When you are new to the bingo world, there might be many unfamiliar words and expressions to learn.
In this guide, we will define the most popular bingo terms. You will encounter this bingo terminology when playing online or at a brick-and-mortar casino.
Having a bingo glossary to check when needed is handy, so you can play with confidence and have more fun!
Common Bingo Terminology Explained
Bingo Terms & Definitions
5-line is a variation of bingo, mainly found online. It differs from standard bingo only because there’s no free space in the middle of the bingo card. It’s sometimes called Swedish bingo.
30-ball bingo is a fast-paced cover-all game on a 5×5 grid. Sometimes also referred to as speed bingo.
75-ball bingo is the classic game in the United States. It has 75 numbers available for a draw, and players get a 5×5 grid on their bingo cards with a free space in the middle.
80-ball bingo is an online variation where 80 balls are available in the draw, and the cards have rows of 16 numbers and columns of 4.
90-ball bingo is a variation that is most popular in the United Kingdom. There are 90 balls available in the draw in this form of bingo, and the cards have three rows and nine columns.
Rows have five numbers and four blanks, and columns divide numbers up in sequential order, similar to the traditional game.
Entering a bingo hall to play a game involves purchasing an admission pack. This fee is the cost of the buy-in to the game and is the admission required to play.
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 are played after the standard bingo session has concluded.
An any way is a bingo game where patterns can go in any direction. As long as the general shape gets made, it can go 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.
The ball gate is a section in the bingo ball machine that controls the flow of the ball. It goes through the gate, out of the main area, into the runway, and eventually rolls out into the ball field, where it gets called by the bingo attendant.
The ball lifter is the part of the bingo machine that lifts the ball up to the shooter tip.
A track the ball runs down to enter the main ball field area.
The ball shooter is a spring-loaded mechanism that pushes the ball into the ball field area of the bingo machine.
In basket bingo, basket prizes are awarded instead of cash. Churches or community groups usually run these games.
Bingo is the game’s name and the term players yell out once they have completed the pattern on their game card.
A bingo board is an electronic display board that shows all the drawn numbers in a particular round.
A bingo booklet is a collection of bingo cards used during the entire session in bingo. They are typically in the order of the games played.
A bingo card is a square box containing 24 numbers printed at random, with a blank square usually in the middle in the traditional form of the game.
The player marks off drawn numbers on the bingo card with a marker. You’ll find there are 75 balls usually drawn in bingo. 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. This system assists in marking off numbers on the corresponding letter column on bingo cards.
A bingo marker is 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 and love having their own set of ink daubers.
The blackout, more commonly referred to as a coverall or cover-all, 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 drawn numbers before someone wins. Often operators will offer a jackpot prize if the blackout happens within a certain number of draws.
The blower is a device in the bingo machine that blows air to mix balls and send a winning number to the bingo caller.
Bonanza bingo is a different game variation of the cover-all game. In bonanza bingo, 45 to 48 numbers get called before the standard bingo session. If no one wins, then an additional number is called in the next bonanza bingo session.
This format happens every session until they find a winner. The prize or jackpot will often go up according to how many players have bought cards to enter this game.
The buy-in is the amount a player must pay to enter a bingo game by purchasing admission or bingo cards.
Buzzword bingo is a variant where buzzwords are used instead of numbers.
The caller is the person who announces the numbers that get drawn at random from the bingo machine. This person is usually a bingo hall or casino employee.
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 is a form of bingo where the prize is cash from the money 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 is a type of progressive jackpot in specific 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.
A consolation prize is a lesser prize in a bingo game where none of the players win the main prize.
A cover-all is a bingo game where players must cover all of their numbers on a card to win. It’s also known as blackout.
Dauber is another name for a bingo marker.
An early bird is a game that happens before the commencement of the primary bingo session. You can usually buy into it separately.
‘Eyes down’ is something the caller might say when the game is about to start, to remind you to look at your card.
A face is the standard bingo sheet with 24 numbers and a blank free space in the middle.
Flimsies are sheets of paper with up to nine 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 is a pattern in bingo games where a player must cover the four corners of the bingo card.
The free space is the middle spot on a bingo card that is always blacked out and given to the player for free. Some variations of bingo don’t have a free space.
