Keno has been one of the country's favourite games for more than 100 years. In fact, it was so popular within the mining communities in the Yukon territory that they named a city after it. However, you don’t need to go to Keno City to play. It is widely available online, and there are many variants, so you can find one that matches your style of play and budget.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to play online keno. Also, you’ll learn which keno bets offer the best value, and which ones you need to avoid. If you’re new to this game, continue reading so you can master keno, and hopefully have the luck to win.
How to Play Keno - the Fundamentals
Keno is a lottery-type game, which also shares similarities with bingo. For those of you who have played the lottery or bingo, understanding the fundamentals of keno will only take a minute or two.
- Keno uses 80 balls, numbered from 1 to 80.
- Depending on the variant you are playing, you must pick between 1 and 20 numbers. These are called ‘spots’.
- Your spots are added to your keno ticket.
- ‘Catching a spot’ is when you match a number from the draw with one on your ticket.
How to play online keno:
- The game interface is a grid with the numbers 1 to 80 on it.
- Click on the numbers that you want on your ticket.
- As you add spots, the paytable to the side of the game will display the different payouts for catching your spots.
- When you have added all the spots you want on your ticket, you must then insert your stake. Some online keno games start from as little as $0.50 a ticket, with the maximum bet being $10 or $20 a ticket. Again, this is something that varies between the different versions of the game.
- After you’ve staked your bet, hit ‘Play’. The balls are drawn using a Random Number Generator (RNG).
- The computer software automatically marks off the numbers when you catch a spot.
- If you match enough numbers to qualify for the paytable, you’ll be paid out accordingly.
Keno Payouts & RTP
The payouts are unquestionably one of the main attractions of Keno. It is one of the only casino games that can rival video slots in terms of how much you can win.
Below, you can see an example paytable. This is taken from Microgaming’s keno game. The numbers along the top are how many numbers you picked while the numbers running down the side are how many numbers you matched. The payouts in the centre are based on a $1.00 bet. You can wager up to $10 per ticket. In this instance, the payouts would be multiplied by 10.
The paytable is one of the most important components of keno. It not only allows you to effectively measure the payouts between different variants, but it also highlights the best value bets. For example, if you picked one number on the Microgaming keno game, the RTP is only 75%. In monetary terms, that means you can expect to get back $75 for every $100 wagered on average. However, if you pick 13 numbers, the RTP is 94.90%, which is far more generous.
Popular Keno Variants
Although there are many online keno games to choose from, the basic rules don’t change much from one to another. Therefore, once you understand one game, playing the others is effortless. These are some of the most popular keno variations around:
Super Keno is a 10-pick keno game. Its unique feature is that if the first ball drawn matches one of the numbers you picked, then all payouts will be multiplied by four. The top payout is 2500x your stake. This would increase to 10,000x if you matched the first ball. The RTP is 92.99% when played with six picks.
Developed by IGT, Cleopatra Keno is another 10-pick game. The interesting twist is that if the 20th ball drawn (the last one) contributes to a winning ticket, you win 12 free games with a 2x win multiplier. Although this sounds fantastic, the paytable reveals the highest RTP is 90.27%, which is rather low.
With Caveman Keno, you pick up to 10 numbers between 1 and 80. After choosing your numbers, the computer will randomly pick three additional numbers (from those remaining). These extra numbers are marked as dinosaur eggs. If you match two or more dinosaur egg numbers from the 20-ball draw, you get a 4x - 10x win multiplier to boost your payout. There are several Caveman Keno games. Look for the one that has an 8x multiplier for matching three eggs and a 1000x ten-pick win. This has an RTP of 95.11%.
Triple Power Keno
In this keno variant, you can pick 2 to 10 numbers. If the last number drawn from the game matches one of your picks, you get three extra balls, and any payouts are tripled. Again, this is another keno game with varying paytables ranging from 88% RTP up to 94.5%. So, check these out before putting your dollars in the game.
Bonus Keno - Progressive Jackpot
Leading iGaming software provider NetEnt is no stranger to developing progressive jackpot video slots, such as Mega Fortune and Mega Fortune Dreams. However, it’s also waved its magic wand over keno. This variant features a progressive jackpot that is randomly triggered on any game. The RTP ranges between 84% and 88%, which is a little on the low end, but it could still be worth playing if the jackpot is big enough.
Keno Tips to Improve Your Play
Unlike blackjack and poker, Keno is a game of pure luck, so there is no playing strategy that will help you lower the casino’s advantage. That said, you can still get more from the game by sticking to these golden rules.
- Compare different variants: We have highlighted several keno games on this page, but there are many more. What is clear to see is that the RTP is different for them all. Don’t give the casino free money - play the games that offer the most value.
- Choose the optimal number of balls to pick: As our table illustrates, the RTP is also variable within the game itself. Although this means you might not be playing for the largest possible jackpot, your average payouts over the long-term will be better.
- Manage your bankroll: RNG keno games can be very fast and furious. If you go on a bad run, your bankroll is soon depleted. Small stakes are often recommended because it keeps you in the game longer, and that gives you more chance of winning a major payout.
- Free keno: Even with a straightforward game such as this, it’s good to practice. Free keno allows you to see how frequently you get a payout for different ball picks. Furthermore, you may want to test a betting strategy out. It’s better to play free keno for this, just in case it doesn’t work.
- Casino offers: Some casino bonuses can be used on keno games, but others can’t. If you can find a keno bonus, take advantage of the free games you can enjoy.
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