Keno Glossary

All the terms you need to know to play the Game of the White Dove


Aggregate Limit - The casino's total payout liability during any one game. If the limit is $50,000, and two players hit tickets that would pay that amount or more, they would split the amount. In other words, you get the shaft.

All or Nothing - A ticket that only pays if all or none of the picked numbers are drawn.

Ball Game - The most common type of keno game today, it uses plastic balls numbered 1 to 80.

Bankroll - A term used to describe the amount of money a player is prepared to bet, and possibly lose. "I've set aside a bankroll of $250 for my keno playing this weekend." Wow, TIG wishes he had 250 bananas to blow on keno.

Bingo - The original name for keno. The play is different, but both use similar balls to represent numbers. Plus, more people with blue hair play bingo.

Blank - An unused keno ticket.

Blower - Part of the machine used to dispense keno balls. It uses air to force the balls into a tube where they can be viewed.

Board - The board that shows the 20 numbers selected in the previous game, most of which you didn't pick.

Bowl - The part of the ball machine that holds the balls when the blower is turned off. Also refers to a big football game at the end of the season.

Buy-In Tournament - A tournament in which players pay a set fee up front, and play a predetermined number of games and/or tickets.

Cage - A type of wire cage that holds keno balls. Most cages have been replaced by plastic hoppers. It also refers to the employees-only area where keno workers operate. Also a type of pro wrestling match, usually one using a steel cage.

Call - The act of calling the keno numbers. "Here are the numbers for keno game number 271: 15, 63, 27,...."

Caller - The person who calls out the numbers during the keno game. Gee, that's a surprise!

Catch - A number marked on a ticket is said to be a catch when it is called. "I need to catch two more numbers to hit that 3-spot."

Catch-All - A keno ticket where all the numbers marked must be called. Good luck on that!

Catch-Zero - A keno ticket where none of the numbers marked can be called. That's a bit easier.

Close - The time when no more keno tickets for a game will be written. "Game number 105 now closed."

Combination Ticket - A single keno ticket with several different bets on it.

Computer Ticket - A keno ticket generated by a computer. Wow, that's a revelation.

Conditioning - The terms of the wager. It usually refers to wagers other than straight ticket plays.

Crayon - Really cheap writing instrument to mark numbers on a ticket. It's like a child's crayon, usually black, and can win you a lot of money if used properly. And lose even more if used improperly.

Deuce - Two keno spots that are grouped together.

Draw - What the 20 numbers drawn for each keno game are collectively called.

Draw Sheet - A sheet available at the keno counter which shows the numbers drawn from the previous game. It has holes punched in it to make checking your tickets easier.

Edge Ticket - A ticket with the 32 numbers marked that make up the outer edge of the ticket. Who thought up that brilliant strategy?.

Enhanced Payoff - A greater payoff received by playing a combination of games on a single ticket. It pays more than would have been received if the games had been played on individual tickets.

Entry Fee Tournament - Players pay a fee to compete with each other for cash or prizes. Players do not keep winnings from individual games in the tournament.

Exacta - A ticket played for two games, with a special payoff rate.

Expected Value - The rate at which an outcome is expected to occur.

Field - A group of marked spots that is not circled.

Fractional Rate Ticket - A ticket played for some fraction of the normal rate. It is normally only used on a way ticket.

Free Play - A keno win that awards no money, but does let you play your bet again. "Well, a least I got a free play."

Goose - The machine that blows the keno balls up into two long tubes.

Group - Spots that are circled or separated from the other spots marked on a keno ticket.

Handle - The total of all money taken in for a game or any period of time.

High End Ticket - A keno ticket that pays more for catching a high number of spots, but less (or nothing) for catching fewer spots (as compared to a regular ticket).

High Roller Ticket - A ticket with a high minimum ticket price. High roller - keno - you don't see those in the same sentence often.

Hit - When a drawn number matches the spot on your ticket. Woo-hoo!

Hold - Handle minus payoffs, or the gross receipts after paying out all winning tickets.

House - The casino AKA the greedy, money-grabbing place you're playing at.

House Edge - The percent of all wagers the house can expect to win over a long period of time.

Jackpot - The prize paid above the normal win amount in a progressive.