A full house is a term for when a player marks off all their numbers successfully, usually in a cover-all game.
The game board is an electronic display, usually connected to or near the bingo board, that shows the current bingo game target pattern.
Game rooms are a way of dividing up players in online bingo games. You’ll only play against other players in your game room.
Hard cards are heavy cardboard bingo cards that have shutters to pull down to mark spaces. These are rare these days, as most players and establishments prefer flimsies.
A hard way is a five-number straight-line bingo without using the free space.
The house is the bingo hall or casino that runs the game.
A jackpot is a large prize that has special conditions involved to win. Achieving a cover-all within a certain number of drawn balls will sometimes result in a jackpot prize. Progressive jackpots keep on increasing until someone wins it.
A lights out is the last bingo game of the night.
Similar to a cash ball, a lucky number may get drawn at the start of a bingo session. Every time that number appears, cash goes into the lucky jar.
If a player achieves a bingo on the lucky number, they win the cash jar. The cash ball is now much more common than the lucky jar. This jar is sometimes also called a cookie jar.
A money ball is similar to a cash ball. A ball gets drawn before the start of the bingo session, and if a player uses this ball in a winning bingo, the prize gets doubled.
Moonlight bingo is a bingo game that starts late at night.
If multiple players achieve a bingo on the same ball, then the cash prize is split. The order in which the players called out bingo doesn’t matter; there are still multiple winners.
A nine-pack is a pattern in bingo where you mark nine numbers in a block.
If a player only needs one additional number to achieve a bingo, they are on. Electronic bingo machines will make a beep sound when a player is on.
On The Way
On the way is a game played before a cover-all or other bingo pattern variation but on the same card.
A pattern is the shape that players must achieve on their game cards to make the bingo and win. You’ll find a huge variety of bingo patterns.
Most establishments will use only five or six of the most common ones, though. These include straight lines, cover-all, kites, and six- or nine-packs.
The payout is the total amount a bingo hall will pay out in winnings. Generally, it will be around 75% of what they bring in with admission.
A postage stamp is a winning pattern in bingo of four squares in a small square shape.
Pull tabs are lottery-type games with a multiple sheet card with 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.
See other games like bingo.
A quickie is 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.
A rainbow pack is a particular type of bingo admission pack that includes game cards for a bingo session with different winning denomination colors.
Random Number Generator or RNG
A Random Number Generator (RNG) is a computer program that selects numbers at random. Digital and online bingo games use these where no physical bingo machine randomizes the numbers.
A group of bingo games played together in succession is considered a session. Players will usually buy packs that have cards for all the games within a particular session.
A six-pack, also known as a block of six, is a winning pattern in bingo of six numbers grouped in a 2×3 fashion.
A special is a side game in bingo that is separate from the main session. Usually, entry is a few dollars, with some specials in the game pack on occasion.
A TED is an electronic bingo device that automatically tracks numbers in a bingo session. 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 GTI.
Texas blackout is another wild bingo game where all odd or even numbers are automatically marked off based on whether the first number is, you guessed it, odd or even.
Throwaway is another term for flimsy.
Ups are the number of bingo sheets or pages with cards printed on them that make up a bingo book or admission booklet. A 9-up book would have nine pages and the relevant number of bingo cards on each page.
Wild numbers is another wild bingo game where all odd or even numbers are automatically marked off based on whether the first number is odd or even.
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. It is most common in a cover-all game.
A wrap-up is the last game played in a bingo session.
Funny Bingo Calls & Rhymes
Playing bingo becomes more fun with a dose of humor. Bingo callers often use funny puns to make each called number easier to understand – and they also make the game more enjoyable!
If you want to know the meaning of bingo puns for every number, check out our complete list of funny bingo calls.
Put Your Bingo Slang to Practice at the Best Online Casinos
Now that you’ve learned the most common bingo terms, you are ready to put your lingo to the test!
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Keep This Bingo Glossary One Click Away!
Learning unfamiliar terms can be overwhelming when you start playing a new casino game. Keep this page bookmarked so you’ll have all the bingo terms and definitions at hand when you need them.
Remember that the best way to learn is by practicing. Sign up at one of our recommended online casinos today and put your bingo vocabulary to use!