How to Play Bingo | Complete Beginner’s Guide

Written by: Sadonna Price , Expert in Online Casinos and Poker

Learning how to play bingo allows you to enjoy a more relaxed gaming experience than some of the more strategic casino games, like blackjack and poker.

You can also play online and enjoy this popular game in a more casual setting, whether taking a break on your couch or sipping coffee at a local shop. Plus, there’s always a chance of coming out with a nice sum of money.

I’ve created this guide to help you become a better bingo player. Here you’ll find useful bingo patterns, helpful tips and strategies to boost your chances of winning.

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Your handbook when it comes to playing bingo online

Bingo Rules

The rules of Bingo are very simple. The game revolves around a caller drawing numbers randomly, and players mark those numbers on their cards. Once the player marks off the required pattern, they shout “BINGO!” to claim victory.

Online Casino Bingo Rules

This format is the easiest to play since pretty much everything is automated. All you need to do is place your wager and start the round, and the game does the rest of the work for you. There’s no race to beat another player.


  • Game on Screen – The game is displayed on your computer, tablet, or phone screen.
  • Bingo Cards – Digital cards with numbered spaces corresponding to the drawn numbers.
  • Paytable with Bingo Patterns – A list of several patterns that you can hit on your card during the round, each with varying payouts
  • Game Control Buttons – There are several buttons to control game settings. These typically include buttons to raise or lower your wager, adjust the number of desired cards per round, look at the rules, swap cards, and start the next round.


In online bingo and casino bingo, the objective is to hit any winning pattern on your bingo card and collect a payout. Prizes are displayed on a paytable.

Setup & Gameplay

Before each round, you’ll see cards that are in play. You can adjust the game’s settings using the buttons on the screen before clicking “Play” to start the round.

When you play casino bingo online, a random number generator automatically draws the balls and marks off all your cards.

You need to sit back and hope the numbers fall in your favor to win. If any of your cards hit a winning pattern on the paytable in a certain number of balls drawn, you’ll get a payout. Your prizes automatically add to your bankroll at the end of each round.

In every round, all balls will be drawn, even if you’ve completed a pattern before the end of the round.

Classic Bingo Hall Rules

The original bingo format revolves around players racing to be the first to complete a pattern to win the round. Instead of wagering per round, you buy a pack of multiple cards to play with throughout several rounds. Everyone usually has a single card to play when playing for fun at home.


  • A Pool of Numbers to Draw From – This can be a set of numbered balls, pieces of paper in a hat, or spaces on a spinner.
  • A Caller – Someone that is pulling numbers from the pool and shouting them out for all players to hear.
  • Bingo Cards – Cardboard or paper cards with numbered spaces corresponding to the numbers being drawn from the pool.
  • Marking System – Commonly, these are paint or ink blotters or plastic chips, but anything can be used to mark your card.


The main goal in bingo halls or board game bingo is to be the first player to complete a pre-determined winning pattern on your card by matching spaces to drawn balls.

Setup & Gameplay

The first thing to do in a brick-and-mortar bingo hall is to purchase your cards and find a seat. The rounds happen on a schedule, so make sure you’re ready on time.

Before any numbers get pulled, the caller tells everyone the target pattern for the round. Then, they start drawing numbers one at a time, shouting them out loud for everyone to hear.

You keep track of your progress by marking off spaces with a blotter or plastic chip as numbers get called out. To win the round, you must first complete the target pattern and shout, “BINGO!”

Finally, an official will check your card for accuracy before declaring you the winner. The prizes for each round are usually predetermined.

Bingo Cards Explained

A standard bingo card has a 5×5 grid with 25 spaces. Each column corresponds to one of the letters in “BINGO.”

Most 5×5 cards have the center space marked as free. Numbers are paired with letters (like B7, N33, G56) in bingo halls to locate and mark them easily.

Online bingo can have various layouts. The 3×5 setup is common, but you might find 3×3 or 4×4 games. Online versions automatically mark your spaces, sometimes without columns under letters.

How to Play Bingo: Step By Step Guide

Bingo is a fun and exciting game that anyone can pick up with a bit of know-how. You can play multiple cards simultaneously in many halls and online games, so the most challenging part is keeping track of all the actions. Follow these steps, and you’ll be playing like a pro in no time.

#1 Card Acquisition

Obtain a bingo card with a grid of numbers arranged in columns under the letters B-I-N-G-O.

