To play a game of bingo firstly you need to have at least one bingo card. This is the minimum and most people, especially when playing online, tend to play multiple cards – as many as 20 or more for one game (although I’m sure that this isn’t the maximum record that’s ever been played at a time).
When playing in a land based bingo hall, the bingo cards are either sold individually for each game, included as part of the ticket price, or may be sold as part of a package that covers many games. However they are purchased, these cards are your ticket to great prizes, so at this point it’s a good idea to keep some fingers or toes crossed for a winner!
Before the game starts the caller announces what type of game is to be played as there are many different types available – from the classic but basic one liners, to anything that the hall promoter or caller deems to dream up! Promoters are always on the look out for ways to make the game continually exciting for the players.
To win in bingo the player has to complete a prescribed pattern on their card. Before any balls are drawn, the caller announces the pattern of the game, which is what the players have to complete to achieve a win. The patterns are changed from game to game. In the game keno, players pick their own numbers and the game is played out until 80 numbers have been drawn. In bingo, player’s numbers are predetermined by the cards they receive and the game is over as soon as the first player achieves a winning bingo. The negative in keno is that there is sometimes; even after 80 numbers have been drawn; no winner. With bingo there is always a winner, sometimes even more than one.
The basic patterns that form bingos in a standard game are: diagonal, horizontal, vertical and coverall. These standard bingos may use the middle square (the free square) as part of the pattern.
A horizontal bingo game is formed by five numbers in a straight horizontal line across any of the five horizontal bingo lines. A vertical bingo game is five numbers in a straight vertical line, and again this can be any of the five vertical lines. Diagonal bingo is formed by five numbers formed in a straight line which include the middle free square – therefore there are only two diagonal lines that can be used. Coverall or blackout bingo is where you have to cover all of the twenty five squares of the bingo card in order to be a winner – and you of course have to be the first player to do so.
The object of the game is to cover over the numbers on the bingo card which will follow the prescribed pattern of the game by having the numbers that are drawn randomly by the caller. As each ball is drawn each player checks off the numbers they hold, and the first person to cover over the correct pattern will shout out ‘Bingo’ indicating that they are (or think they are – it has to be checked!) the winner.