Keno is a lottery-style gambling game with ancient roots and widespread modern popularity. Players select up to 10 numbers between 1 and 80, and then 20 numbers are randomly drawn to determine the winning numbers. The more numbers a player matches, the more they can win.
Keno originated over 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty in ancient China. Back then, the game was used to fund major government projects like the Great Wall of China. Today, versions of keno are played around the world, especially in casinos and lottery outlets.
The game is so well-loved because it combines elements of luck and strategy in an exciting format. Matching numbers to win cash prizes provides a thrilling experience. Players also enjoy trying to increase their odds of winning through number picking strategies.
Learning insider tips to select potentially winning number combinations can definitely improve your results. This guide will provide key strategies to consider when playing keno so you can boost your chances of success. With some effort and smart picking, it’s possible to beat the odds and come out ahead in keno.
How Keno Works
Keno is a simple game to understand, but like any game of chance, there is some strategy involved if you want to increase your odds of winning. Keno is played with a field of 80 numbers from 1 to 80. When playing, you select between 1 and 10 numbers on a keno card, usually by marking them with a pen or on a touch screen terminal. Each game has a specified range of numbers you can choose from, such as 1-10 or 1-20 numbers.
After you make your number selections, 20 numbers out of the 80 total are randomly drawn and displayed. If some or all of your picked numbers match the numbers drawn, you win a prize based on the payout table and amount you wagered. The more numbers you match in a game, the bigger your payout.
Keno draws happen quickly, with a new round every few minutes in live casinos and online. The speed of play and potential for a fast, big win are part of keno’s appeal. While keno may seem purely luck-based, there are some strategies to increase your chances which we’ll explore later. First understanding the probabilities and payouts is key.
Each keno game has its own expected payback percentage or house edge, with common ranges from 70% to 90%. This means for every $1 wagered cumulatively by players, between $0.70 and $0.90 is paid back over time. The payback depends on factors like the size of the number field, number of picks allowed, and payout table structure. Like any casino game, keno favors the house in the long run.
Odds and Probabilities
In Keno, the odds of winning depend on how many numbers you pick on your Keno card and how many numbers match the draw. The more numbers you pick, and the more that match, the higher your odds of winning. However, the probabilities also change depending on how many numbers you choose.
For example, if you pick a single number between 1 and 80, your odds of that one number matching the draw are 1 in 80. However, if you pick 10 numbers, your odds of hitting at least one number are much better, around 1 in 8.
The highest prize is achieved by matching all 10 of your picked numbers to the draw. The probability of hitting all 10 is around 1 in 8.1 million. Matching 9 out of 10 numbers has a probability of around 1 in 550,000. As you match less numbers, the probability improves significantly. Matching 5 numbers has a probability of around 1 in 834, while matching just 2 has a probability of 1 in 29.
So while the big jackpot prizes are enticing, they are extremely difficult to win. You’re much more likely to win smaller prizes from matching just a few numbers. Understanding the odds and probabilities can help inform your number picking strategy and manage your expectations. Focusing on hitting 3-5 numbers generally offers a decent chance to win a smaller prize.
There are a lot of common misconceptions and myths surrounding playing Keno. Many players falsely believe there are “hot” and “cold” numbers, or that certain numbers or patterns are “due” to hit if they haven’t come up in a while. However, every Keno draw is completely random and independent from previous draws. Here are some common Keno myths:
- Odd and even numbers alternate more frequently – This is not true, as each number has an equal probability of being drawn in each round. There are no patterns or predictability to the numbers.
- The same numbers repeat more often – Numbers are drawn randomly each round, with no tendency to repeat or avoid certain numbers more frequently. Just because a number hit in a previous round does not make it more or less likely to be drawn again.
- Numbers that haven’t hit in a while are “due” – Every number has an equal chance of being drawn on each round, regardless of how recently it was picked. There are no “hot” or “cold” streaks.
- Certain patterns or shapes will hit – There is no correlation between certain shapes on the Keno card and their likelihood of being picked. Patterns like horizontal lines or boxes have no better odds.
