How to Play Keno: Official Keno Rules, Gameplay, Payouts

Similar to Bingo, Keno is one of the "classics" in online and live casinos. Learn how to play with this Keno guide for beginners.

How to Play Keno: Official Keno Rules, Gameplay, Payouts

Keno is a lottery-style gambling game that has proved increasingly popular over the years. With its fast gameplay and no need for a strategy aside from picking any numbers that tickle your fancy, it's a simple, fun game to introduce to beginners.

Whether you want to play keno for the first time or if you just need a refresher on keno rules, then this guide to how to play online keno is for you.

After reading this, you will know:

Basic Online Keno Rules

Playing keno is a simple case of picking numbers and then hoping the game draws the numbers you have chosen. But, the amount of numbers you pick is not up to the game, it’s your choice. The payouts vary depending on how many numbers you select and match.

A keno card - also known as a keno ticket at brick-and-mortar casinos - typically has 80 numbers in 8 rows of 10 numbers, although this can vary.

Of those 80 numbers, players can decide how many "spots" they want to pick from just 1 up to 15 or maybe even up to 20, depending on the online casino you are playing at and the keno games they have available. The more numbers you match, the higher the prize, but the more numbers you pick will reduce your odds of winning.

Keno Rules: Step-by-Step Playing Guide

Step 1: Pick your numbers

In a Keno game, there are 80 numbers to choose from, and at most casinos you can select up to 15 numbers. This can depend on the Keno game or the online casino you are playing at.

Typically, players will pick between 3-9 numbers. You can choose them completely randomly, let the computer select them for you with a quick pick or you can choose to select a cluster of numbers close to each other - it's completely up to you how you play online Keno.

Remember, the more numbers you choose helps open up the possibility of a bigger payout, and the paytable will indicate how much you will be paid out for the amount of winning spots you get.

Step 2: Choose your stake

A benefit of playing online keno games is you're in complete control of when the game starts, so you can go completely at your own pace.

When you play keno, you need to choose how much you'd like to bet per draw for every one game you play. Dependent on the online casino you use, the minimum bet could be as low as £0.10. You could either choose to bet the minimum or raise your stakes accordingly, you decide.

Step 3: The numbers are drawn

Of the 80 numbers available, 20 numbers are randomly drawn once you've pressed draw in your selected game of keno. Drawing the numbers is not down to you, but a computer algorithm called a random number generator (RNG).

So, the 20 numbers are selected by the computer and they will pop up and highlight on the card. This signals whether the numbers you have selected are included or not and whether you have enough winning spots for a payout.

Step 4: Collect Your Winnings

The paytable at each online casino will determine how much your payout will be for the amount of winning numbers you land on before the numbers are drawn.

Your winnings are decided on the percentage of numbers you hit, meaning it can often be beneficial to keep the amount of spots you pick to 10 or below. For example, if you pick 5 of your own numbers and all 5 are drawn you could get 1oox your original wager back. However, say only 5 out of your 14 numbers match with the RNG, your payout might only be 2x your original wager.

Keno Ticket and Card Types

  • Straight Card: This is a standard card in online keno and uses 80 numbers in 8 rows of 10. To select numbers, click on any number anywhere on the card.
  • Split Card: This means to split your card into 2 so you can lay 2 sets of bets during 1 game. This is advantageous because experts say the optimal number to bet in Keno is 4-8 spots, so splitting your card means you can lay 2 bets of 5 spots on the same card, rather than just playing 1 game. To start, click split card and select numbers on each side of the split. Be aware that the card costs double though, as you're playing 2 cards.
  • Way Card: A way card allows you to bet multiple different ways on 1 card. For example your favorite numbers could be 4, 27 and 52, while your family birth dates could be 7, 15, 18, 24 and 30. On a way card you are able to play both these selections as a three-spot and a five-spot, and can even combine the both and place an eight-spot too. You decide how much you'd like to bet on each way.

Online Keno vs Online Bingo

Many people automatically assume when finding out the basic rules that keno and bingo are basically the same game. While Keno and Bingo might seem quite similar to beginners, once you know how to play keno, you’ll be able to see the differences. Here are a few:

  • Players pick their spots themselves when they play keno, while in bingo, the tickets come with the numbers already selected.
  • With keno boards, you can choose as many spots as you like up to the limit in that keno game. In bingo, every player has the same amount of numbers.
  • Keno payouts change per the number of spots and different bets are offered. Bingo offers straight payouts to a single winner and only straight betting.

Different Types of Keno Games

Keno is fairly new to online casinos, with some only dipping their toes in the water when it comes to the game. However, there are more games becoming available by the day, with the involvement of live dealers now helping the game gain even more traction across the globe.

