Dr Keno

Copyright © 2009 - 2016 Sky Scientific Press




Dr Keno is an in-depth assessment tool designed to help both the casual and serious Keno player improve his or her Video Keno playing experience. Why is this important? Most players understand that there is significant variation in the payout percentages from one Keno game to the next. For example, standard Keno will yield a different payout return than one of the newer bonus games, such as IGT's Caveman Keno or Cleopatra Keno. But many are unaware that payouts for what appears to be the same game will vary among casinos. And multi-denominational machines will typically have different pay tables--depending on the credit value--for the same game. For example, playing with 25-cent credits usually offers improved odds over playing nickels. The purpose of the Dr Keno application is to sort out these differences and arm the Keno player with the knowledge he or she needs to maximize return and improve the game playing experience.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Dr Keno includes no provisions for wagering of real money; all betting, wins and losses are conducted or displayed in units of credits with no actual monetary value. 

Dr Keno - Video Keno Analysis


Dr Keno's Interactive Play Screen (shown above) allows the user to choose from among several simulations of available Keno games and play them. Game selection is made from the drop-down list at the top of the screen. After betting one or more credits using the BET ONE button, the player picks numbers from the Keno Board by clicking on them. A check mark is displayed in the board cell that represents the selected number. Click the START button for the game to begin. The background color for drawn game balls changes from blue to red. The program will keep track of winnings and the current number of credits. For successive plays, the player may retain the original set of number picks or erase and select new ones. The following provides additional details on the available command buttons:

  • SEE PAYS & HELP. This command opens the Pay Table Screen. See below for additional information.
  • ADVANCED. This command opens the Monte Carlo Simulation Screen and access to Program Defaults.
  • ADD CREDITS. Use this button to add credits for play. You will be prompted to add credits whenever the amount of your bet exceeds the number of credits available. You may reset the number of game credits to the default value (see Pgm Options below about setting default values) by holding down the CTRL-key before clicking 'Add Credits'.
  • BET ONE. Click once to increment the bet amount by one credit. You can decrease the current bet amount by holding down the CTRL-Key while clicking. The largest bet amount permitted is forty-five credits.
  • ERASE. Click to clear the Keno Board of your number picks. You may remove any single pick by clicking on the check-marked cell. You may add picks by simply clicking on the board cell number you wish to add. You may not pick more than ten numbers for any game.
  • QUICK PICK. Click to replace the selected number picks with a random selection of the same number of picks.
  • START. This command starts the actual game play by drawing 20 keno balls at random. For repeated play, you may use the ENTER-key to initiate the draw as an alternative to clicking with the mouse pointer. For the Dr Keno simulation of games that include a “Bonus Ball” feature, the Keno Board displays the drawn bonus ball number with a green background.

    The Dr Keno program is closed and play ended by clicking the "x" in the upper right hand corner of the Interactive Play Screen. Dr Keno will remember the number of credits remaining at the close and will display the same number of credits when you restart the program.   


This screen allows the player to view and edit the pay tables for the included games and enter one or more new games with a customized pay table and bonus provisions.

You may select a game from the drop down list at the top of the screen to view or edit the pay table for that screen. The following commands are available:

  • BACK TO GAME. Click to return to the Interactive Play Screen.
  • EXPORT. Saves the Current Game Pay Table and Bonus Detail to an external file.
  • IMPORT. Adds the game from an external file and makes it the Current Game. This could be a game that was exported by another Dr Keno user or one downloaded from the list of contributed game pay table files available at this internet location: http://kenoresearch.com/download_games.htm 
  • EDIT PAYS. Permits changes to the Pay Table and Bonus Details. You may also change or enter a Casino Location and Casino Name as well as the name of the game. In order to avoid the possibility of inadvertently changing the pay table for any game, the pay table and bonus detail entries are locked until the EDIT PAYS button is clicked.
  • ADD NEW GAME. Use this feature to add a new game with a pay table that you can customize. After clicking this button, the pay table and bonus details of the current game are duplicated and unlocked for editing.
  • DELETE GAME. Click to delete the current game. Take care using this feature as it is not possible to undo this operations.
  • ABOUT. Displays an important disclaimer regarding the Dr Keno software and displays the Dr Keno Installation ID associated with your installation of Dr Keno. The activation key that converts the evaluation version of Dr Keno into the permanent licensed version of Dr Keno may be entered on this screen.
  • HELP. Displays the program help file that is currently being viewed. 

