How to Beat Keno

By Al Bondigas
the prizes, Keno, Keno an intriguing casino game, the odds
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Keno is a lottery-type casino game with Chinese roots. Of the casino games, it is one of the easiest to play, and you can have an active Keno ticket while you eat or gamble elsewhere in the casino. Based on odds, Keno has a poor payout rate, but the possibility of hitting large prizes on a small bet makes it intriguing. In Keno, 20 numbers are drawn per game out of a possible 80, and the more numbers you select on your ticket, the better your chance of winning. It is really difficult to beat Keno, but a smart player can still walk away on the winning side.

Elements of Keno

See what number draw system the casino has. A mechanical draw system has a glass bowl filled with 80 numbered ping-pong balls. If you don't see this, your game is a Random Number Game (RNG), with the numbers picked by computer. Many Keno players swear the RNG game is not truly random (that the number generator gets locked into certain predictable patterns), though that subject is debated.

Sit down in the Keno lounge for five or 10 games and chart which numbers come up. Some will likely play more than others. Make note of the numbers which come up the most, and which ones the least.

Choose the ticket you wish to play. Forget about playing anything higher than a six-spot ticket; the odds of hitting on anything larger are astronomical. A three-spot ticket is probably your best bet; hitting all three pays between $40 and $45 on a $1 bet in most casinos, and the odds of hitting are not terrible.

Select your numbers. You have several options here. You can choose the numbers that are "hot," or coming up a lot, or those that haven't shown up lately and are "due." In live Keno with the ball draw, none of this will make a difference anyway--it's a fresh start with every game.

Choose the number of games ("races") you wish your numbers to play. In most casinos, you must collect any winnings immediately after the end of the last game on a ticket of less than 21 games--or you forfeit your prize. If you play a ticket of 21 games or more, though, you have up to a year to collect.

Walk up to the ticket counter at the end of the last game, show your ticket, and collect your winnings.

Walk away after you collect on a big prize. Otherwise, the odds will catch up with you. And if you've lost the amount of money you set aside for Keno, walk away anyway. It's just not your day.

The Three-Way Ticket

Choose six numbers for your ticket.

Circle three of the numbers to form a group; the uncircled three will form another group.

Ask for the ticket to be played "all ways." Your six-spot ticket then becomes two three-spot tickets as well as a six-spot. This ticket will cost more ($3 at a dollar per way), but if three in a group come up, you will be paid for a three-spot win. This is a good way of hedging your bet.

About the Author

Al Bondigas is an award-winning newspaperman who started writing professionally in 1985. His print credits include the "Mohave Valley Daily News" and "The Mohave County Standard." Bondigas studied journalism at San Bernardino Valley College in California.