When you play video keno, how do you pick numbers? Do you have lucky numbers, like family birthday and anniversaries? Do you try to outguess the machine, either staying with or picking against numbers that just hit? Do you just guess randomly?
One way is as good as another. Keno numbers are drawn by a random number generator, just like slot reel combinations. No number is ever due to come up, no matter how long it’s been since it was last drawn. No number is ever due to lose, no matter how often it’s been drawn. The RNG just keeps picking random numbers, and the odds are the same on every play.
The random number generator does not base its numbers on past numbers. Past results have no effect on future outcome, and the odds of the game are programmed so they will yield a targeted payback percentage given normal results over hundreds of thousands of plays.
Let’s use a really simple example — a one-spot play in which the player picks only one number. The player bets $1, and if his or her number is one of the 20 generated, then the player gets back $3. If it’s not, the player gets nothing.
At that pay table, keno is a 75 percent game. If you win three times in a row — which with a one-spot ticket will happen an average of once per 64 plays — then for that short stretch, the machine is paying 300 percent. You’ve wagered $3 and gotten $9 back.
What happens then? Does the machine have to go cold to get back to 75 percent? No. It just keeps playing as normal, and in the long run, the odds of the game will bring the payoffs somewhere very close to 75 percent figure.
John has been writing about casinos and casino games since 1994 through his weekly syndicated column that goes to newspapers and websites, including the Chicago Sun-Times, Denver Post and Casino City Times. He’s a regular in magazines specifically for gaming players, including Midwest Gaming and Travel and Southern Gaming and Destinations, and in the casino industry trade publications, such as Casino Journal and Slot Manager. John is the author of six books on gaming, including “The Slot Machine Answer Book” and “The Video Poker Answer Book.” If you are interested in his past work or simply want to ask a gaming-related question, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.