Bingo Frequently Asked Questions

This comprehensive Bingo FAQ gives you the common questions and answers that players may have about this casino game.

What is Bingo?

Bingo game iconInvented in the 1920s, bingo is a game of chance where numbered balls are drawn at random until a player achieves a specified pattern on a printed card which has random numbers printed on it. The numbers on these cards correspond with all the possible numbers that can be drawn.

Bingo is played in a bingo hall which usually consists of rows of tables and chairs with the caller in an elevated position up front. The caller will read out the drawn numbers and electronic display boards around the hall will have the number history listed as well as the target pattern for that bingo game.

Marking the Card

Bingo CardPlayers can sit wherever they like and use large bingo markers to mark numbers off their cards. Bingo halls can be found in local casinos around the world and also exist as standalone bingo centers, although this is becoming rarer these days. On top of this, many churches and community organizations also run bingo games to raise funds.

In the traditional version of the game, the numbers will keep being drawn until someone achieves the required pattern on their card. The player that does this will yell bingo loudly so that the floor staff knows that there’s a possible winner. Once the numbers have been checked and confirmed, that specific round is over and a new game begins.

Prizes for Winners

In a bingo session, there will usually be between 10 and 15 games, all with different pattern requirements. The winner of a particular game will be awarded a cash prize. The amount of cash they win depends on how much the cost to enter was, what type of game card they won with and also the house rules of the particular bingo hall they won in. You’ll be able to find out about specific prizes and rules on the bingo hall brochure which will be available on site, or on the bingo or casino website if you’re playing online.

Since bingo was introduced a number of variations have been developed. These include Swedish bingo, 80 ball bingo, and speed bingo. More recently electronic bingo has crept into bingo halls worldwide. Electronic bingo manages a player’s cards and numbers automatically on a handheld device. This way they don’t have to manually keep track of the action as the computer system will do it all for them. On top of this, bingo games are now available on online casinos so you can now play from the comfort of your own home in on demand games whenever you like.

How Do I Play Bingo?

Bingo books and cardsBingo can seem fast-paced and confusing to new players, however, it need not be. The game is simple in essence and is a lot of fun. To play bingo you must first purchase an admission pack which has game cards for every single game in a bingo session. Each game will have a certain pattern or line which is the objective.

Once a game commences the caller will begin reading out the drawn numbers as they are retrieved at random from the bingo machine. Players mark off those numbers on the game cards they have in play for that round. Once a player achieves the pattern or line of numbers they yell out bingo and the caller will stop the draw. A bingo attendant will check the player’s card to ensure they have actually achieved a win. If they do, that player is awarded a win and the game is over; unless there is a second chance in that particular game.

As you can see it’s very simple to play. The hardest part for a new player will be ensuring they know what pattern they need to get on the paper in order to win, and also to keep up with the pace of the game and to make sure they don’t miss out on a potential win by not marking numbers off correctly. Quite often bingo packs will have multiple game cards for each round so there will be quite a few areas to check for particular numbers and mark them off. Ball letters and corresponding designated rows on the game cards assist somewhat in doing this but it can be quite difficult initially to keep track and ensure you don’t miss anything.

Using a bingo electronic device, known colloquially as a TED or GTI, when initially starting to play bingo can help you in familiarizing yourself with the game while the machine does all the work for you in keeping track. Alternatively, you can play online and learn the game in that environment.

Can I Play Bingo Online?

Online Bingo gameYes, you can play bingo online. If you’re new to bingo or want to play in the comfort of your own home or other surroundings then playing online could be an excellent option for you. Many online casinos offer bingo with attractive jackpots and bonuses.

In online bingo, you’ll be able to find bonuses, promotions, and game varieties that you won’t usually find in your local bingo hall or casino. As a result, you should be able to push your dollars much further playing bingo online. However, you could be up against many more players and the game will be run using a random number generator computer program which can take some of the romance out of the game.

By playing bingo online you’ll also have access to a larger variety of bingo games. You can find speed bingo, bingo with more or fewer numbers, and different card types. This can add spice to the game and provide you with much more choice.

The prize pools in online bingo can be huge, sometimes in the millions of dollars or pounds, so the chance to strike it rich if you hit a progressive jackpot is more likely online, as opposed to a live casino. In any case, you’ll still need to be extremely lucky!

Some online casinos will offer live bingo games online where you’re connected by video link to a real bingo hall. In this version, you’ll play digitally, similar to using an electronic bingo device, from the comfort of your own home. This could be a great option which will bridge the gap between playing in a live bingo game and playing fully online.

If you’re looking for convenience and fun from wherever you may be, then online bingo could be for you.

What are some Good Bingo Strategies?

Once you have game cards in bingo the rest is luck. However, you can implement some strategies to improve your chances of winning in bingo, and if you do this you could win at bingo in the long term.

#1
First, you always want to buy the best possible card for the game that you’re playing. A rainbow pack is a good option, or just going for the cheapest possible pack every game will result in a pretty good return. If you’re unsure, just ask the bingo attendants and they should be able to help, or do a quick search if you’re playing online.
#2
Second, many casinos will offer discounts if you purchase more game packs. So always be sure to buy in bulk if you can, both online and in live casinos. This will drive down your buy-in costs without impacting how much you can win. This is obviously excellent for the player and can increase your likelihood of winning over time in bingo.
#3

Third, monitor how many people are playing in a particular bingo game. The more players, the more competition, as there will be many more cards in play and a higher chance of someone hitting a win earlier. On top of this, you should also keep an eye on what other players are purchasing if you can.

