Keno….what can we say about this game? Well, it’s definitely one of the easier games to learn how to play, and its worldwide popularity is unquestioned. But does it need its own Real Money Guide? We certainly think so! There is a lot to know about the game that you can find in the coffee shops of basically every land-based casino in the U.S. Our Real Money Keno Guide will give you an overview of the history of the game, along with explanations of the variants of Keno available today. We’ll also provide you with some strategies (yes, you read that right) to give you the best chance of actually winning money at this game of chance.
Seriously…you should read this page. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised with what you will learn!
Playing Keno for real money is no longer limited to smoky land-based facilities. These days you can play at many online casino sites for real money, and all from the comfort of your own home. We have reviewed all the online casinos out there, and as a result of these reviews we can highly recommend the following 3 casinos as ones you can get great value for your Keno play.
The game of Keno dates back several centuries. In fact, legend has it that the game was first played about 3,000 in China. Now, the game we know as Keno in its modern form can be traced back to the early days of land-based gambling. In China, the game continues to be played with symbols instead of numbers In the European and North American versions of the game, the symbols were converted to numbers to make the game more universal in nature.
The game is, in essence, a lottery game that plays every few minutes instead of every day or week. This frequency gives players the chance to be a winner many times an hour, which many people find much more entertaining than playing the regular lottery. Of course, having games every few minutes means that the prizes are significantly smaller (something we will cover in the strategy section of the page).
As soon and the gambling industry headed onto the Internet, digital versions of Keno started appearing inside the lobbies of the major online casinos. The game continues to be popular with a subsection of players, and while it may not get the same kind of press that slots or table games do, you can still find some great Keno games to play at home.
When Keno was first introduced into the North American market, it was a game like many others that was played without regulation. Once gambling became legal in Nevada, it was thought that Keno would be a natural fit for many of the properties that were being opened. However, the state of Nevada classified Keno as a lottery game and not a casino game, making it an illegal game. Casino owners found a creative way around this legislation; they started calling the game as though it was a horserace, and the term “racehorse Keno” was born.
This disguise was used right up until the state legalized lottery games. At that point, many casinos reverted to the original way the game of Keno was played, but a few holdouts still call the game as they did in the days of prohibition and if you look hard enough, you will find a place that still hosts “Racehorse Keno.”
Yes, that’s basically it. We told you it was an easy game to learn how to play, right? If you have ever played a lottery game, you get a sense of how to play real money Keno.
Before you decide what type of Keno game you want to play, it is important to understand the odds you are facing with each game. In a standard Keno game, there are 80 balls in play, of which 20 are selected. From those 20 picked numbers, players can win a prize according to the payout table of each individual game (usually listed on the ticket itself or in the rules section of the online version of the game.
Now, we will discuss the different Keno variants a little later on, but for the purposes of this mathematical explanation of the game, we will be using a pick-20 scenario. In this game, which is one of the most popular versions of real money Keno, a player gets to select 20 of the 80 numbers, and then 20 numbers are drawn. Usually, there are prizes for picking a minimum of 3 numbers in a 20-number game, all the way to a massive jackpot if you select them all. If you have played a big state lottery game, you are probably already starting to realize how difficult it is to win the jackpot. To make it perfectly clear, here are the odds of matching numbers in a Pick-20 game:
Now, this is, of course, the extreme game, and what it shows you is that correctly picking all 20 numbers is brutally tough to do. In fact, if there was a player with this perfect card, our guess is that something shady had been going on.
The odds for each number change depending on the variant being played. There are several Keno calculators that you can find online to give you the exact odds of picking numbers given your choice of game option.
As far as variants of Keno go, there isn’t too much to speak of. Basically, the board stays the same with 80 numbers. What changes when you are looking for different variants is as follows:
Between those two variables, there are a lot of games to choose from. Most Keno operators allow you to make a choice between 10 and 20 numbers, and from there offer games from as low a Pick 2 all the way to Pick 20 (the game we outlined in the Odds section). The payout tables of the games are varied also, based on these two settings.
We could lie to you and tell you all about how to select numbers, which numbers are more likely to be drawn, etc.…but we like you too much to do that. Truthfully, the game is a lottery game, so each number being drawn is its own unique, individual occurrence that is not affected by the selections made beforehand. Real Money Keno is so straightforward that some players just purchase a Keno number generator which gives them a random selection of numbers based on player-defined parameters.
That is not to say there is no strategy for a player to try to make money playing real money Keno. There are two schools of thought for Keno gamblers: those who try to win the big jackpot prize with infinitesimal odds, and those who prefer to eke out small wins and build their bankroll over time. The jackpot mentality is one of great risk and reward; you have to be so lucky even to get close to the jackpot-winning criteria that most players are only burning through money. While winning some of the smaller bets is by no means glamorous, in comparison to the jackpot strategy it seems like pure genius. Taking small wins over time will lead to a larger bankroll, it’s as simple as that. So while we of course like going for the jackpot every once in a while (about the same as we like playing Powerball), we think any player who wants to make money playing Keno should subscribe to the “slow and steady” game strategy.
Online Keno came along in the early 2000s as an alternative to finding a game in a local hall or casino. With no physical limitations to facility or bet size, online real money Keno provides players with a few different variants as compared to the land-based version of the game.
First off, the online version of keno is very fast. With no cards to be collected by staff, there is far less administrative time between games, meaning games can be started with more frequency. Also, with the ability to have any price for each Keno ticket, you will find much more micro-stakes Keno games available for real money online. These games can cost as little as 5 cents per ticket per game. Add in the ability to play the same numbers for as many games in a row as you would like, and there is a real “Set It and Forget It” mentality to online Keno.
Finally, where there is an online game, there is usually a jackpot attached. Keno is no different; the operator can allow players to voluntarily participate in a progressive jackpot that will reward someone who meets pretty rare qualifications with a potentially huge prize. These prize pools come from the player buy-in, so you should check the payout table of a jackpot game to see what difference there is between it and a standard Keno game.
Well, we made it! See, we told you it wouldn’t be that bad. As it turns out, the game of real money Keno is easy to learn, and it does indeed play very similarly to a lottery. As with most large jackpot lottery games, there are very few grand prize winners, but loads of players are rewarded with smaller prizes, ultimately baiting players into trying again. The game is very similar no matter if you are playing in a land-based casino or online, but the speed and convenience of online real money Keno is what places it slightly ahead. Be sure to check out your casino’s real money Keno games for a palate cleanser between your favorite slots or table games play.