How to Win Keno | Betsquare

Article by Simon Day
better understanding of keno odds
Last Updated: Mar 22nd, 2024 Share On Your Network:

Those who are regular visitors to a casino will be aware of the mechanisms of each game.

Let’s say you decide to play poker; being aware of the rules the card game entails before taking part gives you a far better chance of being successful. 

The same is true for keno; if you know how to play keno, the odds of you winning money are greater than they would be otherwise.

Keno originated in China thousands of years ago and is a type of lottery, where players can pick between the numbers 1 and 80, with the stake increasing based on your number of selections.

The aim is to match your picks with as many of the 20 numbers that are randomly drawn – the more matches you have, the greater the amount of winnings you will receive. 

We’ve created this article to help you understand how to win keno for the best chance of prospering when you pick up your keno betting slip. 

So, if you’re keen to learn how to play keno to win big, read on and discover our expert tips and gameplay advice. 

Best Keno Strategies

The best keno players tend to form a strategy that will make a favourable outcome much more likely. Rather than being a casual casino game player who often relies on potluck, building a strategic plan is a smarter approach. 

However, the numbers that come up in any keno game are randomly generated, so no amount of planning will guarantee you win anything. 

That being said, you should stand a better chance of achieving success by following certain guidelines. Let’s explore the best ways to approach the game for potentially greater returns.


Choose Keno Games with the Best Payouts 

Did you know that keno payouts vary depending on the format you’re playing? This surprises new players who assume that the game has a fixed structure like other casino games, but knowing this could be the difference between winning and losing.

You should begin by checking the house edge of the keno game in question, which indicates the percentage of profit a casino will take from your stake. 

When you visit a casino in person, some of these games can have a house edge of up to 35%, which isn’t ideal if you wish to maximise your stake and potential profit. 

In contrast, some online variations of keno might list a house edge as low as 5%, making the keno game payout potentially larger, so make sure to determine this in the game terms before proceeding.

Choosing a title with a house edge or 5% or less will ensure that your keno game payouts are likely to be better, which is a good starting point for any keno strategy.


Learn the Odds 

Explaining how keno odds work requires some simple mathematics – 20 numbers will be drawn from a possible 80. 

The amount you can select at any one time varies between each keno game, but it could be 10, 15, or maybe even 20. 

To exemplify this, let’s look at a 20-slot game for this article, meaning you can pick up to 20 numbers per round.

If you select just 1 number from the 80, you have a 25% chance of matching it with one of the 20 drawn because 80 divided by 4 is 20.

Now let’s say you want to choose 2 numbers in the next game. Your odds of matching both from the 20 balls drawn is close to 6%. 

Then if you try to match all 3 number selections you’ve made, the likelihood stands at under 2%. Bear in mind though, if you’ve made 3 selections but match 2 of them, you will still receive some sort of payout but it will be less than if you’d match all 3. 

We’ve created a handy table of the approximate odds, with the keno winning odds rounded to the nearest whole number for clarity, for you to get a better grasp of how it all works:


Matches Probability Odds as a Percentage
0 1 in 843 0.12%
1 1 in 86 1.16%
2 1 in 20 4.97%
3 1 in 8 12.49%
4 1 in 5 20.5%
5 1 in 4 23.33%
6 1 in 5 19.02%
7 1 in 9 11.33%
8 1 in 20 4.99%
9 1 in 61 1.63%
10 1 in 254 0.39%
11 1 in 4,424 0.07%
12 1 in 10,969 0.009%
13 1 in 118,085 0.0008%
14 1 in 1,821,882 0.00005%
15 1 in 41,751,454 0.000002%
The odds of matching 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 numbers range are incredibly high and thus very unlikely to occur.


As you can see, the likelihood of none of your balls matching, assuming you select 10 numbers, is very low. The favourability gets increasingly likely up to 5 matches, which stands at around 1 in 4 probability. However, the more numbers you select beyond that, the likelihood that you’ll match them all reduces.

Don’t worry if you’re struggling to get to grips with the math involved with this. What’s important to remember is that your odds of winning will be low if you pick only 1 number, for instance, but the payout-to-stake ratio will decrease if you pick more numbers.

Select Between Four and Eight Numbers

better understanding of keno odds

Now that you have a better understanding of keno odds, what does it all mean for your strategy? 

Well, the figures show us that the most likely outcome when selecting a full slot of numbers is for you to match 5 keno numbers. This is good to know because it gives us a measure of expectation.

Many experienced players like to select anywhere between 4 and 8 keno numbers as their approach because it gives them the best chance of success and doesn’t compromise the winnings-to-stake potential return.

If you try to match over 10 numbers, you will have to stake more and you’re less likely to match them all, even if you have a greater pool of numbers that could appear.

The potential winnings from matching close to 20 numbers are obviously going to be greater than if you match fewer numbers, but it’s hardly worthwhile attempting because of the extremely unlikely odds of it occurring, and you would therefore have to put down more of a stake.

You’ll be placing less of a stake if you choose 1 or 2 numbers but the odds of matching them are less than 5, for example, and the winnings will be smaller, too.