#2 Number Calling

The game host or an automated system calls out random numbers in succession. If the called number appears on your card, mark it.

#3 Winning Patterns

You aim to complete specific patterns (e.g., a straight line, diagonal, full card) before others.

#4 Marking Off Numbers

In traditional bingo halls, use a blotter to mark off called numbers on your card. Online bingo automatically marks your numbers.

#5 Calling “Bingo!”

When you complete a pattern, call “Bingo!” to notify the host.

The host verifies your card for accuracy.

#6 Claiming Your Win

You win the round’s prize if you’re the first to complete the pattern.

Online Bingo vs. Bingo Halls

Playing bingo online and in traditional halls brings distinct experiences to the table.

The online format offers the convenience of playing from anywhere, enjoying various game types, and interacting with players via chat.

The pace is often quicker, and jackpots are larger due to a broader player base. It also accommodates different budgets and provides an appealing level of privacy.

On the other hand, bingo halls provide a social atmosphere with face-to-face interaction. The game pace is slower, and while jackpots may be smaller, the localized nature creates a unique ambiance.

How to Play Online

You can now relish the experience of the classic bingo game from the comfort of your home. Automatic draws make playing up to 100 cards at a time easy. A paytable denotes the winning patterns.

  1. Visit the Online Casino

    Choose a casino site that has online bingo games.
  2. Fund Your Account

    Go to the cashier page and make a deposit so you can play.
  3. Get Your Cards Ready

    Players choose a wager per card and the number of cards to play per game. Online casino software lets you wager on anywhere from 1 to 100 cards at once.
  4. Play the Round

    The game calls the numbers and marks the cards automatically.
  5. Get a BINGO and Win!

    Each card with a winning combination earns a prize based on the paytable and wager. When playing online, many of your cards could be winners at the end of the round!

How To Play at a Bingo Hall

Players sit at rows of tables and chairs at bingo halls with a centrally located caller. Each round has a unique target-winning pattern. The players compete against one another to get the first bingo and win.

  1. Visit Your Favorite Bingo Hall

    Search for a bingo hall in your area.
  2. Purchase Your Bingo Cards

    Purchase your cards and find a seat in the hall.
  3. Listen to the Caller and Blot Your Cards

    At the beginning of the round, the caller announces the winning patterns required to call bingo. Then, the caller draws numbered balls and announces them individually.

    Players manually mark their cards with colorful ink as they match the called numbers on their cards during the round.
  4. Be the Lucky Winner of a BINGO Game!

    The first person to get the target pattern calls out “BINGO!” and the caller stops the draw. An official validates the win by checking the draw vs. the blotted card.

Exploring Bingo Patterns

Bingo is more than just chance—it’s about strategy and the thrill of creating winning patterns on your card.

These patterns add a layer of excitement to the game, making every round a unique and engaging experience. Let’s delve into some of the most popular bingo patterns that keep players on the edge of their seats:

Simple Patterns

  • Straight Line – To win, achieve a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line of marked numbers. It’s a straightforward yet enticing pattern that’s commonly pursued.
  • Four Corners – Mark the numbers in all four corners of your card to claim victory. This pattern often creates an early sense of anticipation.
  • X Marks the Spot – Cross through the center square and its surrounding numbers to form an “X.” This pattern offers an intriguing twist to the game.
  • Coverall or Blackout – The ultimate challenge! Mark off every number on your card to achieve a full blackout. It’s a thrilling pattern that keeps players engaged until the very end.

Traditional Patterns

  • Letter Patterns – Form letters such as “L,” “T,” “C,” or “E” with marked numbers on your card. These patterns bring an extra layer of fun and strategy to the game.
  • Picture Frame – Create a border of marked numbers around the edges of your card, forming a “picture frame.” It’s a unique pattern that adds a creative twist.
  • Postage Stamp – 4 Spaces that make up a small square in one of the card’s corners.

Hard Patterns

  • Arrow Pattern – The arrow pattern points the way to winning. To claim victory, you need to mark off the numbers that create this arrow shape on your card.
  • Money Pattern – The popular dollar sign pattern is perfect for those seeking a financial twist. You can also go for the cents sign.
  • Animal Pattern – This pattern honors the animal kingdom. Players must mark off numbers to create the outline of an animal, such as a cat, dog, or turtle.
  • US Flag Pattern – Show your patriotic spirit with the US flag pattern. Players need to mark off numbers to create the iconic stars and stripes of the American flag. It’s a fitting challenge for bingo players in the USA.

