How to Play Keno

Learn how to play keno from a beginner’s perspective. Our ultimate guide teaches you the essential elements of keno, such as the card, numbers, and drawing process.

We explain the game’s objective, layout, rule variations, and keno odds and payouts. We also offer tips to help you win more and a glossary of useful terms to help you understand the game.


Basics of Keno

These are the basic elements of keno, and they should serve as a starting point in fully understanding what keno is.

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    Keno card

    The keno card lists all the number spots available for betting. When you make a real money bet and the draw begins, the card is then marked with all winning numbers.

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    The numbers are the focal point of keno. If you pick winning numbers, you get real money winnings. The more numbers you match, the higher the payout. The numbers typically range from 1 to 80.

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    The draw is what happens after you click the play button. Random 20 numbers are chosen as winning numbers. The more numbers you match from those 20 numbers, the higher your winnings.

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    The payout happens at the end of each game round. The payout is calculated by considering your chosen numbers, and the winning numbers, determined by the random draw. The more numbers you match, the higher your win.

As you can see, keno is a simple game, and learning how keno works is a fast process. The main differences come in the game rules, which vary by game variant. The flipside of keno’s limited variety at US online casinos is that you won’t have to learn much before you play.


How to Play Keno Online?

Learning how to play keno is simple. The game is intuitive, and it will take you little time to fully understand what’s happening in a keno game. At some keno online casinos, you can set up auto-play, increase the game speed and enjoy special features like bonus rounds with free spins.

We prepared a step-by-step guide to get you started. Remember that you can practice in demo mode to learn the game before playing for real money.

adjust your bet size
Select bet size

Make sure to adjust your betting level and chip denominations before playing. In some games, you can bet as low as $0.01, and as high as $100.

choose game and budget
Choose your numbers

Tap up to 10 or 15 numbers on the keno board. Most online keno games require a minimum of 2 chosen numbers.

increase or decrease bets
Click the bet button

Click the bet button and the game round begins. In online keno, you don’t have to wait for all players to place bets.

place your bets
Watch the draw

After you place your bet, the RNG software randomly draws 20 winning numbers. The more numbers that match your choices, the higher you win.

place your bets

You can re-bet using your previously selected numbers or choose new ones.

Complete Guide to Keno

We’ve compiled all the necessary info you need to learn how to play keno. Explore the game’s objective, layout, rule variations, odds, and payouts.



The objective in keno is simple and straightforward.

You choose up to 10 to 15 numbers on the keno board, which usually consists of 80 numbers.

The machine then draws 20 winning numbers out of the 80 presented on the board.

Your chosen numbers are compared to the winning numbers. The more matches or hits you have, the higher your win. If you manage to hit 10 numbers, which is the usual maximum, you will hit the highest prize, which usually ranges in the tens of thousands in USD.


Online Keno Card Layout

This is the typical layout of an online keno card. In online play, you don’t have to manually label physical keno tickets and hand them to the casino. The entire betting process is quicker and more efficient.

You select up to 15 numbers on the board, and the RNG software marks the 20 winning numbers. The winning numbers are matched with your chosen numbers automatically.

The board reveals special symbols in some online keno games that lead to bonus rounds with free games. Usually, you can check the paytable next to the board on every game.

You can adjust the game speed and your bet levels and even set up auto-play.


Keno Rules

The keno rules depend on the game variant. The basic rules that the game shares between all variants are the facts that you must select your bet size, a minimum of 1, 2, or 3 numbered spots, and tap the bet button.

Some games let you choose fewer or more numbers and have different RTP rates, and some game variants have special features such as bonus rounds.

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    Classic Keno

    In classic keno, players can choose between 1 to 15 numbers. Standard rules apply where 20 numbers are drawn. The RTP here is 94.90%. This format is uncommon at US online casinos.

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    Lucky 8 Keno

    Lucky 8 Keno has 80 numbers, and 20 winning numbers are drawn each round. You can choose between 2 to 10 numbers. The Lucky 8 number is the 20th number drawn every time. If you match it, your win is multiplied by 8. This game format has an RTP of 92.15%.

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    Prairie Thunder Keno

    Prairie Thunder Keno draws 20 numbers out of the standard pool of 80. You must select a minimum of 3 numbers, and a maximum of 10. This is a unique keno format that has two special features: Prairie Thunder Bonus (5 free games) and Wolf Multiplier Bonus (unpicked symbols that reward wins on a match). This format’s RTP is 93,45%.


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    Ancient Thunder Keno

    Ancient Thunder Keno follows the standard keno format of 80 numbers, and 20 numbers are drawn each game round. You must select between 2 to 10 numbers. Besides the 20 drawn numbers each round, there are 14 special spots here: Zeus (5 spots = wheel bonus), Poseidon (4 spots = free games), Helios (3 spots = extra draws), and Athena (2 spots = 1 extra draw). This game’s RTP is 93.44%.


Keno Odds, House Edge, and Payouts

Keno has a very high payout potential. The keno payouts can reach as high as 200,000x your stake size, but these payouts can be as rare as jackpot slot wins.

Have a look at this keno payout chart based on the classic format of the game. Keep in mind keno payouts and odds will vary per game version and online casino.

