Apart from the numbers and their associated sayings that get called out when playing bingo, the novice may come across other terms, both online and in games of live, land-based Bingo. This may help you! Some expressions are peculiar to particular countries, others are universal. But the big universal thing about Bingo is that it is..... fun!!
This simply means that there minimum number of cards that you must purchase as the price of admission. Typically you must purchase an Admission Packet, which usually contains three to six cards for every regular game, and may also contain some special games. Exactly what is part of the Admission Packet varies from hall to hall. Some Bingo Halls may charge an entrance fee, and some used to require you to register and be a member, particularly in the UK. However with the recession, and the move away from land-based games to online games, Bingo Halls want to make it as easy as possible to entice new players in!
Automatic Timer or Pacer
A small electrical or electronic device, which features a small light flashing at a predetermined frequency to set the timing of the Bingo calls. As Bingo gets more and more professional, these devices have been spotted more and more around the Bingo Hall circuit. They are there to make sure the caller calls out the numbers at a regular pace. As an ex-Bingo caller I would consider it a standard requirement that a Bingo caller could call numbers out at an even pace, and if required, up or slow the pace if required by the management or the players. I would think these Automatic Timers are more for novice callers or those wanting to perfect their timing skills. Pish!
White or coloured balls, numbered from 1 to 75, 80 or 90 which are mixed by being rotated in a cage or blown around a glass sided cage. In smaller games, there may be just counters in a cloth bag, pulled out one at a time. The balls are released via a hopper or blown out to be retrieved by the Bingo Caller who then announces the number. The balls are usually of the Ping-Pong type but may be made of solid material if used in a rotating cage. Counters are usually wooden or plastic- really cheap versions are cardboard, but will probably only last one or two sessions before they become tattered and no good!
A display board, usually electronic that lights up showing each number as it is called. A cheaper version can be ones with hooks, and the numbers are on large discs and are hooked on to the Board. Very labour intensive, but certainly used at some Bingo games I’ve witnessed at UK Holiday Camps in the 60’s. The most whizzy Bingo Halls actually have electronic tables for all the players whereby just as online, an auto-dauber can mark off your electronic card. All very space-race, but I prefer the good old self-held, self-operated dauber, thank you!
Bingo Cage or Blower
A device for mixing the 75, 80 or 90 balls. It may be electrically driven and use a jet of air to mix the Ping-Pong type balls. It may also be simply a cage which mixes the smaller solid balls and which has a hopper to release the balls one at a time.
More next time in Part two!