Bingo Calls, Lingo and Slang Terms

Last Modified: Nov 17, 2017 @ 2:17 pm

As online bingo continues to grow in popularity, more and more players are rushing to the web for their chance to win big. However, for new players the vocabulary used on the sites and by other players can be both confusing and overwhelming.


While most people are familiar with some basic bingo terms, the vocabulary used in the online bingo community varies slightly from the terms used in regular, in person bingo games. To make the assimilation process for new players an easier transition, we’ve covered some of the most confusing aspects of play such as traditional bingo calls and rude bingo calls, as well as several other tips and tricks to keep you from stepping on anyone’s toes the first few times you play.

Alternative bingo calls

While you may be confused if someone asks you if they just called Dirty Gertie, they’re merely using dirty bingo calls, also known as alternative bingo calls or bingo call nicknames. Usually made up of funny or inappropriate short phrases that rhyme with a given number, such as 30 “Dirty Girty”, these bingo call outs can also make a cultural reference, such as “All the Beans” for 57.

Traditional Bingo calls infographic

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Originally used to catch the attention of players in a noisy, crowded bingo hall, creating funny words or phrases associated with each number kept game play interesting and prevented callers from repeating themselves multiple times. Although no longer needed as bingo has gone electronic, these funny bingo calls have persisted and are still sometimes used in online play.

Although there are many similarities, dirty bingo calls tend to vary from site to site and from player to player.  Some of these bingo number names include “young and keen” for 15, “droopy drawers” for 44, or “dirty knees” for 33. While most are meant to be funny or make players smile, some rude bingo calls do exist. One such bingo numbers nicknames is the “either way up” call that can sometimes be used for the number 69. While different callers and bingo sites may use their own unique bingo calls, websites like ildado.com offer fairly comprehensive bingo calls list of UK bingo call outs, which can be found here.

Chat Etiquette

One of the most unique and most popular features of online bingo sites are the chat rooms available to players. Meant to mimic the companionship and comradery of a traditional bingo hall, the chat function in a game room is open to all players and is a place to form friendships, discuss the game, and offer congratulations to other players.

The majority of chats are run by a chat moderator, or CM. This person’s job is to act as a facilitator for the chat portion of the game room, ensuring all players feel welcome and at home and are treat each other respectfully. CM’s have no control over game play itself, and while they can sometimes help with technical issues, it is best to send those concerns to the website’s tech support. Most CM’s will send a welcome message to players as they join a room, and encourage players to congratulate each other after each round is played.

While specific chat rules vary from site to site, most bingo sites have rules preventing racial or sexist slurs, rude or offensive language, or promoting or soliciting a business or service. Likewise, asking other players for money is universally frowned upon, as is harassment or disrespectful behavior. It is also important to note that almost all chat logs are recorded, and most websites report any threats made to the authorities. Players who repeatedly violate the rules can be blocked from the chat function or banned from a website altogether.

Most veteran players use a variety of bingo slang or shorthand when chatting. Although similar to some popular text message abbreviations, some can be confusing when seen for the first time. Common slang for gameplay includes fc for fingers crossed, gl for good luck, or gg for good game. Other frequently used terms are wtg for way to go, afk for away from keyboard, and pm for private message. If a term is unfamiliar or undecipherable, most CM’s or players are happy to define it for new players.

Types of Bingo

Most popular bingo sites offer more than one variety of bingo, which can be confusing for players new to the game. While all varieties are essentially the same, with a caller announcing numbers and players daubing those on their cards, some games vary based on the number of balls used to play.

Found at most bingo halls in the UK, 90 Ball Bingo uses tickets of three rows and nine columns. On these cards, each row has five numbers and four blanks. The three winning combinations in 90 ball bingo are one line, two line, or full house. A one line winning combination is having all of the numbers for one horizontal row, a two line combination is having all of the numbers for two horizontal rows, and a full house, or blackout, is having all of the given numbers for all three rows, covering the entire card.

More popular in the US than in the UK, 75 Ball Bingo is played with 5X5 grid tickets with a free space in the middle. Because of the shape of the card, there are many more different ways to create a winning combination in this style of bingo play. A game or room where 75 ball bingo is being played will establish the winning combination or combinations before game play begins. Sample combinations include horizontal or vertical lines, blackout, diamond, or letter s.

While there are players who adamantly favor one type over the other, it is ultimately a player’s personal choice whether they prefer 90 or 75 ball bingo. Despite the differences in the cards and number of balls in play, the chances of winning with either variety are nearly identical, giving neither game an advantage in winning odds or percentages.