Special Patterns

  • Holiday Patterns – Whether it’s Valentine’s Day hearts, Halloween jack-o’-lanterns, or Fourth of July fireworks, these patterns bring seasonal cheer to the bingo game.
  • Seasonal Patterns – As the seasons change, so do your bingo patterns. These designs capture each season’s essence, from spring-blooming flowers to snowflakes in winter.
  • Fun Patterns – These designs range from smiley faces and cupcakes to spaceships and pirate ships.
  • Sports Patterns – You’ll love these patterns if you’re a sports fan. Whether it’s a soccer ball, basketball hoop, or baseball diamond, these patterns combine your love for sports with the thrill of bingo.

Most Common Winning Patterns

Depending on the type of bingo you’re playing, there are different bingo patterns you need to make to win.

Some cards will have the bingo-winning combinations predetermined before playing, but most will begin with a blank card.

The spaces you need to mark off depend on the round or the game’s paytable.

Bingo Pattern 5x5 Infographic
Bingo Pattern 3x5 Infographic

Download these bingo patterns to print them off and take them to the casino or hall.

Where to Play Bingo Online for US Players

When choosing an online casino to play real money bingo, look for a site that offers various bingo games with different themes and prize structures to keep the experience exciting.

Ensure the casino is licensed and regulated by a reputable authority to guarantee fair play and security. It should have robust customer support that can assist you with any issues or questions promptly.

Additionally, consider the available payment methods, ensuring they are convenient and secure.

Lastly, look for casinos that offer attractive bonuses and loyalty programs, enhancing your overall gaming experience and providing additional value.

Below, you’ll find a list of reputable gambling sites that do a great job of checking all of the criteria above.

1 DuckyLuck Casino Logo DuckyLuck Casino BINGO GAMES 11 BONUS 500% up to $7,500 Play Now
2 Bovada Casino Logo Bovada Casino BINGO GAMES 7 BONUS 125% up to $3,750 Play Now
3 SlotsandCasino Logo SlotsandCasino BINGO GAMES 11 BONUS 500% up to $7,500 Play Now
4 Cafe Casino Logo Cafe Casino BINGO GAMES 7 BONUS 350% up to $2,500 Play Now
5 BetUS Logo BetUS BINGO GAMES 1 BONUS 150% up to $3,000 Play Now

Online Casino Bingo Games

Bingo has also made its way to the online world, where players can enjoy various versions. Online bingo offers convenience, a wide range of patterns, and the opportunity to play anytime, anywhere.

Typically, 80-ball bingo is played at online casinos. Predetermined patterns, progressive jackpots, and bonus features make these fun.

Try Online Bingo for Free

Practice playing Cataratas Bingo. Shuffle the number by tapping on any card, pick your bet, and start with 30 balls. The fewer balls it takes to hit a bingo, the bigger the payouts.

Other Bingo Games

Bingo comes in all shapes and sizes. You’ll find varying styles, draw quantity, and the number of cards you can play simultaneously.

Below, we discuss some of the most popular versions of the game, which are in casinos and halls.

Check out our reader’s favorite virtual bingo games if you prefer to play online.

Bingo Tournament Gold Trophy Icon

Bingo Tournaments

Land-based casinos and bingo halls offer casino tournaments for even bigger prizes than regular games.

These let you accrue over a series of games or rounds. Some last for days. Most involve entry fees, but a few freerolls have no fees, though the prizes are smaller.

Bingo Slots Reel Big Icon

Bingo Slot Machines

Bingo slot machines are a special hybrid of classic slot games and bingo.

When you spin the reels on these machines, you’re not just chasing symbols but also playing a rapid bingo game against other casino players.

30 Ball Bingo Icon

Varying Balls

It follows traditional formats like Speed bingo with 30 balls, American Bingo typically has 75, and UK/Europe games use 90 balls.

These games use bingo cards with numbers on them, and players mark their cards as a live bingo caller calls numbers.

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Social Mobile Apps

While it can replicate traditional bingo formats, social casino apps offer diverse variations and patterns.

Some apps even introduce innovative gameplay elements like power-ups or quests.

Bingo Odds & Strategies

It can be pretty tricky to calculate the odds or probabilities of a round of bingo. That’s because there are different-sized cards, and all winning patterns don’t require the same number of spaces to win. Some games even start with more or fewer balls in the hopper.

