How To Play Keno: The Complete Guide

How To Play Keno And Win

Learning how to play keno and win is imperative if you want to master this game. Keno is considered to be the first game in the history of gambling, with the earliest records of the first variation going way back to around 2300 b.c. in ancient China. Not only that but the Keno as we know it and still play it today is not much different from its ancient predecessor, being that the rules of the game are pretty much the same.

Just like modern Keno, back then, the players were allowed to choose from 80 different numbers, and consequently wait for the winning draw.

Moreover, the players had to visit specially designated establishments that were under the authority of the local Governor, to play the game, which then draws yet another similarity to the modern casino houses that we know and visit today. Being that Keno is one of the oldest and most played casino games in history, we decided to comprise a casino guide to give you all the details on how to play this extremely entertaining game. 

What is Keno and How to Play To Win?

Keno is a lottery-type casino game that originates from China and has just one rule: guess the winning numbers. In particular, each player will get a special coupon that contains 80 numbers, and all you need to do to win is to guess the lucky numbers. Moreover, the numbers are selected completely at random by the computer (or by the dealer at land-based casinos), and the player can choose between 1 and 10 numbers, or more to bet on. How much you win depends on the amount of your bet (1,3 or 5 credits, with 5 being the usual max. bet at most casinos), how many numbers you choose, and how many numbers will be drawn.


Thanks to the vast improvement of iGaming technology, and consequently, the emergence of online casinos, today, there are multiple variations of this ancient casino game at most online casinos that you visit. While the essence of the game does remain the same, certain variations of Keno allow you to choose up to 20 random numbers to bet on, numbers that the computer will randomly select. 

Regardless of your personal preference, the game of Keno is generally considered to be quite rewarding and exciting, that is if you know how to play and what to do. This is even though some variations are not as practical as others, for example. However, being that the graphics of this particular game are usually top-notch, that is no matter the variation, as well as the interface, most players don’t mind these technicalities, being that Keno is one of the easiest games to understand and master, unlike certain, more complex casino games.

Terms & Phrases

In order to learn how to play this amazing game that is Keno, you will first have to learn all of the key terms and phrases that this game uses. For example, you need to be able to distinguish the keno spot bet, from the spot keno version of the game. Just for reference, Spot Keno is the name of the classic version of Keno, and it comes without any multipliers, additional balls, or combinations, making it probably the rawest and most pure variation of them all. Keno spot bet, on the other hand, is completely different, being that is one of the essential rules of the game itself.

  • Keno Spot – the name of an individual number
  • Keno Payout Table – detailed info on the winning possibility of the players
  • Matching Numbers – the more matching numbers you guess, the bigger the win; certain versions will even reward matching zeros
  • Hot & Cold Keno Numbers – hot numbers are the ones that appeared recently; cold numbers are the opposite
  • Match or Catch – the action when one of your numbers is drawn
  • Highlighted Numbers –  the numbers that you match successfully 

Types Of Bets In Keno

The second thing that you have to learn after getting to know the terms and phrases in Keno, is all of the different bet types that this ancient casino game works with. If you wish to know how to play this game, learning all of the different bets is one of the most important things you can do. Let’s have a look.

  • Straight Bets – the most common Keno bet; you can bet up to 15 numbers per game
  • Way Bets – bet on a group of numbers, or break them down into smaller subgroups called “ways”; there are no repeated numbers allowed, and each number must appear in only one way
  • Split Bets – bet on more than one group of numbers; each is considered separate during the game
  • Combination Ticket – better known as “combo bet”, allows you to bet several groups of numbers on a single ticket; this can include a combination of both-way and straight bets 
  • King Ticket – very similar to split bet, only you choose one single number that is known as “The King”; it must appear in all groups of numbers

Tricks & Tips On How To Play Keno And Win

Learning the tricks of the trait should always be a top priority not just for Keno in particular, but for any casino game out there that you are currently pondering conquering. When it comes to Keno, one of the most frequent questions for the majority of the newbies is regarding the winning numbers in Keno. Well, being that this is a game of chance and not a game of skill, there are no particular numbers that are considered the “winning” numbers. Just as we explained earlier, Keno is played by choosing multiple numbers starting from 1, up to a total of 80, with luck playing the biggest part in the outcome.

