Complete Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Keno

Understanding the Keno

Keno is a classic casino game that has attracted players for decades with its simple rules, fast pace, and potential for big payouts. But before laying down your first bet, there are some key things every beginner should know about this thrilling game of chance.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything from keno’s origins to optimal play strategies to success at Slot Lords Casino. You’ll gain insight into the house edge, payout schedules, probability, and tips for getting the most enjoyment out of your keno experience. With a bit of knowledge, you can make smart bets and up the excitement factor of this adrenaline-inducing game.

Brief History of this Ancient Game

Keno’s roots trace back over 3000 years to Ancient China, making it one of the oldest gambling games still played today. Legends claim that the game was used to fund the building of the Great Wall of China. While its origins are murky, keno clearly evolved from traditional Chinese lottery games.

Immigrants later brought keno to the United States in the 1800s. It first took hold in gambling halls and saloons along pioneer trails and railroad tracks out West. Over the decades, keno’s popularity exploded across the country.

Today it’s a staple game offered at casinos, racetracks, and lottery outlets. Part of keno’s appeal comes from its simple format that’s easy for new players to enjoy. Let’s look at the basics of how it works.

Playing Keno 101

Keno is played using a field of 80 numbers from 1 to 80. Players select between 1 and 15 numbers on their keno ticket that they hope will be chosen as the winning numbers for that round. Twenty numbers are then randomly drawn by the house, ranging from 1 to 80.
Payouts are determined by how many of your picked numbers match the numbers drawn for that round. The more numbers you match, the more you win. Unlike lotto, keno draws happen rapidly – a new round typically begins every 5 minutes. Games vary, but usually, players have just a couple minutes to pick numbers before betting closes for each round.

Keno tickets are simple paper slips marked with your selected numbers. Many games now use computer terminals, but you’ll still marks your picks by daubing them with ink. Once the 20 balls are drawn and winning numbers announced, the house marks hits and determines payouts. This fast action makes keno an engaging game – you don’t have to wait long to dive back in and try your luck again!

Payout Schedules and Probabilities

Keno may seem like pure chance, but the odds are not always straightforward. The house edge and your chances of winning vary significantly based on factors like:

  • How many numbers you pick
  • The payouts offered for different matches
  • The specific combinations of numbers you select

Of course, keno odds ultimately come down to probability. Your chances of hitting all 20 numbers is 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174! With odds like that, it’s no surprise that the biggest keno jackpots can grow into the millions.

Most players take a more conservative approach, picking around 10 numbers per round. But even then, your probability of hitting 10 out of 20 numbers drawn is still only around 1 in 850,668.

To encourage bigger bets, casinos offer higher payouts if you match more numbers. A common paytable structure is:

  • Match 0 numbers – 0% of bet returned
  • Match 1 number – 0.03% of bet returned
  • Match 2 numbers – 0.50% of bet returned
  • Match 10 numbers – 11% of bet returned

These payouts accrue rapidly with each additional match, culminating in massive jackpot prizes. However, the substantial house edge works against you – usually around 25-30%.

Strategic Picks Can Improve Your Odds

While keno is ultimately a game of chance, there are some smart strategies that can stretch your bankroll and improve your payout potential:

  • Avoid scattershot picks – Focus on picking consecutive numbers or blocks covering a specific section of the field. This increases your odds of multiple hits.
  • Balance rare and frequent numbers – Include a mix of low and high ends of the keno range. Low and high numbers tend to get drawn less often.
  • Be patient – Don’t expect to win frequently. Keno rewards persistence. Take the long view and ride out cold streaks.
  • Manage your bankroll – Set a budget for keno and stick to it. Only bet what you can afford to lose.
  • Have fun! – Keno is meant to be an entertaining escape and thrill ride. Keep a positive mindset and enjoy the casino experience.

While strategic picks can nudge the odds slightly in your favor, keno remains a high-variance game. Don’t spend the rent money chasing jackpots. Ultimately, chance reigns supreme in keno.

Finding the Best Games and Getting Started

Not all keno games are created equal when it comes to factors like pace of play, paytables, and minimum bets. Finding the right casino and machine is key to maximizing your experience.

Shop around to compare keno offerings in your area. Look for games with:

  • Generous payout schedules
  • Higher maximum bets if you’re a high roller
  • Rapid draw pace to increase action
  • Minimum bets as low as $.01 to accommodate all bankrolls

Many experts suggest playing at smaller venues off the main casino floor. Games in lounges and bars tend to offer better paytables and lower minimums. This lets you stretch your bankroll further.

Getting started is a breeze once you find a suitable game. Simply select your numbers on a keno ticket, choose a bet amount, and let the draws begin. Worried about feeling lost as a beginner? Don’t – dealers are there to guide you. Part of keno’s charm is its simple, relaxed nature.

Danger of Chasing Losses

Keno can quickly go from thrilling to costly if you chase losses and deviate from smart bankroll practices. The fast action makes it tempting to continue betting bigger to try to win back money you’ve lost. But this is a risky approach.

Setting a budget – and sticking to it – keeps the game fun and prevents you from betting more than you can afford. Don’t assume you’re “due” to start winning or try to ride out a cold streak. Walk away if you exceed your bankroll limit. This discipline is key to playing keno responsibly.

Keep perspective on the odds and probability to avoid unrealistic expectations. While keno is enticing for its big payout potential, huge jackpots are extremely hard to hit. Stay grounded about your likelihood of winning over the short and long term.

With the right mindset, keno can be an affordable entertainment expense rather than a financial risk.

Keno Do’s and Don’ts – Tips for Success

Follow these tips from seasoned players to enhance your keno experience:


  • Review the payout schedule and odds before playing
  • Start with lower bets to learn the game before raising stakes
  • Play at your own pace – feel no pressure to bet every round
  • Try different pick strategies to find what suits your style
  • Accept occasional small losses as the cost of entertainment


  • Wager more money than you can afford to lose
  • Assume keno is purely a game of chance – smart picks matter!
  • Play based on superstitions like “lucky” numbers
  • Grow frustrated – keno swings with luck in the short term
  • Force yourself to keep playing when you’re no longer having fun

Keno is meant to be an enjoyable casino game. Follow these tips to ensure you’re playing responsibly, stretching your entertainment dollar, and maximizing the adrenaline rush!

Ready to Give Keno a Spin?

As one of the oldest and most beloved casino fixtures, keno offers an accessible and exciting way to take a chance on lady luck. Its straightforward rules and fast-paced draws make it easy for anyone to jump in and join the fun.

But as we’ve covered, there are some key strategies to keep in mind in order to get the most from your experience. Apply the advice in this guide on game formats, probability, bankroll tips, and more to set yourself up for keno success.

With the right know-how, you can enjoy hours of entertainment – and stretch those precious gambling dollars further. Keno truly embodies the thrill of casino gaming, so grab your dauber and let the adrenaline rush begin!


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