Keno is a game of luck. It’s also a game where the house edge is among the highest of any casino game. Depending on where you play and the specific rules in use live keno has a house edge ranging from 20% to 35%. Video keno is a slightly better bet, with a house edge ranging from 6% to 14%. There’s one problem with taking the video keno numbers out of context–it’s also a much ‘faster’ game. Play on a video keno machine is anywhere from 50% to 100% faster than a live keno game meaning that even with the marginally better odds you’ll lose your money quicker than playing live keno.

Simply put, there’s no way to win consistently playing keno. You might get lucky in the short term, but in the long term there’s no way to even cut into that house edge. Forget about eliminating it and putting it in your favor. Your only input is selecting the numbers but since the casino/machine draws the numbers at random (and in either case they are truly random)there’s no way to implement a strategy. It’s like trying to come up with a ‘strategy’ for flipping a coin, only instead of 2 possible outcomes there are 80. The intelligent keno player realizes what he’s up against and plays the game for entertainment only, not for ‘investment purposes’.


The obvious mathematical reality that there’s no way to succeed in the long term at keno is either lost on some people or else they choose to ignore it. There are even scam artists online that have the temerity to *sell* ‘proven keno strategies’ guaranteed to make money. Such a claim makes peddlers of craps or roulette strategies look legitimate. The only legitimate keno ‘strategy’ is to play where you’re getting the best odds but that’s of dubious value since in this game the ‘best odds’ aren’t that great. That’s really the only marginal advantage that you can give yourself when dealing with keno.

Those who don’t believe this (or who are trying to sell systems to them) usually rely on the highly dubious concept of tracking numbers or patterns. They’re both variations on the same theme and neither of them really work. Tracking numbers is just what you’d think it is–keeping track of the numbers that come up and then betting on ones that haven’t been drawn in a while. Tracking patterns is a variation on that theme–in pattern tracking the ersatz keno ‘wise guy’ looks for recurring ‘patterns’ in the numbers like ‘L shapes’, ‘T shapes’ or whatever. They might as be looking for the image of Jesus or Sponge Bob in the patterns for all the good that they do.


All of these systems–as well as anything else that relies on ‘tracking’ the random events that occur within a game–are victims of the ‘Gambler’s Fallacy’. Simply put, the ‘Gambler’s Fallacy’ is the mistaken belief that random events in the past can exert influence on random events in the future. For example, flipping a coin is a 50/50 proposition with an equal chance of getting heads or tails. Say, however, that you flip a coin 9 times and it comes up heads each time–what are the odds that it will land ‘tails’ on the next flip? If you said 50% then pat yourself on the back. If you said anything else, you’re also a victim of the ‘Gambler’s Fallacy’. Coin flips, dice rolls, card deals and number draws have no memory. They don’t ‘know’ what happened in the previous event or series of events. Over the long term, they’ll average out to 50/50 but the ‘long term’ could be millions of flips. There’s no mathematical basis for thinking that just because you’ve flipped ‘heads’ 9 times that it’ll start to ‘even out’ in the near term.

A keno number draw has 80 possible ‘outcomes’ but the same concept applies and this is why any system reliant on tracking what numbers have already appeared is useless. Randomness means that every outcome has an equal chance of occurring. It *doesn’t* mean that if ‘X’ occurs more than ‘Y’ in the short term that it’s inevitable that there will be a near term correction where ‘Y’ occurs more than ‘X’. If you charted the occurance of the 80 keno numbers over the long term–tens of millions of draws (or more)–you’d likely find that the distribution of numbers will be close to equal. Of course, there’s not any guarantee of this even at the tens of millions of draws level. What is guaranteed is that the greater the number of repetitions of a random event the greater it will reflect it’s true theoretical probability.