How to Play Bingo
Bingo is a universally played game, with people of all parts of the world playing slightly different versions. The basic premise of bingo is the same wherever you go, and that is to cover or mark out a set pattern of numbers on a square card as the host or “caller” calls them out. Upon completing this pattern the player yells out “BINGO” and verifies the card. They then win the game.
The bingo card is divided into a grid with the letters B I N G O forming the column headings. There is a free space in the square in the centre of the grid that is considered as marked. Under each letter is a number. Numbers can only be found under one column, which means there can only be a B3 or an O70 and never an O3 or a B70. The caller has a series of balls or chips that have the unique letter number combination printed on them. The caller draws a ball or chip and reads the letter number combination. If the player has that particular letter number combination they place a chip or a stamp or other mark over that square. The first player to match the pattern pre-set at the beginning yells out “BINGO”. The player then calls out the numbers they have marked off and verifies a bingo with the caller. As soon as this is confirmed the player receives the prize. The game can either stop at that time and a new one start up or a different pattern is set and the game continues.
Some of the most common patterns are:
- Horizontal – a straight line horizontally across the card which may include the free square
- Vertical – any straight line vertically down the card. The free square may be used on this pattern as well.
- Diagonal – any straight diagonal (corner to corner) line making one of the arms of an X on the card. This pattern must, by definition, include the free square.
- Cross – basically a double diagonal. The pattern will look like a full X on the grid.
- Four Corners – each of the four corners on the card are marked off.
- Large Frame – the complete outside rows and columns are marked off to make a large frame of the card.
- Blackout – all the squares on the complete grid are covered or marked out.
Many local variations and patterns exist so before playing make sure to understand what pattern is being filled.
Online Bingo in Canada
Bingo is a fast paced game that is easy to understand and fun to play for people of all ages. Online casinos and other bingo sites usually restrict anyone not over the age of 18 to play or to place bets. Local and provincial laws may have different age restrictions. Online bingo allows individuals who are not able to get out to play bingo at a local hall or meeting area, who live in an area where in-person bingo games are not available, or who just want to pop online for a quick couple of games during a break or for a bit of entertainment and maybe to win some money.
The obvious advantage of online bingo is that you can play a wide variety of types of bingo on literally thousands of websites from the comfort of your own home. After a hard day at work you just need to turn on the computer, log into the game, and relax and enjoy yourself. You can dress how you want, and be as relaxed as possible. You can choose to sit out games and just chat, or you can buy one or multiple cards to play on each game. Advanced online bingo players often play more than one card per game on more than one site at a time.
Most of the game sites have chat systems available to allow players to talk to one another. Many online players have a favorite group of online gamers that they interact with and play with on a regular basis. These groups are usually very willing to welcome new players and to help them with tips and techniques to be a successful online bingo player. Most of the larger online sites offer technical and game support to new and experienced players.
In addition to the comfort and social aspects of online bingo there is also the opportunity to win some money. Many different sites offer jackpots that vary based on the cost of the cards and how many online players are playing. Other sites offer pre-set jackpots that range from $100.00 to $10,000.00 as the prize. Most of the cards are not expensive to buy and range from fifty cents to a dollar per card on the standard games.
All this helps to make online bingo a comfortable, entertaining, inexpensive and possibly profitable game that can be played from the comfort of your own computer monitor.
It is always easier to enjoy playing a game if you are able to understand the basic terminology. The same is true with Bingo. Don't be afraid to ask others around you if you are unsure of what is being said, most people are very friendly and willing to help.
There are some regional variations on bingo terms so make sure you fully understand before starting play. Here are a few bingo terms and their meanings.
- Admission packet – This is minimum number of cards that must be purchased to play. Usually these cards will be for the regular games and possibly a few of the special games. Additional cards for any game can be purchased prior to the game starting.
- Bingo board – The electronic display board that shows the numbers that have been called for the game.
- Bingo card – the pre-numbered card that you play to win the prize. Each card has 24 numbered spaces and one free square. The columns are under the letters BINGO.
- Bingo marker – anything used to mark the Bingo squares. It can be ink, chips, crayons or any other device the player wishes to use. Some halls may limit what can be used as Bingo markers.
- Caller – the person, usually at the front of the hall, that calls the bingo numbers.
- Cash-in-prize – the jackpot or payout is based on the amount of money collected by card sales for that game. The more players the greater the payout.
