Keno Gambling Strategy

This page serves as an introduction to keno gambling strategy, but if you’re looking for a winning system, you’ll be disappointed. The shortest possible article someone could write about keno strategy would consist of just a couple of sentences about how keno is a casino game with a house edge that can’t be overcome. I’d like to go into a little more detail on the subject here, just to make sure the readers of this site really understand keno.

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Should You Play Keno?

keno-gamblingThat’s up to you. If you enjoy playing the lottery, then playing keno will probably also be an enjoyable activity for you. And honestly, keno offers better odds and payouts than the lottery, so if you have to choose between keno and the state lottery, I say go for keno every time.

Besides that, I’m opposed to state-run lotteries on principle. I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the citizenry to have the government involved in the administration and management of a casino gambling business of any kind. And that’s exactly what a state lottery is–a state run gambling business.

The government is supposed to protect consumers from unfair and unethical gaming practices. It’s hard for them to do so if they’re actually managing the casinos themselves.

Anyway, I digress. Should you play keno?

If you think it’s fun, sure, go for it.

If you think some kind of keno strategy or betting system will help you beat the odds, then I’d suggest you avoid gambling altogether. The casinos will take away enough of your money if you’re an educated gambler. If you’ve fallen for some malarkey about a betting system for keno that will help you win more often, then you’ll lose even more money to the casino, and you’ll lose it even faster.

What Kinds of Odds Do Keno Games Offer?

Nationwide, playing the lottery, you can expect to see a 50% payback percentage on your lottery play. That makes the lottery one of the worst possible bets you can make, mathematically. Even really lousy slot machines have an expected payback percentage of 75%, and many of them offer even higher potential returns.

The reason that lottery odds keep getting brought up in this article about keno strategy is because keno is essentially a lottery game that’s run by the casino. You don’t have to wait until a certain day of the week to get the results of the drawing when you play keno, either. The results are being posted for various keno games almost constantly.

If you want detailed odds for various keno possibilities, check out the keno calculators over at Michael Shackleford’s site. You can input various situations, and his calculator will spit out what kind of payback percentage and what kinds of odds you can expect on a keno bet.

How to Play Keno

Keno’s just a game where you guess numbers, just like the lottery. You get a keno card with numbers from 1 to 80. You can choose how many numbers you want to bet on. The more numbers you get right when you bet, the bigger your payoff. Of course, the more numbers you bet, the less likely you are to a see a win. And the odds against you get astronomical pretty quickly.

According to Shackleford’s page about keno, the game isn’t offered by as many casinos as it used to be, which doesn’t surprise me. It always seemed like a game that elderly people would enjoy. My guess is that a lot of the clientele who used to play keno died off. (Sorry if that sounds morbid. That’s not my intention.)

In 2001, Shackleford did a survey of the payback percentages for various keno games in various casinos. The payback percentages ranged from as low as 65% to almost 80%.

This means that the house edge on a keno bet is between 20% and 35%. That’s an astronomical number when you compare it with the 0.5% house edge on a blackjack or video poker bet.

How to Win at Keno

You’ll see various websites hawking information products that tell you how to win at keno. They’re all scams. The people who wrote these websites or these information products might believe what they’ve written, but deluding yourself is just as dishonest as deluding someone else, so I have little respect for people selling “how to win at keno” systems.

If you want to play keno, go for it. But don’t be stupid about it. Understand that it’s a game with a huge negative expectation, and get ready to lose quickly and often because of the high house edge.

All that being said, you’re still way better off playing keno than you are playing any state lottery.