Video Keno

Video keno is the standard game that you're more likely to find at online casinos, which involves the usual 80 numbers and the pace of the game is decided by yourself.

You select your spots as fast or slow as you like, and you decide when to press draw. Once you do press that button and see if the numbers drawn by the computer have produced a win, you can be playing your next game in as quick as a flash.

Video keno can vary in terms of payouts and game developers can introduce unique themes like you can see in Monkey Keno but the rules of the game will stay pretty close to what has already been described.

Live Keno

The only difference with live keno is that they have a live dealer involved, like the difference between playing roulette and live dealer roulette.

Live keno games are now available at some online casinos, and quite a lot of people prefer to play this style of keno. The reason being, a human being involved in the process makes you feel like you are at a land-based casino, and it also makes the game feel truly random rather than seeing the RNG draw the numbers with no human interaction.

The only negative of playing live keno games rather than the normal version is it can sometimes be a longer, more drawn-out process. Due to the person involved and them communicating with the players, the time between draws can be up to 5 minutes.

Pointers for Keno Beginners

You'll know by now that keno is a game of chance, and there is no special way to show you how to win. Through some trial and error you may get better, but it will always remain a game of chance with a high house edge.

There are however a few things to consider that can make your keno playing experience more enjoyable, and could improve your chances to win at the game:

  1. Check the casino paytable: Don't stick to just your original online casino you already play at, search around for different payouts. Keno is a game of chance, so you might as well give yourself the best possible chance by going to a gaming site with the highest winnings on offer.
  2. Play 5-8 numbers: Playing the maximum amount of numbers, which is usually 15, is not recommended. This is because it only harms your payout if you only get 5 or 6 winning spots and winning tickets are hard to come by as it is. The odds of picking and hitting 10 numbers is 8,911,169 to 1, so think about how enormous the number will be if you decide to choose 15 numbers.
  3. Manage your bankroll: We've said it before and we'll say it again, this is a lottery-based game of chance. There's no strategy in placing a huge wager on a keno game because there is absolutely no way of judging a computer algorithm.

    It's unpredictable and you need to be lucky, so keep the stakes low and keep it fun. In fact, if you're a novice at the game, the best advice would be to play keno for free and familiarize yourself with the rules before staking anything on real money games.

Keno Terminology

SpotThe term used in keno for the numbers which you have marked on the card.
HitA hit is the term used for when the draw produces a winning spot for the player. Say for example the number 25 is drawn and you picked that number, that's a "hit".
PaytableThe diagram that you'll often see on the right hand side in online keno, showing how the payouts for how many numbers you might hit.
Quick PickThe term used in keno to describe letting the computer select your numbers for you, which can be from 1 number all the way up to the maximum.
Aggregate LimitThis will be the maximum the online casino is willing to payout in a single round. With players being able to choose so many numbers and that opening up the possibility of landing a massive sum, some casinos can introduce an aggregate limit.
WagerThis is the amount of money you bet or invest in your Keno ticket.
Odds of WinningExpressed in prime numbers or percentages, the odds represent your probability of hitting a specific combination when you play keno games.

Frequently Asked Questions About Keno

To conclude this guide on how to play Keno, we asked our Keno writer to answer all the most popular questions about this game, no matter how big or small.

Whether you plan to enjoy a few sessions of live keno or video keno, make sure you read these answers before you head to the Keno lounge of your favorite online casino and pick your next game.

How many numbers do you need to win in keno?

Most online casinos will need you to have 2 winning spots for a payout in each round of keno, and some even 3.

What are the payouts on keno?

The payouts in keno will vary depending on which online casino or keno game you decide to play and the payouts are decided on the percentage of numbers you hit. For example, if you pick 6 numbers and all 6 are drawn you might get 2oox your original wager back. But, if only 5 out of your 12 numbers match, your payout might only be 2x your original wager.

Can you play online keno for free?

Like all casino games, you can play online Keno for free in demo mode. Or, you can get a new player bonus, like a no deposit deal, and start playing for real money prizes without spending your cash. Whichever option you go for, you’ll be playing for free.

Can you win a million dollars playing keno games?

In a single round, no you can't win a million dollars playing keno games. The aggregate limit set by casinos is usually quite a bit lower than $1,000,000 for landing the incredibly unlikely 15 out of 15 numbers.

Is there a way of predicting the winning numbers in Keno games?

The short answer is no. Keno is based on luck, and although you may find you get better results picking in clusters or letting the computer do a quick pick for you, nothing can help you predict the winning numbers because they are randomly generated.