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Keno is a simple game of luck, much like most lottery games, where the player chooses numbers and hope as many as possible match those randomly drawn by a hopper or machine. The simple form with no multipliers or extra balls is called spot keno. See the Internal Links section below for many keno variants.
Following are the rules for basic "spot keno."
- The player makes a wager and indicates which numbers he wishes to pick. The picks are made on a slip of paper in live keno and by touching the screen in video keno. The range of numbers the player may pick from is 1 to 80.
- The number of picks the player may make depends on the game itself. Usually the range is 2 to 10 or 1 to 15.
- The game will randomly choose 20 out of 80 balls.
- If the game chooses a number the player chose that is known as a "catch." The player is paid according to the number of balls he catches.
I have several examples of pay tables and their associated return in my page on spot keno.
There are lots of keno variations out there. I have analyzed many of them, as listed below.
- 246 Way Keno.
- 369 Way Keno.
- Alien Attack Keno.
- Bonus Keno
- Bonus Spot Keno
- Book of Keno.
- Captain Coins Keno.
- Caveman Keno.
- Caveman Keno Max
- Caveman Keno Plus
- Cleopatra Keno
- Cleopatra Keno Max
- Davinci Diamonds.
- Dream Ball Keno.
- Extra Draw Keno .
- Jackpot Party Keno
- Mad Yeti Keno.
- Power Keno.
- Prairie Thunder Keno.
- Spot Keno.
- Super Keno.
- Super Way Keno.
- Triple Trouble Keno.
- Triple Power Keno
- Top Bottom Keno
- Triple Diamond Keno
- Ultimate X Keno.
- Wolf Run Keno.
- Super Times Pay Keno.
We have calculators to determine the payback for any pay table for the following keno games:
- Power Keno/Super Keno.
- Cleopatra Keno.
- Caveman Keno.
- Caveman Keno Plus.
- Triple Power Keno.
- Extra Draw.
In 2001, I did a survey of every live keno casino game in Las Vegas. The returns ranged from 65% to 80%. In other words, the house edge was 20% to 35%, making live keno among the worst bets you can make in Las Vegas.
In 2012 I did a similar survey of live keno in Laughlin, which showed a range of return of 50% to 74%.
In 2008 I did a survey of video keno in San Diego. The returns ranged from 84% to 95%.
In 2017 I redid my Las Vegas video keno survey, which can be found at Wizard of Vegas.
If you must play keno, the only skill is choosing where to play to play and then how many numbers to choose. It makes no difference which numbers you choose. Contrary to popular myth, legitimate keno games, like those in Las Vegas, are fair and every ball has a 1 in 80 chance of being drawn each game. To determine the odds of any keno game you can use my keno calculator. Just put in the pay table and you will see how much you can expect to get back every bet.
However, I tend to think anybody who would take the trouble to analyze the game is probably not playing it in the first place. The odds in video keno are about as bad as slot machines. If you want to lose a lot less money gambling I would highly recommend converting to video poker. For live keno players, I would suggest converting to bingo.
Get your keno fix right here on my practice game.
When you're in the casino it would take a long time to put in every pay table through my many calculators above to determine the best game to play. That is why I created two printer-friendly guides you can print out and take with you:
- My Keno Scouting Guide is a short reference to the best available game for any pay table for all the most popular forms of keno. Each game has a table showing the possible pick-10 pay tables available and the best number of picks for that game and its return. See the last page of the guide for a full explanation how to use it.
- My Full Pay Table Report is a longer guide showing every known pay table for all the major keno games and their associated return. For those who want to know the return for any number of picks, not just the best number (which the Keno Scouting Guide provides).
For a printer-friendly document showing keno pay tables and returns for several major keno games please see my Keno Scouting Guide (PDF). Perfect for printing and taking to the casino to find the best game and pay table available.
- Las Vegas Hilton keno games.
- Atlantic City Tropicana keno.
- Jumbo Keno Progressive/Mega 10 — Progressive keno games found at Station Casinos of Las Vegas.
- Progressive keno games at the Boyd and Station casinos.
- Nevada numbers — a progressive lottery game.
- High/Low/Middle Keno — keno game seen at the Lisboa in Macau.
- Extra Draw Keno (two extra balls).
- Jumbo Keno Progressive — kenogame at the Station Casinos.
- Fremont "Super Eight"
- Laughlin keno survey.
- Keno prop bets
- Keno Calculator
- Keno Exacta
- Keno Draw Poker
- Las Vegas live keno survey
- San Diego video keno survey
- 40-Ball Keno
- Klub Keno
- Learn to calculate the odds in Keno
- Keno sums — Math behind the sum of all 20 balls drawn
- Variance in Multi-Card Keno
Keno games by U1 Gaming
Following are keno games by U1 Gaming.
- Balloon Game Keno
- Circus Keno
- Count Your Chicks
- Critter Country Keno
- Crossroads Keno
- Fire Power Keno
- Golden Hits
- Liberty Stars
- Redneck Keno
- Super Spot Keno
- Thunder Power
This video shows how to calculate the odds in keno using Excel.
- German translation of this keno page.
Written by:Michael Shackleford