After selecting "Edit Pays" or "Add New Game", three additional fields of information (Location, Casino and Name of Game) are displayed below the bonus line. Drop down lists are provided for Location and Name of Game. Casino names may be typed into the center text box.

LOCATION. Use this drop-down field on the left side of the screen to identify a general casino location, like a state or country. If no particular location applies use the "-" (dash) value at the beginning of the drop down list. Note that you may also select "OTHER" and "ONLINE" from the list.

CASINO NAME. You may type the name of a casino here, or simply enter the "-" value.

KENO GAME. Select the name of a Keno game from the drop down list on the right side of the screen.

EDITING BONUS DETAILS. Columns are described as follows for each Keno game::

  • Bonus Ball. Enter a number from 1 to 20 to specify which drawn ball will initiate the bonus. Enter zero if there is no bonus ball.
  • Free Games. Enter the number of free games in the bonus, or enter zero for no free games.
  • Bonus Factor. Enter the factor by which to multiply the standard pay table pay out for the bonus, or enter "1" for no bonus factor. If the bonus includes free games, the bonus factor is applied to the free games awarded.
  • 1 - EggFactor, 2 - EggFactor, 3 - EggFactor. Use these columns as the bonus factor multiplier for the special case of IGT's Caveman Keno and Caveman Keno Plus.


This screen includes the following commands:

  • BACK TO GAME. Returns the player to the Interactive Play Screen.
  • START SIM FOR PAYOUT %. This feature permits you to command your computer workstation to play and tabulate summary results for up to one billion random plays of the currently selected game. As the number of games  in the simulation is increased, the tabulated payout percentage should begin to converge to the theoretical payout percentage that the game will deliver in actual casino play. The figure below shows the screen display after completion of a simulation running 100 million plays of a Caveman Keno game with seven spots marked and a 25-cent credit value:

Simulation statistics are updated on the screen after every 10,000 played games. After the specified number of games are completed, a statistical summary is displayed:

In order to provide the interested user with further details of session results, after each pay out simulation is run, the program creates an MS Excel file containing the distribution of winnings for multiple 100-game sessions. The file is named 'sessions.csv' and may be found in the folder where the application is installed.

  • PGM OPTIONS. This command opens the Program Options Form:

Startup Credits. Specifies the number of credits set at program startup and the default number of credits to be added when the ADD CREDITS command is selected from the Interactive Play Screen.

Check to Display Drawn Numbers During Interactive Play. If this box is checked, the numbers of the twenty drawn keno balls will be displayed at the bottom of the Interactive Play Screen. Unchecking disables this feature.

Default Number of Simulated Games. Enter the default number of games to play when START SIM FOR PAYOUT % is selected from the Monte Carlo Simulation Screen. The actual number of games to play may be changed prior to each simulation, if desired.

Check to Use Random Picks During Simulation.
If this box is checked, simulated play will use a random selection of picks for each game. If left unchecked, each simulated game will use the same picked numbers as selected from the Interactive Play Screen.

Random Seed. This number will define the specific sequence of random numbers used during interactive and simulated play. A zero entered will provide for an unpredictable sequence of drawn keno balls each time the program is run. A non-zero number will generate a repeatable sequence. For example, if the number '25' is entered as the random seed and the program is restarted, the first five drawn keno balls will be 13, 62, 6, 5 and 21. Every time the program is restarted, this sequence and the subsequent numbers that follow will be repeated.


Game Speed During Interactive Play.
Select the speed at which game balls are played: Slow, Medium, Fast or Turbo Speed.


Sound ON During Interactive Play. Checking this box will enable a "Beep" sound to be played as each keno ball is drawn. Uncheck to suppress sounds from the Dr Keno program. Unchecking has no effect on sounds generated by the operating system or other running programs.

  • TEST FOR RANDOMNESS. The user is prompted to enter a fixed number of games for the randomness test. The test draws 20 balls for successive games and accumulates the count for each numbered ball. Each cell in the displayed grid corresponds to a Keno ball number from 1 to 80. At the start of the test, cells are all populated with the negative of the expected number of hits for each ball--equal to the number of games divided by four--so that at the end of the randomness test, a perfectly uniform distribution would result in a final grid with a zero in each cell. In practice each cell will display the positive or negative of a relatively small number, but not necessarily zero.

