What is Pakapoo?
Pakapoo is an ancient form of the lottery game Keno, played in China and based on marking off words, rather than numbers. It followed many of the principles seen in Keno today – players selected up to 10 words on their own ticket and aimed to match these with the selected numbers on the master ticket. The game also spread to parts of Australia and New Zealand, and it became popular in the US around 1866 under its modern name ‘Keno’.
In Keno, players aim to match their selected numbers with those called by a random number generator – similar to a bingo or lottery game. This popular numbers game is seen in North American casinos and betting shops, and found at many online casinos around the world. There are 80 numbers in the game, and players select around ten numbers on which to bet. The more numbers they match, the greater their payout. Combination bets can be used as accumulators to increase wins even further.
Before Keno emerged in the form we know it today, it existed in China as the early gambling game Pakapoo. The name means ‘white dove ticket’ or ‘pigeon ticket’, and it refers to the practice of delivering tickets to towns and villages with messenger pigeons. The game was played much like modern Keno, but instead of selecting numbers the player chose words. These words were taken from a famous Chinese poem, ‘Qian Zi Wen’ (the ‘Thousand Character Classic), and tickets contained a random selection of those words. A game operator would select their own words from the poem, and players matched their selections with the master ticket to determine if they had won.
Today, Keno is based on the selections of random number generators, and tickets have evolved to include a range of different bet types. However, the game still looks very similar to its ancient form, Pakapoo.