Keno has its origins in an ancient Chinese gambling game that, according to legend, was used to fund the Great Wall. The Chinese used characters instead of numbers. The name keno derives from the French word ‘quine’, which means five winning numbers. At most of our featured online casinos you will find at least one version of keno.
In this section we will explain how keno is played and introduce you to the variations in the game. The most important aspect of keno is reading the payout tables with respect to the volatility they offer and finding a keno game that meets your risk requirements.
- Keno is a lotto like game in which marked numbers on a ticket are matched against drawn numbers and payouts awarded according to the number of matches.
- Online keno has the potential for awarding very high payouts but the flip side is that it offers much lower average returns than other casino games.
- Online keno games differ mainly in the volatility they offer and this can be ascertained from the payout tables. This is the only skill involved in online keno.
- There are not many online keno games you will find at online casinos. But some online casinos offer fixed odds online bingo games that are somewhat similar.
Online Keno variants
The most common version of online keno works with a ticket of 80 numbers, on which you can mark up to 15 numbers and 20 numbers are drawn to check for matches. Occasionally you may find variation in these numbers. For example, some software providers offer a ticket with 40 numbers, on which you can mark up to 10 numbers and 10 numbers are drawn to check for matches.
The most crucial variation in online keno games is in the payout tables. Some payout tables are meant for conservative players and others for risk taking players. More on this is explained in the strategy section. In order to create differentiation and enhance visual appeal keno games are sometimes given thematic settings as in Monkey Keno offered by Microgaming.
Online bingo is also offered as a fixed odds casino game, which is quite similar to keno. You do not select the numbers on the tickets. Each online bingo game will have defined patterns on the ticket with different odds. There are a fixed number of bingo balls drawn. You get paid for all the patterns that get covered by the end of the game.
How to play online Keno
The following game play is described using Microgaming Keno as an example, but the game from other software providers will be essentially the same. When the game loads, the keno ticket is displayed in the top center of the screen. It is an 8x10 grid with the numbers 1 to 80 on it. You can select the numbers by clicking on them. The payout table is displayed to the left of the ticket. You can select up to 15 numbers. As the numbers are selected the payout table for that selection is displayed. It gives the payouts for the corresponding number of hits. The largest payout is for a selection of 15 numbers. You need at least 3 matches in this table for a payout of 0.5 times the bet amount. The payout for 15 matches is 10,000 times. You select the coin size, which is the amount you pay for the keno ticket. Then you click the Play button. One by one twenty balls will be drawn and will randomly hit the numbers on the ticket. If the balls hit any of the selected those numbers get highlighted. You are then awarded the payout for the number of matches.
Some online keno games offer other features. Instead of selecting the numbers manually you can auto select them with one click. You may also be allowed to play multiple tickets.
Online Keno strategy
The aspect of strategy comes in when you have to select an online keno game. The choice has to be made on the basis of the payout table. Consider the hypothetic payout tables of two different keno games in which the player marks 15 numbers on the keno ticket. The payout table with high volatility will have very large payouts for 12 to 15 hits. They could typically increase from 25,000 to 100,000 times the bet. The payout table with low volatility will have significantly lower payouts for 12 to 15 hits increasing from say 600 to 10,000 times the bet. There obviously has to be compensation somewhere. In high volatility payout tables, the payouts will start from a higher number of hits, maybe even 6 or 7. In lower volatility tables payouts could even start with 3 hits.
So if you are a conservative player you should go for a lower volatility payout table where you will get small but more frequent payouts. If you are a risk taking player you should go for a high volatility payout table where you will get payouts infrequently, but they will be much larger. Conservative players can increase their risk-return level in a calibrated manner by marking less than the maximum permissible numbers on the ticket.
Advantages and disadvantages of online Keno
Online keno games offer larger top payouts than most other online casino games. These games do not require skill, other than choosing parameters suited to your risk level, so the issue of making mistakes does not arise. The disadvantage of online keno is that the average returns will be much lower.