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The Game of Keno

April 19, 2018 0 Comment


Keno is perhaps one of the oldest recorded lottery games in history.

Keno History

Keno was first played over two thousand years ago in China. The game is thought to have been one of the world’s first examples of a type of lottery game. Chinese rulers used the game’s popularity as a means to raise funds for many of their needs, especially outfitting armies. In fact, historians believe the game was significant in raising the necessary revenues to make possible the building of the Great Wall of China.

The original Keno was based on an ancient and now familiar Chinese poem that consisted of 120 characters in a somewhat rhymed form. These characters all corresponded to numbers. Keno participants, most sources agree, could pick ten numbers as they corresponded to characters. Often the numbers would be chosen because of their symbolic representation of specific characters. Carrier pigeons would bring the winning numbers from village to village. Historians claim, too, that the Keno poem has been frequently used to teach children numbers.

Keno In the United States

Keno was purportedly transported to the United States with the first Chinese immigrants. Most of these immigrants were employed at working on building the railroads. The Chinese played the game avidly among themselves. When Americans adopted the game, they simply exchanged the Chinese numbered characters for American numbers. The game’s original characters were tossed and the 120 numbers were reduced to 80 numbers for American audiences. The game was used in the early days of Las Vegas as a “lottery” game, but was changed simply to “Keno” when lotteries were prohibited in most states.

Casino Keno

The casino version of Keno is played in many commercial and Indian casinos throughout the United States. Players can pick up Keno cards at various areas on a casino floor. Keno cards consist of eighty numbers. Players can choose to bet on any amount of those eighty, by circling them. At various Keno kiosks, the winning numbers are regularly posted. In order to entertain American gamblers, Keno comes bundled with a number of different bets a player can make on their choices. Bets include “way” bets and combination bets. In fact, there are a number of Keno experts who make available their betting strategies for serious Keno players.

Online Keno

A typical real money online casino per head software keno game consists of a keno card, a pay table, and a few buttons. While every online keno game is a bit different, these are the common elements you’ll find when you choose to play online.