How to Play Bingo
Bingo is a hugely popular game that’s transcended age groups for many generations. If you fancy trying your hand at this iconic numbers game, read on as we provide you with a whistle-stop tour of all there is to know about playing bingo in the 21st century.
A brief history of UK bingo
Bingo migrated north into the UK in the 1700s, hailing from France after having originated in Italy. Since the 1960s, when it became possible for halls to hand out cash prizes, bingo has become a part of local communities up and down the country. Dancehalls were converted into tailor-made bingo halls, within walking distance of homes and workplaces, before the internet spawned online rooms like ours to bring virtual bingo to our computer and mobile screens.
The rules of bingo The beauty of bingo is its simplicity. Every player pays for a card with rows of random bingo numbers marked. This is known as a ticket. Players mark off numbers on their ticket as they are called out by the bingo caller. Bingo is basically a race to be the first player to mark off all their numbers on a ticket.
Most bingo halls will employ a dedicated bingo caller to read out the numbers and oversee the flow of the game, including the awarding of prizes.
When playing in a bingo hall, the onus is firmly on you to mark off every number on your ticket or tickets. Most players purchase their very own ‘dabber’ which come in a range of colours and shapes, like hearts and lucky four-leaf clovers. If you miss a number on your ticket, you’ll miss out on bagging the prizes. That’s why many people increasingly prefer to play online bingo games, as the software does all the number marking for you.
Ways to win in bingo
There are three main ways you can land an instant cash prize in a game of bingo:
Mark off one full horizontal line of numbers on your ticket first to receive a 1-line prize. This is typically the smallest cash prize in a bingo game.
Mark off two entire horizontal lines of numbers on your ticket first to win the 2-line prize. With twice as many numbers to mark off, this prize is bigger than the 1-line prize.
Full house wins
Mark off every number on your ticket first to win the biggest cash prize that’s saved for the ‘full house’. In bingo halls, players normally shout ‘house’ if they have marked off every number. You must keep your hand in the air until an attendant comes to your table to approve your ticket.
Most bingo callers use bingo calls to describe each number as it comes out of the machine. These calls were initiated because it was difficult to distinguish between certain numbers when called out in large bingo halls. 13 sounds like 30 from a distance, for example.
That’s why bingo calls were created for every single number in a traditional 90-ball bingo game, giving each number a unique personality. Below is a snapshot of some of the most common bingo calls you may already have heard of:
• 11 – Legs Eleven
• 13 – Unlucky for Some
• 16 – Sweet Sixteen
• 22 – Two Little Ducks
• 55 – Snakes Alive
• 88 – Two Fat Ladies
Bingo game variants
Although most bingo halls still operate classic 90-ball bingo games, if you play bingo online you will find there are many variants. Below are the most popular bingo games available today:
The ‘old-school’ option, 90-ball bingo games are the most traditional form of bingo played through the decades across the UK. 90-ball bingo tickets contain a 3x9 grid with five numbers and four blank spaces on each of the three horizontal lines. Become the first to mark off one or two lines or your entire ticket to win a prize!
80-ball bingo games were traditionally played in between the ‘main’ 90-ball games, acting as intervals. 80-ball bingo, also known as Shutter Bingo, comprises a 4x4 square grid on your ticket. The first column is red, the second is yellow, the third is blue and the fourth is white. You can win by marking off a line, all four numbers in the corners or the outer square of numbers. You can always create two-line patterns horizontally, diagonally and vertically, as well as three-lines and four lines for a full house.
The bingo game coined in the US, 75-ball bingo is another fun, fast-paced version. Each 75-ball bingo ticket contains a pattern that you must complete by marking off the required numbers. Winning patterns can either be horizontal, diagonal or vertical.
Ideal for those with short attention spans or precious little time to play, 40-ball bingo is growing in popularity. With fewer than 50% of balls in play compared with 90-ball bingo, you can expect games to take next to no time to complete.
Although not strictly a bingo game, slingo is another bingo spin-off that’s causing a stir online. A fusion of bingo and slot machine gameplay, players spin a set of reels to receive numbers that can be marked off on their game grid. Creating vertical and horizontal lines is known as creating slingos – and the more slingos you make, the bigger the prizes!
Find an online bingo community that makes you feel welcome
If you don’t feel like getting in your car and driving to your nearest Buzz Bingo hall, you can always find friendly, like-minded people to play with in our online bingo community. Online bingo rooms are available 24/7 via your PC or laptop’s web browser or via downloadable apps on your smartphone or tablet.
At Buzz Bingo, we don’t just own and manage some of the biggest and best bingo halls in the UK. Our online bingo community now contains over a million members and counting. New and existing members can benefit from up to ten hours of 100% free bingo every day, while new sign-ups can also take full advantage of our welcome bonuses, worth up to £30 in bonus credits – with no wagering requirements attached!
There are plenty of exciting bingo games to choose from in our rooms, with games starting every couple of minutes, day and night. Choose from Buzz Bingo ‘Exclusive’ rooms like 1p Bingo and The Voice Bingo or play to win one of the biggest jackpots in our Bingo Millions games. The choice is yours!