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How to Play Bingo – A Beginner’s Guide (May 2024)

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When we think about modern gambling, we think of all the different games, such as video poker, roulette, slot machines, bingo, and many others. On the other hand, when we think of medieval gambling, most people might think of archery tournaments, knight duels, horse races, and alike. But, did you know that many of the games we play today have been around for hundreds of years? Some of them have changed very little from those days.

Take bingo as an example. The earliest records of the game date all the way back to the 1500s. It was known under a different name back then, as they called it “beano.” However, the concept of the game was more or less the same as it is today. Players would have cards with numbers, and some of those numbers would be marked. The person leading the game would hold a sack with numbers in it, and they would pull them out one by one.

Of course, bingo that we know today is a bit more technologically advanced than a sack with numbers, but the rules and the base principles of the game are almost identical. The game stayed the same even with the arrival of online gambling, and that was when bingo truly became bigger than ever before.

The introduction of online bingo

Before the internet and online gambling, gamblers would have to go to casinos and other types of gambling establishments. When it comes to bingo, there was usually a place where bingo nights were organized, allowing people to enter, buy tickets with bingo numbers on them, and play the game on the spot.

These so-called bingo halls are still around today, although their number dropped significantly when more convenient methods of playing the game emerged. Some estimates say that around 85% of bingo players now play the game over the internet rather than going to one of these bingo halls. Of course, this makes the experience a bit different, but more than that, there are some things that every new bingo player should be aware of before they start playing their very first bingo game.

The first thing to note is that there is a massive variety of bingo sites, as well as online casinos that offer bingo. Each of them features different games with different themes, and some also have jackpots. With all of that out there, just waiting for new players, it can be a bit intimidating to find your way around and figure things out, especially if you are brand new to the world of online gambling and even more so if you have never played bingo before.

How to play bingo?

One of the main reasons why bingo is as big as it is and why it is popular around the world and across all age groups is its simplicity. The game’s rules are extremely easy to learn, and you can learn everything about it in a matter of minutes. In fact, you will know everything about it by the time you are done reading this guide.

Essentially, you get a card with numbers on it, and all you need to do is listen to the person proclaiming which numbers are drawn. Then, you cross the ones that you can find on your card. You win by being the first to cross all the numbers on your card. That’s about all there is to the base concept of the game.

Now, with different variants and versions of the game, there are bingo games that might slightly change the rules in some way or add some extra elements. So, once you know which version you are going to play, it might be a good idea to look a bit deeper into that specific version and learn how it differs from the base game.

For example, some games might have more numbers than others, depending on the version. Some games are referred to as 75-ball or 90-ball games, which indicates the number of possible numbers that can be drawn. This can be confusing for those playing online, but the reason why they are called this way is fact that numbers used to be printed on small balls, which would then be selected, and the person who leads the game would announce them once they are drawn. Of course, there is no need to use balls while playing online, but this was a common method of drawing the numbers for so long that it entered the terminology of the game and will likely stay there for a long time to come.

When it comes to winning the game, things differ here as well, depending on the game, as well as some additional factors. Some games only require you to cross numbers in a single line, and you win the game. Others require you to cover up the entire card and get a full house in order to win. Some games even have special rewards that you can win by crossing the numbers in a specific pattern. You wouldn’t technically win the game, but you would win said rewards, usually money.

There are plenty of similar examples, so there is always something to win at bingo, which is yet another reason why it is so popular.

Bingo rules

When it comes to online bingo, most rules are the same as the ones you would find in the bingo hall version of the game, at least up to a certain point. For example, you start by buying the tickets. Chances are that they will be significantly cheaper online than in the bingo lobby, although this might not always be the case.

The game officially starts when the first number is announced. If you find it on your card, you cross it off and wait for the next one. If you have that one as well, you cross it off too. If you do not, you wait for the next one, and so on. If you are playing online bingo, however, the system usually marks the numbers for you, so you don’t have to do much.

The game will then go on and on until someone finally wins by crossing all of their numbers, although, depending on the version, you can also win the first prize by completing a single line. There is more than one prize at bingo, and they are announced so you would know what you are getting.