Many players may seem to win an unusually high number of times due to the fact they’re buying many more game cards and an electronic machine as well. If you’re playing online this will be harder to do. However, most online casinos will give you an indication of how many other players are in a game at a particular time and will even divide games up into rooms to cap the number you’re competing against. Ultimately, you should simply try to play in games with fewer players.

#4
Finally, try to avoid games that draw large numbers due to a high cash ball jackpot. A cash ball is an assigned number in a round of games where a player wins an extra jackpot if they achieve a bingo with the cash ball number. A high jackpot can often result in more players, thus driving down your chances of a win. On top of this, you should also avoid any side bets associated with bingo, and most casino games for that matter, as they usually carry a very low chance of winning compared to the cost involved in wagering on them.

If you come across any other strategies or advice when it comes to bingo, aside from those listed above, tread carefully. As we mentioned above, once the game starts there’s nothing a player can do apart from ensuring they don’t miss numbers to change the outcome of the game.

You can see a list of bingo probabilities at Wizard of Odds.

What’s the Difference between Live and Online Bingo?

Live Dealer iconYou won’t find many differences in relation to the way the game is managed and played between online bingo and bingo in a bricks and mortar establishment. Online you won’t be using paper cards and a marker to track your progress on your game cards as this will be entirely automatic through the bingo user interface.

Most of the differences you’ll encounter online will be in respect to jackpots, side bets, bonuses, and also subtle differences in the way the game is played.

Jackpots

bingo jackpotJackpots will be higher online, due to the fact there will often be many more players in an active game. You’ll also have access to a series of bonuses through the online casino that is operating the bingo game. Buy in rates will also generally be lower online which means you can take part while risking less cash.

This has both pros and cons, as it’ll mean you could win a lot more in proportion to what you wager, however, the odds of winning will be much lower as there’ll be many more cards in play. You’ll be able to find capped games online in order to play with fewer opponents, so this may be a good option if you want to control how many people you’ll be playing against.

Additional Prizes

Online games will often also have more second chance prizes and games won’t immediately cease once someone hits a bingo like they often do in live games. You’ll be able to find hundreds of bingo games online all with different styles, bonuses, promotions, jackpots, buy-ins, and game types. This choice just isn’t available in bingo halls where the traditional demographics in that particular location must be catered for in a standard style of game.

Electronic Bingo vs. Paper

If you want to play in a live game without the risk of making errors, simply ask to use an electronic bingo device instead of playing on paper. Some establishments may charge a fee for using these, though, which will further impact your odds of being a winning player in the long run. If you’re looking to play bingo because you like it, but you also want the best possible odds, then you should certainly look for a game online as you’ll be ticking off both of these requirements.

Is There a House Edge in Bingo?

In bingo, you play against other player’s in a race to achieve the required pattern first so that you can scream bingo at the top of your lungs and be awarded the prize for a winner. This cash prize is paid out by the casino and is usually at a guaranteed rate unless you’re playing in a recreational or fund-raising game where prizes could be anything.

In a casino, the number of players in the game will not usually impact the cash prize as it is set by the house, however, more popular games may offer larger prizes to compensate for more competition. Therefore, the casino will make money based on the total of player buy-ins less the amount they pay out in cash prizes.

As such, there is no real house edge in bingo and determining the rate at which a player will win in comparison to how much they wager is very difficult due to the number of variables that need to be considered.

That being said, you can do well in bingo games and it’s possible to win in the long run if you make the right decisions about choosing which games to play in and which card packs to purchase. Additional advice in respect to these is given in the earlier strategy question.

To find out specific odds of winning in a bingo game you’ll need to know, or make an informed guess, on how many cards you’ll be playing against. You’ll be able to find many bingo odds calculators online through Google that will provide you with the approximate odds in respect to your chances of winning in a bingo game.

What Different Types of Games are there in Bingo?

You’ll find many different bingo games online and in bingo halls. The basic premise of the game remains the same though and the aim of the game is always to achieve the required pattern on your game card based on the numbers that are drawn at random.

Different Winning Patterns

Marking Bingo CardSome of the more popular patterns include coveralls, any line of five, hard way line of five, small kite, large kite, flags, diamonds, crazy L, and crazy T. All of these involve hitting certain numbers to achieve that pattern in the particular round of a bingo game.

When a game commences the bingo attendant or interface will display the particular pattern and the different ways a player can achieve it. This will be displayed throughout the game and electronic machines will automatically track how you’re progressing on your game cards in relation to the pattern.

Most electronic machines will beep once you only need one additional number to achieve a certain pattern. In traditional bingo the middle square of a game card will be automatically blacked out, meaning all players can use that square in order to achieve a pattern.

Number of Rounds

In a standard game of bingo, there are between 10 and 15 rounds. This means you’ll be given game sheets for each round, with a certain number of cards on each sheet available for each round to try to win.

The amount you buy in for will determine exactly how many cards you get each round. The more cards you want, the more you have to pay. Quite often there are standard packs available which can be purchased in bulk, and most players take one of these options to make the purchasing process easier.

Bingo operators often have double pay rounds, where the cash prize is doubled, and also have second chances for players to try and get a bingo after someone has already won the main prize. It really depends on the game you’re playing in and the bingo operator in question.

Bonus & Side Bets

Some games also have bonus or side bets associated with particular rounds in a bingo game. You may have to pay extra to be entered into these, or your entry may be automatic. Once again, it just depends on the particular rules and guidelines at that particular bingo hall or online casino. If you do need to pay extra to buy into these extra games, make sure you investigate the payout for this game and the odds you have of winning it. Do this to ensure it isn’t too heavily stacked in the house’s favor and that you have a realistic chance of winning and receiving a decent payout as a result.

Neil White