How to play

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The casino game of Keno is similar to many offerings of the state lotteries. Using a Keno crayon you mark between 4 and 20 numbers on a card with a field of 80 numbers and then wait for the numbers to be drawn to see whether you win anything.

Casinos offer special Keno lounges for the playing of the game, though they also employ Keno runners who can accept your bets from any location on the premises. Results are shown on Keno boards around the casino. Though the odds of winning are poor compared to most other games, some players enjoy being able to relax in a Keno lounge for long periods, placing minimum bets and being catered to by cocktail waitresses.

Numbers on the Keno cards commonly have the nickname of 'Spots.' While today many Keno operations are conducted electronically, the majority of the Vegas Keno games still use numbered ping-pong balls blowing around in a big plastic bubble which are then sucked up into a 'goose,' a tube that admits one ball at a time.

There are six standard Keno bets

1) Straight Tickets, 2) Split Tickets, 3) Way Tickets, 4) Combination Tickets, 5) King Tickets and 6) Special Tickets.

Straight Tickets - This is the most common sort of Keno bet. You simply choose your spots on the Keno card and wait for the draw. Every casino has its own maximum total of numbers to bet. Most allow you to bet on between 1 and 15 spots but there are those that permit up to 40 numbers on a straight ticket.

You also have to decide how much you want to wager. The most frequently encountered minimum bet is $1. You have the option of playing multiples of the base rate. For instance, if you played $2 on a $1 ticket, your eventual winnings will be double the $1 payout rate.

Split Tickets - A split ticket allows you to play two or more games on the same Keno card field. From the field of 80 numbers you select two groups of numbers and then separate them with either circles or a line. If you wanted to bet $1 per group, your actual bet on a split ticket with 2 groups would be $2, which you mark in the appropriate space above the betting field.

Way Tickets - Way tickets allow you to bet on multiple groups of numbers in a single Keno card field. They can be a little complicated; you must decide how many different combinations of numbers from among the various groups you've selected you want to bet on, and then compute your bets according to fractions you place to the right of the betting field. For example, if you were betting on four combinations of 4 numbers, one of 12 numbers and three of 5 numbers, you would write the fractions 4/4 1/12 and 3/5 to the right of the betting field and then add the numerators 4 + 1 + 3 for a total of 8, meaning that if your unit bet was $1, you would be placing an $8 bet; you then write $8 in the appropriate space above the betting field. One thing that makes Way Tickets popular among those who master them is that many casinos allow for fractional rates, which is to say that you can play for as little as 10 cents per way.

Combination Tickets - A combination ticket permits you to combine groups of straight bets on one ticket in various manners. You wager one unit for each possible combination. Straight and way bets, for example, may be played on a single combination ticket. When betting groups of numbers you must clearly mark which groups you are wagering on to the right of the betting field.

King Tickets - King tickets are a variation on Way tickets. You still bet on groups of numbers, but you select at least one single number as a 'King.' Each King number is circled by itself; groups are circled as groups.

Special Tickets - Many casinos offer 'Special Tickets' which allow for varieties of particular bets with advantageous payout schemes. Special Tickets are generally used by casinos as promotional tools.

Basics & Rules