Winning Keno Strategy – Best Betting Strategies, Tips & How to Win at Keno

Keno has been around for over 2,000 years and was rumored to have funded the Great Wall of China. This means that, for millennia, players have attempted to find a winning keno strategy. While there is no way to win at keno in the long run, there are plenty of fun ways that you can try in your pursuit of a huge score.

keno strategy - full keno board

The Best Keno Strategies

  • Four Card Keno Strategy
  • Playing the Hot Numbers
  • 7-Spot Keno Strategy
  • Round Robin Keno Strategy
  • Play Your Favorite Numbers

Finding the Best Keno Strategy

In order to figure out how to win at keno, you’re going to have to learn a few different strategies. After that, pick one or two and experiment with them by trying them out in real live action. Sure, the main goal is to win but you should also have fun with it and enjoy the moment.

Four Card Keno Strategy

If you’re playing on a video machine or you’re playing at your favorite online casino retailer, then you’ll have the option of playing four cards of Keno at the same time. You can choose a different set of numbers for each card, giving you four chances to win on every draw. Oftentimes, players will cover different clusters of the board on different cards so you can always have your favorite cluster covered.

Mind you, this will cost you four times more money than if you were to play one card, so you’re going to have to either bring in a larger bankroll or play at a smaller denomination to play the four card Keno strategy.

Playing the Hot Numbers

Almost every virtual casino game, whether on a machine or with an online retailer, will keep track of the hot numbers. Hot numbers are the numbers that have hit the most often over a certain period of time, usually over the last 100 games.

Usually, they will display the five hottest numbers in addition to a handful (normally 10) of the next hottest numbers. This allows players to not have to rely on themselves to come up with potential winning numbers.

7-Spot Keno Strategy

The 7-spot keno strategy is popular amongst keno regulars as it allows for considerable board coverage on multiple cards. While the strategy certainly sounds appealing it is ahigh variance strategy and landing seven numbers on one card is still a 1 in 40,980 chance. Here’s how the 7-spot keno strategy works:

  1. Divide the board into four even 5×4 quadrants. On average, five of the 20 numbers should appear in each quadrant over time, but the idea of this strategy is to make the most of opportunities that arise when seven or more numbers in the same quadrant hit.
  2. Pick four unique seven spots within one quadrant that share three or four numbers between them. You’ll need to play four or more cards.
  3. Play and hope that you’ll land the seven spot. While at a casino, this would usually pay around $5,000, online retailers will generally offer a lower top prize but higher medium prizes. At Golden Egg Keno, for example, landing five out of seven numbers will result in a 30x while a casino would generally offer 15x. Landing all seven, however, would only result in a 3,000x score. One of the numbers is also a golden egg, which grants you a free play of the same denomination if you match the golden egg.
Keno Martingale Betting Strategy

This is for the player who loves to play multiple cards at the same time who has a very large budget. This is an extremely risky strategy but one that can certainly pay off if the odds are in your favor.

Simply put, if you lose, you double your bet until you win. Considering that you can win several times your bet when you do hit, you can stand to make a pretty penny. However, given that your bets will be growing exponentially, you better bring a lot of cash to play. Also, you may not be able to make your bets exponentially as some games have preset betting limits, seemingly to make it impossible to Martingale.

Play Your Favorite Numbers

This is as easy as it sounds, you choose the number of spots you want to play and apply your favorite numbers to it. Using numbers I also would use for blackjack, my personal seven spot would be: 3, 8, 9, 13, 19, 22, and 23. Three was the basketball number I wore growing up and the number of my favorite collegiate basketball player: Syracuse University’s own Gerry McNamara. I chose 8 and 22 because I was born on August 22nd, while I wore 9 and 13 playing college soccer. I wore 19 during my last season of semi-pro soccer while 23 was always my youngest brother’s jersey number.

Some people can stick with their birthdays and make various numbers from them. For August 22nd, you could do 8 and 22 while also doing 14 (22-8) and 30 (22+8). You can also add 12 (8+2+2) and then for my birth year (89), put down 17. To get more board coverage, 8+22+8+9 = 47. Figure out your own numbers and have fun.

Choosing the Right Keno Game

Different keno games will have different RTPs and some will even have bonus features, so you need to carefully select the keno game that’s right for you. Each keno game will have different payouts as well, so you need to choose a keno game that will match your playing style.

There is a huge difference between playing at your local casino and playing keno games online. So, let’s see how the house edge works.

Keno House Edge

The house advantage in keno comes from the massive difference between the actual odds of matching your numbers and the multiplier the house pays out when you actually hit. For example, the odds of hitting six out of nine numbers is 1 in 175, yet you are only paid $25 for every dollar you bet.

The RTP at your local casino will be one of the worst in the entire casino, typically coming in at 60-70%. However, online keno games can offer a much better RTP, typically coming in at 85-95%. Furthermore, you may have the option to choose even more numbers, with some games offering the chance to pick up to 15 or even 20 numbers.

We highly recommend that you never choose that many numbers, as the odds for landing all 15 of your numbers is an astronomical 1 in 428 billion (1 in 428,010,179,098 to be exact). In fact, the odds of landing all 20 numbers are a nearly-impossible 1 in 3.5 quintillion (1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,320).

