Keno is a popular game of chance that can be found at both land-based casinos and online venues. Both versions of the game work in much the same way, so in this guide we will discuss online keno, as that is the version that is most convenient and accessible to players in Canada.
As well as explaining how to play keno, we will also talk about the odds of winning. We will even explore the popular topics of keno strategies, and how to win Keno Games, so settle in and get ready to discover a game that has been around for at least a couple of centuries and allegedly much longer.
Top Keno Online Casinos for Real Money
How to Play Online Keno
Keno is a game that has a lot in common with lottery and bingo games. The idea is for players to select up to 20 numbers from the range 1 to 80, and see how many of those selections match 20 numbers that are drawn at random by the casino. The more numbers a player matches, the more he or she will win.
Originally, the numbers in the game were printed on physical balls of various colours and drawn by a machine. These days even land-based casinos use computer software to generate random numbers automatically, and when you play keno online every aspect of the game is simulated.
Even when you play live Keno games in the Live Casino area of an online gambling venue, the numbers will usually be generated randomly by computer. This makes the game impossible to tamper with, and ensures that every draw is completely fair to all players who participate.
Because keno results are determined by a random drawing, winning or losing is all a matter of luck. There is nothing that a player can do to improve his or her chances of picking the winning numbers, so no skill is needed to play.
This makes keno an ideal game for online casino beginners as well as for experienced players who want to leave everything to fate.
How to Play Keno - Numbers and Rules
When you come to play keno online, you will see that it focuses on a main board that shows the large range of numbers you have to pick from. This is usually the range 1 to 80, as mentioned in our introduction, but you can find variations that use smaller ranges, and we will mention those later.
In a land-based casino it is often possible to pick as many as 20 numbers for a game of keno, but when you play online keno it is more common to be able to pick up to 10 or 15. Whatever the case, this is a maximum, and you don't have to pick 10, 15 or 20 unless you really want to. You can just as easily pick 5, 6, or 7 numbers, or even fewer.
Choose Your Stake
The game starts when you choose how much you want to bet. No matter what version of online keno you play, your bet size can be increased or descreased by adjusting the stake value on screen.
Pick Your Keno Numbers
Selecting the numbers that you want to play is a simple matter of clicking those numbers on the main keno board. Each number you choose will be marked so that you can see at a glance which ones you have selected.
When you have selected all the numbers that you want to play in a given round, press the Draw or Play button. The game will then start drawing the winning numbers, and many will give you some kind of visual representation of this happening. For example, keno draws online often show a virtual keno machine based on the physical cages of the past, which are filled with numbered balls that emerge one by one. This keeps things interesting visually, and the numbers being drawn individually instead of all at once helps to build anticipation and excitement.
The numbers that are drawn will also be marked on the main board. If a drawn number matches one of your selections then it is a 'catch' and will be indicated clearly so that you can see how you are faring as the game progresses.
When all of the keno results have been generated, your selections will be assessed and if you have won a prize it will be awarded automatically.
Because there are many different versions of online keno, the odds and payouts will vary according to the variables in each. Generally speaking, the amount that you can win in a game of keno will depend on how many numbers are in the range, how many you choose to play and how many of your selections you manage to catch. We therefore recommend that you always consult the paytable of any game that you want to play to view its own odds and payouts.
Having said all of that, we can give you the odds for catching various quantities of numbers in a standard keno game that uses the range 1 to 80. Assuming that you select 20 numbers, the odds for each possible catch total are as follows:
0 1 in 843.38
1 1 in 86.44
2 1 in 20.11
3 1 in 8.00
4 1 in 4.87
5 1 in 4.28
6 1 in 5.25
7 1 in 8.82
8 1 in 20.05
9 1 in 61.42
10 1 in 253.80
11 1 in 1,423.82
12 1 in 10,968.70
13 1 in 118,084.92
14 1 in 1,821,881.62
15 1 in 41,751,453.98
16 1 in 1,496,372,110.87
17 1 in 90,624,035,964.71
18 1 in 10,512,388,171,906.55
19 1 in 2,946,096,785,176,811.50
20 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,173,800.00
As you can see, the odds of you picking 20 numbers and catching all of them in a keno game with a range of 1 to 80 are so small as to be next to impossible. Your chances of catching 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 numbers, on the other hand, are much better. Game developers and casinos know this, and will adjust their paytables accordingly, paying modest sums for outcomes that are most likely and higher sums for those that are far less likely.
Of course, as we said earlier, you don't have to play the maximum number of selections unless you really want to. You could play 15 numbers, 10 numbers or even just 5. Your chances of catching 5 from 5 or 10 from 10, while still challenging, are far better than of catching 20 from 20, so you can adjust your approach to the game according to the level of risk you want to take.
While most online keno games are as simple as we have just described, some will allow you to play various ticket types. Here are the most common:
Straight Ticket: This is where you make a certain number of selections and hope for the best. All online keno games allow this type of entry, and in many games it will be your only option.
