Searching for the best keno? It's still downtown

October 27, 2015 3:08 AM


The California Hotel is the premier location for tournament play.Without a doubt Carolyn Bankston runs the best keno game in Las Vegas.The downtown casinos in Las Vegas still have good keno. You won’t find tickets that only return 3 cents on the dollar downtown or even tickets that return less than 60 percent as you find some places elsewhere in town. In fact, downtown pays range in the 70%-80% return, generally the best in Vegas.

Combined with the lower minimums for way tickets your best keno in Southern Nevada is still downtown. To recap some good keno opportunities we will cover some of the keno tickets downtown has to offer.

If you are not staying downtown, no problem. There is 24/7 bus service from the Strip via The Deuce and service from 9 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Saturday 7 days a week with the Strip Express (SDX) to downtown as well.

If staying on Boulder Highway there is the BHX, Boulder Highway Express that runs 24/7 to downtown. No need to take an expensive taxi or get a rental car to get there, just use the frequent bus service to get to the best keno in Vegas.

If you are arriving by air the WAX and CX express buses go directly from the airport to downtown as well, avoiding the expensive taxis that want to take the airport tunnel to push up your meter by $15 on your way to downtown. Save the money from the rental cars and expensive taxis to give you more chances to win at keno, and also enjoy many of the excellent food options available downtown.

Another feature about downtown is the excellent buffets available at Main Street Station, Golden Nugget, and Fremont. In my humble opinion, Main Street Station is very reasonably priced and the food is plentiful with lots of choices and it is good quality as well. I do not like to play keno on an empty stomach as you can see.

The California Hotel is the premier location for tournament play.Without a doubt Carolyn Bankston runs the best keno game in Las Vegas. She is very friendly, generous with comps, and has a good staff that is helpful and really knows the game. The payouts are in the 75%-80% range for most tickets, which ranks with the best in Las Vegas. Way ticket minimums are low and the game is 24/7.

Moving on, Golden Nugget has a small random number game run out of the sportsbook. They do have some interesting promotional tickets. Check out their literature as they have some interesting fun options;  the brochures at the keno counter  explain them. Their $1.25 special rate has very good top end pays for their 6 and 7-spot tickets. Play it at a quarter a way and you can have all kinds of fun such as a ticket of 7 kings playing the seven and 7 sixes.

The Fremont offers a good game with three basic pay tables, regular, pop 80 (lowest house edge, best for ways) and the $1.25 special, same as the Golden Nugget. They have an interesting 5-spot, 95-cent catch all progressive that starts at $1,000 and increases $25 a day until hit. While at Tony Roma’s there, on 9/19/07 I caught it for $1,425; so nice for them to pay for my dinner and give me spending money!

The Four Queens offers a conveniently located keno with regular and special rates. For those going for the high-end payouts and willing to forego the smaller pays, try their $1.90 Royal Special 6-spot ticket paying $5,600 for a SOLID 6.

The D has the highest player return in Vegas for most keno tickets. Just play their special Deano rate. The returns on it are in the 85% range, best of any casino in town for most tickets.

They allow very low minimums and as long as you abide by the minimum ticket price you can play as low as a penny per way or per game. Even the Deano rate allows 10-cent ways. Before playing check out their regular paybook and their white special paybook for the Deano rate. Your keno dollar will last longer here than anywhere else.

Finally, the El Cortez offers 10 different keno rates from the 40-cent rate (best return, averaging 75% and up) to all kinds of special rates up to $1.25 per ticket. Combine this with a very generous slot club, equal seating area for non-smokers and you have a good place to play.

Near downtown, Jerry’s Nugget (bus 113 or MAX from downtown) has a good game also with a generous slot club and many interesting keno ticket promotions, well worth the bus fare from what you save in slot club promotions. Their slot club sign up package is excellent.

Pesach Kremen is a former UNLV Masters Gaming student, has won and placed in multiple local keno tournaments, and has written several academic papers on keno. Email:

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