An Introduction to Online Bingo
Put away your marker pens, breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have to listen to the irritating bingo caller yelling ‘two fat ladies wobble, wobble!’ and sit yourself down at your PC. Now is the time of online bingo and here’s my quick guide to playing it:
How to Play Bingo Online
There are several variations of bingo in the world and on the internet, but they all stem from the same basic game which I will outline here.
In traditional bingo, the players gather in a hall and each is given a card with different numbers printed in a grid (see picture.) A caller stands at the front of the room with a large spinning container full of bingo balls (called a draw machine.) Each bingo ball has a different number written on it.
One by one, bingo balls are plucked from the machine and read out. If the number that has been read out corresponds with one on your card, you cross it off. The aim of the game is to cross off a certain selection of these numbers first. Whoever does so stands up, yells the appropriate phrase (usually BINGO!) and they win the game which usually has a cash prize.
The amount of numbers on the cards and in the machine depends on which variation of the game you are playing, as does the selection of numbers you are attempting to cross out.
The bingo card pictured above is an American bingo card. American bingo cards are laid out in a 5×5 grid with the letters B-I-N-G-O written across the top. There are 75 bingo ballers in the machine and each has a letter and a number written on it, e.g.: B7. Players cross out numbers that correspond with the letters at the top of their grids and the numbers below them. For example, if I was playing with the American bingo card pictured above and ‘B7’ was called, I would cross out the first number in the grid.
In American bingo, the player is aiming to cross out five numbers in a row, whether that be diagonally, in a row, or in a column.
In UK and Australian bingo the tickets are generally sold in strips of six and each ticket has a 3×9 grid of numbers.
Here are the winning combinations:
- Full House = covering all fifteen numbers on the ticket
- Four corners = covering all four corners of the ticket.
- Two Lines = covering any two lines on the same ticket
- Line = covering a horizontal line of five numbers on the ticket.
Each combination usually has a different cash prize attached to it.
Both UK/Australian and American bingo are played online.
When playing online, the bingo caller is replaced by a random number generation programme and you cross off your numbers with a click of your mouse.
I strongly recommend that you do not use your marker to cross off the numbers on your screen, you may still yell ‘BINGO!’ if you like, but it will not have any effect.
When you first log into a bingo website, you will probably enter a lobby which shows the schedules for each online bingo room. You’ll see a countdown for each game start time, and you can simply click on them to join them.
When playing online you are generally given about four cards to play with.
The pattern of numbers that you must cross off to win can change when playing online, especially in American bingo, so make sure you check before the round begins.
A lot of online bingo games are free and only have a small chance of a cash prize. Browse around a few sites and decide whether you want to venture more money for the chance to win more, or you’re comfortable playing free games.
Real life bingo has always been popular due to the social aspect, and this is preserved in a lot of online bingo games which feature chat boxes for you to converse with your fellow players. Don’t worry though, a lot of websites also have an ‘ignore’ button for when they get a bit too chatty!
Bingo Tips by Online Casino Masters
- When you first start, play a few bingo games for free, without real money, to get used to the online game
- It is purely a game of luck, so there aren’t really any strategies involved
- It is a game of fun so enjoy it!