If you play bingo in the bingo club, you might find that the pacing is quite fast, so try to keep up with it. Also, keep in mind that if you get a bingo, you need to shout out in order for it to be considered a winning ticket. If you don’t do it in time, and then the next card gets drawn, then you won’t win. This is why you need to familiarize yourself with your ticket and try to remember which numbers you have and where they are, so you can mark them quickly and not miss out on your opportunity to shout out before the game continues.

This can get a bit difficult if you play with multiple cards and need to check them out all between the drawings of two numbers, so it will require some practice.

If, however, you play an online game, the number marking is often done for you, and there are some other advantages as well. For example, on some platforms, if you have multiple tickets, the game will make sure to present you with the ticket that has the biggest chance of winning first. It will remain on top, so you can keep track of your progress. Also, if one of your cards is getting close to winning, the game will give you an alert and ensure that you pay attention to it.

Types of bingo

We mentioned several times that there are different versions of bingo, and the biggest difference between them is how many numbers are in the game. Of course, there are other differences apart from that, which led to the rise of the following versions.

90-ball bingo

If you choose to play a 90-ball version of bingo, you will get a ticket with 15 numbers, arranged in a 9×3 grid. Then, the numbers between 1 and 90 will be called, and the game gives you 3 opportunities to win. One is by a 1-line win, where you cover one entire horizontal line; 2-line win, where you fill out two horizontal lines, and a full house win, where you mark all the numbers on your ticket. This rewards you with the jackpot, or the grand prize, whatever that may be.

75-ball bingo

Another popular version is the 75-ball bingo, where you cross off the numbers as they are drawn. This time, your ticket will have a 5×5 grid, with each column headed by its own letter, with the letters spelling BINGO. This ticket also has a center space which is left blank. However, this means that the number that is supposed to be inside is already covered. Apart from winning lines, you can also win through a number of patterns. The pattern is determined at the start of the game, and players are supposed to try and cover the numbers that will create this pattern.

80-ball bingo

The third version is 80-ball bingo, which is fairly young compared to the other ones. It has a 4×4 grid, with each column being a different color. You can win by crossing out lines, creating patterns, and crossing all the numbers.

Special bingo games

Some platforms also have special variations of the game, where you might get emojis instead of numbers, or some other symbols, such as balloons. Four-leaf clovers, and alike. The rules are pretty much the same, but this brings a new element to the game and it makes it feel newer and refreshing.


Finally, there is slingo — a hybrid game that combines bingo with slots. Slingo exists in the online version, and it offers a ticket with a 5×5 grid, with a row of slot reels at the bottom. This is an interesting twist to the game, and it has many fans around the world, so you might give it a go, as well.

Bingo halls vs. online bingo

So, with all that said, is it better to play bingo online or in a bingo hall? At the end of the day, playing the game in both scenarios is fairly similar. The online version does have some advantages, such as the system crossing the numbers for you, automatically, which makes it easier to buy as many tickets as you want and still be able to keep track of crossing the numbers.

Apart from that, another obvious advantage is availability and convenience. You can simply buy the tickets and let the game play out while you sit in your own home, sipping tea or enjoying a cup of coffee. The excitement is still there, and so are the rewards. Plus, the simplicity of the games and the platforms themselves is so great that anyone can join and play at any time.

The online version even removes the hardest part of the game, which is keeping up with bingo calls. All that you really need to do is register on a good, reputable bingo platform or online casino that has bingo games, verify your account, deposit some money into it, select a bingo room, and purchase tickets.

If you are a new player and you are playing for the first time in a bingo hall, keeping up with the calls and managing your tickets can be a bit challenging, so try only one or two at a time until you get the hang of it. Online, however, you can buy as many as you want, and the system will keep them in check for you, so there is really no limit for how many you can use, apart from those that you set yourself.

Where to Play Bingo Online

We have compiled the following guides for where to play.

Australia Online Bingo

Canada Online Bingo

Ireland Online Bingo

UK Online Bingo

Lloyd is passionate about online gambling, he lives and breathes blackjack and other table games, and he enjoys sports betting.