Keno was first played in China during the Han Dynasty. According to legend, the Chinese government created the game as a means to raise money for war efforts. In addition, it is believed that funds raised from the game of keno also helped China build the Great Wall. Back in the early times, carrier pigeons delivered the winning numbers to Chinese towns. People excitedly waited for those pigeons to find out if they had won.
Keno made such an impression that Chinese immigrants couldn’t imagine life without it, so they introduced the game into United States culture when they immigrated. Now, both online and physical casinos offer this game to gamblers looking to get lucky by selecting the right numbers.

Keno is similar to the lottery in the sense that it is a game of chance. Still, players use certain strategies, including betting methods, when playing the game. Many believe these strategies and methods tilt the odds in their favor.

Game Overview

The game of Keno is quite simple. In most cases, players have a card that contains the numbers 1-80. Players choose anywhere from 1 to 10 of the numbers listed on the card. In some cases, casinos let players choose as many as 15 numbers, and some casinos even let players choose 20 numbers. When a player chooses a number, he or she is essentially betting that the number will be selected.

While casinos used to use ball machines to select the winning numbers, most now use random number generators to select the numbers. If someone picks a winning number, he or she is entitled to a cash prize.

Keno Bets/Tickets

Players cannot simply pick numbers and hope to win. They have to choose a bet type, also known as a ticket type, when playing keno. This is where many players use a strategy in the hopes of improving their odds.

Straight Ticket

The straight ticket is the simplest option for playing keno, and it is popular with new players. Players simply pick their numbers, and they receive a payout based on the number of matches they make. In addition, some casinos pay players who do not have any matches.

Top/Bottom or Left/Right Ticket

Players who do not wish to choose specific numbers can go with a top/bottom or left/right bet. This ticket allows players to bet that more numbers will be selected from the top 40, bottom 40, left 40, or right 40 of the keno card than anywhere else. Some casinos also let players bet that all of the numbers will be in the top, bottom, left, or right of the card.

Odd/Even Ticket

Similar to a top/bottom bet, this option lets players bet that more odd or even numbers will be drawn.

Split Ticket

The split bet is another option for players. Players essentially make two straight bets on the same ticket. The two bets cannot share any numbers. There isn’t a strategic advantage to making this type of bet. It’s simply a way to play more keno games without getting an extra ticket. The disadvantage to this is quite simple. If you have a favorite number that you always like to play, you won’t be able to play it on one of the bets.

Way Ticket

A way bet is somewhat similar to a split bet. Players choose groups of numbers, using the same card for each group. For instance, a player might choose three sets of numbers, with three numbers in each group. Some casinos make players choose unique numbers for each set, while others allow players to repeat numbers.

This is the most complicated type of keno bet since it is hard to track. However, it comes with its advantages. Players use this bet to win small amounts of money on a consistent basis. In addition, some casinos offer a discount when people bet this way. Instead of paying $1 per bet, they can play for as little as a dime per way.

Combination Ticket

Players have the option of placing standard bets on the same ticket by using a combination ticket. The bets can have contrasting styles.

King Ticket

Players can choose to circle a single number on their cards. This is the king number, and it is played in conjunction with other numbers. The king ticket can be used for straight, way, or combination bets.

20-Spot Ticket

The 20-spot ticket is a relatively new form of keno. Players select 20 numbers from the 40-number card. Players do not receive any money if they match 4,5, or 6 numbers. Players who match 2, 3, or 7 numbers get their money back. Those who match at least 19 numbers hit the jackpot, and those who don’t match any numbers also receive a nice payout.

Ways to Play Keno

Casinos often offer live and video keno. During live keno, players typically place bets inside of a keno lounge. However, some casinos collect bets at the cashier window and then announce the winning numbers on video screens throughout the casino.

In video keno, players interact with a video machine. They select their numbers on a card and instantly find out if they win. Payouts are usually better with video keno, but the play is much faster, meaning players can go through their money quickly.

Progressive Keno

Some casinos offer a progressive jackpot for their keno games. The pot continues to build until there is a big winner. Then, the jackpot goes back down and starts building up once again. This is the best way to hit it big with keno.