Jackpot Meter- An electronic display that shows the current jackpot amount.

Keno Board - The electronic signs that display the numbers drawn for a keno draw.

Keno Balls - Similar to bingo balls or ping pong balls. Numbered 1-80.

Keno Counter - The counter where players make their bets and, hopefully, collect their winnings.

Keno Lounge - The area where keno players sit to mark their tickets and watch the game. It's a great place to sit when your dogs are barking. You might also get a free drink for a waitress.

Keno Manager - The person responsible for the entire keno operation. Duh!

Keno Punch - The machine that punches holes in a draw sheet.

King - A single circled number that works with other numbers to make a bet or way.

King Ticket - A way ticket that contains one or more kings.

Left-Right Ticket - A ticket marked vertically down the center. The object is to catch only numbers on one half of the ticket.

Limit - Total payout liability of a casino during any one game. Same as aggregate limit.

Live Keno - Regular keno played on tickets, as opposed to video keno.

Mark - A mark made on a keno ticket number, either my hand or by the keno computer.

Multi-Game Keno Ticket - A ticket played for multiple keno games.

Net Win - The actual player winnings, after deducting the cost of the ticket.

Nevada Gaming Commission - The body that governs gambling in the state of Nevada.

Odds - The mathematical probability of an outcome. Usually expressed as a ratio, such as 12 to 1.

Open - Any time the counter is open for taking bets.

Outside Ticket - The official game ticket returned to the player in exchange for his hand marked ticket and the appropriate wager.

Pattern - The shape made by the collective marks on a keno ticket or lights on a keno board.

Pay Any Catch Ticket - A keno ticket that pays something, no matter how many spots are caught or not caught.

Paybook - The literature that details the casino's pay tables, instructions, rates, etc.

Payoff - The amount paid to a player for his played ticket.

Pay Table - The chart that shows what each win pays.

Prize - The amount paid to a player for his winning ticket.

Progressive - A keno game where the top prize increases until it is won. The prize may increase by a percent of wagers, a set amount per time period (hour, day, etc.) or any other method determined by the casino.

Push - A win equal to the amount wagered.

Quick Pick - A ticket with numbers chosen by the keno computer for the player, at the players request.

Quit Race - Cashing in a multi-game ticket before all games have been played.

Race - A single keno game. It's a term held over from when the game was called Horse Race Keno.

Rack - The tray that holds the keno balls when they are not in play.

Random Number Generator - A computer program used to randomly select numbers for a keno game.

Rate - The price for a ticket or way.

Rate Card - A card or pamphlet that shows payoffs for various bets.

Regular Ticket - The standard or basic ticket sold by a casino.

Replayed Ticket - Giving a played ticket to the counter to replay the numbers.

RNG Game - When a computer program is used to randomly select numbers for a keno game.

Runner - A casino employee who goes through the casino restaurants and seating areas collecting keno wagers, and paying winners. "Keno...keno...keno anyone?"

Shift Boss - The shift supervisor.

Sleeper - A winning ticket that is not presented for payoff.

Special Rate - A rate different than the regular ticket rate. It does not necessarily indicate a better deal for the player.

Split Ticket - Two or more groups of numbers played separately on the same ticket.

Spot - The numbers marked on a keno ticket. "I played an 8-spot last night that barely missed."

Straight Ticket - The standard or basic ticket sold by a casino.

Ticket - Paper with 80 numbers, used by a player to mark their spots. Also refers to a plane, train or bus ticket used to go home when all your money is gone.

Top-Bottom Ticket - A ticket marked horizontally in the center. The object is to catch only numbers on one half of the ticket.

Tournament - A series of keno games organized by the casino into a contest between players.

Video Keno - Keno played on a computerized machine similar to video poker. Uses a random number generator to pick the numbers. If you didn't already know this, maybe you should try another field of endeavor.

Wager - The amount of money at risk on a keno ticket. It's a fancy word for "bet."

Way - A separate bet on a ticket with more than one bet.

Way Ticket - A ticket with two or more bets.

Win - Catching enough numbers to collect more than the amount wagered.

Winning Numbers - The 20 numbers drawn in the keno game. Like you couldn't figure that out for yourself.

Writer - The employee at the counter who takes your bet and pays off the winners.


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