Online Keno

Guide to Playing Real Money Keno Games Online

Keno is a classic casino game, which has stood the tests of time and is still popular at best online casinos and land-based casinos alike.
Like all casino games, it helps to know how to spot a good Keno game from an average one and that is where this guide is here to help.

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The Basics

A classic casino game, based on a very simple lottery-style mechanic. The game shares a lot of similarities with Bingo.

In casinos, betting slips may be used, while online the game plays out more immediately using a simple interface and random number generator. Many online casinos offer keno as a casual or instant game.

Players wager by choosing numbers from a selection of 1-80. Then, 20 numbered balls are drawn at random from a machine or other random selection.

There are various ways to win the game, based on how many numbers were chosen and how many matched the outcome from the machine.

Rules can vary, particularly in the range of number options and how many balls are chosen, also known as the number of ‘spots’.

The outcome of a keno wager depends on the ‘paytable’ of the specific game, which can vary between casinos. They can have a large house edge, ranging from around 4% to over 35%.

Finding a good game can be tricky, as it may be listed in the instant play or casual sections of a site, instead of the table games.

How to Play Keno Like an Expert

Stick to these simple principles and you will be playing like an expert in no time:

Know the Wagers

Largely a game of chance with little player input, but a pro will still know the various possible wagers and what to look out for. This game has a much higher house edge than the average slot game, so this is something to be aware of when playing.

Choose Wisely 

The amount of numbers chosen also affects the bet, with more hits usually being better for the player. This is not always the case, with some games offering a prize for hitting hardly any balls, since this itself is a low-odds result.

Be Realistic 

Getting 5 hits out of 20 is the most likely, at 1 in 4.287 (23.32%). Some players will always pick their lucky numbers, some go random- there is no difference between the numbers chosen in Keno.

Win at Keno – Our Top Tips

“Keno is won by matching randomly drawn numbers to the numbers you choose to bet on”

“Keno is won by matching randomly drawn numbers to the numbers you choose to bet on”

“Keno has a very high house edge, often the highest in the casino”

How to Improve Your Chances of Winning

One of the first things to do is accept that there’s little skill to this game, except in choosing a good game (checking the paytables at different casinos) then knowing how many numbers to choose. Individual numbers make no difference. Practicing in demo mode is a great way to figure out the game and how the number of picks affects the odds and pay outs.

Always check how much you can afford to wager and plan accordingly. When you pick your numbers, you are always risking your current wager; there are no sure bets or even strong bets in this game due to the high house edge. When you pick one number, the odds to match 0 are 75% and the odds to match 1 are only 25%. When you pick two numbers, the odds of 1 match go up to 37.97%. With three numbers, it becomes 43.09%, while four becomes 43.27%, perhaps the highest you will get.

Many players avoid taking the maximum amount of picks. Look at how the paytable adjusts with each pick and choose a middle ground that suits you. Make sure that your money lasts and the odds are not too high, taking your time.

 Keno Rules

There are very few rules in keno. Players simply choose a set of numbers when buying a slip or by clicking the game when playing online. The individual game will decide how many numbers a player can choose, which will be typically 20 but can be as few as 10. The number of balls drawn out at random is also decided by individual setups. The game then draws out this amount, usually 20, from a possible 80 numbers.

For each matching number, the player has a hit, or in total a catch. This determines the pay out received. The amount won tends to increase with the difficulty of the catch, as is standard in gambling. Picking 10 numbers and hitting all 10 from the draw is very hard indeed but pays very well.

Types of Keno

The main variation comes from the number of draws and the number of picks allowed. There are still a few variants that appear online, however.

Super Keno is a very simple alternative, where the rules are exactly the same, except that if the first ball drawn is a hit then the player’s win will be multiplier by four. This is simply a fun extra incentive.

Power Keno follows a very similar setup to Super Keno, except winnings are quadrupled if the player gets a hit on the 20th ball drawn.

Split Keno is when a game lets you have more than one set of picks for a game, essentially playing twice.

King Keno is a version where one pick is already made for you- the ‘king’ number.

Bingo. This game is distinct to keno but has a similar setup, matching numbered balls to the numbers the player has. The player does not get to choose numbers. Players win when a row or pattern of hits is completed.

Pakapoo. An old Chinese lottery game which is related to keno.

History of Keno

Deriving its name from either French or Latin, ‘quine’ or ‘quini’, meaning ‘five winning numbers’ or ‘five each’. However, the actual game originated in China. A legend is attached to the game, that its invention saved an ancient city in a time of war and that its popularity raised funds for the Great Wall of China. However, there is no proof of this.

Records of Chinese lottery games first appeared then the Portuguese government of Macau began licensing operators in 1847. Another legend states that results of keno games were spread between cities and towns by carrier pigeons, which in turn led to the name ‘báigē piào, literally ‘white dove ticket’.

This is pronounced ‘baak-gap-piu’ in Cantonese and led to a Western spelling, ‘pakapoo’. The Chinese game used 80 characters instead of numbers. Chinese immigrants brought the game to America. The game was known as Keno in Houston by 1866.

Advanced Tips

Think about how many numbers to pick, you don’t always need to pick the maximum amount.
Learn from the paytable, then adjust your picks according.
Manage your betting wisely, as unlike other casino games there is little you can do to influence the game.
Know the odds,  then factor them in what placing your bets.



These are just a few terms that will come up while playing keno:
In casino keno, this is a term for the ball cage, along with ‘squirrel cage’.
A slight variant of keno which originated in China.
The numbers which a player has chosen on a keno bet.
A keno player has a hit when a number drawn matches a number they bet on.
An overall term for the hits a player has achieved.
A list of pay outs depending on the amount bet and the win achieved, viewable on most keno games.
The process of revealing random numbers in keno, also a term for the set of numbers drawn.
A version of keno with a 4x win bonus for hitting the first number out.
A keno version with one number preselected for the player.
A similar game to keno with numbered balls being called to match numbers on a ticket.
Also abbreviated to RNG, this is the software which lets casino games be random and give out an unpredictable number, tested by third parties.
The degree to which any bet will favour the casino, in order to make a profit over time.
Typically, a state sponsored form of gambling, where players hope to match random number draws to the numbers on their ticket.
A keno ticket where the numbers chosen are all along the outer edge.
A keno ticket that required all the numbers chosen to be drawn, or none of them at all.
A term for drawing and revealing a keno ball.
A keno ticket which has not yet been used.
When two spots on a keno ticket are grouped together.
The display of all the numbers being called, typically on an online version with no caller.
A part of a casino given to playing keno, with a relaxed atmosphere.