Playing Video Keno 101

Playing Video Keno 101 is about a game that could be the oldest known gambling game. Lotteries are similar to keno. Keno traveled to America with Chinese immigrants. Lotteries were brought to America from European settlers. European lotteries were very popular the last 500 years.

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The odds in video keno are about as bad as penny slot machines – or worse. I have often wondered why anyone would ever play it. Generally, people who play keno are willing to play against a big house advantage to have a chance for a big payout. The lottery is a good example of that. To me, it used to be as exciting as watching paint dry.  But lately, I’ve been playing it more.

One day, I was playing next to someone who only plays keno.  I looked over and he had just hit for $16,000! Unbelievable. Maybe there is something to this?

So, here’s a little refresher course – Playing Video Keno 101.

A Little History

Old Chinese Keno Ticket
Old Chinese Keno Ticket

Keno is believed to date back to China in the 1st century AD. Characters from a poem by Confucius` were used in the matrix instead of numbers. The object of the game is to choose from one (1) to ten (10) numbers between one and eighty. Hopefully, some or all will be randomly selected by the random number generator. According to The Wizard of Odds, Michael Shackelford, the odds are much better in video keno than live keno. Keep in mind that the rate of play on a machine is about 50 times faster. Unfortunately, assuming the same bet size per game, you can expect to lose more per hour playing video keno.

Mr. Shackelford goes on to say on his site “….If you must play keno, the only skill is choosing where to play and then how many numbers to choose. It makes no difference which numbers you actually choose. Contrary to popular myth, legitimate keno games, like those in Las Vegas, are fair and every ball has a 1 in 80 chance of being drawn each game”

Other reasons to play Video Keno.

  1. Video Keno can be slowed by the speed button, extending your play.
  2. You don’t have to interact with others.
  3. While the odds are poor, the game can be a slower alternative if your casino visit gets off to a horrible start.
  4. Playing video keno at a bar can be an easy way of getting free drinks at a lower bet.
  5. It’s not brain surgery.  No need to practice the strategy – there is none.  Some will have a different opinion. There are nuances to learn for some games (4 card Cleopatra, for example.) Basically, it’s “bet, pick the numbers, and let the balls be randomly chosen.”

    Hitting 5 out of 5 on Cleo 4 card Video Keno

Related Post  Four Card Keno Strategy 

According to Al Moe of All About Gambling, the most popular Video Keno game is Caveman Bingo, offers a bonus payoff.  After choosing your numbers, three of your non-chosen numbers will be marked with a big spotted dinosaur egg. If you have eggs that match any of the 20 numbers the machine chooses, the payoff is multiplied.

Caveman Keno
Caveman Keno

One matching egg pays the standard payoff, two matching eggs (they hatch as they go) pays 4 to 1, and if all three eggs match the payoff is 8 to 1 (some older machines are actually 10 to 1).  Al states that with the 8x multiplier the overall payoff is close to 96-percent, a very good game, which is actually better than most penny through dollar slots!

A note about Video Keno in Massachusetts casinos. Video Keno is not offered at any of the three commercial casinos. In short, an agreement between the state lottery and the Mass. Gaming Commission eliminated Video Keno in casinos from the start.

Live Keno In New England

Keno CT
Live Keno can be found in every New England state (yes, even in Vermont). Connecticut was the last to add live Keno to restaurants and stores. Each state’s Lottery system runs these games.  Foxwoods seems to be the only casino still offering live keno.  You might give it a try.  While passing the time, you might make you a few unexpected bucks.