How to Play and Bet on Keno

Keno History

Keno can be traced back to a game that was created more than 3,000 years ago by Cheung Leung, the leader of the Han Dynasty in China. The game was based on a popular Chinese poem, “The Thousand Character Classic” which used 1,000 Chinese characters in an effort to help people learn to count. The game used 120 of these symbols. The numbers of symbols used in the game has declined over time and the game we know today uses 80.

Keno was introduced into the United States in the mid-1800s by Chinese immigrants who came over to work on the railway lines. In order to attract more US players to the game, the Chinese characters were replaced by numbers. Draws in keno are often referred to as “races” in reference to the fact that keno became known as “racehorse keno” and was considered to be a lottery at a time when gambling games were outlawed in the US.

Different Keno Tickets

There are different types of tickets in a game of keno with the most common type being a straight ticket for a single game. Other tickets will allow you to combine different aspects of the game. A way ticket allows you to mark multiple games on one ticket. A combination ticket allows you to combine groups of straight bets on one ticket. A split ticket allows you to play more than one ticket on a single card.

Beginning a Keno Game

Before you can begin a game of keno you must select your numbers. You need to select at least 4 numbers (spots) and no more than 10 (although this amount may vary according to the casino). If you are playing online keno, this is a simple process as you just mark your numbers and place your bet. You then wait until the numbers have been called and compare your numbers with the called numbers.

Winning at Keno

Twenty numbered balls are randomly selected out of 80 possibilities. Your numbers are compared to the numbers that are drawn and if any of your numbers match up, you could be a winner. The number of matching spots that you need to win will vary according to the casino, but typically if you play 5 spots, you will need 3 matches to win anything. The more matches you have, the higher your wins and the payouts increase dramatically for every extra number you have. For example, if you match 3 out of 5 numbers, you may win 3 to 1; if you match 4 out of 5 numbers, you may win 26 to 1 and if you match 5 out of 5 numbers, you may win 332 to 1.

If you are playing online keno, you simply wait to see if your numbers match and you will be paid out accordingly. It is slightly more complicated if you are playing land-based keno as you will need to check your ticket and present any winning tickets to the keno desk before the next game begins in order to collect your winnings. Please click here for our more detailed article on how to win at Keno.