How Do You Play Bingo

To start, know that there is an endless amount of information out there that will help you get started with the basic rules and concepts of Bingo. Learning how to play bingo is quite easy and does not require much from you to get started.

Basic Bingo Rules
The game utilises the numbers 1- 90 or 1 - 75 (90 ball or 75 ball)
Each player is given a Bingo card with random numbers on it
The card is divided into rows and columns, creating a template of 3x9 (UK) 5x5 (USA) spaces.
A “caller” will announce the numbers and each player is to mark the corresponding number on his or her card
A player wins by completing a row
Basic Bingo Rules

How Bingo Is Played
Bingo Hall Rules
Players must be 18 years or older
Food and drink may or may not be prohibited, depending on which hall you are playing in
If the hall is selling food or drink it is usually frowned upon or taboo for players to bring in food from outside of the building
During especially high-stake games you may be prohibited from entering and leaving the premises during play

If you have never played Bingo before you may be thinking, how does bingo work?

In the most basic sense, the game requires (at least) 3 people: a caller and two players. The game, however, is best when played with many people because the opportunity to win decreases and therefore increases the anticipation of winning and usually the size of the prize.

Rules of Bingo

How Do You Play Bingo

Simple Bingo Rules

Depending on what rendition of this game you are playing, the rules will vary slightly. For the most part, however, there are a handful of basic rules that are universally accepted and understood by everyone.

How Many Numbers in Bingo?

There are 90 or 75 numbers or balls, depending on which variation you are playing. 

How to play Bingo on Paper?

You need bingo cards
A set of numbers to pull out of a bag
A Bingo Caller and a minimum of two players

How Many Numbers in Bingo?

There are 90 or 75 numbers or balls, depending on which variation you are playing. 

Can Kids Play Bingo?

Kids can play Bingo, it is a family game however to play bingo for money, you have to be over 18 years of age. 

Here is what you need to know to get started as well as a few basic instructions on how to play Bingo:

  • The game utilises the numbers 1- 90 or 1 - 75 (90 ball or 75 ball)
  • Each player is given a Bingo card
  • The card is divided into rows and columns, creating a template of 3x9 (UK) 5x5 (USA) spaces.
  • The five columns of the card (usually cardstock or cardboard) are labeled 'B', 'I', 'N', 'G', and 'O' from left to right
  • The single space in the centre of the card is usually (but not always) marked "Free" and is considered automatically filled
  • A “caller” will announce the numbers in one of a variety of ways, whether manually or with a mechanical ball blower, which mixes ping pong balls with blown air in a cage with 5 smaller wooden balls
  • Regardless of how the numbers are called, all numbers will match the existing numbers on the given cards
  • When a number is called, each player is to mark the corresponding number on his or her card with a chip or marker
  • A player wins by completing a row, column, or a diagonal stretch of 5 successive spaces.
    The winner is required to call out the word, “Bingo!” which lets other players know the game is potentially over or that a slight pause will follow as the card is checked for accuracy and to ensure that the player has not made any mistakes

These are the basic Bingo rules and instructions. It is fairly simple and straightforward. It is also very easy to learn, which makes it appealing to so many different types of people.

Classic Game Variations

Rules of Bingo

There are ways to increase the difficulty of the game and make it a bit more challenging if you are wanting a faster-paced game. Utilizing these techniques can draw the game out a bit and make it last longer.

Similarly, if you want to get the game moving a bit faster, you can consider adding additional ways to win if you want to speed up the game.

Other patterns (in addition to completing a row, column or a diagonal) are considered valid in certain types of special play and may include:

In order to play the game every player needs at least 1 card. Each card contains 25 spaces with a mix of numbers (1 - 90 or 1 - 75) and 5 letters.

  • The “Postage Stamp”, which is the 2X2 square of marked squares in the upper-right-hand corner
  • “Four Corners”, which is another form of winning
  • “Roving L”, which requires players to cover all B's and top or bottom row or all O's and top or bottom row
  • Finally, the “Blackout”, is considered to be one of the highest achievements in Bingo and requires players to cover all 24 card numbers as well as the free space

A caller will announce a number that would correspond to one of the numbers on each card. For example, the caller might say, A8 or B19. If players have a space reading A8 or B19 on their card, they would then take a chip to cover that number.

Once 5 consecutive spaces are filled on the card, usually in the form of a horizontal, vertical or diagonal streak, the player is to call out the phrase, “Bingo!” The player will then be asked to verify his or her card by reading out loud the marked numbers on it.

