While there are a number of subtle variations of “Blackout bingo”, most have the same game at their heart.
No it’s not a recreation of the Bingo Games my parents had while hiding in the cellar in 1940 during the Blitz in London, with Blackout curtains pulled across anything where light might escape to give the bombers a target. Nor is it a game for epileptics or other unfortunates who suffer from the medical condition whereby the brain momentarily shuts off to precipitate a blackout... what fun is there in that?
Of all the Bingo game types around, the one known as Blackout, or coverall is perhaps one of the most engrossing and thrilling bingo pattern ever played! As the name suggests, the aim of coverall bingo is to mark off all numbers from your card. BUT the difference is that in order to win the big prize, you have to do it within a certain number of numbers being called. So it’s not just a question of beating all the other players to have you card blacked out, but it’s beating the Caller to do it before all 90 (or 75) balls have been called.
Let’s concentrate on a US type Bingo Card with 24 numbers on it. Winning blackout bingo may seem easy on the surface, but it really isn’t. If you want to survive in the game, you must have a considerable dose of luck on your side. Covering all 24 spots within first 40-50 calls is far from simple. This makes it an all the more exhilarating experience. If there is no winner within that preset number of calls, be that 40 or 50, or some other lower number, the size of jackpot will reduce considerably or there will be no jackpot at all and accumulate for the next game of Blackout.
I’m no mathematician but I guess it’s possible to work out what the odds are of all your 24 numbers being called out after a certain number of calls. For example, it is possible, in theory, to win after 24 numbers called, because all those numbers are the ones on your card: Blackout! But the odds on that happening must be infinitesimal. There’s more likelihood or Santa and his Elves being discovered to be real and living in Lapland.
Similarly, all your numbers will be crossed off after all 75 balls have been called, but someone will be bound to have won by then! It may take a minimum of 24 calls to get a blackout bingo, but if you happened to get one in fewer than even 40 calls you would be considered a very lucky person. Most blackout bingo games end between the 55th to 60th call, depending on how many players are in the game. Also a new growing trend if a blackout is not called within the first 60 balls it is rolled over until the next blackout bingo game. This can make the prizes very large and have seen a few jackpots being well over $2,500.00!
Blackout is available online at many sites, and can be found at some land-based live Bingo events, although in my local, a groan goes up when a Blackout game is declared. That’s because it takes longer (no one line or two line or corners of the world wins) and also it may end without a winner and a rollover! That’s enough to make you reach for your drink and try to induce a blackout!
Happy New Year and good luck!