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How to Play Bingo - Beginner’s Guide

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Bingo has managed to gain a lot of popularity over the last century. Praised for its incredibly easy-to-learn rules and the social environment it creates, bingo is especially well-liked in certain countries around the world like the UK and the USA. With the advent of online casinos, many more players from different countries are beginning to see the attraction of this fun and simple game. If you are one of those people looking to take advantage of what the online space has to offer then this how to play bingo guide is perfect for you.

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Bingo Terminology

The first step in learning how to play bingo online is to start with the common terminology used while playing. There isn’t much to learn, especially when compared to other casino games like craps, while all naming principles are simple and intuitive. It is almost as if everything has been carefully thought out to be as inviting to new players as possible. 

Croupier

Croupiers are the hosts of the game and generally represent the house. In bingo, they take on the role of callers, who call out the numbers as they are randomly selected. The croupier dictates the pace of each round and also adds to the entertainment of the game. In virtual bingo games, the computer displays all of the results, thereby taking the place of the croupier.

Numbers

What is bingo without the numbers? Most bingo variations include either 75, 85 or 90 balls in play, while some can even go as low as 30 balls. You need to be matching the numbers in front of you with those being called out by the croupier to win. The amount of numbers in play will affect your odds of winning, which is also dependent on the active winning patterns. 

Cards

These are the tickets you purchase at the beginning of the round before the numbers start being called. The cards contain your numbers, which are presented in a table. Each ticket has a random collection of numbers and it is up to the player to try and form patterns on the ticket with the numbers being called out.

Daubing and Dabbing

Both daubing and dabbing mean the same thing and refer to marking off numbers from your ticket. In traditional establishments, participants mark numbers they have matched with a special pen that you use to dab on an imprint, hence the name. The term is still used in online play to signify crossing off the numbers on your ticket.

Winning Patterns

Managing to achieve certain patterns on your ticket is how you win in bingo. These patterns can vary depending on the variant being played, but a typical one is having a straight line of called numbers through your ticket. Another commonly sought-after pattern is the full house, which covers all numbers on the ticket. It is the combination of the amount of numbers and the available winning patterns that determine the house edge and your odds of winning.

Other interesting shapes and patterns also exist. It is important that you double-check the available winning patterns of any bingo game you are playing for the first time. This will help to avoid potential disappointment in the middle of a round.

Strips

Strips are a collection of tickets that are all played in the same round. 90 ball variants have strips of six tickets for example, which must be played with. Other variants do exist that allow you a little more agency with your strips though. Some will allow you to specifically pick how many tickets you wish to be contained in a strip.

Bingo Rules

If you have ever played bingo before at a casino or bingo hall, then you will be instantly familiar with how to play bingo online. The entire game is based on crossing numbers off your ticket. You do this by matching them with the numbers being randomly drawn and called out by the croupier. The numbers you have crossed off need to make up certain patterns, like a straight line or other shapes on the ticket. A game of bingo may have several prizes that are awarded depending on the first to get their respective winning patterns. Numbers will be called until a winner is confirmed and all the prizes have been dealt out for the game. That’s all there is to it really. 

When playing at land-based establishments, a lot of the player’s focus is spent on listening out for and crossing off the numbers as they are called out. When playing online, the player benefits from a lot of features that make all of this a lot easier. The auto-daub feature crosses off matching numbers for you, giving you the freedom to relax and socialize with other players. The best card sorting feature can also help you, as it places your card with the highest probability of winning to the top of the screen. This updates in real-time and will help you to know what is good to focus on at any given moment. Best card highlighting serves a similar purpose except that it highlights the cards closest to winning. All of this serves to make playing bingo online an even more accessible experience.

Bingo Bet Types

In bingo, you are not placing bets or side-bets like in other casino games. Instead, you are purchasing tickets containing a randomized set of numbers. The number of tickets you can purchase depends on the type of bingo being played and strips can also be purchased in many variants. The importance of receiving a payout is getting those winning patterns, which can vary depending on the type of bingo being played.

Tickets

The numbers you are given on each ticket are randomized, meaning there is little room to employ any casino betting strategy. Most games give you a lot of freedom in the number of tickets you wish to purchase before each round. You can also purchase strips in many variants, which are collections of tickets. Generally, it is recommended to play as many rounds as possible, rather than going all-in for one round. This is especially so for players with smaller budgets. The reasoning behind this is that the more calls you participate in the more likely it will be one of your numbers that eventually comes up. It is important to remember that the numbers are selected randomly however and this isn’t a guaranteed way to win.

Winning Patterns

The array of winning patterns active in a game of bingo usually depends on the amount of numbers in play. We will go over some of the more common patterns, so that you will have a basis of familiarity for any others that you may come across.

