Even if you’ve never set foot in a casino, there’s a strong chance that you’ve still played a few games of keno. That’s because this popular game of chance is the pattern for most state and national lotteries, allowing players to become instant millionaires simply by picking a few numbers at random.
Unfortunately, keno odds and probability are some of the lowest in the casino. While this might discourage hardcore advantage players, more casual casino patrons still enjoy the thrill of parlaying a modest bet into a small fortune. You’ll have a hard time finding a casino that doesn’t offer keno, which is a testament to its enduring popularity and profit potential.
This article is intended to give you a better understanding of keno odds, as well as familiarize you with the basic rules of the game. A few surprises will also be thrown in along the way, so even the most jaded veteran should walk away with some new information.
Keno is a simple game to understand, as it involves picking a series of numbers and then hoping that those same numbers are drawn by the casino. In live games of keno, the player’s desired numbers are marked on a slip of paper, while video keno allows participants to select their digits on a screen.
The available numbers range from 1 to 80, although the specific type of game determines how many numbers the player may choose; this usually ranges from 2 to 10 or 1 to 15. When it’s time for the drawing, 20 numbers are selected at random by the casino. These numbers are compared to the selections made by the player, and payouts are based on the number of matches.
When it comes to playing keno online, we always gravitate towards Microgaming casinos. In addition to offering solid payouts and reliable service, Microgaming also happens to power our two favourite online gaming destinations: Platinum Play and Royal Vegas. We especially like Platinum Play for my keno needs, as they feature a handy guide to teach you about the game, as well as 1500 free pokie spins.
The standard version of Microgaming keno offers the following betting denominations: $1, $2, $5, and $10. Players choose from 1 to 15 numbers, and then press the “play” button to cause 20 balls to be selected randomly. The amount of numbers selected determines the payout, and the following are the winning multiples when 15 numbers are selected: x0.5 for 3 or 4 numbers; x1 for 5 numbers; x2 for 6; x5 for 7; x15 for 8; x50 for 9; x150 for 10; x300 for 11; x600 for 12; x1200 for 13; x2500 for 14; x10,000 for 15. The keno odds for hitting all 15 numbers are poor, but getting a 10,000 multiplier on a $10 bet is hard to ignore.
While we’ll be discussing alternate versions later in the article, this section is devoted to the odds for a standard game of keno (especially those at land-based casinos). If a player selects 20 numbers on a ticket, their chances of getting a catch (also known as a “match”) on each of the 20 balls drawn are as follows:
No player in history has ever hit on all 20 numbers. In fact, if every person currently alive on the planet played a game of keno every second of their lives, there would only be one winner.
The following are some of the keno variants you’ll encounter online or in land-based casinos. We’ve also included the probabilities for winning at these games so you can compare them to standard keno.
Top Bottom Keno – Players choose numbers from the top or bottom half of the keno board and receive payouts based on the number of catches. The probability of getting either zero or 20 catches are the same: 0.00000004. The best probability involves 10 catches, with a probability of 0.20324303.
Triple Power Keno – Featured in some land-based casinos, this version of the game offers a unique twist. If the last ball drawn matches a player’s pick, the player receives three additional balls and triples their normal winnings. The probability of getting zero catches on a Pick 10 game are 0.0523322, while two catches offers the best chance at 0.3036927.
Power Keno – This version plays just like traditional keno, except that the last ball drawn plays a special role. If the 20th ball matches one of the numbers selected by the player, all their winnings are quadrupled. Playing the Pick 2 option provides a 0.37974684 probability of matching one number, while the chances of getting half the numbers on a Pick 10 are 0.05142769.
Super Keno – If the first ball drawn matches one of the player’s numbers, any win will be quadrupled. The Pick 10 version of the game carries a 0.17957138 probability of matching one number, while the chances of catching all 10 digits are 0.00000011.
Keno odds and probability are less than generous, but that doesn’t stop people from playing the game in droves. The chance to become an instant millionaire is always a temptation, and even a lesser win can still result in a respectable payday.
Land-based casinos offer keno drawings every few minutes, but we prefer playing keno online. These establishments serve up instant games to anyone who’s willing to wager money and press a button. While this style is more convenient for the player, it’s also cheaper than spending money on gas and airfare for a trip to the nearest brick-and-mortar casino.