A beginner’s guide to keno

What do you suppose is the oldest casino game of them all? Blackjack? That was being played in France back in the days before the Revolution. Craps? This dice game was supposedly invented by a military general during the Crusades some 900 years ago.

But there is one game that is even older. For years, keno has been used as a way to raise money for specific projects and causes while giving the participants the chance to win a cash prize too. How many years? Well if the historians are to be trusted, Keno was first invented by Chinese emperor Cheung Leung around 3,000 years ago. He used the game as a way to raise money for essential renovation work on the Great Wall of China.

If you’ve never quite got around to learning the game, this guide to play keno for real money provides all the detail you need about keno variations and the best online casino sites where you can get a game. Before you dive in, though, let’s cover the basics.

Keno – the basics

At first glance, keno looks similar to bingo, as it involves numbered balls drawn at random that you mark off on your card. It actually has more similarities to a lottery draw, however, as the object of the game is to correctly guess which numbers will be drawn.

There are 80 numbered balls and a keno card displays all 80 numbers. During the game, 20 balls will be drawn at random. You place your bet by predicting which numbers will come up. Traditional keno involves guessing 10 numbers, but there are variations of the game where you can try to guess 15 or even all 20.

Keno strategy

You don’t have to try to guess all lucky numbers. Rules vary from game to game, but usually you can try for between two and ten. The guesses are known as “spots.” Then the draw takes place, and you will win a prize if you get enough matching numbers or “catches”. For example, if you select ten numbers and five of them are right, you will receive a small prize. Get seven right and you win more, and get all ten correct for the top prize.

So while the game is completely random in terms of which balls will be drawn, there is a strategic side to keno in deciding how many lucky numbers to try to guess.

Keno payouts

Every keno game will have its own pay table, and payouts will depend on the number of spots and catches. But just by way of example, if you have 10 spots and 10 catches, a $1 bet could win a $100,000 jackpot, while 8 catches would win $500 and five catches would win $3.

Keno has a higher house edge than many casino games, but like the Lotto, it offers the tantalizing chance of some seriously high returns from a low wager. It also gives scope for keno to be used to raise money for worthwhile causes – something of which Emperor Cheung Leung would most certainly have approved!

Huynh Nguyen

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