While Keno continues to be one of the most popular casino games in the US, its history remains pretty mysterious. Its early name was ‘The White Pidgeon Game’. So far, we can ascertain that its first variations appeared a few thousand years ago. It is rumored to have come from Ancient China during the Han Dynasty and was incredibly popular all across the empire’s citizens and bureaucrats.


How Keno arrived in the United States?

While its roots apparently start in China, Keno arrived to Northern America in the 19th century. It is possible that it was carried over the ocean by Chinese workers that were hired for massive railroad building projects there. With workers mixing with builders from other countries, Keno was shared and became popular for its simplicity and the ability to be played almost everywhere. By the 30s, the game was renamed from ‘The White Pidgeon Game’ to ‘Keno’, which is a word of mixed French/Spanish roots. As not only Chinese workers started to play it, the Chinese symbols were replaced by numbers to ease the process of playing. The game began to gain popularity among Americans as well, but its rapid spread was stopped by an anti-gambling law in Nevada. That prompted the game to be renamed once again to ‘Horse Racing Keno’ since horse racing remained legal. After lotteries became legal once again, the name of the game was changed back to ‘Keno’.

Modern days

After gaining its popularity in the Americas, Keno started to spread across the world. Nowadays, players can play at least some variations of Keno in the Americas, Europe, Australia, and South and Eastern Asia. It is popular in both the brick-and-mortar casinos, as well as the online casinos. In the former, players often mark their chosen numbers by chalk.

Online variations of Keno

Since the game is so popular, public demand made online casinos to include the game in their catalogs. At least some versions of it, at least. With some quick thinking and programming ingenuity, developers managed to recreate the looks and feelings of the classic Keno games. That allows you to play some Keno without needing to visit a casino or buying a ticket, as everything became available through the phone, and you can even mark your chosen numbers by tapping or using a mouse now.

So, how do I play Keno?

If you are a newbie and never played Keno before, there is no need to worry about not knowing how to play it. The game is really simple, and you can basically learn it on the fly. Here you can see how to play it.

1) Select a game that you like the most

The very first step you would need to do is to choose the casino where you want to play. Look up all available variations, see their bonuses and catalog, and look at the selection of Keno that they have. Once you’ve found the one that you like, register there and open the game.

2) Select what numbers you want to bet on

Once all of that is done, you need to choose what numbers you want to bet on. The amount of numbers you can select is really as high or low as you wish usually from about 80 numbers. The minimum amount is usually 1, and the maximum is 20, though they can change depending on the ruleset.

3) Choose the amount of your bet

After you’ve chosen the numbers, you need to decide how much money you want to bet on them. While you might want to bet just a few bucks to see how it works, or maybe a few hundred in a bid for the jackpot, usually there are minimum and maximum stakes. The former ones usually are around $5, and the latter at $10. Be careful with your decision, as you wouldn’t be able to change your mind once you’ve placed the bet.

4) Wait and see what numbers will be drawn

After pressing one of the available buttons (usually, it is either ‘Play One’ or ‘Play Five’), the numbers will be randomly drawn and you will be able to see the result of the game. ‘Play One’ means that those results are valid only for your current game, but ‘Play Five’ allows you to save the current numbers and your bets on them to be saved for 5 games.

Is there a strategy for Online Keno?

Keno games attract lots of players based on their high payouts and huge jackpots. Since they continue their rise to become one of the most popular casino games, there appear advice, guides, and tips on how to maximize your chance of winning. While there is no guaranteed way to win, you can raise your odds, which is always great, and we decided to compile our own advice list that you can find below.

Tips on Keno Strategy

  • Try out the game for free before betting your money on it.
  • Choose a casino with the greatest payout that you can get (check our casino guides for that).
  • In addition to the previous tip, also choose a casino based on their welcome bonus.
  • Bet on a small selection of numbers.
  • Always check the odds.
  • Change the numbers from time to time.
  • See if there are Multi-Race cards and use them if there are.
  • Think about where to place your bets.
  • Manage your bankroll and always check whether you are overstepping your limits.

How to manage your money?

Money management is a vital skill to have no matter what casino game you are playing. Keno is no different in that regard. Use your money wisely, check your bankroll, and you will be able to profit greatly from a win. In Keno, you can get rich quite quickly just by betting small amounts of money on a limited selection of numbers.

Keno is working in pretty much the same way as a lottery, except for some small differences. The most significant difference would be the cost of the game. A lottery ticket will usually cost you next to nothing, not really risking your livelihood, but having smaller chances of winning as well. In contrast, Keno requires you to place a bet on each game you are playing, cutting your budget, especially if you bet high amounts of money. Winning chances are also higher, though, so the differences between games are pretty balanced. So, to save your money on Keno, don’t bet too much on a single number, keep your winnings\losses tally, and be ready for an occasional loss.