Expertise in any game is based on a mastery of the rules and strategies used in that game. Like most casino gambling games, keno is designed to make money for the house. Players win their prizes from the pool of wagers they make.
No amount of expertise will help you beat the rules in keno. Playing like an expert means making the best possible choices. It also means maximizing your potential for winning.
The best poker player in the world can’t beat a bad deal. Where the poker player has an advantage over the keno player is in the fairness of the game. Keno is an unfair game by design.
Some would say that makes winning all that much sweeter. I once heard someone compare playing a game with a low return to player to playing the highest level in an online strategy game.
The analogy is flawed, in my opinion.
But the player can still win by adapting his strategy to compensate for those disadvantages.
Whether you’re playing slots, chuck-a-luck, or keno, there’s nothing you can do to compensate for the advantage the house gives itself. The smart money says don’t bet on keno. But if you’re going to bet on keno, then bet smartly.
Here are several ways to bet like a keno expert.
1 – Master the Basic Concepts
As everyone knows, keno is a lottery game. What most people don’t realize is that it’s the low-quality version of lottery games. In a massive game like Powerball or Mega Millions, you could theoretically win $100 million.
I’ve never seen any version of keno that pays that much money. The largest keno prize I ever heard about was less than $10 million. It was awarded in Australia in 2018.
Hats off to anyone crazy, brave, and lucky enough to wager on the Pick 10. Three people in Australia have won it.
Most of the large keno jackpots I’ve heard about were from Pick 7 and Pick 8 games, and the prizes were in the hundreds of thousands.
Do the math. You’d have to win an unbelievable amount of unlikely drawings to win $100 million in keno. But every year, a few lucky lottery players win $100 million or more in Powerball, Mega Millions, or Euro Millions.
If you’re going to play keno games, you’re playing for less prize money. And the odds of winning are usually worse in keno than in other lottery games. The win may taste sweeter because of those disadvantages but you’re still winning less money.
Another thing most people don’t realize about keno is that there’s a multitude of keno games. Each game has its own rules, odds, and prize schedules.
They look very similar but, when you compare the details of keno games to each other, you find the differences. That means whatever strategy you think works best for one version of keno may not work as well for another version.
It’s similar to learning to sail in a dinghy versus learning to sail a catboat. Both types of sailboats will get you across a calm body of water despite their differences. And both will be swamped in a bad storm. But they’re still different types of sailboats.
2 – Study the Odds Carefully
There are three basic types of keno:
- Video keno
- Live drawings
- Scratch cards
The odds of winning keno differ from game to game. But the video keno machines can be programmed differently, too. Since more than one gaming company distributes keno, they don’t all use the same pay tables and random number algorithms.
Many video keno players prefer to play Pick 7 or Pick 8 games. They don’t win jackpots, but they do win smaller prizes.
The best odds fall somewhere in the mid-range picks.
Whatever keno game you choose to play, study the pay tables and odds for that game before you decide how many numbers to wager on.
If your best friend plays keno at a different location from you, on a different gaming platform, his favorite picks are probably not going to help you.
3 – Keno Demands Patience and Consistency
You’re wagering on random number drawings. Each drawing is a new game. The odds of winning don’t change no matter how many games you play.
One difference between keno and standard lottery games is that keno doesn’t duplicate numbers in a drawing. If the “1” is drawn in a keno game, it’s only drawn once.
When you compare a Pick 4 keno game to a typical four-ball live lottery game, those lottery games use four machines with the same number of balls. Daily drawings sometimes produce four duplicates in these games.
Many people do bet on 0-0-0-0 in their states’ daily four-ball games. Since keno doesn’t allow duplicate numbers, your chances of picking the right numbers are less than in any other lottery game. That means you’ll hit in a lower percentage of games.
The advantage of playing keno over a daily drawing game is that you can play video keno as often as you wish. Even live drawing keno is played several times per hour on state networks.
To compensate for keno’s poor odds, you must budget for as many games per day as you can. You’re making in volume what you lack in probabilities.
4 – Play Multiple Cards in Each Game
In my opinion, it’s best to make minimum wagers. Regardless of how many numbers you pick, you should play several cards per game.
This is sometimes called “pattern betting” because you’re spreading your picks across the multiple cards in patterns or spreads.
Wagering on spreads allows you to cover more numbers. You won’t be able to combine numbers from multiple cards but the idea is that you’re more likely to hit a winning combination by playing multiple cards.
If you play Powerball, you choose your numbers and buy your ticket. The basic price is $2. You can add up to $5 per ticket to maximize your non-jackpot prizes up to 10 times.
In keno, you simply wager a multiple of the basic bet.
The idea is to use a pattern because the drawings rarely, if ever, result in more than two sequential numbers.
It’s less expensive to bet $1 on a keno card. Some keno games offer a “bonus” that costs extra, but in basic keno, there’s only one bet per card.
With a set of cards covering different spreads, you have better chances of winning a non-jackpot prize. This is true for any kind of lottery game, but it’s the most economical way to play keno.
Keno appeals to many people because it’s easy to get started with the game. After a while, people fall into a style or habit of play that makes them feel comfortable.
You’ll want to experiment with different picks and different patterns. Although there’s no way to guarantee you’ll win anything, you’ll find that some picks and spreads work better for you than others.
The effectiveness of your choices depends on where you play keno and how often you play.