Once the caller can confirm that these are the correct numbers a winner will be announced and the boards are (usually) cleared to begin again with a blank slate.

This process repeats itself until the winnings are earned or, in a more informal atmosphere, the players are ready to stop playing.

How to Play Bingo at a Bingo Hall

Bingo Hall

Playing this game at a hall is fairly similar to how it would be played online, however, there are a few key differences that are worth paying attention to.

First, expect the game to move a lot more quickly. Playing this game in a relaxed social environment is a lot different than playing in an organized hall, where the numbers will be called out rapidly and you have to be mentally alert and on top of things in order to keep up with all of the number calling.

Second, once a “Bingo!” is called out there will be an assistant, commonly referred to as a floorwalker, that will come and verify the correctness of the card. In an informal setting, such as playing with friends, it would be just fine to have the individual read out their marked numbers to the caller but because of the fast-paced environment of this game, a floorwalker is necessary.

You will also want to keep in mind that no two Bingo halls will operate in the same manner. Each hall will have their own rules, their own regulations and their own way of doing things. The rules, however, are always posted in plain sight of the hall for players to read. It might be a good idea to take a few minutes to look over them before you dive into an evening of play.

Keep your eyes out for special handouts that might indicate a slight change in rules for the evening. Sometimes printed handouts are made to tell the players which rules supersede the house rules for the evening.

Here are some key things to keep in mind as you prepare to play at an organized hall or event:

  • Players must be 18 years or older
  • Food and drink may or may not be prohibited, depending on which hall you are playing in
  • If the hall is selling food or drink it is usually frowned upon or taboo for players to bring in food from outside of the building
  • During especially high-stake games you may be prohibited from entering and leaving the premises during play
  • Reserving specific cards may or may not be allowed. Inquire in advance if this is something you would like to do
  • For the most part it is not acceptable for friends and family to simply sit around and watch you play. They may be asked to buy in and, at the very least, you will have to add them to an attendance card

Finally, we offer one final word of practical but essential advice. If you win you will want to make sure that you have a valid and up-to-date photo ID with you. For larger jackpots, players might be asked to provide proof of their Social Security Card as well and fill out paperwork for tax purposes.

History of Bingo

This well-known game has its origins in 16th century Italy, France and later in Germany where a game similar to Bingo was used to teach kids spelling, animal names and multiplication tables. This game was first introduced to the world as a fun way of learning and was used, more often than not, in schools and for leisurely purposes.

Fast forwarding a few centuries, a man named Hugh J. Ward standardized the game of Bingo at carnivals in and around the surrounding areas of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For this reason, it is his name that is officially associated with this famous game as he copyrighted it and published the very first official rule book in 1933.

This is a game of chance that requires little strategy, except when picking out your “lucky” ticket or card. It is a game of number calling, a single playing card and colorful chips to make square spaces. It is a game of letters and numbers and it is one of the most common pastimes in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom. Yet it is also universal.

Perhaps the brilliance of Bingo is largely due to its simplicity. The game consists of 5 letters and anywhere between 15 and 25 numbers, depending on which culture you are playing in. From this simple format a minimally basic concept was designed that features printed letters on a ticket or a card and creates for people hours upon hours of enjoyment.

For some it has become a favorite pastime, something to look forward to once a week, or a way to be in community with other people and get to know someone. It is a way to share space with someone, discuss important matters and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Who Can Play Bingo?

This game is a classic because it is so appealing to every age. There have been songs made about this game, ones that we learned as children: “There was a farmer who had a dog and Bingo was his name-Oh! B-I-N-G-O!

When we were younger, our parents devised countless creative ways for us to play it in order to keep us occupied; we used Cheerios or raisins as chips and, if we were good, got to use M&Ms too. It taught us how to look for numbers, to pay attention to things, to tune our ears in to listen to someone or something and to match letters with numbers.

As teenagers our teachers would play this game with us during our free time at school. We would take turns calling out numbers and wiggle in our seats in hopes of being the first one to get a straight line or a diagonal succession of 5 chips in a row, always utilizing that wonderful “Free” space at the center of the board.

As adults moving into retirement and old age we see this game as a pastime that allows us to remain connected with others and engage our minds while still having fun. In fact, most people who think about this well-known game probably envision a social hall full of wise-minded and gray-haired seniors sitting in wheelchairs or around circular tables, laughing and listening for numbers called out, chatting with their neighbors in between.

Bingo is a game for all ages however playing bingo for real money you need to be over the age of 18.