Keno is a very seductive game in that it offers absolutely ridiculous payouts for those that are lucky enough to win big while playing the game. Of course, anyone who has frequented casinos knows that anytime there is a huge prize to be won, there are also great odds working against the chances of your actually winning that prize.
Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to try to maximize your odds whenever you play not just keno, but any other game at either a brick-and-mortar casino or an online casino. In keno, though, maximizing your odds can be tricky, indeed. A lot of that has to do with the way the game is played itself and how the numbers are selected.
With traditional casinos, keno is generally played using a set of eighty balls that are numbered from 1 to 80. During the draw phase of the game, the casino generally selects twenty balls at random and shows the numbers to players, who are undoubtedly waiting with fingers crossed to get the results.
In online casinos, random number generators are used to select the numbers. Before you ask, yes, the numbers selected are completely random. That means that simply because a number has been hit before doesn’t mean it is any more or less likely to be hit in the future. Each draw is its own event that takes place in a vacuum, so to speak. Don’t be cynical about the randomness of the numbers (thought it’s easy to do so), as online casinos are closely regulated and audited to ensure fairness to the player.
All of this means that any number can be hit in keno at any time. It’s not like rolling two dice, where the probability trends toward the middle numbers being hit more often. Every ball has a 1-in-80 chance of being selected as the first ball every time, and every ball has equal odds of being chosen at all times.
What this does mean, though, is that you can feel free to play your favorite numbers whenever you want, whether or not they’ve been selected already. Sure, in the long run over thousands of games, each ball should be chosen about the same percentage of the time as all others, but remember that we’re talking about a small sample size here of individual draws while you’re playing. You can easily see the same number hit in say, 7 out of 8 draws.
Some people like to play consecutive numbers, but that won’t make a big difference, either. The thinking here is generally sound: what are the chances that no numbers from 31-40 will be hit, right? But the problem is that in keno you maximize your winnings by hitting as many of your numbers (or all of them, preferably) as possible, so playing three numbers in the 30s and only hitting one really won’t help your cause.
Where the strategy really comes in has more to do with how many numbers you choose and how much you wager. Keno is unique in that you can win a lot of money on a single dollar, but in the payscale of most casinos, playing $3 gives you five times the payout if you win than playing $1 does. That means that for the same odds and three times the cost, you get five times the winnings. That’s there to be taken advantage of, for sure.
Another tip is to not play too many numbers at first. Sure, you can play ten numbers and maybe become a millionaire, but the odds of that happening are just a bit less than 1 in 9 million. The odds of hitting all of your numbers take a big jump when you play six numbers instead of five, and an even bigger jump when you play seven and beyond, so most of your play might as well be relegated to the lower plays, unless you really want the chance of winning that jackpot.