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Bingo Rules

Rules and how to play Bingo, Number Calling, and Online Bingo:

Bingo is played in halls. Bingo rules and payouts and play variations vary from place to place. Bingo brochures detailing particular games, rules and payouts are usually available at each respective location.

Basically, players buy cards with numbers on them in a 5 x 5 grid corresponding to the five letters in the word B-I-N-G-O. Numbers such as B-2 or 0-68 are then drawn at random (out of a possible 75 in American Bingo, and 90 in British and Australian Bingo) until one player completes a 'Bingo' pattern, such as a line with five numbers in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row on one of their cards and wins the prize. There are many possible patterns to play for. See here examples of bingo patterns (link opens new window).

A bingo Card contains 24 numbered spaces and one free space (blank), with which you play BINGO. The numbers are assigned at random on each card and are arranged in five columns of five numbers each by five rows (5 x 5 = 25 in total including the blank square).

 The numbers in the B column are between 1 and 15, in the I column between 16 and 30, in the N column (containing four numbers and the free space) between 31 and 45, in the G column between 46 and 60, and in the O column between 61 and 75.

Players have thousands of unique (unduplicated) cards to choose from. Some manufacturers print unduplicated series of 6,000 cards. There are also series of 9,000 cards available. Hard cards and Flimsy cards have a series number printed on them. For example, card number 1252 will always have the same numbers in the same spaces.

Number Calling

The numbers are announced quickly by the Caller, so you must pay careful attention to the numbers that are called and mark them quickly and accurately on your card(s).

The caller keeps calling numbers until one or more players claim BINGO. Then the game stops and the numbers are verified. If there is a winner, the prize is awarded and a new bingo game begins with new cards. If there is more than one winner, the prize is split among all the winners.

In Las Vegas many variations including Letter X, Six Pack and Coverall Bingo are offered. Additionally, some places offer special progressive payouts as high as $10,000.

Electronic Bingo

Computers are changing the way we play the bingo game in bingo halls. In the past few years many bingo players have moved to portable, handheld bingo computers or devices that allow them to play multiple cards at the same time with ease.

Electronic bingo devices have a tracking mechanism so players will never miss a bingo, even if they are playing multiple cards.

Players using these devices simply listen for the caller to call the next number and then punch the corresponding key on the machine. The computer automatically scans the electronic bingo cards to see if the number called is there and marks it for all the cards that have that number.

If one of the cards gets a bingo, the player will know and it is up to him or her to alert the caller by shouting BINGO.

Different types of electronic bingo devices are available. One of the more advanced systems features a colour screen showing several bingo cards at a time and with sound effects.

Some handheld devices can hold up to 200 bingo cards per game. However, certain bingo halls may limit the number of cards that can be played at one time.

Online Bingo

When playing online, your bingo cards are randomly selected for you. Most online games give you 3 or 4 cards. Other games let you take more.

Every online bingo game has a caller or a display board for the bingo numbers. The game pattern is also displayed. Some games automatically mark the numbers on your card for you.

 

 

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