This is a “back to basics” article for anyone new to bingo. In a nutshell, numbers between 1 and 75, or 1 and 9O are randomly selected and “called” out. You purchase bingo cards, also known as tickets, with a unique combination of numbers printed. If the number called is on your card, you mark it off. When and if you are the first person to mark off a line of numbers or all the numbers, then you call “Bingo”, and have won a prize! It really is that simple!
For live or land based games (i.e. those that are not online) the game starts when a ‘caller' declares the start of a game and brings things to order by saying “eyes down”. He or she then begins calling numbers as they are randomly selected from an electronic Random Number Generator (like the UK National Lottery Machine) or some other form of randomizer. It used to be something as simple as drawing numbered counters out of a bag, and that remains the method used for many amateur or charity Bingo events.
What do you have to do as a player? You sit and listen and look attentively- hearing the numbers called and looking at any screen or indicator which may display the number as it is called. You are required to mark off any called number that matches one on your card, or cards (most people buy a number of cards for each game. Most people often use a specialised Bingo marker called a ‘dabber' or ‘dauber'. That enables you to mark off a number, but still be able to see the number underneath... essential if you call Bingo and the caller or the organisers want to confirm you’ve won. You will be hoping that you complete an arrangement of numbers on a ticket before any other player. The moment you have covered off a winning line or pattern then you must yell “Bingo” ‘line' or ‘house' to let everyone know you are first to the line, and want to claim your prize.
It is usual for each Bingo game, or ‘session', to offer a number of opportunities to win a prize. For example in the traditional 90 ball Bingo played in the UK, there are typically three prizes players compete for by being the first to complete one line across the card, two lines across, and a Full House- covering off all the numbers on a ticket.
The ins and outs of online Bingo are covered in a following article, but the core online game is the same as live Bingo- except of course you have a “virtual” caller instead of a real one, you can play in the comfort of your own home on your PC or lap-top, and you’ll be interacting and chatting with people through the online Bingo providers’ chat rooms.