Bingo Terms

Learn the most popular bingo terms using our guide below. You will encounter these terms when playing bingo online or at a brick and mortar casino. It is very useful to know what each bingo term means and the definition, letting players make better decisions when playing.

5 Line Bingo

A variation of bingo found mostly online. It differs from standard bingo only because of the fact there’s no free space in the middle of the bingo card. It’s sometimes called Swedish bingo.

30 Ball Bingo

A fast paced cover all game on a 5×5 grid. Sometimes also referred to as speed bingo.

75 Ball Bingo

The standard game in the United States. 75 numbers are available for draw and players have a 5×5 grid on their bingo cards with a free space in the middle.

80 Ball Bingo

An online bingo variation where 80 balls are available in the draw and cards have rows of 16 numbers and columns of 4.

90 Ball Bingo

A bingo variation that is most popular in the United Kingdom. In this form of bingo, 90 balls can be drawn and cards have three rows and nine columns. Rows have five numbers and four blanks and columns divide numbers up in sequential order similarly to the traditional game.

Admission

Entering into a bingo hall to play in a game involves purchasing an admission pack. This is the cost of the buy-in to the game and is the admission required to play.

Admission Pack

The cards that a player must purchase to enter a bingo game are known as an admission pack. They will usually have a series of bingo cards for all the games in the current bingo session.

After Games

These are games played after the normal bingo session has concluded.

Any Way

In a bingo game if a pattern can be made any way it means that as long as the general shape has been made it can be going either way side to side or upwards and downwards. If the target shape is an L, then the L could be sideways, upside down, back to front, and so on.

Ball Gate

A section in the bingo ball machine which controls the flow of the ball out of the main area into the runway and out to the ball field where it can be called by the bingo attendant.

Ball Lifter

The part of the bingo machine that lifts the ball up to the shooter tip.

Ball Runway

Where the ball runs down to enter the main ball field area.

Ball Shooter

A spring loaded mechanism that pushes the ball into the ball field area of the bingo machine.

Basket Bingo

Basket prizes are awarded instead of cash in this type of bingo. These games are usually run by churches or community groups as fundraisers.

Bingo

Bingo is the name of the game, as well as the term players yell out once they have completed the pattern on their game card.

Bingo Board

An electronic display board that indicates all the numbers that have been drawn in a particular round.

Bingo Booklet

This is a collection of bingo cards which are used for an entire session in bingo. These can be purchased for the entire session and will be placed in order of the games played.

Bingo Card

Bingo CardA square box which contains 24 numbers printed at random with a blank square usually in the middle in the traditional form of the game. This is the card that is used in a particular bingo game in a session. The player marks off numbers on the bingo card as they’re drawn with a marker. You’ll find there are 75 balls that are usually drawn in bingo and each ball corresponds to a letter in the word bingo which has a corresponding column on the bingo card. B is 1 to 15, I is 16 to 30, N is 31 and 45 plus the blank space, G is 46 to 60, and O is 61 to 75. All numbers are given letters to assist in marking off numbers on the corresponding letter column on bingo cards.

Bingo Marker

The crayon or pen that players use to mark numbers on the bingo card. It’s sometimes referred to as an ink dauber. Many bingo players cherish the colors and varieties they can own, and love having their own set of ink daubers.

Blackout

Also more commonly referred to as a coverall or cover all. This is a bingo game where players must cover all of their numbers on a game card to win. Generally, it will take 50 to 60 numbers to be called before someone wins, but it can get much lower than this. Often operators will offer a jackpot prize if the blackout is achieved within a certain number of balls being drawn.

Blower

The device in the bingo machine that blows air to mix balls and send a winning number to the bingo caller.

Bonanza Bingo

A separate game which is a variation of the cover all game. In bonanza bingo, 45 to 48 numbers are called prior to the standard bingo session. If no one wins then an additional number is called in the next bonanza bingo session, this happens every session until a winner is finally awarded a prize. Quite often the prize or jackpot will go up according to how many players have bought cards to enter this game.

Buy In

The amount of money a player must pay to enter a bingo game by purchasing admission, or bingo cards.

Buzzword Bingo

A bingo variant where buzzwords are used instead of numbers.

Caller

The person who announces the numbers that are drawn at random from the bingo machine. This person is usually a bingo hall or casino employee.

Callers Choice

The caller chooses what the target pattern will be for the next round in the bingo session. They won’t announce what it will be until moments before the start of the game.

Cash-In Prize

A form of bingo where the winners are paid out in cash from the money that is received when players buy in. Usually, the total of all cash prizes in a bingo session will be substantially less than the total of all the buy-ins to ensure the operator makes money.

Cash Ball

A type of progressive jackpot that is included in certain bingo sessions. The cash ball will be a random number drawn before the session begins. The ball which becomes the cash ball is then assigned the jackpot amount. If a player completes a bingo win with the cash ball they win the cash ball jackpot on top of the usual winnings.

