The best keno strategy comes from understanding a few basic truths about this Chinese lottery game. Once keno players understand the realities of their chosen game, they’ll enjoy the game more and be under no illusions about the odds they face.

Keno is a game which should be played for entertainment, not for the sake of winning a fortune.

If you get lucky and win a jackpot, that’s for the better. If not, then you got thrill of hoping to win the big pot, so you got your entertainment anyway.

keno balls numbered 1 through 9

How the House Edge Works

Keno has a high house edge. “House edge” is a common term in gambling for the advantage the casino has over the player. If the odds were even between a gambler and the casino, then the casino would have to close its doors.

Gambling venues have a lot of expenses. They have to pay staff, buy equipment, and pay off the debts they incurred to build the casino in the first place. Casinos have to pay the electricity, heating, and air conditioning bills. They have to buy drinks and refreshments and advertise to let people know they have games to offer.

To cover all these (and other) expenses, casinos need to have an advantage in their games. For this reason, local governments sell a license to run games which adhere to the laws.

In most jurisdictions, casinos are required by law to keep their games under a certain house edge. This might be 20% or 30%. Competition in the area might force a casino to offer a much lower house edge on many games, often in the 1% to 10% range.

Even if no competition in the area exists, if players know they’re going to lose every time, they’ll find somewhere else to get their entertainment. So most casino games offer a house edge at least at 10% to 15% or less. Games like blackjack and video poker might have a house edge of less than 1%, while craps and baccarat have a house edge around 1.4%.

The House Edge in Keno

The house edge in keno fluctuates a lot from one casino to the next. Several dozen pay tables exist, so the house edge is between 4% and 30%. Las Vegas is where players are likely to find the best odds. Outlying areas around the globe are going to have much worse odds. Online gambling websites are going to offer wild differences from one site to the next, but the odds tend to give the online casino a big advantage over you. Thus, gamblers should know they face long odds against them. With that information in mind, here are a few keno tips to consider.

Pick Only a Few Numbers

Don’t pick maximum numbers. This only increase the price of your ticket. It’s know that not all numbers are going to win anyway, so you’re throwing away cash if you inflate the price of the ticket for an advantage which doesn’t exist. Start out playing 5 or 6 spots to see how that works. This limits the amount of money you’ll lose on any one draw.

Select a Good Casino

Do a little research with the online keno player’s community and figure out which ones have the best payout schedules. Even if you can’t find out which is the absolute best, you can use the information to eliminate the worst pay schedules. Disgruntled players come out of the proverbial woodwork online, so you should always be able to find negative information. Don’t take one malcontent’s word for it, but if you see a pattern of bad stories with one site, avoid it. Take the weight of the information you find and make educated decisions based on the odds–just like you would gambling.

Choose a Loss Limit

Before you begin, select a loss limit beyond which you won’t go. Let’s say you have $100 and that’s all you would feel comfortable losing. The rest of your money should go to meals, hotel rooms, and other expenses. If you have one more gambling session left, you might tell yourself that you’ll wager $100 and no more. If you get unlucky and lose the hundred dollars, you walk away from the table. You don’t break out the meal money. You don’t head to the ATM to get more cash. Instead, you walk away and don’t look back.

Have a Win Goal

This is the opposite of the last tip, because it deals with getting lucky. Choose an amount of money which you’ll be satisfied with and walk away when you collect that money. Let’s say you decide you want to double up that $100 cash, so your win goal becomes having $200 in your pocket at the end of the session (winning $100 plus your original $100 stake).

Now let’s say you pick a nice number of catches and you win $100. If this happens, you don’t turn around and wager this money again. You lock in your winnings by cashing your chips, pocketing your cash, and bragging to your friends you won $100 playing keno. That’s the end of your gaming session.

Don’t Worry about Systems

People will try to convince you their system for picking numbers works best. They might say you should go for the hot numbers. They might say you should figure out which numbers haven’t hit in a while and bet those. Whatever their system, ignore it. Keno numbers are randomized each draw, so it’s senseless to assume hot numbers, cold numbers, or due numbers have any bearing on the game.

Bet Only What You Can Afford to Lose

Never wager more than you can afford to lose. Just because you have cash in your pocket, that doesn’t mean you can afford to lose that cash. If the money you’re carrying is meant to pay bills or current debts, don’t use it for gambling. If you don’t have a bankroll, but instead only have money to pay for a meal, a hotel room, or gas for the ride home, you don’t need to be playing.

A gambler’s bankroll should be no more than their disposable cash–the money they have left over for entertainment and fun. Even then, your keno stake probably shouldn’t eat up all your disposable income. But however you decide to spend your entertainment dollar is up to you. Don’t wager more than you can comfortably afford to lose.

See also:

Back to top