RNG keno games. You simply choose the keno category in the casino’s game lobby and open a game. If there’s no separate category for these games at your casino then you can find them under table games, mixed in with bingo games, or simply in a category that has other casual casino games. Once you’ve opened a game, you simply choose your numbers.

You’ll see all the available numbers you can choose from, and as you pick them, you’ll usually see the payout you can expect if you win. This makes it easy to see what the potential win is. At the same time, you can also see how much you’re betting since this is something you can adjust yourself. Quite often, you’ll also be able to see the odds you have for winning adjust as you tick off more numbers.

As for the winning part itself, just like any other type of keno game, there’s no sure way to win at video keno. But as we mentioned, you might win more on an RNG keno game than on “real” or live keno since the RTP is usually higher. 

Another benefit of choosing to play on a digital machine when you want to play keno is that you never have to wait for a draw. You can take your time picking numbers, and then you click ‘Play’ when you want the draw to happen.

House Edge – What are Your Chances of Winning? 

The house edge in keno is never fixed. It’s something each casino or game provider chooses. Truth be told, the house edge in keno is usually much higher than for most other casino games. The house can have an edge of as much as 35%, which is about 10 times higher than it is for a normal online slot machine. But you can also find games with a much smaller house edge. 

Usually, though, the house edge will be at least 4% if you play live keno games, which is still high, but you may find keno slots with an RTP of almost 98%.

Your chances of winning depend on how many numbers are available and how many numbers you choose. The more numbers you choose, the greater your chances. When we say your chances of winning are greater, this is true, but you should also keep in mind that we’re now talking about the number of wins and not the amount of money you win. You’ll get several small wins by betting on a lot of numbers, but when you win, you’ll get bigger wins if you’re betting on fewer numbers.

You can be lucky, though. If you get 20 correct numbers from a total of 80 numbers to choose from, you’ll win millions upon millions. However, the likelihood of this happening is next to 0. 

What are the Odds In Keno?

Since the 80-number ticket is the most common, we’ll use it as an example for explaining keno odds. As we mentioned, getting 20 correct numbers out of 20 is next to impossible. In fact, the actual chance of this happening is 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,320. So, let’s forget about that. It’s simply not going to happen. 

Getting 15 out of 20 numbers right is a bit more plausible since this is about the same as winning any other lottery game. It’s not like it will happen often because the odds are 1 in 41,751,453, but still, you could get lucky. Fifteen correct is also a bit of a magical number in keno because it’s at this point that a keno jackpot will usually be triggered, if the game you’re playing offers a progressive jackpot. 

The overall chance of getting a correct number is 1:80 since there are 80 numbers on a ticket. However, to win, you’ll need to get several correct numbers, and it’s not like you’ll win very often, no matter how you choose to play. What you should be prepared for is playing a lot without winning at all, or just getting small wins that barely make up for your bet, before you hit that big win that you’ve been waiting for. If and when this happens, though, is anyone’s guess.

Strategies for Winning

Having a strategy for keno is simply impossible. No matter how you choose to play, how many numbers you choose to play, or whatever else you try to do, there’s no way of increasing your long-term winnings. The only thing you can do is to play keno games with bigger payouts in the paytable, and that’s how to win at keno machines. You simply win more when you win, but you won’t win more often.

The lack of successful strategies to increase their winnings does not, however, stop players from thinking they can use a keno strategy. In reality, what they’re doing is playing using a pattern, but calling this a strategy is a bit of a stretch. Many players who play keno regularly play the same numbers every week of every month of every year. Their reasoning is that this has to be the winning combination at some point. And yes, it probably will be eventually, but the chances of that happening don’t increase this week just because it didn’t happen last week.

If you do beat the odds and win on 20 numbers one week with odds of 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,320, these are still the odds of it happening the following week, the week after, and the week after that. There’s no connection whatsoever between draws of random numbers from draw to draw, so the odds never change. In other words, if you lost in one draw, it doesn’t make your chances of winning or losing in the next draw any bigger or smaller. Your chances of winning are always the same. 

Eve Luneborg
Eve LuneborgUpdated: 06 Sep 2022
Eve started working at an online casino back in 2014, and she’s been involved in the iGaming industry ever since. Starting off as a support agent at LeoVegas Casino, she later took...
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