- Coverall – another term for blackout Bingo where all squares must be covered to win.
- Dauber – an ink filled plastic pen with a wide sponge tip used to mark the squares on a bingo card.
- Free Space – the centre point of the card that is considered marked out on every card.
- Jackpot – a large prize that is based on completing a pattern in a certain number of calls.
- Lucky Jar – an additional jar or pot of cash that is won if the last number to cause the player to call Bingo is the identified lucky number.
- Money ball – a number that is determined prior to the start of play that will double the winnings if the Bingo is called when that number is played.
- Pattern – the shape needed to get a Bingo; this is usually displayed on a game board beside the bingo board.
- T.E.D or G.T.I – an electronic dauber system for marking packs of cards.
- Wrap Up – the final game of Bingo to be played that session.
The History of Bingo
Bingo actually started as a lottery type game in Italy in the 1530s. It was known as Lo Giuoco del Lotto D”Italia, and is still played every Saturday in much of Europe. It spread to France in the 1780″s where a slightly different version was played.
Both lotteries consisted of a series of cards with nine columns and three rows. Cards were randomly drawn and placed on the rows. Chips with numbers proceeding in sequence were placed in bags and drawn. Column one bag contained numbers from 1-10, column 2 from 11-20 and so on. Numbers were drawn from the bags until someone”s unique lotto card had all the numbers called. They became the winner of the lottery.
In 1929 a traveling toy salesman by the name of Edwin S. Lowe attended a carnival in Atlanta, Georgia. He saw a game from Europe being played in one of the tents. The game was played using beans to cover the squares, and Lowe was amazed at how excited the crowd became playing the game. When they won they excitedly jumped up and yelled “BEANO”.
Lowe returned to his home in New York and created a set of cards using cardboard grids and a number stamp, bought a bag of dried beans for markers and invited some friends over. He changed a few basic rules and allowed the players to form single rows or columns to win the game. His friends began playing and soon all were enjoying the game. One young lady got so excited when she won instead of yelling out “BEANO” she yelled out “BINGO”. Lowe immediately liked the new name and set out to produce sets of the cards for sale. The first Bingo games could be purchase for a dollar for a 12-card set or 24 dollars for a 24-card set.
Expanding the cards
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania is credited with being the first town to combine bingo and church fundraising activities. The priest soon realized that with a limited number of cards there were multiple people winning and that there was less money going to the church to benefit the fundraiser. He contacted Lowe who in turn contacted Carl Leffler, a professor of mathematics at Columbia University. Professor Leffler agreed to make 6000 non-repeating bingo cards at the cost of $100.00 per card. Legend has it that this task was so stressful that Professor Leffler suffered a breakdown trying to complete all the cards.
Bingo is one of the few casino games that does not require a lot of strategizing or experience to play. Even children in school use bingo type games and format to learn math problems and to just have some fun. While there is no specific strategy to follow to ensure that you will win, there are some things that you can do as a player to increase your odds of winning. These strategies can be used for in-person or online bingo gaming.
Play more cards
Each bingo card has the same chance of winning as any other bingo card. The more cards you play the more chances you will have at winning on any given game. For example, if Player A buys 1 card and plays on a game and Player B buys 10 cards to play on a game, B has 10 chances to win while A has one. Be careful not to overwhelm yourself with cards. If you can't keep up with the caller and the game you are likely to miss marking squares which could be costly. Play within your comfort level of cards.
Watch what others do
Watch and see how many cards other players are playing around you. The more cards they are playing the more cards you should generally play. Remember, each card is worth an equal chance so more cards equals more chances to win.
How many people are playing
Good bingo games like all other games attract a lot of players. Bingo games where there are few players may indicate that the jackpots or payouts are not as good at that website or at that bingo hall. At some games the jackpots are determined by the number of people playing it is important to have a good sized crowd to have a good sized jackpot.
Patterns being called
The more patterns that are being called the greater your chance to win on any given game. For example, if a game is starting with four corners, diagonals, verticals, horizontals, crosses and ending up with blackout you have five or more chances to win on any given card. This is better than a one pattern wins the game bingo that cuts down your odds to win more than once on the same card.
Being well rested and alert is key to staying focused on the caller and on the cards in front of you. Take breaks, get up and stretch or go for a walk if you find yourself becoming tired or distracted