Originally a Chinese game, Keno made its way to the United States in the middle of the 19th century, when Chinese workers immigrated to the United States to work on the railroad and in the mines.
Keno is a lottery game, but it varies slightly from the local lotteries run in many states and countries. It is very easy to play, and simple to master. While Keno gives worse odds than many casino games, the possibility of such a large win with a relatively small wager attracts many players. Additionally, casinos offer Keno as a side game which goes on while players are busy playing other games in the casino. Each round of Keno is called a race, and casino Keno lounges often have long breaks between Keno races. Some casinos, however, offer a series of Keno races, so that players need only bet once in order to play several games in a short period of time.
Where to Play
Keno is usually played in a special Keno lounge in a land-based casino, but after you place your wager in the lounge, you can go into the main room of the casino. The casinos carry the results on television screens, and many casinos even employ special runners who collect your tickets and bring you any winnings. It's important to keep track of the Keno race even if you're not in the lounge, though.
Many casinos often also offer Keno as a slots game. The main advantage of the slots version of Keno is that you don't have to wait. Results are instant. In addition, you don't have to carry around your form, and you can easily see your results on the screen. Generally, online casinos also offer Keno as an instant game rather than the group game you'll find in a casino's Keno lounge.
How to Play
Keno rules are simple. All you have to do is choose four to ten numbers from the layout. The numbers you can choose are between one and eighty. Generally, there is a big advantage to choosing more numbers. First, you improve your odds slightly, and secondly, only when you choose all ten numbers are you eligible for the highest jackpot.
In a land based casino, you'll mark a ticket similar to a lottery ticket, and you'll get a copy of the ticket. Online or when you're playing instant Keno, the number selection will remain on the screen. Keno lounges use a machine that looks a lot like the regular lottery machine that you see on the evening lottery draws on television. The machine is also similar to a bingo ball blower machine. Twenty balls are selected by the machine. If enough of the balls selected by the machine match your selection, you'll win a prize. The prize is higher if more balls match, of course.
Wagers and Payouts
Minimum wagers vary from casino to casino, but most offer a minimum bet of one dollar or less. If you're playing online or using a Keno machine, you'll be able to see the payout schedule on the screen. The payout varies by how many numbers you have chosen. For example, if you've only chosen four numbers, you'll only need to hit two numbers to win, whereas if you've chosen ten numbers, you have to hit five numbers in order to win. On the other hand, if you get all of your numbers, the more numbers you've chosen, the higher the payout.
Keno has a very high house edge, usually more than 30%. As a result, it's not the best way to try to make money. On the other hand, it does have a low minimum wager with a very high potential jackpot, so if you're feeling really lucky, a Keno race may be exactly what you need to bring home your fortune.