Casino keno parlors come in all shapes and sizes, from fancy setups with leather seats to dark little corners where a few stools are scattered, but that 8×10 big board is the one thing they have in common.
You don’t even need to find the keno parlor to study the board, as most modern casinos have smaller side-scrolling screens lining the walls of crowded corridors and bustling buffets.
And as you’ll learn a little later on, gamblers don’t even have to leave their room to play keno.
Indeed, keno can be found everywhere when you wander the casino floor. One reason for the lottery-style game’s ubiquity is how it appeals to a certain subset of gambler.
Folks who prefer privacy over social engagement can enjoy as many games of keno as they’d like without talking to anyone but the ticket taker. Players who are intimidated by skill-based games played amongst peers don’t have to worry about making mistakes in keno — so long as they can count, that is.
Keno also appeals to the occasional casino visitor who, while wholly avoiding table games, slots, and video poker, still enjoys taking their shot at the Powerball and other lottos.
Keno has been a casino classic for decades now, but today’s generation of gamblers might not be as well-acquainted with the game as they should be. If you’re interested in learning a little more about what makes keno tick, check out the list below for five fun facts about this age-old guessing game.
1 – You Can Play Keno From the Comfort of Your Hotel Room
Keno holds an interesting distinction as the only casino game around that allows players to sweat the action in their skivvies.
Every casino chain worth its salt devotes a TV channel to nothing else but displaying keno draw numbers as they’re revealed. This complimentary in-room feature connects keno players to the big board at any hour of the day or night, a perk which most players appreciate.
In fact, many keno enthusiasts traditionally head to the check-in desk first, then to the keno parlor to grab a few tickets, and finally upstairs to their room. While unpacking and settling in, these players can flip over to the casino’s keno channel, checking to see if their trip has gotten off to a hot start from the get-go.
2 – The Odds of Hitting a Perfect 20 for 20 Card Are Beyond Astronomical
When casino gamblers discuss the longest shots in the game, they typically begin with the Megabucks progressive slot machine jackpot. In exchange for chasing massive prizes beginning at $10 million, Megabucks players must overcome odds of 1 in 49,836,032.
For context, the odds of getting struck by lightning in your lifetime are “only” 1 in 700,000 or so, so winning the Megabucks jackpot is a rarity, to say the least.
Gamblers who dabble in traditional lotteries might also mention the Powerball, which recently added new wrinkles to the rules which ballooned the jackpot odds to 292,201,338. That’s nearly six times more difficult than winning Megabucks, which makes a certain amount of sense given Powerball’s jackpot can eclipse $1 billion.
But pocketing a nine- or ten-figure jackpot in Powerball pales in comparison to the odds against filling out a perfect keno card. Catching all 20 numbers on a 20-number draw in keno is the ultimate longshot, offering truly ridiculous odds against of 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,320.
If you’re not mathematically inclined, that seemingly endless string of digits can be spelled out as 1 in 3.5 quintillion. Thus, nailing a perfect 20-catch keno card is 12 billion times more difficult than winning the Powerball jackpot.
3 – Keno Offers Much Better Odds on the Lower Payouts Than Traditional Lottos
Before I scare you off by focusing on the longest of longshots, let’s take a look toward the bright side.
When you play keno, you’ll have a much higher likelihood of collecting a profit after the draw than traditional lotteries like Powerball.
Check out the tables below to see for yourself, and pay extra attention to the lower tier of these games’ respective pay tables.
Powerball Prizes by Payout and Odds Against (on $3 Ticket)
Match 5 + PB
1 in 292,201,338
1 in 11,688,054
Match 4 + PB
1 in 913,129
1 in 36,525
Match 3 + PB
1 in 14,494
1 in 580
Match 2 + PB
1 in 701
Match 1 + PB
1 in 92
Match 0 + PB
1 in 38
AVERAGE PAYOUT ($1 BET)
10 out of 10
1 in 8,911,711
9 out of 10
1 in 163,381
8 out of 10
1 in 7,384
7 out of 10
1 in 621
6 out of 10
1 in 87
8 out of 8
1 in 230,114
7 out of 8
1 in 6,232
6 out of 8
1 in 423
7 out of 7
1 in 40,979
6 out of 7
1 in 1,366
6 out of 6
1 in 7,752
5 out of 6
1 in 323
5 out of 5
1 in 1,551
4 out of 5
1 in 83
3 out of 5
1 in 12
4 out of 4
1 in 327
3 out of 4
1 in 24
2 out of 4
1 in 5
3 out of 3
1 in 73
2 out of 3
1 in 8
2 out of 2
1 in 17
1 out of 1
1 in 4
I’ll start off with every gambler’s basic threshold for satisfaction — earning even $1 back in profit on the bet. Sure, a measly buck is a low bar to clear, but winning even a single dollar sure as hell beats losing money.
With that in mind, keno players face very reasonable odds of 1 in 4 on turning their $1 wager into a $2 payout (good for $1 in profit). That feat can be accomplished by hitting one catch on a one-number card, or two catches on a three-number card (1 in 8 odds).
Meanwhile, Powerball players who purchase a $3 ticket (factoring in the $2 base ticket and $1 for the Power Play multiplier) must overcome 1 in 38 odds to score $4 and a $1 profit. That can happen when you hit zero numbers plus a correct Powerball, or one number plus the Powerball (1 in 92 odds).
This discrepancy holds true across the board too, as keno players looking to win $90 have odds against of only 1 in 323 to land five catches on a six-number card. As for Powerball fans, they’ll need to beat odds of 1 in 14,494 to earn $100 on a three-number plus Powerball winner.
All things considered, if you simply enjoy playing lotto draw games but don’t like burning through your bankroll to do it, keno is by far a better bet than Powerball and the like.
4 – Many State Lotteries Actually Offer Keno Too
Every state lottery realizes the connection between their larger draw games and the casino classic keno.
To help bring casino players aboard, these lottos gladly offer keno games that use identical rules and gameplay.
And in 2019, a lucky woman in Michigan showed everyone else how it’s done, as she collected not one, not two, but three keno lottery jackpots for $255,000 in total winnings.
5 – Keno Is Also Found at the Best Online Casinos
Online casinos are typically associated with slots and table games, but the top-rated gambling sites out there also spread keno.
And fittingly enough for the constantly evolving world of internet gambling, online casinos can include a sprawling selection of variants and offshoots that riff on the original game. Just check out the list below to get a glimpse of what online keno can offer.
Popular Online Keno Games
Fire Ball Action
Golden Egg Keno
Grand National Keno
Last Blast Keno
Luck of the Bonus Keno
Tropical Vacation Keno
Keno might not be the most popular game for players who prefer low house edge rates and skill-based elements, but picking numbers definitely has its place in any casino.
Sure, we’d all like gambling to offer the fairest possible fight against the house, but that’s what games like blackjack and video poker are for.
As the five facts found above have proven, when you’re in the mood to have some fun on the casino floor without breaking the bank, nothing beats firing a few bucks on keno and waiting to see if your numbers have come in.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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