- Playing the same numbers every time works – While playing the same set of numbers can help players remember their picks, it does not change the odds or make those numbers more likely to be selected in the random number generator.
The key is that Keno draws are completely random each time. No number or pattern is ever “due” or has better odds based on previous rounds. Players should not put faith in common Keno myths and misconceptions.
Hot and Cold Numbers
Many Keno players swear that some numbers come up hot, meaning they hit more frequently, while other numbers come up cold, meaning they hit less frequently. This leads players to focus on hot numbers and avoid cold numbers when selecting their Keno tickets.
However, the reality is that in true random number Keno games, all numbers have exactly the same probability of being drawn in each round. No number is more likely to come up than any other number in the long run. The odds of each number being picked are equal.
The perception of hot and cold numbers is often just confirmation bias. People tend to remember when a number they picked comes up and forget the many times it doesn’t. They also ignore all the times they didn’t pick a certain number and it came up. Over thousands of Keno drawings, the frequency of all numbers evening out.
Some players track the results of previous draws and look for trends, seeing patterns that aren’t really there. A number may come up multiple times in a short span, leading players to think it’s hot. But these apparent hot streaks are just the natural variation that occurs in random drawings over smaller samples. Over the long haul, no number is more likely to be chosen than any other.
So while some Keno fans insist certain numbers feel lucky for them, the idea of objectively hot or cold Keno numbers is simply a myth. Players should not put too much weight on which numbers have or have not hit recently when choosing numbers for their Keno tickets.
Number Frequency Analysis
Tracking and analyzing the frequency of numbers drawn in past Keno games can help inform what numbers to play. Some key aspects of frequency analysis:
- Review historical drawings, often going back hundreds or even thousands of draws. The larger the data set, the more insights you can glean.
- Tally how many times each number has been drawn. Identify which numbers get drawn most often and least often.
- Calculate the actual percentages for each number’s frequency. Some numbers may get drawn 5-10% more often than statistical chance.
- Look for trends and patterns with hot, cold, overdue, and balanced numbers. A hot number hits more frequently, while a cold number hits less often.
- Notice differences between frequency charts for various Keno games. Analysis is specific to each version, balls used, and drawing mechanism.
- Apply insights cautiously. While helpful for hinting at odds, frequency analysis has limits in predicting individual drawings.
- Combine with other strategies like playing to match historical averages, avoiding recent hits, and covering a spread of hot, cold, and balanced numbers.
The key is not to expect frequency analysis to be a silver bullet, but rather to use it as one helpful tool to inform your number choices. Tracking long-term trends can give you a small edge if applied wisely alongside proven number picking strategies.
Random vs Strategic Picking
One of the biggest debates in keno is whether it’s better to randomly pick numbers or use some kind of strategic system. Players on both sides feel strongly that their approach gives them an advantage. Let’s look at the arguments:
- Supporters of random picking believe it doesn’t matter how you select numbers since keno is entirely a game of chance. They argue there’s no skill involved and all sets of numbers have an equal probability of being drawn.
- They say random gives you the same odds as any other method, without wasted effort trying to analysis or spot trends.
- Some players use random selections like quick picks or auto picks to simplify the process. They feel this frees them up to just enjoy the game.
- Strategic players believe you can gain an edge by studying number frequency and intentionally picking numbers with higher odds of being drawn.
- Many use computer analysis of past draws to see which numbers are “hot” or “cold” and try to exploit those trends.
- Some players also avoid consecutive numbers, or pick high-low number patterns based on number theory principles.
- Strategic players feel their systems require skill and give them better odds than just picking randomly.
At the end of the day there is no provably better approach. Keno remains a probability game no matter how you select numbers. But many players enjoy using systems or spotting trends, whether it helps or not. The key is finding a picking method that you feel good about and not second-guessing yourself.
