What is Keno and How Do You Play?
Keno is a mix between a casino game and playing the lottery. It’s found mostly in casinos, but you can also find it being played in certain bars and restaurants. The game is incredibly simple — if you can pick 20 numbers between 1-80, then you can play Keno.
Players wishing to play Keno are given a betting card with the numbers 1-80 on it. Of those 80 numbers, select 20. This is usually done with a simple X over that number. You then hand your Keno card to the game attendant and place your bet. We’ll cover betting in a just a second.
After all the players have placed their bets, a large glass enclosure, called the “bubble,” which contains 80 plastic balls, each with a number on it from 1-80, starts blowing the balls around. This works very much like a BINGO machine. The game attendant then pulls a lever which selects one random ball at a time. This process continues until 20 balls have been selected. The more balls that correspond to the numbers you chose, the more money you win.
Every casino has it’s own paytable, and some even have upwards of 20-30 paytables that players can choose from. This means there is no uniform or predictable payout across all Keno games. Additionally, each of the casino’s custom paytables will each have its own unique house odds. In general, the house edge ranges from less than 4% to well over 35% in Keno. The typical house edge for other casino games is between 0% and 5%. The reason Keno odds are so terrible is simply because it’s such an easy game to play. There is no skill involved, which opens up the door for a lot more players, thus necessitating the casinos to ensure they don’t lose money.
Obviously, the odds of guessing all 20 numbers correctly are very low, 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,173,800, in fact. The odds of guessing none of the 20 numbers correctly are much better, but still pretty low, about 1 in 843 or 0.11%. The most likely scenario in Keno is guessing 5 of the 20 numbers correctly. You have slightly less than 1 in 4 odds of this happening, or about a 23% chance. The odds rise from 0-5 correct guesses, but from 6 correct all the way to 20, your odds continue to drop.
While the odds aren’t in your favor in Keno, it’s an extremely easy game to play.