How to Win at Keno

The best way to win at keno is to pick a mathematically sound strategy that works for you and your goals. You should also play online, as the RTP of online keno games is almost always much higher than at a brick-and-mortar casino. Do your research and look for games with the highest RTP that fits your variance style.

As for strategy, we highly recommend playing four or six numbers if you want a sound, low-variance strategy with a great chance of winning. If you’d rather play a high-variance strategy with reasonable odds to win, choose five or seven of your favorite numbers.

Joining the Best Keno Casino

One of the biggest aspects of playing keno for real money is to join a reliable and trustworthy casino. Due to the ever-changing regulations in the United States, the available sites can vary greatly from one state to another. We here at Techopedia are happy to provide you with a list and description of safe online casinos for US-based players.

How to Play Keno

If you’re new to keno, it’s a fun and easy game to play. Before jumping into the action and testing any of our recommended strategies, you should learn the basics first.

For starters, there are 80 numbers on a keno board 20 numbers are randomly selected each round. Before every round is played, players will pick a series of numbers hoping to match all of them.

Each keno game, whether it be live or online, will have their own specific pay table. Some online keno games will also have some bonus features, like a golden number that could either give you a multiplier or award free games. Below is what a typical pay table would look like at a brick-and-mortar casino.

Keno Payouts Chart

Numbers picked Matched numbers Odds Win
1 1 1:4 $1
2 2 1:17 $10
3 2 1:8 $2
3 3 1:73 $25
4 2 1:5 $1
4 3 1:24 $5
4 4 1:327 $50
5 3 1:12 $2
5 4 1:83 $15
5 5 1:1,551 $500
6 3 1:8 $1
6 4 1:36 $5
6 5 1:324 $50
6 6 1:7,753 $1,500
7 3 1:6 $1
7 4 1:20 $2
7 5 1:116 $15
7 6 1:1,366 $150
7 7 1:40,980 $5,000
8 4 1:13 $2
8 5 1:55 $10
8 6 1:423 $50
8 7 1:6,233 $400
8 8 1:230,115 $15,000
9 4 1:9 $1
9 5 1:31 $4
9 6 1:175 $25
9 7 1:1,691 $200
9 8 1:30,628 $2,500
9 9 1:1,380,688 $25,000
10 0 1:22 $3
10 5 1:19 $3
10 6 1:87 $10
10 7 1:621 $50
10 8 1:7,385 $500
10 9 1:163,382 $10,000
10 10 1:8,911,712 $200,000

Keno Betting Options

Players are usually able to choose between one and 10 numbers before a round of keno begins. The more numbers you pick, the higher the top prize will be. However, the more numbers you pick also means the lower your chances will be of winning the top prize.

Usually, players play between four and seven numbers to hit that “sweet spot” where the odds of winning aren’t the worst and it’s reasonably possible to land all your numbers. As shown above, the odds of hitting seven out of seven numbers is 1:40,980, while hitting a ten spot will only happen about once every nine million times.

Numbers selected Percentage Chance to Win Expected RTP
1 25% 75%
2 6.01% 72.15%
3 15.28% 72.15%
4 25.9% 71.00%
5 9.7% 70.87%
6 16.2% 70.99%
7 6.2% 70.42%
8 2.1% 70.53%
9 3.9% 70.23%
10 11% 70.46%

Keno Tips

  • Play between four and seven numbers to keep your chances of winning and the variance to a reasonable degree.
  • Never play above 10 numbers if offered the chance. The chances of choosing and hitting 15 numbers is 1 in 428 billion while the chances of picking and hitting all 20 are 1 in 3.5 quintillion. Save your money.
  • Play online keno. The RTPs are so much higher at online casinos than in the casino, where live keno continues to be one of the worst games on offer.
  • Play multiple cards at once. You’ll be able to cover more of the board.
  • Have fun and play responsibly. Keno doesn’t have as big of a return on investment as other games so take that into consideration before starting on your keno journey.

FAQs

What are the odds of picking and landing 10 numbers?

What are the chances I’ll make a profit when I play four numbers one time?

How many numbers are on a typical keno board?

What are the best odds in keno?

What are the odds of hitting a six spot?

What are the chances of me picking all 20 numbers?

When was keno invented?

Affiliate Disclosure: Techopedia may receive advertising commissions for visits to a suggested operator through our affiliate links, at no added cost to you. However, all our recommendations are unbiased and follow a thorough review process. Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly and you must be at a legal gambling age.

References

  1. Keno (Britannica)
  2. 7 Spot Strategy (The Mystic Gambler)
Blaise Bourgeois
Poker and Gambling Expert

Blaise is an Expert Gambling Writer and a professional poker player in Brazil. He has played and traveled throughout Latin America for the last four-and-a-half years and recently won his first WSOP Circuit ring! He received his Master's in Sport Management and Sports Analytics from St. John's University. Blaise also holds a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from SUNY Purchase, where he still holds the school's Men's Soccer record for goals in a season. Blaise has worked for Catena Media, OddsSeeker, WSOP, PokerNews, and Poker.Org in various capacities. He has a passion for extensive research and aims to provide accurate…