Top Number Picking Strategies
When playing keno, while there is no foolproof strategy for winning, there are some number picking techniques that can potentially increase your odds. Here are some of the most common strategies used:
Play Your Birthday or Anniversary Dates
Use numbers that hold personal significance like your birthday, anniversary, or other memorable dates. This helps you randomly generate numbers in a way that you’ll easily remember. Just take the month and day of your date. For example, October 15 would be 10-15.
Follow Recent Winning Numbers
Some players like to bet on numbers that have hit recently, believing they may hit again. Check the screens in keno lounges that show past winning draws and look for frequently drawn numbers.
Avoid Number Groups
Since keno draws are random, avoid picking numbers that all fall in the same group (e.g. 1-10 or 31-40). Spread your picks across the whole number field for a more even distribution.
Use a Consistent Pattern
Follow a pre-determined pick pattern, like selecting 5 even and 5 odd numbers. Or alternate between high and low numbers. Using a consistent system can help spread out your picks.
Pick Numbers That Haven’t Hit
Some players use the law of averages, betting on “due” numbers that haven’t been drawn recently. This means selecting numbers that have gone several games without being picked.
Managing Your Bankroll
When playing Keno, it’s crucial to manage your bankroll responsibly to ensure you don’t lose more than you can afford. Here are some tips:
- Set a gambling budget for each session and stick to it. Determine how much you’re willing to lose before you start playing.
- Only bet what you can comfortably afford to lose. Avoid chasing losses by increasing your bets to try to win back money. This usually leads to bigger losses.
- Take breaks and stop playing if you reach your loss limit for the session. Don’t try to immediately win back losses in the same session.
- Slow down your play if you go on a losing streak. Reduce your bet size or take a break altogether. Never try to recover losses quickly.
- Avoid borrowing money or dipping into savings to gamble. Only use disposable income set aside strictly for entertainment.
- Cash out your winnings if you’re ahead and call it a day. Don’t assume a winning streak will continue indefinitely.
- Never chase losses or bet more than you can afford in hopes of a big payout. This is how many players lose large sums quickly.
- Set a win limit and walk away when you reach it. Wins can vanish fast if you continue gambling past your predetermined stopping point.
- Take frequent breaks, at least 5-10 minutes every half hour. This helps avoid playing on autopilot.
- Keep winnings and gambling bankroll separate. When you win, put those funds aside and don’t risk losing them again.
Following these tips will help you manage your bankroll wisely so you can enjoy Keno responsibly as entertainment. Avoid betting funds needed for living expenses or falling into problematic gambling habits.
Increase Your Odds
While Keno is a game of chance, there are some strategies you can use to slightly increase your odds and prolong your bankroll. Here are some tips:
Play Low Stakes
The higher the stakes you play, the faster you will lose your bankroll. Play low stakes per game so you can get more games for your money. This increases the number of chances you have to win.
Avoid Straight Number Picks
Picking consecutive numbers or all one number has very low odds of hitting. Go for a spread of numbers across the board.
Play More Spots
The more numbers you pick per game, the more chances you have of hitting a match. But beware – more spots also costs more per game so make sure your bankroll can handle multiple spots.
Go For The Mid-Range
The most commonly drawn Keno numbers are in the mid-range (the 20s-70s). Focus your picks in the mid-range versus very low or high numbers for better odds.
Avoid Big Groups
Picking large groups or blocks of numbers lowers your odds versus spreading out your picks across the board.
Play Multiple Cards
You can play multiple Keno cards for the same game to again increase your number of chances. But don’t go overboard as this raises your cost per game significantly.
Set Realistic Goals
Keno has high odds stacked against you. Set goals per session based on entertainment value versus breaking even or winning big. This will help you manage your bankroll properly.
Playing continuously can lead to poor betting decisions as you try to chase losses. Take regular breaks to clear your head and reevaluate your betting strategy.
Review Your Bet Slips
Keep track of your bet slips and look for any number patterns that are hot or cold. Adjust your picks accordingly, but don’t rely solely on bet slip patterns.
Enjoy the Game
Keno is meant to be fun entertainment. Keep a positive attitude, avoid chasing losses, only gamble what you can afford to lose, and you’ll have better overall results.