How to Play Keno and Win – Can You Beat Keno?

A favorite among more relaxed gamblers is keno. The lottery game is easy to play between card games or slots, and, depending on pay tables, it can be lucrative. If you’re on more of a tight budget, playing keno in the casino can afford you the opportunity to bet low, play slowly and get some free drinks while you do it!

This doesn’t mean the game can’t be played seriously. There are plenty of people who have developed strategies, found their “lucky” numbers and devote much of their time in a casino to keno alone.

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As it is often described, keno is basically a lottery game. It can be very simple, but some ticket strategies can become pretty complex.

The game has been in the U.S. for quite some time, being first played here in the 1800s. It’s actually quite a bit older than this, as it was first played in China hundreds of years ago. When Chinese immigrants first introduced the game to the U.S., it was actually called “Chinese Lottery” and was still played using traditional Chinese characters. Later on, the characters were changed to numbers to avoid confusion, and keno eventually became the popular casino game it is today.


  1. On a card with 80 numbers, you typically choose up to 15 numbers.
  2. In the margin of your ticket, write the total numbers you selected and what you’d like to wager. Typically, the house minimum is $1.
  3. Once you’ve completely filled out your ticket, you must give it to one of the casino’s keno employees to receive an official game ticket. If you don’t do this, your ticket will not count. Don’t forget to check the ticket you’re given to make sure it’s accurate.
  4. Check one of the keno display boards in the casino to check to see if any of your numbers have been chosen and how much money you may have won. If you’re confused about your winnings, just ask an employee. Sometimes, the pay tables can be a bit confusing.
  5. If you’ve won, congratulations! Present your ticket to an employee to collect your winnings. Remember, the amount you win depends on what you wager, how many numbers you chose and the type of ticket you played (we will go into more detail about this).

Types of bets or tickets

The types of bets you can make in keno is where things get a little fuzzy in keno. You can make very simple bets if you’re new to the game, but you can also bet different amounts on different combinations of numbers. It can actually become quite complex, but if you know what you’re doing, it can also be more fun.

Straight ticket or standard bet-

In a standard bet, you’ll simply mark an “X” on the numbers you’d like to choose. You are just betting that these are the numbers that will be drawn. This is the easiest bet for beginners.

Way bet-

This type of bet allows you to play different sets of numbers on one ticket. It’s basically like playing more than one game on only one ticket. There are a few way bets that are a little more common than others, which will give you an idea of how they work. 1) 3x3x3- In this bet, you would choose three sets of three numbers and indicate them with circles. 2) 2x3x4- This is similar to the first bet, but you can have the groups share numbers if you like. For example, you could choose 13 and 22 for one group, 22,36 and 47 for another, and 36, 52 and 29 for the last group. As you can tell, the groups share numbers. 3) 10x10x10x10- This seems strange, but basically this bet lets you mark out entire rows of numbers at a time. You could choose 1–10, 30–40, 50–60 and 70–80. This is actually a very common bet. 4) 4x4x8- This bet is a little more complicated. In this bet, you would choose two sets of four numbers to circle. As your third bet on the ticket, you would draw a large circle around both of the bets to wager all eight numbers.


Because keno is completely random, it’s usually played more as a game to pass the time. If you’re not looking to just play casually, the best strategy is to compare pay tables at different casinos to look for the best pay out.

Casinos in Vegas are known for being fair. Taking this into account, each ball has a 1 in 80 chance of being drawn. This means the game is completely random, so there’s no number or group of numbers that is a better bet than any others. The main thing to keep in mind is not picking too many numbers (this greatly reduces your odds) or wagering too much money. Of course, staying within your limits is good advice for really any casino game.

Many people are attracted to keno because you have the power to choose. This may sound silly, because once you pick your numbers, everything after that is random. However, the game is still attractive, because people have the ability to choose the numbers they feel are “lucky.”

The house edge is about 25%

This means that keno has some of the worst odds of any casino game. This number is also an average taken among a number of casinos.

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