‘Keno’ game expert tips: 7 funny facts

Keno is one of the most ubiquitous games in casinos. No matter what Las Vegas casino you enter, you will see players walking around with the keno tickets. Many casinos that also offer hotel services have in their guest rooms monitors that are specifically dedicated to showing keno draw results.

How did it all come to be this way? Why is the game everywhere nowadays? If you ever caught yourself on such a thought, then read on to find out some interesting facts about keno that you can show off to your friends and family during the next trip to Las Vegas.

Keno’s Origins

Believe it or not, unlike many other casino games, which were all conceived and created in the Western World, Keno comes from Asia. Nobody knows when the first version of the game was thought up, but in the 2nd century BC, the government introduced it to win a war and save a city from destruction.

All of this happened during the Han dynasty, and Cheung Leung was the person behind the game’s implementation. Thanks to this lottery-type game, the Han dynasty could survive a bit longer. There are even some legends going around that early versions of Keno helped to fund the creation of the Great Wall of China in its initial phases.

The Linguistic Aspect

The modern version of the game is named keno, which stems from either contemporary French or ancient Latin word, as no one knows it for certain. In French, ‘quine’ means five winning numbers, and in Latin, ‘quini’ translates to ‘five each.’ The connection between these words and the game itself is easy to see.

However, it is much more interesting how keno is called in Chinese. In Cantonese, the game sounds like báigē piào, literally meaning a ‘white dove ticket.’ It is called this way because the results of the lottery draw would be sent out from the city to neighboring villages and hamlets via white carrier doves.

The pronunciation of the Cantonese word was ‘baak-gap-piu,’ but it started to immediately westernize, as non-Chinese people simply could not pronounce this word correctly. First, it went to ‘boc hop bu,’ then to ‘puck-apu,’ then – ‘pak-ah-pu,’ and finally, before being renamed into keno, ‘pakapoo.’

Modern Keno VS. Ancient Pakapoo

As you already know, keno is a lottery-type game that is highly popular in all casinos. It is played with eighty numbers. Players wager on up to twenty of them (there are modern variations of keno), and then the winning numbers are drawn at random. In the end, players are paid according to the number of wagers they have guessed.

Of course, it was not the way that the ancient version of pakapoo was played. Instead of eighty numbers, there were one-hundred-twenty Chinese characters. And instead of personalized tickets, the players had to put down their wagers with a quill pen on shared board.

How It Came to the Western World

Another peculiar thing about keno’s origins is that the game has completely avoided the ‘Old World.’ Pakapoodid not spread throughout the Eurasian continent, and it did not reach Eastern Europe, nor did it get to the Middle East. This game stayed specifically in Chinese areas.

Thus, an obvious question pops up: ‘How in the world did it reach the North American continent and spread throughout the US so quickly?’ The keno’s popularity happened thanks to the involvement of the Chinese in the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

After working the whole day making railroads, Chinese people liked to let off some steam by playing pakapoo. Of course, this unknown game piqued Westerners’ interest. Westerners asked the Chinese to introduce them to the game and then modified it a bit to be more international. This way, keno was born.

The Perfect Casino Game

By 1866, keno was already incredibly popular in Texas and all of the neighboring states. However, everything was not so butter-smooth for the game. There were some major legal issues with the official introduction of the game because it was basically a lottery.

According to the Encyclopedia, at the end of the 19thcentury and the start of the 20th century, lotteries were banned. So, when the casinos were first legalized in Las Vegas, casino owners had to solve this issue and deliver the popular game to the masses.

How did they do it? The entrepreneurs of the early 20thcentury outsmarted the legal system by calling the game ‘Horse Race Keno’. This way, this lottery-type game would technically be a betting-based game and classify as a casino game, making it completely legal and accessible to all of the gambling fans.

Impossible Odds

As stated before, there are many modern variations of keno, which allow players to choose from only one number up to twenty. The more numbers you guess correctly, the bigger the payout is. Of course, if you get all of the numbers successfully, then you receive a jackpot that varies from one casino to another.

According to the New York Times, guessing just one number is not that likely, with the probability ratio being 1 in 46,446. Correctly guessing twenty numbers is astronomically improbable because the ratio is 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,320. In simple words, it is an almost unreachable figure!

Stable Payouts

Disregarding the reality-bending numbers, the payouts in keno are actually frequent and common. Yes, the biggest payout is for those who guess every number correctly. However, players get paid for ‘catches,’ too. The more numbers you hit, the more money you get, it’s simple.

With keno, you easily can win up to $1,000 after only investing $10 into the game. It is not uncommon to see that casinos offer the jackpots even to those players who only hit seventeen out of the twenty numbers.

Where You Can Enjoy Keno

Did you get the itch to play a round of keno after reading this article? Check out OnlineCasinoGems.com,a fantastic online casino aggregator that hosts keno, among other games. Practice and sharpen your skills to have a nice time in Las Vegas!

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