Bingo is a game of chance in which numbers are randomly selected and drawn and the player has to match these numbers to a card they are holding. If a player matches a number to their card, they cover it up. The card is usually a 5×5 grid and every card is different. Given a pre-determined pattern, whichever player covers up their numbers first, shouts BINGO. The first player to shout BINGO is the winner. Bingo in its classic form has been played in the United States since the mid 1920’s and is now a very popular game at online casinos too.
Bingo originates from a lotto-type game which began in Italy in the 1500’s. The national lottery was held once a week and was an extremely popular and important part of Italian culture. The lottery also gained popularity in France in the late 1700’s and in Germany in the mid 1800’s. Bingo appeared on American shores in the early 1920’s where it was first known as Beano. The game was played in carnivals and players would cover their numbers with beans, shouting BEANO if they won. The game was ‘discovered’ by a toys salesman named Edwin Lowe and he managed, within a few short years, to spread Bingo to the masses (it is rumored that the game was renamed after a woman shouted out the word BINGO in confusion).
Bingo in its Classic Form
The version of Bingo as produced by Lowe is the classic form of the game.Bingo cards are generally grids of 5 x 5 where each column has a letter of the word BINGO on the top. B in the first column, I in the second column and so forth. Specific numbers fall under each letter:
B – 1-15
I – 16-30
N – 31-45
G – 46-60
O – 61-75
When the numbers are called out, they are referred to by both the letter and the number. Example B14; G 51 etc.
The bingo card contains 24 numbers and one free (blank) space. The numbers allocated on the cards are totally random and are arranged in five columns and five rows. There is a selection of between 6,000 – 9,000 cards to choose from. Each card pattern is unduplicated and is a unique arrangement of numbers. (It is said that the mathematician who formulated the cards’ number combinations eventually went mad!!).
Winning at Bingo
Numbers are drawn at random and depending on the style of play, are either called out or displayed. The numbers are called out quite rapidly so a player needs to make sure that they pay close attention and follow the game. Numbers must be marked quickly and accurately on the board. The aim of the game is to cover the numbers according to a pre-determined pattern announced at the beginning of the round.
The caller will keep announcing the numbers until there is a winner. The first person to cover all their numbers according to this pattern shouts out BINGO. The card is examined and if the numbers have indeed all been called, that player is the winner. Even if two players cover all the required numbers at the same time, only the person that shouts BINGO first, is the winner. If two players shout BINGO at the same time, then the prize is split between the two (or possibly more) players. After the prize has been handed out, a new round begins.
Winning at Bingo is determined by the pattern announced before the start of the round. The patterns come in various shapes and forms and depend on the style of play and possibly the size of the prize. The classic patterns are horizontal or vertical rows, two parallel rows, diagonal rows, cross shapes or even a full house. Some creative patterns are sometimes also announced, which could include forming a letter from the word BINGO or drawing ‘pictures’ such as a fox.
One of the most entertaining aspects of Bingo is the caller. This person is generally a very engaging character whose job it is to keep the vibe alive in the hall and to entertain the players while they wait for their numbers to be called. The caller often uses some well-known (in the Bingo world) slang terminology for certain numbers, and these terms differ from country to country.
Differing Cultures of Bingo
The American and Canadian style of Bingo is different to the British version of the game. Not only are the cards not the same, but also the culture of play is quite different. British Bingo has a choice of 90 numbers to choose from as opposed to the classic American version which has 75 numbers. American players usually play multiple cards and it is not uncommon to find one player sitting with thirty cards in front of him.
Bingo is played in two forms – commercially and as a fundraising event. Commercial Bingo is usually offered by casinos – in Nevada and in Native-American gambling reserves. The legality of these Bingo halls varies from state to state. In Nevada, the game is not generally played in the touristy hotels, but is offered by the casinos that cater for the local gamblers. Some halls will have specified times of Bingo play while others will offer it on a continual basis.
Large commercial Bingo halls have taken advantage of modern technology and often link up to partner halls in order to create one huge playing session. The numbers are announced through telephonic and conference technology and an enormous amount of people can thus play simultaneously. The prizes – cash or not – for these types of games are very high, but because of the increased number of people playing, the chances of actually winning are much lower. Sometimes bingo halls offer a progressive jackpot prize which makes a very attractive prize.
In the 1960’s, the British passed the first part of the Gambling Act which allowed for the legal establishment of Bingo halls and permitted people (members only) to play games for money and for prizes. The popularity of Bingo spread in Britain like wildfire and is currently a very popular game at seaside towns and amongst local youth. The style of play within a British Bingo hall is generally more ornate and plush than their American counterparts, with cinema type seating and elaborate lighting.
Bingo for Charity
The original spread in the popularity of Bingo was because a pastor asked Edwin Lowe for help in raising funds for his parish. Bingo became the classic church fundraiser and has thus been able to keep its ‘clean’ image as opposed to other games of chance.
Bingo is now a very popular way for charity groups and organizations to raise money. When playing for charitable purposes, money is generally not offered to the winner, but rather prizes which are donated locally. The atmosphere in a charitable game of Bingo is very different than in commercial halls or casinos because it is more family orientated and relaxed.
Bingo the Educator
When first discovered by the Germans in the 1800’s, Bingo was used as an educational method to teach students math, history and spelling. Today, the classic game has had an educational twist added to it and is offered as a teaching method with many variations. The game is played by young children to recognize animals, numbers, shapes and colors; and by older children to learn harder mathematical combinations.
The internet has now become the major source of game-playing around the world. Of course, no self-respecting online games site would be complete without a selection of Bingo options. Online Bingo is very popular because of the simplicity and excitement it offers.
In order to play online Bingo a player needs to select an online casino site and open an account. Opening an account entails providing some personal information and making a deposit – usually a bonus is given to new players. Once the account is opened, games can be selected and played. There are some online casinos that offer a wide selection of games, with Bingo being one of them, or there are some sites that focus on Bingo alone.
The game is played in a virtual Bingo room with several other players. Unlike land-based bingo, no balls are used in this version of the game. The latest technology of a random number generator (RNG) is used to select the numbers which are announced on the screen. Some online sites even do you the honors and cover your numbers as they come up. The called numbers are left up for the player to view, as well as the selected winning pattern. The first player to cover all the required numbers wins the cash prize.
One of the best features of online Bingo is the chat function. In order to create a social ambiance, online Bingo sites have developed the ability for players to chat to each other about the game. Players can congratulate other players on a win, or just moan about their joint bad luck.
In which every shape or form, Bingo is a classic game that has been thoroughly enjoyed for many generations. Have you experienced the fun??
Bingo – Fun and Entertaining
Bingo is one of the most social and entertaining games out there. It has managed to keep its image squeaky clean when all other games of chance were outlawed over the years. Bingo is mostly considered a community game played by groups of people for charitable causes. It is very popular form of evening entertainment in certain places in England and the United States.
There is no real skill involved in bingo and the total reliance on luck is what makes this game so relaxed and social. Whether bingo is played for charity, in a bingo hall as an evening out, between a bunch of friends or online, there is always electricity charged in the air during the moments before someone is about to shout out (or click) B-I-N-G-O!!!!