Consolation Prize

A lesser prize awarded in a bingo game where the main prize isn’t won by any of the players.

Coverall

See blackout above.

Dauber

Another name for a bingo marker.

Early Bird

A game that is run before the commencement of the main bingo session. This can usually be bought into separately.

Face

The standard bingo sheet with 24 numbers and a blank free space in the middle.

Flimsy

Sheets of paper that have up to 9 bingo cards printed on them. Sometimes a flimsy will attract a higher payout rate, depending on the denomination value that the player has bought. These are also sometimes referred to as throwaways.

Four Corners

A pattern used in bingo games where a player must cover the four corners of the bingo card.

Free Space

This is the middle spot on a bingo card that is always blacked out and given to the player for free to achieve patterns with. Some variations of bingo don’t have a free space.

Full House

When a player marks off all their numbers successfully, usually in a coverall game.

Game Board

An electronic display, usually connected to or near the bingo board, that shows the current bingo game target pattern.

Game Room

A way of dividing up players in online bingo. You’ll only play against other players in your game room.

Hard Cards

Heavy cardboard bingo cards that have shutters to pull down once a number has been drawn. These are quite rare these days as most players and establishment prefer flimsies.

Hardway

This is a five number straight line bingo without using the free space.

House

The bingo hall or casino that runs the game.

Jackpot

A large prize that has special conditions involved to win. Achieving a coverall within a certain number of drawn balls will sometimes result in a jackpot being awarded. Progressive jackpots keep on increasing until someone wins it.

Lucky Jar

Similar to a cash ball, a lucky number may be drawn at the start of a bingo session. Every time that number is drawn cash is added to the lucky jar. If a player achieves a bingo on the lucky number, then they win the jar of cash. The cash ball is now much more common than the lucky jar. This is sometimes called a cookie jar.

Money Ball

Similar to a cash ball. A ball is drawn prior to the start of the bingo session and if a player uses this ball later on to make a bingo, the cash prize is doubled.

Moonlight Bingo

A bingo game that starts late at night.

Multiple Winners

If multiple players achieve a bingo on the same ball, then the cash prize is split between them. The order in which the players called out bingo doesn’t matter, both still win.

Nine Pack

A pattern in bingo where 9 numbers are grouped together in a block.

On

If a player only needs one additional number in order to achieve a bingo, they are on. Electronic bingo machines will make a beep sound when a player is on.

On the Way

A game that is played prior to a coverall or other bingo pattern variation, but on the same card, is an on the way game.

Pattern

The shape that players must achieve on their game cards in order to make the bingo and win. You’ll find a huge variety in respect to patterns. Most establishments will use only five or six of the most common ones, though. These include straight lines, cover all, kites, and 6 or 9 packs.

Pay Out

This is the total amount that a bingo hall will pay out in winnings. Generally, it will be around 75% of what they bring in with admission.

Postage Stamp

A winning pattern in bingo of four squares in a small square shape.

Pull Tabs

A lottery type game with a multiple sheet card with pull tabs that open to reveal numbers or symbols. A player will reveal all the sections on the cards to see if they’re a winner of a cash prize or buy in bonus.

Quickie

A variation of the cover all game in bingo except it’s run in a turbo format with the numbers being drawn and called very quickly.

Rainbow Pack

A certain type of bingo admission pack which includes game cards for a bingo session with different winning denomination colors throughout the pack.

Random Number Generator or RNG

A computer program that will select numbers at random. These are used in digital and online bingo games where no physical bingo machine is being used to draw numbers.

Session

A group of bingo games played together in succession is considered a session. Player’s will usually be able to buy packs which have cards for all the games within a particular session.

Six Pack

Also known as a block of six. This is a winning pattern in bingo of six numbers grouped together in a 3×3 fashion.

Special

A special is a side game in bingo that is separate from the main session. Usually, entry is a few dollars with some specials being included in a game pack on occasion.

TED

An electronic bingo device which can be used to automatically track numbers in a session of bingo. You’ll often have to pay a higher fee to use a TED device and players can only use one at a time in a session. They’re gaining popularity due to their ease of use. These are sometimes also called a GTI.

Texas Blackout

Another wild bingo game where all odds or even numbers are automatically marked off based on whether the first number is, you guessed it, odd or even.

Ups

The number of bingo sheets or pages, with bingo cards printed on them, that make up a bingo book or admission booklet. A 9-up book would have 9 pages within it and the relevant number of bingo cards on each page.

Wild Numbers

In some bingo games, wild numbers are given to players to be marked off before the main numbers are drawn. Quite often the first number will determine which other numbers are wild in that round. If 25 is drawn as a wild, then that and all other numbers with a 5 in it, such as 5, 15, 35 and so one, are deemed as wild for that particular game.

Winner Takes All

Sometimes a bingo hall will run a winner takes all game where all buy-ins for that particular game in the bingo session will go to the winner. This is most commonly used in a coverall game.

Wrap Up

The last game in a bingo session.

Additional Bingo Glossary Resources