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Keno Game Tickets

Creative keno managers have come up with many ways to play the game the past several years. We will attempt to simplify the various ways to play keno tickets and explain all of them in easy to understand terms. There are basically six different types of keno tickets.

Keno Game Tickets


1) Straight Tickets
2) Split Tickets
3) Way Tickets
4) Combination Tickets
5) King Tickets
6) Special Tickets


Straight Tickets

This is the basic ticket, and the most common.  Nothing tricky here.  You simply mark your numbers and wait for the draw.  Of course there are a few more details.

You must determine how many spots you want to play.  Most casinos allow you to choose 1 to 15 spots, and some even allow you to choose 20, 32 or 40 numbers on a straight ticket.  You will normally want to play 4 to 8 numbers.  Below 4 spots, your payoff isn't worth the average 30% casino take.  At 8 numbers, your odds are about 230,115 to 1.  At 9 spots it jumps to 1.38 million to 1, and at 15 spots your odds of hitting all 15 are an unrealistic 428,010,179,098 to 1, or about 428 BILLION to 1!

Your last decision is to determine how much to wager.  Common straight tickets are $1.00, although some are 70 cents or lower.  You can also play multiples of the base rate.  For example, you could play a $1.00 ticket for $5.00, and your winnings will be multiplied by 5 times the $1.00 payout rate.  But there is one thing you must be aware of when playing multiples of the base rate; the casino will not pay more than the aggregate limit on any one game.  So if the aggregate limit is $50,000, your payout will never exceed $50,000, no matter how much you bet.


Split Tickets

A split ticket is basically 2 or more straight tickets played on the same physical ticket.  Each logical ticket consists of a group of numbers that are either circled, or separated by a line.  Each game (group of numbers) must have it's own unique numbers, and can not share numbers with any other group.

There is no advantage to a split ticket.  It simply allows you to play two or more games on the same piece of paper.  One disadvantage is that you can not use the same number more than once.

It is never wise to put your keno game on the same paper with your gambling partner, since any payout of $1500 or more must be reported to the IRS on form W2-G.  The casino will require you to complete this form before giving you your winnings.  However, if you and your partner had played separate games, and you won $500, while your partner won $1400, neither of you would have to complete that nasty form.  Of course you still must report your winnings to the IRS when you complete your tax return, as we all do. Learn more about split tickets from our Keno Tutorial.


Way Tickets

Way tickets can be complicated.  So the first thing you should know is that there are only two reasons to play a way ticket.

The first is convenience.  If it is more convenient for you to mark multiple games on a single ticket, a way ticket may be for you.

The second reason to play a way ticket is fractional rates.  Some casinos will let you play for as little as 10 cents per way, instead of the usual $1.00 you would have to play on a straight ticket.

The payouts on way tickets are the same as playing the same games in multiple tickets. If way tickets confuse you, and you are not interested in fractional rates, there is no reason for you to tackle way tickets. Learn more about way tickets from our Keno Tutorial.


Combination Tickets

Combination tickets allow players to combine groups of straight bets on one ticket in various ways with the player wagering one unit for each possible combination.

Players can also combine straight bets and way bets on one ticket. The groups bet on a combination ticket should be clearly marked on the right hand side of the ticket.


King Tickets

A king ticket has one number that is circled by itself. This number is referred to as the King and is used in combination with other groups of numbers on a ticket.

King tickets are marked similarly to way and split tickets with the number of combinations played and the amount wagered per group displayed on the right hand side of the ticket. Learn more about king tickets from our Keno Tutorial.


Special Tickets

Casinos sometimes promote their keno games by offering special tickets. A special ticket must be played in a certain pre-determined manner and pays off using a different pay schedule. This payout chart is usually marked on the special ticket itself. Special tickets usually offer slightly better deals than other keno tickets and are used to entice players.

An example of a special ticket is called top and bottom. A player pays $5.00 for this special ticket and chooses either the top 40 or the bottom 40 numbers on a card. If all twenty numbers drawn are in the section the player selected, they usually get paid around $100,000. If none of the numbers drawn are located in the section the player selected they still receive around $100,000. All other options are paid according to the special payout schedule.

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