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Understanding Keno
By Jordan Walters
Posted: 11:00 am PDT 2006-10-17

Courtesy Of Internet Casino and Poker Room at WagerWeb.com

You would be hard-pressed to find better payouts than Keno in the casino. Now, I'm not saying that Keno is the best game to play, but that it offers some tremendous payout ratios. For instance, a six-spot ticket can pay 1500:1 or greater. If you are confused, don't worry. We'll go over this very simple game in a moment.

Where did Keno start, and why are people in America playing it, you ask? Keno was originated centuries ago in China. In fact, proceeds from Keno were used to fund the Great Wall of China. In the 1800s, Chinese railroad workers helped spread the game to Americans. While it remains small on the grand scale of games in the casino, the players of the game are some of the most loyal around.

Keno is basically like the lotto. You pick numbers, balls are drawn, and hopefully you win. The Keno board has 80 numbers on it from which to choose. You can pick from one to 20 numbers. Each Keno game consists of 20 numbers being selected. If you are playing live Keno, these numbers are sucked up out of a "cage" that contains balls with numbers on them. Again, it's just like lotto.

If you are playing video Keno, the numbers are selected by a RNG. The RNG (Random Number Generator) is a mini-computer program that randomly selects 20 numbers and spits them out to the screen. The more numbers you select, the more you can win, but the harder it becomes to win. Think adding just another number won't mean much?

The probability of picking one number and winning is 25%. If you add one number to your ticket, the probability of you hitting both numbers drops down to 6%. That's a drastic fall. Of course, as you add numbers to your ticket, the number you must hit to at least win something changes. It's up to the casino, but here's a typical scenario. Let's say you pick six numbers. The break-even point will be three numbers. So, if you manage to catch just three numbers, you win your money back. Anything higher is when you start to make money.

Unlike many other casino games where the payout rates are standardized -- 1.5x pay on a Blackjack, for instance -- Keno payouts vary casino to casino. For instance, a six-spot keno ticket at one place might pay $1,500 when hit fully, but $2,500 or a progressive at another. For this reason, it's vital that Keno players shop around before playing. Not doing so could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

If you think that Keno isn't exciting, try playing it and see what happens when you get your first score --or even close to it. Live Keno games typically run every 5-15 minutes at many casinos in Las Vegas. Video Keno allows players to play at their own pace, but it's usually faster than live Keno. Live Keno lounges offer players the chance to relax and enjoy the atmosphere while playing. In fact, you don't even need to be present to play.


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