In this GoodLuckMate guide to bingo, our team of gaming enthusiasts will show you how to play the game, discuss the different versions of it that you’ll encounter online, and even cover the progressive jackpots available at certain sites. We’ll also look at live bingo apps and Slingo – a new type of game that combines the best elements of slots with bingo. So, with all those things to go over, let’s grab our cards and begin…
How to play the game
Everyone playing the game will first need to purchase a bingo card. This is either done by physically buying them at the venue or virtually doing so when playing online. And don’t forget that you can always buy more than one card to increase your overall chances of winning, or else buy a full strip that will contain all of the available calls. The most common form of the game (especially in America) is the 75-ball version (more on this below). In this case, then, each card will contain a random selection of numbers taken from a possible 75 placed in a five-by-five grid. A free space (which is already considered filled by all players) is left in the middle square.
The round begins when the caller reveals the first ball and calls out the number written upon it. If you have this number, it is marked either with a transparent felt tip pen or circled using a regular pen or pencil. The first person to then line up five marked numbers horizontally, vertically, or diagonally wins – naturally, this can include the already filled free space in the middle. Other winning patterns can be determined by the casino or game provider, so do watch out for extra combinations of numbers that might win in that particular version of the game. And that’s all there is to it – just hope that you make winning combinations before other players do!
As we mentioned above, this is the most played version of the game. It uses a total of 75 balls in each round, with each player using a five-by-five grid of numbers covering a random selection of the 75 available numbers, plus the free space in the middle. Across the top of the card is written ‘BINGO’ with the numbers under each letter corresponding to groups taken from a total of 75. Under B, for example, you will find numbers taken from the 1-15 group, under I will be 16-30, under G will be 31-45, and so on and so forth. From there, the game is played exactly as stated above, with winning combinations being formed horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.
When buying a whole strip, all of the possible 75 numbers will be present across three grids, giving you a better chance of getting a win – simply because each ball that is called will mean a number if marked on one of the three grids. Each grid or ‘ticket’, as it is also known, will have a set price decided by the online casino or bingo hall, so buying a strip should be three times the price of a regular ticket. Typically, these are not huge amounts, which attributes to its popularity.
90-ball bingo is the big brother of the 75-ball version. This variant is particularly popular in the United Kingdom, most parts of Europe, and has even spread as far as Australia and New Zealand. Here, there are a total of 90 numbers that can be called during a round. The grid on each ticket is comprised of three rows and nine columns, with each of the rows containing five randomly chosen numbers and four blank spaces (the equivalent of the free space mentioned above). However, as the numbers aren’t grouped in the same way as 75-ball versions (the numbers appear randomly in 90-ball bingo), you’ll have to scan over your card quickly to find out if your number has been called – the numbers can appear anywhere in the three-by-nine grid.
Buying a strip in this version of the game means spending six times the ticket price, as all 90 possible numbers will appear on one of six grids. Wins are calculated slightly differently in the 90-ball version, with prizes being given for five numbers in a row (known as a one-line win), 10 in a row (a two-line win), or 15 in a row (known as getting a ‘full house’ with the top prize). And that’s all there really is to it. It’s dead simple to learn, but it’s exciting in the heat of the moment, especially when you only need one last number to be called so that you can shout ‘BINGO!’
There are two main versions that differ from the above. The first of these is a kind of hybrid of the two called 80-ball bingo. Here, each ticket consists of a random selection of the 80 possible numbers on a four-by-four grid giving you 16 numbers in total for that round. There are no free spaces or blanks in this version, but the four columns are color-coded to help you find one of the four groups of numbers: 1-20, 21-40, 41-60, and 61-80. A strip for 80-ball bingo will contain five grids or tickets. Prizes are given out for different combinations depending on the version you’re playing. For any line wins, this means getting any horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line of four numbers, or else each of the corner numbers, or the four numbers in the center. The other three variants and any line or house; any line, columns or house; full house or pattern game.
The speed version is 30-ball bingo, where, as you’ve no doubt already guessed, there are just 30 possible numbers being called out each round. Each card or ticket contains just a single three-by-three grid with nine possible numbers (again, there are no free spaces or blanks). The major other difference is that only a full house will win, so it’s a race to see who will mark off all nine numbers the fastest. Hence why 30-ball bingo is often referred to as ‘speed bingo’.
These are the jackpot bingo games, too. Of these, there are two main types you’ll see out in the wild. The first one is a fixed jackpot, which is added to the pot at the start of each day. However, there can be multiple fixed jackpot winners each day. To win, you must land a full house within a certain number of calls as determined by the online casino running the jackpot. The prize is then split between each of the tickets that reach the full house within the stated number of calls.
Moving up another level again, we have the progressive jackpot bingo games. Here, a certain amount of each ticket is added to the jackpot prize fund each day. The main difference between this one and a fixed jackpot, however, is that there is only one winner of the progressive jackpot before the prize pool is reset to its default value. Winning the jackpot is done in the same way as before: get a full house within a certain number of calls.
Live bingo apps and Slingo
A growing number of bingo apps for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android for smartphone and tablet users. These can either be downloaded from the respective app stores or else found at the websites of many online casinos. The advantage of these apps, besides being able to play on the go from anywhere at any time, is that you can play against other players from all over the world in real-time – this includes being able to set up private games between you and your friends with a community jackpot prize or enter tournaments.
Finally, the latest craze we have to mention is Slingo (a marriage between online video slots and more often than not 75-ball bingo). You have a five-by-five grid of numbers each time and spinning will do the equivalent of calling a number. If you have the number, you will have it marked off for you, and the aim of the game is to create winning combinations or get a full house for even bigger prizes. In addition to this, there are more than just 75 numbers that can be revealed, as there are also jokers, coins, and free spins that pop up for even more prizes!