The word “Keno” has French or Latin roots (Fr. quine five winning numbers, L. quinifive each), but by all accounts the game originated in China over 2000 years ago. Legend has it that the invention of the game saved an ancient city in time of war, and its widespread popularity helped raise funds to build the Great Wall. According to one source, results of Keno games in great cities were sent to outlying villages and hamlets by carrier pigeon. Eventually, Chinese immigrants introduced Keno to the West when they sailed across the Pacific to help build the American trans-continental railroad in the 19th century.
Keno is similar to lotto games, in that players have a card or ticket with numbers that are selected in hopes of matching the numbered balls that are drawn during play. Early Keno games looked for a match of five numbers to win. Some Keno dealers used a large jar with a long, thin neck to tumble the balls. The neck was just wide enough to permit only one ball at time to flow, thus eliminating any argument about which number was drawn. For obvious reasons, this jar was called the “Keno goose”.
First, players must purchase a Castle Keno ticket. To buy a ticket, place a $1 chip in the circle marked “Place Bets” on the Betting Board. None of the betting options can become active until a ticket is purchased.
Next, players try to predict which numbers will be drawn by marking from 1 to 15 of the numbered blocks (“Spots”) on the wall. To mark a block simply mouse over the block and click it. The block will change color to indicate it has been marked. As you mark each block, the Spots counter at the bottom of the screen will increment. (Note that it is possible to mark more than 15 Spots, but the numbers can’t be drawn until the number of Spots is reduced to 15 or less). To remove a mark, just click on the block and it will change back to the original color (and decrement the Spots counter).
There are five keno betting options in Castle Keno. Each option requires a certain number of Spots to be marked before it becomes active. As you mark Spots, the buttons for the options will light up when you have satisfied their minimum and maximum Spots requirements (see Betting Options below).
When you are satisfied with the arrangement of your Spots, click the desired betting option on the Betting Board to start the game. Twenty rocks will be hurled toward the Castle, striking different numbered blocks at random. As each rock smashes a block in the wall, a flag will unfurl to display the corresponding number. When a number you marked on the wall is struck by one of the rocks, that’s called a “hit”.
After the final rock has found its target, the player will be paid according to how many of the rocks hit marked blocks based on the payout table for the chosen betting option.