    Chi-Square Statistical Results

    Why is randomness important? Monte Carlo simulation is intended to be a predictor of actual ("true life") experience over the long run. The accuracy of prediction depends upon the following factors:

    1. How well does the simulation model replicate the "true life" experience?
    2. Does the simulation provide for a sufficient number of trials?
    3. Are the individual trials sufficiently random?

    Item 1 depends largely upon the skill and level of effort of the programming team. Item 2 is rarely an issue as today's computers with high speed processors permit a large number of trials to be run in a relatively short time. For example, Dr Keno allows up to one billion games to be played within a single simulation. Item 3 is critical in that a perfect model with even as many as a billion trials will yield an outcome that will not converge to the theoretical result if the simulation plays are not truly random.

    The Dr Keno application uses a Microsoft-developed pseudo-random number generation function, RND, to generate each simulated draw of the twenty Keno balls. Within the program, special routines are invoked to help assure that draws are as random as reasonably possible. For this feature of the software program, a Chi-Square test for randomness is computed for m successive games:

    ˛  =  [ (N - 1) / (N - n) ]  ∑ [ (OBSi - E)˛ ] / E

                        N  =  80 (for eighty possible numbers)
                         n  =  20 (for twenty numbers drawn for each game)
                  OBS=  Observed number of hits for each number i after m games
                         E  =  Expected total number of hits for each of the eighty number after m games.
                                 For Keno, E = m / 4

             and where the summation is taken from i = 1 to 80, corresponding to each possible drawn number.

    The computed ҳ
    ˛ value is compared with the Chi-Square table of critical values for a two-tailed statistical test with 79 degrees of freedom and alpha = 0.05. From the table, the distribution of numbers for m games is considered random if the computed ҳ˛ result is between 56.309 and 105.473.

    Note that a perfectly uniform distribution with the same quantity of hits for each number from 1 to 80 is rejected as random. In this case, computed ҳ
    ˛  = 0, outside the acceptable range.


  1. How can I verify that a particular Dr Keno game accurately replicates the video game that I prefer to play in my favorite casino?

    That's easy! Write down the pay schedule for a single credit bet on the casino video Keno game with various numbers marked and "caught."  A screen on the game console should show you the entire pay table. Then compare with the pay table in the Dr Keno game. You will probably want to do this in the privacy of your hotel room. Casino security personnel do not appreciate patrons starting up a laptop computer while seated in front of one of their gaming consoles! Print out and use this form to enter the pay table and bonus details shown on the casino gaming console.
  2. What if the pay schedules are different?

    You can edit the pay table in the Dr Keno game so that the pay schedules match.
  3. What is the difference in games between "Keno 5˘ " and "Keno 25˘ "?

    The "5
    ˘" or "25˘" refer to the monetary value of credits in actual casino play. The pay table when playing nickels is slightly less favorable than when playing quarters. Because the two pay tables are different, Dr Keno offers two variants of most games.
  4. Does that mean that in actual casino play I should be playing quarter games instead of nickel games?

    Not necessarily. It is true that your percentage return playing quarters will generally be better than when playing nickels but unless you happen to hit a lucky streak, you'll probably end up with a larger monetary loss playing quarters. Your wins, when they do occur, will of course be much bigger!     
  5. I started a simulation in Dr Keno with one billion games to play, but it seemed as if it would take all day for the simulation to run. What can be done about it?

    You could get a faster computer, but in most cases, a smaller number of games will be adequate for good simulation results. Remember, too, that you can suspend a simulation at any time by pressing the Escape key (esc) on your computer keyboard. The Monte Carlo Simulation Screen will display the cumulative payout percentage as it progresses. You will notice that the payout percentage seems to jump around a lot at the beginning, but then changes less and less as the number of completed games increases. This phenomenon is known as "convergence."  If the simulation is sufficiently random, the payout percentage will converge to the theoretical result arising from the calculation of probabilities. In general, convergence requires more games to be played as the quantity of numbers picked for the simulation increases.
  6. Can you provide more information about "Session Statistics?" I'm not sure I understand.