However, this is not to say that you don’t have any say in increasing the chances of learning how to play and win Keno, being that there are still several things you can do to at least give yourself a better fighting chance.

  • Choose The Version With The Best Payout 

Considering that different online Keno versions come with different payouts, the best course of action here would be to find the variation that offers the biggest payout.

  • Choose The Version With The Most Numbers Allowed To Bet On

Now, being that the payout amount greatly depends on both the amount of the wager and how many numbers you bet on, you should always aim to play on tables that come with more numbers to bet on, such as the Microgaming version, for example.

Number of Guessed Numbers RTP (Return to Player)
  • Find An Online Casino That Offers Keno Bonus

While this might be a bit more tricky to find, it is still nevertheless a viable way to increase your chances of winning. Sure, not all casinos offer a Keno bonus, but once you do, just make sure to mind the wager requirements, being that this is the trickiest part of the Keno bonuses out there. Aside from, this, landing a Keno bonus greatly increases your winning chances.

Winning Chances At Keno

When we speak about the casino advantage of Keno, the first thing you need to be aware of before learning how to play is that this game has one of the highest advantages out of all casino games out there. For instance, when it comes to roulette, the casino edge varies between 2.7% and 5.26%. When it comes to Keno, on the other hand, the numbers vary between 20% and 25%, which needless to say is quite a lot.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the case with every Keno variation out there, especially when it comes to the online versions which are known to be a bit more lenient in this regard. This is because online keno allows you to bet on far more numbers than the land-based versions, and it also comes with a significantly improved payout.  

For example, if you decide to bet 15 numbers, then the casino advantage will clock somewhere around 5.6%. Yet, despite this low number, I.e. the fact that the casino advantage is indeed lower for online Keno, nevertheless, the overall losses might still end up greater than the initial percentage, depending on your actions. Have a look.

Hits NumberPayout AmountWin Probability
105,22 %
2014.79 %
30,524,04 %
40,525,02 %
5117,61 %
628,63 %
752, 99%
8150,73 %
9500,12 %
113000,0012 %
126000,000065 %
1312000,000002 %
1425000,000000035 %
1510 0000,00000000023 %

All in all, you have around a 12.5% chance to win at online Keno, which means that you should expect a win around every eight games, with the rest of the outcomes being either a loss or a draw. Either way, the thing to remember here is that online Keno is far more flexible and rewarding than live Keno played at land-based casinos.

Keno vs Bingo – Similarities and Differences

Many new players who are just learning how to play Keno often wonder whether this game is the same as Bingo. And while there are indeed certain similarities between the two, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Bingo and keno are so different, that they are more opposite from one another than they are similar. From here, if we are looking to find a similarity between the two, then keno is a bit more like picking lottery numbers than bingo is.


This is because when it comes to Bingo, you play the game by first obtaining a special ticket that contains the potential winning numbers, and once the draw starts, the way you win is by marking the drawn numbers on your ticket. You win by guessing a combination that consists of 5 numbers or more, with 7 usually bringing the highest payout.


When it comes to Keno, you, the player, pick all the numbers for yourself. This means that you decide what numbers you want to place your bet on, and afterward, you just wait for the draw to see whether you made the right pick. The only major similarity to bingo here is that you need to personally keep track of the winning numbers, being that should you miss one, you risk losing your entire winnings.

To sum it all up, Keno is a far more interactive and personalized game than Bingo, simply because the players are the ones that decide which numbers they want to bet on, meaning that you get to make your own decisions, unlike Bingo, for example.

Final Thoughts

We hope that our guide can help you to learn how to play keno and win. All you need to do is follow these simple rules, play responsibly, and make sure to have fun.

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