Keno General Information

What is Keno?

Keno is a sub-type of lottery game which shares many of the same concepts. Modern casinos often offer a few forms to play, which is unsurprising given its popularity. Keno has players choose their own numbers which usually sit in the range of 1-80. Some games have the numbers chosen by computer, in which case the player has little input. Drawing usually comes in lots of 20 numbers, though some variants draw fewer. Ball machines or other random drawing devices are used to achieve this. Online variations of this tend to rely on a random number generator, which has much the same effect.

Different casinos and different games have different payouts, which are taken from what are called pay-tables. The player is paid based on the how many numbers they chose, how many of these numbers matched up with the numbers drawn, and the amount that they wagered.

Keno games tend to favour the house more than other games. This is referred to as a ‘house-edge'. House-edge in keno usually runs in the range from 4 to 35 percent while the house-edge for most non-slot games runs at less than 5 percent, for reference.

An example of a Keno card

An example of a Keno card

Important Information

Keno games, in general terms have a smaller chance of generating a decent payout than most games. Gains on these games can still be very high, so they remain popular.

The highest recorded payout for a win came from a player in Las Vegas, USA. ‘Eddie'. as he wanted to be known, used the ages of his wife and children as his method to picking the winning numbers. Total payout for his mega-payout was somewhere around $6.4 million.

Keno is often regarded as a subtype of lottery,  with a greater focus on customisation by the player.

More on lotteries here

Where does Keno come from?

The earliest recorded forms of keno are found, as with many inventions, in ancient China. Here the Han Dynasty, around 200 B.C, used the first keno slips. Historians believe that these were used in order to pay for major government projects. In fact these were thought to be a contributing factor to the building of the Great Wall of China.

Keno was originally played with a total pool of 120 Chinese characters. Modern forms were introduced to the US mainland sometime around the early twentieth century with 80 as the standard total number pool became standard sometime after that.

Common forms of Keno

Keno is often seen in the state sponsored or supported form, much like common lotteries. Tickets from these games can come in many different varieties, we've listed all you should need to know below.

Standard Keno cards

Straight Keno Tickets

Straight tickets are the standard for which most people are familiar. These come with 80 numbers with the player able to choose somewhere between 1 and 20 numbers, though casinos will often limit the amount of numbers that the player can select to between 2 and 20.

Care to know the chances of choosing 20 numbers and getting them all drawn?

1 in 3,535,316,142,212,173,800.

Limits are probably a good idea, in this case.

Chances of winning in straight keno increase as you choose fewer numbers. Fewer numbers also means a smaller payout, so finding a balance here is key.

Split Keno Tickets

Split tickets are similar to to straight tickets with one key difference. These tickets allow the player to play multiple games on the same ticket.  Numbers that the player has selected for the first ticket cannot also be used for the second ticket.

People often choose split tickets over straight tickets because the odds do not change with more tickets. This means that it is cheaper for split tickets, as one ticket can be player twice. Players who prefer to be able to choose specific numbers on each ticket might elect to avoid this option.

Combination Keno Tickets

Combination keno tickets are similar to split tickets in that they can be used more than once. The advantage to these tickets is that the same numbers can be player twice, without the need to for separate tickets.

Combination tickets also allow the player to combine the numbers in unique ways. For example if a player does choose different numbers for different games they can also combine these numbers. This means that if a player chose 5 and 4 numbers for two bets they could combine all these for 9 numbers on a third bet.

King Keno Tickets

King tickets are similar to split tickets with one key difference. These tickets allow the player to select a King number, this single King is then shared over the multiple games.

Super Keno Tickets

Super tickets are standard tickets with a single difference. Payout for this game will be quadrupled when one of the player's selected numbers are the first to be drawn by the casino.

Differences between Casino and Online Keno

The key difference here comes from the fact that physical casinos come with physical tickets with the winnings from these tickets then displayed on a screen.

Online keno is different in that it is often much faster with its payout and can come with a variety of bonuses per the game and website used. These bonuses can include cheaper tickets and better payouts. Online games also come with the bonus of being more animated, this means a more visually exciting experience.

A Keno goose

A keno goose, which is cmmonly used to select numbers when games are played in person.

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Author: Steve Jackson

Pokie reviewer, casino reviewer, article writer and all around hilarious and humble Steve Jackson is one of the main writers here at With an interest in writing and games, Steve has worked for years as a freelance writer covering a wide variety of topics. From video-games to umbrella sales - the experience he has gained in his career, combined with his degree in psychology, help him cover what people want, and what they didn't know was important to them. Now together with, Steve and the rest of the staff work together to bring the reader a website which covers a wide range of gambling relating reviews and topics. From the standard pokie and casino reviews to tutorials on casino games and even fun stories on gambling relating topics, Steve has been first on the ground, helping shape the website into what it is, and what it will one day be. Despite knowing a great deal about gambling he has not yet won any major prize pools. If he did you could bet he would be bragging about them here.

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