    A simulation consisting of one million played games can be looked upon as ten thousand sessions of 100 games each. In simulated play, the player is given a bankroll of 100 credits at the start of each session. After 100 plays, the player's credit balance is noted. This is repeated ten thousand times and the number of sessions for each final result is tabulated. The session statistics show what you might expect to experience if you sit down at the "equivalent" casino video keno game with, say $25.00 in the machine and play 25-cent credits exactly 100 times. Using the results displayed in the above "Simulation Summary," playing the same 100 game session many multiple times, you would find that the most frequent final result would be the loss of 51 credits, leaving you with 49 credits or $12.25. In about 7.4% of your sessions you would double your bankroll or better (end result $50.00 or more) but in about 32.7% of sessions you would have lost half or more of your bankroll, leaving you with $12.50 or less. Overall, the calculated percentage return after many such sessions would be about 89.3%.
  7. In the bonus section of the pay table there seems to be no way to distinguish between Caveman Keno and Caveman Keno Plus. How do I add a Caveman Plus game?

    Caveman Keno Plus has a special bonus feature that adds three additional keno ball draws in those cases where game play results in a payout AND two or more eggs are “hatched.” The additional draws may result in a third hatched egg and/or additional hits. Dr Keno will know to invoke the Caveman Plus functionality if the game includes the exact text “Caveman Plus” in the name of the game. 
  8. Is there a way I can compute my actual percentage return while gambling at my favorite casino?

    Yes, you can, if you can keep track of  two numbers: (1) How much have you won--or lost?  (2) What is the total amount you have actually wagered?  That is, how much you have fed into the gaming machines over the same time period. This is pretty easy to determine if you joined the "Player's Club" at your casino. You are awarded points according to the total number of dollars that you have bet. In some cases, players earn one point per dollar bet. In others, it might take ten dollars in gaming to generate a single point. Regardless of the formula, you should be able to estimate how much money you have wagered. Call it "Total Amount Wagered". The rest is easy:
    •  If you were a winner, divide the Amount Won by the Total Amount Wagered and add 1. Then multiply the result by 100.
    •  If you lost money, divide the Amount Lost by the Total Amount Wagered and subtract from 1. Then multiply this result by 100.

    Example: You take $300 in gaming money to your favorite Las Vegas casino. When you leave town, you count and find you have only $100 left, having lost $200 in gaming. Comparing your player point totals for when you started and when you quit playing, you determine that you have wagered a total of $4000 in the machines at the casino. So . . . .

                                                  Pct Return  =  100  x  ( 1  -  200 / 4000 )
                                                                     =  100  x  ( 1  - 0.05 )
                                                                     =  100  x  ( 0.95 )
                                                                     =   95.0 % 

  9. I purchased the Activation Key for the licensed version of Dr Keno for my desktop computer. But I travel a lot and would like to install it on my laptop. I downloaded and installed the evaluation version on the laptop, but when I entered the original Activation Key, a message was displayed stating that the Activation Key was invalid. What can I do to get the licensed version of Dr Keno running on my other computer?

    The Activation Key is intended for use on a single computer. Each computer installation will generate a different Installation ID and requires a unique Activation Key. Licensed users may purchase additional Activation Keys at a much reduced price. See additional information here.

  10. I have seen the list of available Pay Table files that have been contributed by other Dr Keno users at  http://kenoresearch.com/download_games.htm . How can I contribute to the list?

    It's easy:

    • Record the pay table for one or more of your favorite Keno games at your local casino. A form is available here for you to print out and take with you.
    • Start your Dr Keno program, select "See Pays & Help" and click on "Add New Game".
    • Edit the pay table screen to match the pay table of the casino Keno game.
    • If there is a bonus ball, enter it on the bonus line along with the bonus factor. If the game is a version of Cleopatra Keno, enter the number of free games - usually 12). If it is Caveman Keno, set the bonus ball value to "0" and enter the egg bonus factors (usually 1, 4 and 10 or 1, 4 and 8)
    • Select Casino Location from the drop down list on the left side of the form. Enter the name of the casino in the center text box. Select the Keno game from the right side drop down list.
    • Click on "Lock Pays" to save the game.
    • Click on "Export" and save the pay table file to your computer "desktop".
    • Attach the file to an email message sent to us at info@skyscientific.com . Put the words "Dr Keno Pay Table" in the Subject Line of your message. If you tell us your first name and city in the message, we will list you as the contributor on the web page.
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    Important Note: The Dr Keno computer program includes simulations of named video games, including "Caveman Keno", "Power Keno" and "Cleopatra Keno", that are are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Game Technology or its licensors in the US and/or other countries.