Bingo - How to Play

The game of Bingo has come a long way from when it was mostly a birthday-party game. At Little Johnny's party, his father or mother called the numbers and soon someone won a little prize. Now there are professional Bingo callers who know how to work a crowd, getting everyone excited over what is still the game of chance par excellence. With the development of internet gaming, Bingo has become popular online. It is played in churches, Bingo parlors, and online by millions of people every day.


Some Bingo History and Trivia

Bingo was first called beano and a friend of Edwin Lowe, the first mass marketer of Bingo, accidentally changed the name. The game originated more than 500 years ago but reached the U.S. only about 100 years ago. Without Edwin Lowe's marketing skills, Bingo surely would not today be played in countless churches, Bingo halls and over 2000 internet Bingo sites.

Bingo Basics

Classic bingo has 75 numbers, 1-75. These numbers are divided into five groups of fifteen numbers. Each group is assigned to one of the five letters in the word "bingo".

The caller takes a number from a bag or gets a number from a drum that "picks the number" and calls the number out. The caller will almost always call the letter and the number such as B-10 or N-34.

The players all have a Bingo card. Some players play with many cards because it increases their chances of winning, but everyone has at least one card.

Some Bingo games, popular in Britain and Commonwealth Nations, use 80 or 90 numbers instead of the classic 75. In these variations the card configuration is different.

The Bingo Card

The classic American Bingo card is the model of simplicity. It is arranged in five vertical and five horizontal rows. The vertical rows correspond to the letters in Bingo, each letter heads one row, always in the sequence B-I-N-G-O. If the player has the number called on his or her card, they cover it. Some use a special Bingo marker while others use little disks. As you can see from the sample card above, the center square is "free".

The Object of the Game

The winner is the first player to complete a pre-selected pattern on the Bingo card. The classic pattern is diagonal, but there are as many variations on this theme as there is imagination and skill in creating patterns on the Bingo card. Online Bingo has many patterns, often following a current theme such as Christmas or Valentine's Day.

To win the player must yell out Bingo!! When a player yells "Bingo" the game managers check his card and declare him the winner of that game. If two players get Bingo at the same time, they split the prize.

Church Bingo and Commercial Bingo

Bingo began as a family entertainment. After World War II, some people realized that it could be a fun and simple way to raise money for charity, a church, or a parish. Some churches were leery of using Bingo to raise money because of the obvious connection to gambling. A creative solution was to offer non-cash prizes. The inherent popularity of Bingo was such that even without cash prizes, Bingo served as an excellent way to raise money. There are still Bingo venues that offer non-cash prizes.

Soon thereafter businesspeople realized Bingo's potential as a commercial enterprise. In Britain, the Gambling Act in the 1960's paved the way for many Bingo halls to spring up. This didn't happen as quickly in the U.S. but now there are many halls in the U.S. as well.

Bingo Tips

Bingo is such a simple game that you would think we wouldn't be able to give any tips.

*** Hearing the numbers clearly is super-important. If you have to, change you seat so you never hear the wrong number

*** If you buy more than one card, check them so there are mostly different numbers on the cards. Otherwise, you are just duplicating numbers

*** If you use a dauber to cover the numbers, be sure to daub lightly. Too heavy daubing covers up the numbers and your "win" will not be verified by the game judge

*** If you're frustrated by your luck, go home. Your neighbors at the table don't like to hear others complain

*** Never shout loudly except to call Bingo. If you shout and someone misses a number you may be asked to leave

*** If you win, share the wealth with those around you. They'll do the same when they win

*** It is easier to keep track of many cards if they are taped together. Always tape on the back, never on the front

*** If you make a mistake and daub the wrong number, use a different color daub to indicate your mistake

*** Play on slow nights. Bingo parlors are crowded on weekends but far less crowded on weeknights

Playing Bingo Online

At its core, playing Bingo online is no different than playing Poker or Blackjack or any other game online. With more than 2000 Bingo sites, it shouldn't be difficult to find a site you like. Most sites have a Welcome Bonus. You register, open an account, and play to your heart's content.

Online the numbers are generated at random by the appropriately-named Random Number Generator.

Online Bingo sites offer chat rooms, where you can chat with people from all over the world. Chat rooms also offer special games that are played only in the chat room.

Online Bingo often has progressive jackpots.

Posted by Nick David

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