Online Keno Tips

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Keno is a fun, lottery-style game to play online, but is there any way to minimize the house's edge against you?

Below I'll dive into eight tips that can help you give yourself a better chance to hit big in online keno.


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8 Keno Tips for All Players

1. Have Fun, Play Responsibly

This tip applies to all casino games, but it especially applies to Keno. While the house edge of most non-slot casino games is below 5%, Keno can have a house edge as high as 35%!

Over time, players can really get burned if they put too much money into such a high takeout game. The beauty of Keno is in its simplicity and that it can be played cheaply.

Games like craps, blackjack, or roulette require higher bankrolls to take advantage of their low takeout. For a modest $1-2 bet you can play for a huge jackpot score playing Keno! There are ways to get around some of the house edge, which we will talk about later.

2. Shop Around

This tip is most commonly applied to sports betting. The idea is that you should not settle for +6.5 on the Browns at Caesars if BetMGM is offering the Browns at +7. Not all casinos have the same house edge on their Keno bets. In fact, different types of Keno bets can have a different house edge within the same casino.

Most state gaming boards require casinos to make their house edge public on all their games. I’ve also been able to email casino support when I can’t find their takeout. Expanded legalization across the United States is leading to more transparency, not less. Take advantage and give yourself the best odds possible while placing your Keno bet.

3. Ignore Previous Draws

Like roulette, casinos will often post “hot” and “cold” numbers from previous draws. Should I choose 23 because Jordan is my all-time favorite player? Or should I choose 22 because it’s been drawn in the last 8 games?

There is no right answer. To paraphrase Andy Dufresne, “They say that Keno has no memory.”  

Keno games use random number generators or a live ball drawing to pick their numbers. Biased roulette wheels used to be a thing in old Vegas. It did not take casinos long to figure out that you need to change the bearings out frequently to avoid bias. Keno doesn’t have this problem. Modern number generators are not biased. Keno is a lottery-style pure luck game. Pick your numbers, stick with them, and go for glory!

4. Play at a Legal Casino

At Action Network, we have plenty of reviews of casino operators from all around the world. There are many online casinos that offer Keno games but some illegal ones have slow payouts, unregulated rules, or plain bad odds. You want to protect yourself and make sure you are investing your hard-earned money in casino games that are fairly run.

5. Choose a 'Reasonable' Amount of Numbers

The odds of winning at Keno depend on how many numbers you choose. If you pick too few numbers, say 1-3, the odds of winning the bet is relatively high, but the payouts are capped. If you pick too many numbers, say 13-15, the odds of winning the bet is low, but the payouts can be tremendous.

The sweet spot in most Keno games is a 4-8 count game. The odds of hitting are relatively reasonable and the payouts are much better than the smaller count games.

6. Practice with Free Keno

One big advantage of online play is that there are plenty of websites that offer free Keno games. If you are brand new to Keno, I highly recommend playing a free version until you get comfortable with the game. You will find what strategies and what level of risk works best for you.

Unlike most casino games, there really isn’t a “wrong” or “right” way to play. There will be ways that you prefer and there is no better way to familiarize yourself than by playing a free version before you risk your hard-earned cash.

7. Familiarize Yourself With Payout Charts

The payout charts will tell you how much your bet will pay based on how many numbers you matched to the draw. Let's say you're playing a Keno 6 spot game. You need to hit at least 3 of your 6 numbers to pay 1-1. Four numbers pays 5-1. Five numbers pays 53-1.

And if you hit all six numbers, we are going to Sizzler with $1,500 big ones.

Obviously, every Keno game has their own payout tables. Before playing, take a look and imagine what you will do with all your winnings. Me, I’ll probably be taking my winnings to the craps table.

8. Search For Tournaments and Progressive Jackpots

Keno Tournaments and Progressive Keno Jackpots have a major thing in common. They add extra money to your payouts. Tournaments do this via prize money. Progressive jackpots do this by adding losing “dead money” to a jackpot over time.

Both offerings help limit the casino takeout significantly. Keno tournaments are more common in land-based casinos but they are certainly going to be coming to online casinos as well. Progressive pots are not offered on all Keno games, so keep an eye out.

For example, you may typically be a 6-spot player. But if you see that the 7-spot game has a huge progressive payout, throw your dollars to that game, reduce the casino edge against you, and never look back!