Is It Better to Play More Cards?

Bingo Card Stack Odds and Probabilities Icon

In a bingo hall, more cards mean a better chance to win. Every card holds an equal chance of winning, but every player may have a different amount of cards. To calculate your odds, you would divide your cards by the total cards in play.

Most online bingo games don’t pit you against other players. You’re merely trying to hit as many winning combinations as possible. Here, playing more cards online doesn’t increase your odds since each card is essentially its own game.

Number of Balls vs. Number of Calls

Every bingo game online has a set number of balls in the hopper. No matter the number of balls or the paytable, getting a bingo is tough early in the game, with your odds increasing with each call. That means everyone has a better chance of winning later in the round as the number of calls increases.

This table shows the probability of hitting a single-line bingo in a 75-ball game as the number of calls increases.

How to Win at Bingo: Tips and Strategies

Winning at bingo involves a mix of luck, strategy, and keen observation. Here are some valuable tips to boost your odds of winning at bingo:

Manage Your Money

Spread your money out over a lot of rounds. If you run out of cash early, then you can’t buy more cards for later rounds.

Pick a Good Seat

Pick a seat close to the caller and the board. This way, you can hear clearly and regularly check for missed balls.

Learn Common Terms

Know the game inside and out. Learning common bingo terms will help you feel confident when playing the rounds.

Play Multiple Cards

Consider playing with multiple cards to increase your opportunities for marking off numbers.

Play During Off-Peak Times

Opt for games during less crowded hours, as fewer players mean higher chances of winning.

Interact With Other Players

Engage with fellow players in chat rooms; they might share helpful insights or lucky numbers.

Try Varied Game Types

Explore different bingo variations, as some patterns may be more favorable than others.

Grab Bonuses

Capitalize on bonuses and promotions to maximize your playing potential.

Who Invented Bingo? History of the Game

Hugh J. Ward standardized American Bingo in the early 1920s, but Edwin S. Lowe gets credit for popularizing the game in 1929.

They used beans to mark spaces at first. Most people assume the name “Bingo” evolved from the game’s original name, “Beano.”

The history of bingo spans back quite a few years. There was a similar game in Italy dating back to 1530. The French had a version with 27 squares that started in 1778.

New variations on original bingo are created yearly, giving players something to look forward to when heading to the bingo hall. 

Start Your Online Bingo Journey

Understanding the fundamentals of bingo can significantly enhance your gaming experience and increase your chances of winning.

This beginner’s guide covers essential aspects, including the game’s rules, different bingo variants, practical strategies, and tips on choosing reputable real-money sites.

With this knowledge, you can confidently approach bingo, make informed decisions, and enjoy its social and financial rewards.

Whether you are playing for fun or aiming for real-money prizes, exploring the world of online bingo can be exciting and rewarding. Dive in and experience the thrill of bingo today!


Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about online bingo games.

What was the game Bingo originally called?

In the 1920s, bingo was called beano since they used beans to mark off spaces. The name changed when someone misheard “BINGO!” instead of “BEANO!”

What is the best bingo game online?

The best bingo game comes down to personal preference. Cataratas Bingo at DuckyLuck has an extra ball feature at the end of each round. You pay for an additional chance to match after seeing the draw.

Is bingo a form of gambling?

Many states consider bingo a lottery-style form of legal gambling like a raffle. Players engage in an exchange of cash for a chance to win cash and prizes, but there is no betting, and prizes are fixed.

Does the virtual bingo game expire?

Virtual bingo games do not expire, and you can keep playing after 31 days by extending your virtual bingo cards.

What’s the minimum age requirement for playing bingo?

Different states set their age requirements to gamble, including bingo, lotteries, casinos, and sports betting.
It is essential to know your specific state’s regulations and restrictions. In some states, you can start gambling at 18, while others require you to be 21. Additionally, certain types of gambling may be prohibited in specific states, regardless of your age.
So, whether you’re 18 or 21, the legal gambling age depends on where you live and the type of gambling you want to engage in.
Stay informed about your state’s regulations to ensure you comply with the law.

Sadonna Price

Sadonna Price Expert in Online Casinos and Poker

Sadonna is a gambling content writer and former professional poker player that loves using her creativity to provide insight into the most interesting aspects of the casino world.

Learn More About Sadonna