What's Bingo All About?

Balls, numbers, cards, markers? Still not sure what the game's all about or how to get started? Read on to learn more about the basics of bingo and how to get started playing online or off.

A Quick Primer On The Game Of Bingo

Bingo is a hugely popular game played across the world but has a particularly big following across Europe and America. However, whilst most people know the game sees numbers being randomly drawn and players trying to match those numbers called to ones pre-printed on their playing card, non-players may still find the game slightly confusing. And so we at online-casinos.com have decided to put together this handy guide to this popular random number game.

The game of bingo actually has its origins in 1500s Italy and the basis of the game has not changed much since those long-ago beginnings. Having said that, the game has developed slightly differently on each side of the Atlantic, with 75-ball games being played in America and 90-ball games being more common within Europe. We'll look at both game types in this article.

Firstly though, we'll go over the basics of the game. A person participates in a game by purchasing a bingo card which in the real world is printed on card or stiffened paper and consists of numbers printed within a grid. A minimum purchase of 1 card is required and some bingo rooms may impose a maximum number of bingo cards that can be purchased. Other players do the same, with all monies collected through ticket sales going in to a jackpot pool. The bingo room operating the game then take a cut of this pot as their fee for hosting the game with the remainder of the funds becoming the prize pool for players. The way this pool is split is dependent on the game being played (whether 75 or 90-ball). The game then starts and a bingo caller randomly selects balls from a machine or bag. As numbers are drawn a player marks off these numbers on their card (known as daubing) and the first player to cover all their numbers and shout 'bingo' wins the game.

In the 75-ball game cards are pre-printed with numbers ranging from 1-75 and are square in shape. However, not all numbers printed on the 5x5 grid come in to play - a shape is declared at the start of the game (e.g. star, X, diamond) and a player competes to match this shape (through daubing the numbers required to make this shape) on their card(s). Only one prize is awarded in this game - the first to make the shape, although calls on the same number will see players share the prize pool.

In the 90-ball game more numbers are used (surprisingly up to number 90!). In this game a player's card is set out in a rectangular pattern. A player's numbers are split across 3 lines with 5 numbers appearing on each line. The game proceeds as per the 75-ball game. However, in this game the prize pool is split three ways with a prize awarded for the first to complete 1 line, the first to complete 2 lines and the first to complete 3 lines (a full house). A person could win more than one prize and potentially a card could be a winner in all three categories. As with 75-ball games, a call by two or more players on the same number sees the prize pot split.

And that's pretty much the game of bingo! Some places have variations on call words (e.g. 'housie!' as opposed to 'bingo') but fundamentally anyone understanding the above understands the games of bingo! Of course, some casinos and bingo halls present the game with more glitz and glamour than others and some use humorous calls for numbers drawn (e.g. legs eleven, garden gate - number 8). But the game remains faithful across the world, and with the ease in which the game is learnt no wonder it's as popular as it is!