Last week, I received a question about playing keno for fun on the Internet.
That’s a good question, because there aren’t nearly the number of keno sites, as there are sites for video poker players, or even slot players, for that matter.
I know of a couple good ones, where you can get a "feel" for playing keno, while also learning about the game.
The first one is best known as THE premiere site for video poker, oddly enough, called videopoker.com. In addition to the vast resources it has for video poker players, it also has a section for us video keno fans.
There’s no charge to play the games and participate on the site, but you will need to register (free of charge). There’s also a paid subscription, which entitles you to many other services, as well as entry into contests in which you can win real money.
Let me emphasize this is not an online gambling site. Not by any stretch.
Like I noted, basic membership is free and includes the ability to play real casino video keno and video poker games, gain advice and strategy from experts and access to a video poker forum in which you can ask questions and share thoughts with other video poker players from around the world.
Recently a new training mode feature was introduced that creates a learning experience of value to all levels of players.
The last time I was on the site, there were 10 keno games available for play, including one of my all-time favorites, Four Card Keno.
There was also a "standard" keno game plus specialty keno games such as 3-6-9 Keno, 2-4-6 Keno, Free Bee Keno, Triple Play Keno, Variable Draws Keno and Extra $ Pays Keno.
Some of the games were unfamiliar to me, so I’m not sure whether there are actually casino versions available somewhere. They are actually pretty clever and can be fun to play, especially something called "Multiply Me" Keno, which features a Hawaiian gal in a grass skirt, dancing the hula and tossing pineapples onto the keno screen, as some kind of bonus.
The graphics and sound effects are pretty impressive … all that’s lacking is a floor person to pay out those W-2G jackpots!
The other site worth mentioning is called pharosgaming.com, which features a keno software program called "Kenolyzer."
Not only is this a keno game that you can play, but as the name implies, it’s an analysis tool that can give read-outs on hit frequency and return percentages for whatever pay table you select.
For instance, if you want to compare the payback percentages for different keno machines, just plug in the numbers from one pay table, and the Kenolyzer will spit out the hit frequency, return percentage and variance, a mathematical measure of the fluctuations inherent in the game.
Then plug in the payoffs from a different machine and you can get the same set of statistics. At the bottom the read-out will give an overall return percentage of the game, such as 91.8 percent or 93.4 percent or whatever.
This can be a handy measure of how tightly the casino or manufacturer has made their particular keno machines. I often use my Kenolyzer (there’s a disc version you can buy) to calculate payback percentages, which can be pretty demoralizing, the way some casinos have so dramatically tightened their keno machines.
We also got a note last week from a reader who is coming to Las Vegas next month to stay at the new ARIA Resort & Casino. She wanted to know what kinds of keno machines are available at ARIA, specifically if there are any Four Card Keno and Multi-Card (20-card) Keno games, which she called her favorites.
Well, I spent the better part of Sunday, wandering aimlessly like a hapless drunk, around the expansive ARIA slot floor, only to find just a handful of keno machines, located across from the main cashier’s cage.
These two banks of machines (there couldn’t have been more than 10 of them) had the "Game King" banner across the top, but contained only four IGT games: Caveman Keno, Power Keno, Extra Draw Keno and Top and Bottom Keno.
I’ve played these games except for Top and Bottom Keno, and they all have very reduced pay tables that rely on "bonus" hits to get some kind of decent payoff (even though the returns, even in one of the rare bonus rounds, doesn’t come close to paying what a "standard" keno machine pays).
Needless to say, there were no Four Card or 20-Card keno games. Come to think of it, I didn’t see even one standard keno machine.
So, our friends from out of town will have an enjoyable stay in their gorgeous ARIA hotel room, but will undoubtedly wander aimlessly up and down the Strip in order to play their favorite games, Four Card and 20-Card Keno.
If they can’t find any good video keno on the Strip, the locals casinos in Las Vegas – Station, Coast, Arizona Charlie’s, for example – have an ample supply, in all denominations, starting at a penny.