Brief History of Keno
Keno is a simple, lottery game that was originally played with Chinese characters which were later replaced by Arabic numerals (1-80), adapting the game to the western markets. The name keno was derived from the French word “quine” that means “five each”, but despite the “French connection”, the game actually originated from China, where it allegedly funded the construction of the Great Wall. The westerners were introduced to keno thanks to Chinese immigrants who sailed across the ocean to work on the First Transcontinental Railroad construction sites. By 1866, the game was fully “westernized”, changing the name from “baige piao” to keno.
Nowadays, keno is equally popular in both land-based and online casinos, where the players can choose between an RNG (random number generator) platform or a live version of the game, hosted by a professional dealer.
Best Online Keno Bonuses 2019
Overview of Keno Rules and Bets
Keno is extremely simple – the objective of the game is to predict which of the 80 will be drawn, marking the combination on the keno ticket. The payout rate will depend on the number of accurate hits – the closer you get to the final combination (randomly generated by the computer software or drawn from a lottery drum), the higher your settlement will be.
Depending on the variant, the players can mark up to 20 numbers, although some keno versions limit the player’s combination to 8 or 10. The basic rules never change, but there are a few notable differences in keno tickets.
Types of Keno Tickets
Straight Ticket – as indicated by the name, straight tickets are the simplest form of keno grid; the player should mark the numbers (according to the house rules) and wait for the results to be announced.
Split Ticket – this form of keno card enables the players to play double keno rounds during a single session. The ticket contains two separate grids and the players must mark different numbers in each of the columns. Repeating a number combination on a split ticket is not allowed – to do that, you will have to use multiple split tickets.
Way Ticket – this type of tickets is used by more experienced keno players as they include larger number groups which the players use as the basis. The player then marks smaller groups, the so-called “ways”, and the ticket wins if any of the ways is drawn.
Combination Ticket – a combo of the Straight and the Way tickets, also preferred by more experienced bettors
King Ticket – a variation of the Split ticket but with a twist; here the player can select a single number (the King number) that will appear across all number grids. Other numbers within the combination must be different.
Special Keno Tickets – offered as a part of promotions, special keno tickets are played according to fixed rules and ad hoc payout table. Top and Bottom is the most popular type of special ticket, where the players select a certain combination of numbers and win if:
- all the numbers are drawn
- none of the numbers is drawn
How to Play RNG Keno
Step 1 – place the deposit and select the RNG keno variant. The keno ticket will appear on the screen as soon as you launch the game, along with the available funds. Select the amount that you would like to wager and proceed with marking the numbers on the electronic ticket.
Step 2 – after selecting the numbers (manually or using the auto select option, if available), confirm your selection and start the session. The numbers will be randomly generated, and any hit will be highlighted on the grid. The payout rate increases with the number of hits and a wider grid coverage will increase your winning odds.
How to Play Live Keno
In terms of structure and rules, there is no difference between playing the RNG and live dealer keno variant, although a number of players prefer the latter, as the sessions are much more dynamic. The rules are the same, except the numbers are drawn from the large, transparent drum and announced by the presenter.
At the same time, the numbers will be displayed on the screen while the hits are highlighted on the player’s ticket. Multiple tickets with a different price range are available, and the players start by selecting the numbers manually or by using the Auto Pick feature, which can select any range of numbers. In other words, the players can either select all the numbers using the Auto Pick or select some of the numbers manually and activate the Auto option for the rest.
Certain platforms will even allow you to save your favorite combinations and customize the bets, which is extremely handy in live keno as the betting time is limited.
Once the bets are closed, the dealer will set the air-mix lottery draw machine into motion and announce the results as the balls are being shot from the machine. When all the number are drawn, the dealer will read the combination once again and the bets will be settled accordingly. The results from each round are recorded, statistically processed and available to the players at all times.
Keno Paytable and Odds
Keno payouts are not fixed, and the software developers will leave it to the casino operator to adjust the rates. The maximum number of hits can produce between x10,000 and x30,000 player’s bet, depending on the variant. More often than not, live keno has a higher payout rate that an RNG variant:
Illustrative RNG Keno Payout Table (15-Ball variant):
- 1 hit – no payout
- 2 hits – no payout
- 3 / 4 hits – x0.5
- 5 hits – x1
- 6 hits – x2
- 7 hits – x5
- 8 hits – x15
- 9 hits – x50
- 10 hits – x150
- 11 hits – x300
- 12 hits – x600
- 13 hits – x1,200
- 14 hits – x2,500
- 15 hits – x10,000
Illustrative Live Online Keno Payout Table (8-Ball variant):
- 1 hit – x3
- 2 hits – x13
- 3 hits – x43
- 4 hits – x130
- 5 hits – x700
- 6 hits – x2,000
- 7 hits – x5,000
- 8 hits – x30,000
The Keno odds change with the number of hits:
- 4 hits – 8:1 true odds / 1:2 payout
- 5 hits – 30:1 true odds / 3:1 payout
- 6 hits – 174:1 true odds / 40:1 payout
- 7 hits – 1,700:1 true odds / 300:1 payout
- 8 hits – 30,000:1 true odds / 4,000:1 payout
- 9 hits – over 1,000,000.00 :1 true odds / 37,500:1 payout
The Most Popular Keno Variations
Progressive Jackpot /Bonus Keno
A variant that introduces a progressive jackpot on top of the base game payouts. The amount is funded by the players’ bets and it can be hit either randomly or when certain requirements are met (such as landing a specified symbol).
Keno game where the player’s payouts are multiplied if the power ball number is drawn (the last number of the session).
Theoretical Return to the Player Percentage in Keno
The RTP value for a 10-Ball keno variant ranges from 75% to over 98%, depending on the number of picks within a combination:
- 1 pick – 75.0% RTP
- 2 picks – 98.10% RTP
- 3 picks – 90.19% RTP
- 4 picks – 89.02% RTP
- 5 picks – 86.08% RTP
- 6 picks – 93.79% RTP
- 7 picks – 93.61% RTP
- 8 picks – 92.94% RTP
- 9 picks – 93.49% RTP
- 10 picks – 90.82% RTP
Keno Tips and Strategies
Since keno numbers are generated randomly, there is no reliable strategy that would actually guarantee a hit and reduce the house edge. Still, a lot of players like to select their numbers according to a certain pattern, which they feel can produce the best results. Some of the recommended patterns are:
- Lining up the numbers
- Bartender 5-Spot variation
- 4-Corner Clusters
- Overlapping system
Lining up the numbers
Should you decide to line up the numbers, try to select 6 spots per single line and repeat the pattern across all keno tickets. Since keno sometimes tends to hit in lines, you will have decent odds of hitting 3 hits per line – especially if you select 6 instead of 5 spots. The strategy is also known to save budget in the long run.
The Bartender 5-Spot
In the Bartender 5-spot strategy, the players select 5 horizontal numbers on all four corners of the keno tickets. For example, if you play with 4 tickets, you will select 1 – 5 sequence on the first card, 6-10 sequence on the second card, 71-75 on the third card and 76-80 on the fourth. The system relies on the fact that 5 spots are easy to hit, and that keno tends to hit in lines, as previously mentioned.
The 4-Corner Clusters
Some players prefer selecting the numbers in clusters rather than lines – the clusters should also be formed in the keno ticket’s corner and the number of spots can vary between 5 and 8.
The overlapping system
The overlapping system starts with the Bartender 5-Spot on the first ticket and continues with the 11-15 number sequence on the second card. The numbers on the third and the fourth cards are selected according to the zig-zag pattern: 1-12-3-14-5 and 11-2-13-4-15, respectively.