Rules of Keno

An Introduction to Keno
Keno is a game of chance that is fun to play. The game originated in the far-east long ago and came to the United States courtesy of the immigrants who moved here from the east in the 1800s. The fun factor of Keno is magnified by the fact that you actually stand a chance of winning big even while betting small.

In a land-based casino you can play Keno in the lounges, and use a Keno crayon, which the casino provides, to aid you in marking out the numbers of your choice. Online Keno is slightly different, in that the machines you play Keno on resemble slot machines more than anything else. The rules are the same as for traditional Keno, the other major difference being the online game happens at a much quicker pace than the traditional one.

With this basic background about Keno, we will now discuss the different rules governing the game.

Keno Rules – Filling Up the Ticket
If you are at a traditional casino and wish to play Keno, the first step would be to get a blank Keno ticket. You can get the ticket at the lounges in the casino dedicated to Keno and also possibly in other areas where the games are organized, such as the casino’s restaurant. Considering that casinos have Keno games at an average of one game every 5 minutes, round the clock, you know for sure there are lots of games for you to play.

The Keno ticket has boxes numbered from 1 through to 80. Once you get the ticket, the next step is to mark out boxes between 1 and 80. You can mark out a minimum of four boxes and a maximum of 10 boxes. You can do the marking out using the Keno crayon mentioned earlier. You can cross out the numbers of your choice, or draw a circle around them. Each number that you mark out is called a Keno spot.

Along with marking out the numbers of your choice, you are also required to enter some other relevant information on the Keno ticket. This information includes the number of Keno spots on your ticket and also some wagering information; specifically, the size of your bet. You note down the bet size at the top right corner of the ticket and the number of spots selected at the right side of the ticket. One rule that is strictly followed with regard to marking out the boxes – you are not allowed to use pens or pencils; it is mandatory to use the Keno crayon.

Keno Rules – Submitting the Ticket
Once you have crossed out or circled the numbers of your choice on the Keno ticket and also filled in the information relating to bet size and the number of spots you have chosen, you must submit this form to the Keno writer so he can then place the bet. The writer then issues a duplicate ticket to the player called the ‘outside ticket’ and retains the original one, called the ‘inside ticket’.

Once the Keno writer goes through your ticket and then gives you the duplicate ticket, it is your responsibility to cross-verify that there are no errors on the ticket. If there are any errors that have not been caught on the outside ticket, the problem is that the erroneous ticket becomes the official ticket and your prospect of winning goes out of the window.

In the traditional casino setup, there is a big electronic board in the Keno lounge that displays the numbers drawn at the end of the draw, also called the Keno race. You need to place your bets before the word ‘Closed’ shows up on the board. Once the board reads ‘Closed’, you are not allowed to make any bets or modify an existing bet. The winning numbers show up on the board, and you cannot start a new game until those numbers disappear.

More Keno Rules
There is one area in Keno where the rules apply strictly, and that is with respect to the players with the winning tickets collecting their prize money. Unlike in a lottery, you need to collect your winning money the moment you are announced a winner. You need to hand over your duplicate ticket to the writer or send it to him through a Keno runner right after a game. This is done to ensure that Keno is not treated as just another lottery, and the rule is laid down per the directive of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The next question that arises is ‘Who is a Keno runner?’ In a traditional casino, you may not necessarily always be in the Keno lounge where the Keno writer is sitting; you could be at any other location that is functioning as a Keno lounge. In such cases, the casino employs staff members to go around and collect the tickets from players, and these staff members are called Keno runners.

There is another rule that the casino enforces strictly with regard to giving your ticket to a Keno runner. It is possible that you gave a ticket to the Keno runner on time, but he was delayed in bringing it back to the writer. Casinos have a rule in place that says it is not responsible for delays or any problems arising due to the Keno runners.

Keno Rules – The Payoff Size
The rule related to the payoff in Keno, be it in traditional or online casinos, has undergone some changes in recent times. Most casinos have the maximum amount as an aggregate, meaning that if there were more than one winner for a game, the prize money would be shared by the different winners. The objective of this rule was to ensure that casinos did not end up paying more than the announced prize money in case of multiple winners, for such a situation would mean a loss to the casino.

The aggregate prize money rule was laid down by the Nevada Gaming Commission long back, and still stands. However, what has changed is the maximum amount that this aggregate prize money can be.

In the earlier days, the maximum prize money was $50,000. In time, casinos that were earlier owned by individuals started being acquired by business houses and corporations, which meant that the cash limit literally became unlimited. In that light, the cap of $50,000 became redundant. Realizing this, the Nevada Gaming Commission made this a no-limits affair in 1989. As a result, today you see aggregate payoffs as high as $1,000,000 for a single game in some casinos.

Now that are familiar with Keno, why not take at peek at some people's Keno strategy.
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