Don’t Bet on the Same Numbers All the Time 

When some people play the National Lottery, for example, they like to select the same numbers repeatedly, perhaps because those numbers mean something to them. 

Our advice is to not do this when it comes to keno numbers because the odds of a number being repeatedly drawn are lower than a variation of different numbers. 

Of course, keno is a game of chance and the odds of any number being drawn are the same at the start of each round. 

But certain keno lucky numbers or ‘hot numbers’ could keep coming up and perhaps you should add some variation to your play. Having one or two numbers that are the same will be fine, but picking an entire slot of the same numbers might not render the luck you’re hoping for.

Like any lottery-style game, there is an element of luck involved so no strategy will guarantee that you make money but could put you in a more favourable position to do so.


Limit How Much You Spend

At Betsquare, we believe it’s good practice to set a loss limit to make sure that you are not spending beyond your means. 

It would be a sensible move to plan how much you can afford to lose in the worst-case scenario. The idea is to try and win each time you play, but there is always a possibility that wins don’t occur so you should bear this in mind because no strategy is foolproof.

This isn’t strictly a keno bankroll strategy but applies to every casino game there is and ensures safe and responsible gambling. We believe that developing a strategy when playing keno will help you gamble responsibly and within your means.

Inexperienced gamblers sometimes like to try and chase their losses, but our view is that this is not a good approach and can lead to bad habits that detract from your experience. Having a figure in mind that you want to stay within makes sure that you don’t go beyond your means.

If you feel that your gambling is risking your mental well-being or financial situation, you should read through Betsquare’s responsible gambling page to understand how you can seek help and the most secure approaches to using online casinos.


Pick Multi-Race Cards

An interesting approach some players have when playing keno online is that they select the same numbers over several cards simultaneously in the hope of hitting a winning combination. 

This is called a multi-race card to perhaps enhance your odds of winning. This means that if you have the money set aside to bet on several cards, you can do so at the same time with a good chance of success.

Remember that the more money you stake, the more that will add to the potential earnings you will receive if you bet successfully.

Multi-race cards are predominantly used when the option to play keno online is there as the system is automated. Check with the keno game you plan on playing to see if this is a possibility beforehand.

One of the benefits of this is that you don’t need to deviate from your strategy across several games, instead, sticking to an approach you feel comfortable with. 

As well as this, it saves time because you are using multiple cards at once, rather than waiting for one round to finish before commencing the next.


Choose Reputable Casinos 

Keno is an extremely popular game that is facilitated by countless online casinos around the world. This doesn’t mean that every casino lists the same type of keno game, or even offers a fair platform, which is why you should thoroughly inspect the casino you intend to play at.

Choosing the right casino to play at is crucial because there are safeguards in place and fairness policies that are adhered to buy the largest and most reputable online casinos. 

All it takes is a little bit of prior research to understand how other players have felt while using the platform and inspecting the terms that are laid out on the company website.

Keno games online can be a lot of fun but it’s also important to make sure you inspect the best places to get value for money. As we’ve already discussed, the house edge varies from casino to casino. 

You need to make sure that the casino you play at doesn’t have a house edge that is beyond your comfort zone.

Each of the very best casinos online has a set of terms for every game that detail what the player can expect. When you play keno online, it’s crucial to determine the functionality of the games this online casino provides.

At Betsquare, we are adept at finding and highlighting the very best casinos available to play in Australia and further afield. 

We promote reputable online casinos with fair gameplay and security measures in place. There are several risks involved with using a casino with a poor reputation, relating to payouts, customer service, unfair gaming, or disproportionate odds.


Try Playing Keno for Free 

What better way for new players to understand how keno works than to try free keno games before playing for real money? 

Thankfully, many casinos offer the chance to keno for free before you make a real money deposit. This can serve as excellent practice for those who have never played before.

When you play keno for free, don’t worry about the mistakes you make, because they act as a good lesson before you start playing with real money. 

It’s much better to make these mistakes and learn the ropes properly when playing in a moneyless and simulated version than a real-life experience with greater jeopardy. 

You can also get to grips with the different variations of keno, like 10-slot, 15-slot, or 20-slot versions to understand how the odds fluctuate and the outcomes change.

Although numerous casinos offer the chance to become involved in free keno games, you can also explore guided videos on the Internet to use as a manual to help you with your approach. 

You can examine the list of casinos that Betsquare believes can offer you the best keno experience and see if they have any free demos.


Final Thoughts 

Dating back centuries, versions of keno and other lottery-based games have been part of the societal fabric for a long time. People have developed strategies that suit their playing styles and hopefully make it more likely that they will win.

Knowing how to play keno is an important starting point and it can help you to identify the best games to play to improve your winning chances.

Also, sticking to the principle of selecting between four and eight numbers puts you in the best position to make a profit without risking too much of a stake.

There is no guaranteed way of knowing how to win keno, but certain approaches seem more likely than others to bear fruit. Our view is that if you don’t try to match a large number of combinations for huge wins but at astronomical odds, while also selecting enough numbers to make it more likely you will get the hits you are looking for. 

Certain features within the game, like the multi-race cards, present an interesting avenue for you to save time and stick to your strategy throughout multiple games.

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