Numbers pickedMatched numbersOddsWin
111 in 4$1
221 in 17$1
331 in 73$10
321 in 8$25
441 in 327$2
431 in 24$50
421 in 5$5
551 in 1,1551$1
541 in 83$500
531 in 12$15
661 in 7,753$2
651 in 324$1,500
641 in 36$50
631 in 8$5
771 in 40,980$1
761 in 1,366$5,000
751 in 116$150
741 in 20$15
731 in 6$2
881 in 230,115$1
871 in 6,233$15,000
861 in 423$400
851 in 55$50
841 in 13$10
991 in 1,380,688$2
981 in 30,628$25,000
971 in 1,691$2,500
961 in 175$200
951 in 31$25
941 in 9$4
10101 in 8,911,712$1
1091 in 163,382$200,000
1081 in 7,385$10,000
1071 in 621$500
1061 in 88$50
1051 in 20$10
1041 in 22$3

How to Play Keno and Win?

Follow these tips, our expert team hand-picked to ensure you maximize your winning chances. Unfortunately, we can’t point you to a keno strategy to win more because it’s a game of luck driven by the RNG (Random Number Generator) software.

  1. Pay attention to the RTP and payouts – Before deciding which keno variant to play, make sure to analyze the rules, odds and payouts. As a rule of thumb, higher RTP means more winnings. However, some lower RTP games have special features such as bonus rounds or special symbols. These features can deliver higher winnings. The maximum win and win per numbers matched are just as important as the RTP.
  2. Manage your bets – There are several keno game variants, many of which have limits north of $100 per game round. Make sure to manage your budget wisely by spreading out your budget across many bets. For example, you could bet 3% of your bankroll per game round. This is especially important when playing with a bonus, to make sure you wager more cash in the long run, while reducing your risk of losing everything fast.
  3. Take advantage of fair play tools – Fair play tools are crucial in helping you manage your budget. You can take advantage of tools like loss limits, session time limits, deposit limits, and even net loss limits. You can also self-exclude or take a short cool-off period to prevent spending on impulse while you play keno.
  4. Claim casino bonuses – Claiming a casino bonus is one of the best ways to indirectly increase your winnings while playing keno. With a 100% deposit match bonus offered by most US online casinos, a $100 deposit becomes $200. Of course, bonuses are not free money. You must complete the wagering requirements and respect the terms and conditions. However, Keno contributes 100% to the wagering requirements in most casino bonuses.
  5. Don’t make bets based on number history – Don’t pay attention to hot and cold numbers in keno. The betting history will inevitably show that some numbers appear more often because that’s the nature of a random game of luck like keno. With 80 numbers in play, you can be naturally misled to believe that some numbers are “hot” or “cold. Keep in mind that the numbers in each draw are completely random and independent of previous rounds.

Glossary of Terms

This glossary of terms will help you better understand keno and the various terms used surrounding the game, especially when it comes to offline play in land casinos.

  • Caller

The person in charge of calling out the winning numbers in a keno game round.

  • Draw

The Draw is the special panel showcases which 20 winning numbers have been drawn in a game round.

  • Field

The field is a collection of marked numbers that you haven’t matched i.e., won

  • Matched numbers

Matched numbers are winning numbers you’ve correctly guessed after the number draw.

  • Open

This means the casino is open to accepting keno bets for the following game round.

  • Closed

This means the casino has closed all bets for the following game round.

  • Paytable

The paytable shows the payout per numbers matched. The payout also increases according to the bet size.

  • Way Ticket

A keno ticket (which applies to offline play) has two or more special bets.

  • Aggregate Limit

Since keno’s payouts have a super high potential, some casinos employ a total overall winning limit that all players must agree on, called the “aggregate limit”.


Ready to Play Keno?

Keno is a simple game of luck that is straightforward to learn.

You mustselect up to 15 numbers you think will win. The software randomly draws 20 winning numbers, and the game round ends. In online keno, you can play dozens of game rounds in a minute.

There are special keno variants that offer bonus features and special symbols, spicing up the gameplay. Check each game’s rules, odds, and payouts before playing.

As a pure game of luck, keno has no strategy, and you should ignore hot and cold numbers. We advise you to pick whichever numbers you want and enjoy the game’s random nature.



The object of keno is to get as many matched numbers or “hits” as possible. The keno board has 80 numbers, and you can usually select up to 15. Then, the machine randomly draws 20 winning numbers. The more matches between your chosen numbers and the winning numbers, the higher your win.

The rules of playing keno depend on the keno game variant you’re playing. The essential rules are that you must select your bet level, up to 10 or 15 numbers, and wait for the outcome of the draw.

There is no optimal number of Keno spots you should pick. The numbers you choose dynamically adjust the payouts and getting 4 matches out of 8 chosen numbers doesn’t have the same payout as getting 4 matches out of 4 chosen numbers. It depends on your desired level of risk and if you’re in pursuit of the highest payouts. If you’re wagering a bonus, we recommend to play it safe by choosing between 4 to 8 numbers.

There is no number that hits the most in keno. Each number on the keno board has an individually equal chance of drawing. Over the course of a few game rounds, some numbers will be drawn more than others, which is only because of the nature of the RNG (Random Number Generator) software. In the long run, over millions of bets, the hit numbers even out.

There is no winning strategy to keno but you can find winning tips that will help you win in different ways, without affecting the house edge or payouts. Since keno is a game of luck, there is not much you can do from your side to affect the game’s outcome.

There is no pattern to keno. The game’s draws are entirely driven by the RNG (Random Number Generator) software. Every game draw is independent of the previous or future draws.

The hot numbers in keno are defined as numbers that get drawn more in comparison to other numbers over the course of your game session. This is misleading since he very nature of RNG is that some numbers will end up being more drawn in the short run. This doesn’t mean that these “hot numbers” are more likely to be drawn again. Every number has an equal chance of drawing in every game round.

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