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keno history


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Ancient Chinese scrolls indicate that Cheung Leung introduced the game we now call keno around 200 BC. Cheungs city was at war for several years and was beginning to run out of supplies. The people of his city refused to contribute any more to his war fund, so the resourceful Cheung created a game of chance to produce revenue for his army. This game, keno, was an instant success and the city was saved. Spreading throughout China, keno was used to help fund the building of the Great Wall. The game also became known as the White Pigeon Game because carrier pigeons were used to send the results (winning numbers) from the keno games in the larger cities to small villages and hamlets.

In the earliest versions of keno, characters were used in the body of the ticket rather than numbers 1 through 80. These characters are the first eighty of an ancient poem known as "The Thousand Character Classic". This poem was used in China as the second primer for teaching reading and writing to children. By putting one thousand characters into a more or less coherent rhymed form, learning was presumably made easier and more interesting . It is something of a very great achievement in that no character is repeated. This poem was so well known in China that its one thousand characters, arranged in order, were often used as a fanciful way of notation or counting from one to a thousand.

Remaining basically the same, keno was brought to the United States by Chinese immigrants who labored on the railroad in the Old West, where it is still played.

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Disclaimer: The information contained on the pages of this web site is for entertainment purposes only. Gamble Picks is not responsible for losses incurred by using this information.

Useful keno links:
[ keno strategy ] [ keno rules ] [ the history of gambling ]
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