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History of Keno

The game of Keno was invented over 3,000 years ago by Cheung Leung, who was a ruler during the great Han Dynasty. At the time, Leung's city was in the midst of a long and brutal war, one that had all but exhausted the city's resources. Unable to draw more tax money from the residents, Cheung Leung conceived of an idea that would both fill his city's coffers and would not place extra taxation on his citizens.

The game was based on a popular poem at the time, "The Thousand Character Classic." This poem was then, and remains today, the most popular way for people to learn how to count, using one thousand Chinese symbols, none of them repeating. Comprising two hundred and fifty phrases with four characters each, the poem was written by Zhou Xingsi. Out of the 250 phrases, 120 were used, subdivided into eight characters to each subdivision. In order to regulate the winning or losing, it was decided that whoever would guess right a whole subdivision would be rewarded ten taels, a Chinese form of currency.

The game allowed Cheung Leung to earn enough money in order to finance the war. As the game's popularity spread, it became known as the "Game of the White Pigeon." This was because it was played in the main towns and cities, and with communication being difficult in mountainous China, the news of successes and losses were often relayed to the surrounding countryside by dove. When the largest national project in Chinese history was first conceived, The Great Wall of China, it was funded and paid for by Keno draws. Keno did not leave China until the beginning of the twentieth century. Brought to the shores of the United States by Chinese sailors, Keno was an instant success, though an underground one. At the time, gambling in all forms was prohibited by law. However, Keno was played avidly, with the Chinese characters changed to numbers in order to facilitate the needs of American players.

Gambling was authorized in Nevada in 1931, however lotteries were not and Keno was seen as a lottery at the time by the Federal Government. In order to get around this, Keno operators changed the name to Racehorse Keno, effectively masking the real aim of the game. Each number was designated as a horse, even though the game had nothing to do with racing. When the government passed a law that taxed off-track betting, thus legalizing the game, the name was changed back again to Keno.

How to Play Keno

Keno games are perhaps the most relaxing of all casino games. Learning how to play Keno requires very little effort. The rules do not require incisive reasoning or science and are easy to recall and understand. Similar to Lotteries, the rules of Keno are comprised of number selection, a drawing and results.

In recent years, Keno has enjoyed a renaissance in brick and mortar casinos. For younger casino patrons, it is now quite fashionable to play this “vintage” game. But Keno isn't only popular at casinos; it is now a popular party game and many restaurants and bars host Keno night. Because the game is so hot, an online version of it exists and numerous players keep the game going 24 hours a day. Learning how to play Keno gives you an automatic in to several social settings.

How to Play Keno
The rules of Keno are easy to learn. Keno is played with Keno cards or tickets. Each ticket displays the numbers from 1 to 80. The numbers on the tickets correspond to the numbers on ping-pong balls inserted in an aerated machine on the Keno table. The Keno machine selects twenty balls at random from the eighty in the machine.

Players pre-select up to 20 numbers and mark them on their Keno cards. They then determine how much money they would like to bet and how many games they would like to play. This should be displayed on the blank space furnished on the ticket. Tickets are then given to a runner who issues an electronic ticket in return. It is vital that players give their tickets to the runner since the payments due the winners hinge on the numbers inserted into the computers.

Next, the house draws 20 numbers randomly, generally picking out balls from a bin or utilizing computer software known as Random Number Generator (RNG). If the numbers the house selects match the numbers on a player’s ticket, it’s a winner.

The amount of prize money depends on how many numbers are matched. If your ticket has the winning numbers, make certain to get hold of the runner and get your profit. All casinos provide standard Keno tickets in addition to some specialized tickets; you have the choice to purchase whichever one you wish.

How to play Keno continued here

Keno Glossary

Aggregate Limit
The total payout responsibility of a casino during any one game.

All or Nothing
A Keno ticket that pays only if all picked numbers are drawn, or none of the picked numbers are drawn.

Ball Game
A Keno game that uses balls to represent the numbers, the most common type of Keno.

An unused Keno ticket.

Buy-In Tournament
A Keno tournament where players pay a set fee up front, and play a predetermined number of games or tickets.

The calling of the Keno numbers performed by a casino employee.

The casino employee who calls out the numbers during the keno game.

For more Keno Terms click here

Keno Quotes

In the case of an earthquake hitting Las Vegas, be sure to go straight to the Keno Lounge. Nothing ever gets hit there.
Author Unknown

Keno Jokes

Keno Hopper
How many elderly ladies playing Keno does it take to knock over the hopper?
Four if by foot; three if by walker