  • 1-line patterns require that you mark a complete horizontal line of numbers across the ticket.
  • 2-line patterns are exactly like a 1-line pattern but require two lines on the same ticket. This pattern is independent of any previous 1-line patterns achieved throughout the round.
  • A Full house win is achieved by covering up all the numbers present on your ticket. This is the big one and generally has the biggest payouts of all.
  • A Four Corners pattern is only available in 80 ball bingo and just requires you to mark off the numbers in each of the four corners of the ticket.
  • Preset patterns are active in 75 Ball bingo games and take more of an artistic license. They could require you to form an X or chevron shape to win for example.

Bingo Odds

Bingo’s setup makes it atypical from a lot of other casino games in a number of ways, odds included. You are not playing against the house and the prizes, for the most part, are guaranteed. It is just a matter of who has the lucky ticket. That does mean you increase your chances of winning by purchasing more tickets, but this does naturally come at a cost. It also means that your odds are based on the total number of tickets in play during a round. The more players are present, the more tickets you can expect to be in play, thereby decreasing your odds of winning. Games with a larger range of numbers will also impact your odds, as it is less likely your numbers will be called out. 

Variations Of Online Bingo

When you are comfortable with more standard variants, you can try and explore how to play bingo game variants that have more of a twist to them. 90 ball bingo is the more traditional variant, but both 75 ball and 80 ball bingo definitely have their own charms to them.

90 Ball Bingo

This classic variant was popularized in the UK and remains the go-to standard for many bingo players around the world. As the same suggests, it is played with 90 balls, corresponding to numbers ranging from 1 to 90. Tickets contain a 3x9 chart that shows five numbers and four empty slots on each of the three rows. These empty spaces are counted as already marked and will help you form a winning pattern. Only three winning patterns are available in 90 ball bingo. 1-line, 2-line and full house patterns each have a prize attached to them.

75 Ball Bingo

75 ball bingo is played with 75 numbers and each ticket features a 5x5 grid. The center slot in the ticket is a free space present for everyone. What makes this variant especially unique is its diverse winning patterns. Lines can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal for instance. There are also special preset winning patterns that can change from round to round.

80 Ball Bingo

80 ball bingo functions very similarly to 75 ball bingo. It is instead played with 80 numbers on tickets with 4x4 grids. More of an emphasis is drawn towards preset patterns, but apart from that it pretty much functions the same way as 75 ball bingo.

Virtual & Live Casino Bingo

When playing online you have the option to choose to play virtual or live bingo games. They both offer something different and you can just as easily hop between the two when you feel like it.

Virtual Bingo

Most online bingo games will be virtual, leaving everything for the computer to work out. Random number generator (RNG) algorithms provide truly random and verifiable fair results in every call. There are a lot of virtual bingo variants and you won’t need to worry about being overcrowded or pressured by other players. Virtual bingo games are even freely available for you to set up your own games with people that you can invite into the game. You can for example play bingo with Zoom by creating your very own lobby.

Live Casino Bingo

If you want to know how to play bingo online with friends then live casino bingo is where you want to be. Live casino games present a live studio that is streamed directly to the player’s screen. The balls are called in real-time by a real person, who you can even interact with via a live chat feature. You can also chat with other participants as the game is going on. Live casino bingo brings all of the hype of a real bingo hall from the comfort of your own home.

How to Play Bingo - Tips & Strategies

Now that you have a pretty firm grasp on playing bingo online, let’s go over some strategies and general good practice that you can employ throughout your gameplay.

  • Time matters when your odds are decreased by the number of players present. Remember, each ticket in play reduces your odds of winning. Therefore, picking more off-peak times to play should help edge the odds slightly more in your favor.
  • Another straightforward way to increase your odds of winning is by simply buying more tickets. Now, this isn’t an ideal solution for everyone and it does require a much higher investment. This also doesn’t guarantee a win and is, therefore, a much riskier strategy. Just remember to purchase in moderation and you should be good to go.
  • Whenever you have the opportunity to pick any of your own numbers, make sure to spread out your choices. Covering up as many numbers as possible will help increase the chances you get to mark something on every call.
  • This last one is important whenever you choose to gamble. Managing your bankroll is an important first step for anybody wishing to play with real money. Creating a budget and being familiar with it will help you play within your means. This will allow you to more effectively plan out your expenditure for each round and save yourself from crushing defeats.

Play Bingo At Online Casinos

Now you know how to play bingo at home online. But, did you know that you can also take your games on the go? The majority of online casinos are optimized for mobile devices. Meaning, you can enjoy all of your favorite games wherever you are. Online casinos are constantly improving their technology to make their games more accessible. Furthermore, the competitive market means that they are in constant competition to provide the biggest range of games and promotions. Finding the right one for you isn’t always easy though, as each site offers something slightly different. That’s why your best bet is to check out our online casino reviews right here at GoodLuckMate. We have a ton of reviews for different sites, taking your interests into account. So, why not check it out for yourself?

Nerijus Grenda
Nerijus GrendaUpdated: 06 Jun 2022
Nerijus is one of our top writers here at GoodLuckMate, and he knows exactly what casino players want to read about. He got started in the iGaming industry as a player, more specif...
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