Keno is a casino game played on a ticket. The ticket has numbers from 1 to 80 printed on it. Each player has one or more ticket. The player selects certain numbers and marks them on the ticket. He can mark up to 15 numbers. The player also records the amount that he is betting. Usually this bet is in multiples of the base price of the ticket. Suppose the base price is $1. The player may bet in integral dollar amounts. If the player bets $4 then it is equivalent to his buying 4 tickets and marking the same combination of numbers on all of them. Once all the tickets are purchased and marked the casino draws 20 random numbers. The player is paid out depending on how many of his selected numbers are in the 20 numbers drawn by the casino.
There are payout tables available that indicate the payout for the number of spots marked and the number of winning spots. For example, if the player has marked 15 spots then there is no payout for getting 6 spots right. If he gets 7 spots right then the payout is 8 to 1. If he gets all 15 spots right then the payout is 40,000 to 1.
The mechanism of playing keno is different in different environments. The earliest form of playing keno was in bingo hall settings. This environment is still popular as a means of generating community camaraderie. Tickets were bought and marked at a booth. When everyone had bought the tickets and were seated the 20 numbers were randomly drawn and called out one at a time. Once all 20 numbers were called the players who had won would again queue at the booth to collect their winnings.
Once keno was available on computers the game was introduced in live casinos. Keno runners sell and mark tickets to players at blackjack or poker tables. At designated times the keno numbers are drawn on a computer using special software and flashed on computer screens in the casino. Players can then match their tickets and ask the keno runners to collect their winnings. Thus they can play keno without getting away from their tables.
Online gaming has brought a new way of playing keno. In online casinos keno has become an individual game. The keno ticket is displayed on the monitor. The player clicks on the numbers to select them and also clicks on the wager option that he wants. In case the player wants to change a selected number he can deselect it by clicking on it. Some online keno games have the option of letting the computer randomly select the numbers for the player at one go. After the selection process is complete the player clicks on the play button. The computer then generates the 20 numbers and highlights the correct numbers chosen by the player. If the player has won any amount as per the payout table it is credited to his account.
The first question that should be asked before playing keno is that whether one should play keno at all. Keno has a phenomenally high house edge that gives practically no chance of winning in the long run. But it does offer life-changing payouts for very small wagers. Therefore even though these payouts are not commensurate with the odds keno has become a popular game. Hence if you want to wager a small sum of money in the hope of striking it big go ahead and play. But do not plan to wager a small fortune on the game because the chances are that you will lose most of it.
Not only are the house edges in keno very high but they also vary a lot. It has been reported that they vary between 25% and 30%. Hence players should shop around and look for a casino that offers a house edge in the lower range. The house edge is not easy to compute but an idea of which casino offers better payouts can be had by comparing payout tables. Also it is easier to shop around when playing online but extremely difficult to do so when playing land based casinos.
The most important decision that a player makes in keno is how many spots to mark on the ticket. The first thing to realize is that the number of spots marked does not affect the size of the bet. A player does not have to pay more if he marks more spots. Marking too few numbers restricts the player to the measly payouts. Marking too many spots means that the player has to catch more spots in order to get a payout. Marking between 4 and 8 spots seems to be the most common strategy in this context. However if the jackpot is what the player is aiming for then he should mark all the spots.
Another option before players is the amount they want to wager on a ticket. Generally the payout is proportional to the wager and hence this decision has more to do with the size of the player’s bankroll than with keno strategy. However there are two rules that are prevalent in some keno games. Some casinos offer more than proportionate payouts for maximum bets so players should look for these. The more important issue is the cap on the payout imposed in some casinos. If there is a cap of $50,000 on the payout and based on the wager and the payout table the amount works out to $60,000 the player will be entitled only to $50,000. Hence it is futile to chase amounts in excess of the cap.
All said and done keno is a game in which players have to bank totally on luck, more so because of the high house edges. Therefore players should give in to their lucky numbers. Pick birthdays, anniversaries or the date on which you bagged the biggest order of your life. Pick your girlfriend’s phone number. Some players go for lucky shapes. Others close their eyes and mark the spots. Online keno lets the computer make the choice by picking random spots.
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