Video Keno Is A Gambling Alternative

Video Keno has a long history. Only 30 years ago, Video Keno was different and much simpler from the games played today. Let’s look at Video Keno as a Gambling Alternative.

Video Keno Is A Gambling Alternative

Keno – A Brief History

Old Chinese Keno Ticket
Keno and Video Keno are much like lottery games. It is believed to date back to China, 1st century AD, when characters of a Confucius poem were used rather numbers.


The odds are much better in Video Keno than live keno. However, the rate of play on a machine is much faster. Legitimate keno games, like those governed by state gaming commissions, are fair. Every ball has a 1 in 80 chance of being drawn each game. The biggest difference between Video Keno and regular Keno is the way the numbers are drawn. Instead of actual balls, the machines use a RNG or Random Number Generator. These computer chips randomly select 20 numbers 

The introduction of multi-card keno games – Four Card Keno and later 20-Card Keno – revolutionized Video Keno, much the way Triple Play and Five Play machines revolutionized video poker.
Video Keno Is A Gambling Alternative

Are The Odds in Video Keno Worse Than Slot Machines With a Similar Wager?

The odds in Video Keno are usually thought to be as bad as slot machines – or worse. But, that’s not necessarily true. Mike Shackleford did a study in Las Vegas in 2017. His calculations found that the average keno pay tables paid 89.97% on the Strip and 91.34% Downtown. Both higher than most penny-slots on the casino floor.

The Pay Tables – Video Keno Is A Gambling Alternative

Pay Tables on Video Keno games are similar to Video Poker pay tables, only more difficult to read. And there are more pay tables than Video Poker. Pay tables can change depending on how many spots are played.

Michael Shackleford, the “Wizard of Odds,” lists 25 pages of video keno pay tables in Gambling 102, a new publication at Las Vegas Advisor. He includes pay table charts for Caveman Keno 8X, 10x and Plus, Cleopatra Keno, Extra Draw Keno, Power Keno, and Triple Power Keno. “All told and totaled, the eminent Mr. Shackleford lists 290 paytables for video keno.”

Your Odds and Systems

Your odds of hitting any number is always the same 80:1. Every ball is a single event. They increase, of course, due to the 10 numbers you pick and the 20 chances you have, and you’re 4:1 to hit on any of your selections.

Many people offer systems that are guaranteed for success. But remember, short of having a crystal ball to see the future, buyer beware. How could any system change chance into something skill-based?  Don’t believe it.  However, there are ways to help lower that high house edge.

Effective Observations to Lower the House Edge

Trying to lower the house edge is the key. Brad Fredella, of Gaming Today, suggests 5 to 7 spots played. “[This] usually [gives] the highest return within each setting …. It’s mathematically advantageous to do so.”

Also, check the pay tables and compare between machines. Play the machine returning the most. An easy way to do this is to look at 5-of-5.  In other words, playing 5 spots and hitting all five.

Video Keno Is A Gambling Alternative

Generally speaking, the more credits you’ll get for hitting 5-of-5 on any non-bonus version of video keno, the looser the machine is set. Remember, this does not include bonus machines (Caveman, Cleopatra, Triple Power, etc.)

Four-Card Video Keno Rationale

Video Keno aficionado Mystic Gambler explains why he plays four-card Video Keno. “What really clinched it for me was realizing that catching a 7 spot in Four Card Keno had about the same odds as getting a Royal Flush in video poker. And the kicker was that a 7 spot paid $7,000 for my dollar bet while the Royal only paid a thousand (for 1 $1.25 bet).  So I was able to totally rationalize playing the so-called ‘worst game in the house’, Keno – and specifically, Four Card Keno.”

I enjoy four-card Video Keno. To me, four-card Video Keno essentially shrinks the size of the keno board. By marking groups of numbers into distinct regions, zones, patterns or clusters, I can cover more numbers than with one card. The disadvantage is that you’re betting on more than one keno card which raises your wager.

Four-Card Cleopatra Keno

Video Keno Is A Gambling Alternative

I now enjoy playing Four-Card Cleopatra Keno at $.25. I strategically layer my numbers so that it is possible to get more than one card in the bonus. Sometimes I play 5 spots per card, sometimes 7, or sometimes I mix them up. Here’s a recent win with a 7 spot covered – $125.


Video Keno Is A Gambling Alternative you may enjoy and lengthen your time of play for your session.  That’s all for now.


One comment

  1. Fantastic article about casino.
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