How to Play Keno

How to Play Keno

Keno is a Chinese version of Bingo with 80 numbers on the slip, with 20 of them getting drawn out. It’s a lottery game, but there are still rules to know and strategies to apply. Find out here how to improve your keno game.

Keno: How to Beat a Lottery Game

What is Keno and how is it different from Bingo? Or is it the same thing, but the French are being fancy again? When you start playing Keno for the first time, it doesn’t make much sense. I’ve personally had trouble understanding the paying combinations. Why the hell would you get money for guessing nothing, but not get paid for hitting three?!

I know, I wasn’t alone in this. Many players don’t get the hang of it easily. So to save you the trouble of going through the learning process, I’ve decided to write this brief guide for you.

How Does It Work?

Keno, despite sounding French, is actually a Chinese version of Bingo. When it came to the United States, they replaced Chinese characters with something more American — Arabic numerals. In the early days, they also used to attach a racehorse name next to the numbers. Moreover, this has stuck around to this day, with many Keno operators calling Keno games races. And if you choose to play several of them, you buy something people still call multirace ticket.

The play slip contains 80 numbers, aligned in 10 groups of 8. The game revolves around the keno machine randomly selecting 20 numbers. And depending on how many you’ve guessed, the prize amount will vary accordingly.

Real-life Keno uses a Keno machine, whereas online casinos with Keno games use RNG to decide the outcome. Besides the obvious advantages of an online casino, online Keno games usually offer a higher payout percentage.

Bull’s Eye

Bull’s eye is an addition to keno. Out of the 20 numbers that get selected, the game chooses one of them randomly to be the special one. And if a player has chosen that number beforehand, they can see their wins multiplied, occasionally up to 25 times.

Choosing the Right Game

There are many variants of Keno you can find online, and many software providers offer different multiplier numbers for the amounts wagered. You should always check those before betting any real money. Moreover, Keno games usually let you select up to 10 numbers at a time. However, there are variants where you can pick more, going up to 15, or even 20.

Furthermore, a number of Keno games offer further insight. For example, some keep track of consecutive draws, and consequently, pick out hot and cold numbers. Although picking the cold ones doesn’t really affect your chances of winning, some players feel more comfortable having that information.

Different Keno games also come with different requirements when it comes to how many numbers you need to guess. For instance, if you select 20 numbers, you can have a winning ticket with 0 guesses, as it’s a lower probability to miss all of them than to guess one or two.

Ticket Combinations

Up until now, everything was pretty straightforward, right? Eighty instances, 20 of them get selected, you either guessed them or you didn’t. Well, here’s where things get a little bit messy. There are three ways to wager your ticket, and we’ll explain them now.

If you play on a single ticket, you can play with a method called way ticket. This means you can group certain numbers independently. Say you select 6 numbers. You can group them in two sets of three and wager $3, marking “2/3, 1/6” on the side. This means you’ve basically played three combinations, with the wager amount being $1 for each one. 2/3 represents that you have two combinations consisting of 3 numbers.

On the other hand, there’s also a king ticket. With the king ticket, you circle one of your choices. Let’s say you pick five numbers and chose one of them to be the king number. This way, you can split them again into two groups, with the king number being a part of both groups.

Finally, a combination ticket is when you combine numbers from different groups. For instance, you have three groups of 3, 4 and 5 numbers. You can make combinations of 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, up to 1/9, all on the same ticket.


Do you know that expression ‘leave nothing to chance’? Well, that won’t do you much good here. Keno is a game entirely reliant on chance. As such, there isn’t really any strategy to employ. Nonetheless, here are a few tips you can utilize in order to make some profit.

When you start off, the first question you face is how many numbers to pick on your keno ticket. You should (always) go for four to eight numbers for each keno drawing session. The reasoning behind this is that if you choose three numbers, no matter how many number matches you get, the payout won’t be worth it. Especially when you know the probability of hitting 3/80 numbers is really not that high.

On the other hand, if you choose more than eight, you’ll need to hit at least five to earn something. It might happen a few times, but in the long run, you don’t stand a chance coming on top.

Some players also suggest picking consecutive numbers. Although the game is determined by RNG, they’ve experienced that you have a higher chance of winning if you don’t just choose numbers completely randomly. This may go against the logic of a Random Number Generator, but at the end of the day, it makes it also easier to follow what’s going on.

Some bold players implement the Martingale strategy. This consists of your doubling up your bet every time you lose. This way, you’d recover your losses on your first win. However, it would also make you cry if that win never comes. Odds on a keno win are not close to 50%, which makes this strategy not a very wise one. But if you’re gutsy, go for it.


Keno is a version of bingo. But it’s not just for old grannies who sit around in their nursing homes. When the online casinos became popular, keno games followed suit. It’s a quicker game to play than a lot of other casino games, and players enjoy it because you can play around with various combinations. As always, we recommend you to first play just for fun, until you get the grasp of the game and its mechanics.

Don’t forget that this is, and always will be, a game of chance. You can implement a few different strategies, but it’ll always come down to just how lucky you are. In the long run, you’ll likely lose money. So consider it more as buying entertainment, rather than being unfortunate.

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