Split Ticket: This type of ticket lets you enter two sets of numbers so that you have two chances to win in every round. The numbers you select for each set will usually need to be unique to that set, and not including in the others set.
Way Ticket: This keno ticket lets you play multiple groups of numbers in the same game. For example, you might choose 6 numbers in total and play all 6 and also 2 groups of 3.
Quick Pick: This is a ticket that will pick a certain quantity of numbers on your behalf, making it ideal for players who don't want to make their own selections.
There are many different variations of keno online, and new ones are being released all the time. Each variation brings something new to the keno gaming experience, such as a unique theme, a different way of presenting the drawing of the keno results or variations in the range of numbers used or the quantity of numbers you can select for a particular round.
Detailing every possible variant that you could encounter would take an entire website itself, so here is a collection of more general variants that you are likely to encounter:
This type of keno has a smaller range than the standard game, so instead of choosing up to 20 numbers from the range 1 to 80 you might have to choose up to 10 numbers from the range 1 to 40. These variants are ideal for those who are just getting to grips with the game, as well as for those who like to play at a faster pace. With fewer numbers being drawn per round, you’ll enjoy more keno draws per hour, which gives you more chances to win.
When you want to enjoy a game of keno in much the same way as it is played at land-based casinos, Live Keno is the variant to focus on. You’ll find it in the Live Casino area of the online venues that offer it, and the game will be presented by a real human dealer. The range of numbers might differ from the 1 to 80 standard, depending on the Live Keno title you choose to play, but the rules and gameplay will be much the same.
While the chances of you catching 20 numbers from 20 selections in a standard game of keno are extremely slim, that isn’t the only way to potentially win big. Progressive Keno is a variant that has a jackpot which grows with each game until someone eventually wins the whole lot at once. The odds of you succeeding in landing a progressive jackpot are still incredibly tiny, but the possibility that it could happen certainly makes the game more exciting.
Power Keno is a popular keno variant that enhances any prize won by a player who manages to catch the 20th number drawn in the game. The prize won is usually quadrupled, although each version of Power Keno can have its own rules. There are also inverse versions of Power Keno that similarly enhance the prizes of players who manage to catch the 1st number drawn.
Free Keno vs Real Money Online Keno
Many top online casinos will let you play their online keno games in demo mode for no cost. Free keno is played in exactly the same way as real money online keno, but any wins you achieve will only be paid as fun credits. These are perfect for anyone who is brand new to keno and wants to play a few casino games without risk before progressing to real money games.
You can also play keno games at the casino's expense by signing up for an account and grabbing a casino bonus. Note that some casino bonuses can't be used on games other than slots, so do looking into that before deciding whether or not you want to take advantage of a particular offer.
Online keno is a game of chance, not skill, and so there is no way to influence the odds or to improve the likelihood of you winning in any meaningful way. Having said that, there are a few tips and strategies that can help you to play the game more sensibly and these could improve your chances of enjoying a win or two even if they don't change your odds of beating the game overall. Here are some of the tips and strategies that you are likely to find most useful:
Check the Rules
Whenever you play a new online keno game for the very first time, be sure to check the rules. This will ensure that you know exactly what the game is asking you to achieve, and how much you stand to win if you are successful.
Don’t Get Greedy
As in most games of chance, the more ambitious you are in the game of keno, the less likely you are to win. Instead of selecting the maximum quantity of numbers, such as 20, consider playing 15, 10 or even fewer and aiming for more modest wins.
Manage Your Bankroll
Playing online keno can be a lot of fun, and your aim should be to have as much fun as possible. A good way of doing that is to divide your bankroll into a number of much smaller stakes so that you can play more games. For example, if you want to play keno with a C$50 bankroll, consider playing 50 games at C$1 per game instead of 10 games at C$5 per game. That will give you 50 chances to win instead of just 10.
Like all casino games, online keno has its own terminology. Here is a short glossary of the most common terms that you might encounter when playing.
The amount of money that you have to spend on casino games. This should always be a sum of money that you can afford to lose and that you will not need for any other purpose.
Another name for the numbers drawn in a keno game. It derives from the fact that numbers were originally painted on physical balls.
A blank keno ticket.
The main board that shows all of the numbers in the range being played.
The physical machine that was used to hold keno balls for drawing at random.
A number that you have selected which appears during the main draw.
The process of numbers being generated to provide the keno results.
A game of keno that is officiated by a human dealer.
The list of prize sums paid for various winning outcomes.
A selection of numbers randomly generated on the player's behalf.
Because keno is such a popular game, most of the biggest online game providers have released their own keno titles. Some of the best providers of online keno games in Canada include Microgaming, EGT and Evoplay.
Keno has been around in its current form since the 19th century, but an earlier version of the game has much earlier roots. Many people associate keno with a rudimentary lottery-style game that was used to raise funds for the building of the Great Wall of China, several centuries before the Current Era.