An interesting game- BINGO
Bingo is a game of luck and chance, where every player is provided with a square chart and each
card contains a different pattern of numbers or images on it. An announcer will dictate the numbers
or image names and the players have to mark those numbers on the card. The first marking a whole
row, column or diagonal, will be declared as winner of the line, before players then play for what is
known as a full house, where all the numbers on the card are marked.
History of Bingo
Bingo game was originally known as “beano”. At that time it was a game in USA which was played
under the guidance of a dealer. When it was done with distributing cards among all the players, the
dealer used to select discs from a cigar box, which were painted by the particular numbers. Then,
the dealer would announce that numbers and players had to mark those on their cards with beans.
The winning rules were same as they are now and winners used to yell “beano” when they won the
Then, Edwin S. Lowe, a toy salesman renamed this game after a player mistakenly yelled “bingo”
instead of “beano”. Then after, the game became famous with the name “bingo”. After some more
enhancements, bingo became a well-known game which is now played professionally or
recreationally at homes.
Tracing the history, the game originated by the influence of an Italian lottery known as “Lo Giuoco
del lotto D’Italia” which was played during 1530 and is still running today. After that, in 1770s the
game was introduced in France but with the different name “Le Lotto”. The lord Frenchmen used to
play this game at that time. In 1800s, the game was also played by the Germans but there the game
was played by the children to enhance their memory.
The Bingo patterns
This is most common and easy way of playing Bingo. In this pattern, the players need to
mark all the images or numbers on the square card.
This pattern is also easy to understand and play. In this, the players have to make lines by
marking the pronounced numbers or image names. The line can be horizontal, vertical or a
As the name depicts, this pattern involves the rule of filling the card in U-shape. There are
four possible shapes of this pattern. For instance- marking the left and right most columns
along with one of the top or bottom row. Or similarly, marking the upper and lower most
rows along with left or right most column.
The shape of this pattern is easy to depict from its name. There are also four possible shapes
that you can make in this pattern. These four shapes are:
Uppermost row marked along with centre column.
Lowermost row marked along with centre column.
Leftmost column marked along with centre row.
Rightmost column marked along with centre row.
In this bingo, the players have to mark the rows and columns to make the biggest possible
square. This can be done by marking the upper and lower most rows along with left and
right most columns.
The game can also be played by combining all these variations at a time by offering different prizes
for different patterns. Other than these, there are many possible patterns that would resemble any
of the letters C, E, F, L and others. Beside letter patterns, the other patterns are to make a single
square of four spaces or diamond (inside and outside), frame (inside or outside) and more. So,
imagine a particular pattern and play the game to complete it.
Structure of a BINGO card
A bingo card is generally a 5*5 grid which means it contains 25 spaces. The five columns of this grid
are named as B-I-N-G-O. Usually, the 24 spaces are filled with numbers and one is left blank. The
allocation of numbers in each column is like:
B Column- contains five numbers between 1 and 15.
I Column- contain five numbers from 16 to 30.
N Column- this column will contain four numbers and a free space. The numbers can be
selected from 31 to 45.
G column- contains five numbers ranging from 46 to 60.
O Column- also contains five numbers in the range of 61 to 75.
There are thousands of unique cards that players can select from. These cards are manufactured in
series and thus ensure their uniqueness. Mostly, these series containing 6000 cards are
manufactured but some manufacturers also design the 9000 cards series.
The card structure can vary from country to country. For example, the Bingo cards used in UK and
Australia are of the pattern 3*9 (three rows and nine columns) and these cards are mainly available
as “books”. The book can be a single or multiple. Generally, there are 10 pages in a single book and
each page is of different colour whereas a multiple book contains six single books.
Steps of the game
Collecting or buying the cards
If not playing professionally then the organiser needs to collect the sufficient number of
cards according to the number of players. And in the professional games which are played in
the halls, the players need to buy the cards.
Distributing the cards
Once done with the collecting the cards, they are distributed among the players with the
condition that each player can get a single card.
Calling the number
Now, the caller will announce the numbers which should be marked by the players
accurately. The bingo can be made at any moment after the numbers of calls equals to the
number of rows or columns on the card. Like for 5*5 grids, first bingo can be made after 5
calls or more. So, always remain alert.
The caller is normally quick in announcing the numbers. So, players have to mark the
numbers as quick you can and ensure that they have marked the announced numbers only.
The caller will continue to call the numbers until any player yells “bingo”. Once bingo is
made, then caller will stop announcing the numbers and will verify the numbers of the
winner. After awarding the prize to winner, new bingo cards will be distributed among the
remaining players and a new game will be started. In the case, the winners are more than
one; the amount of prize will be divided among them.
Some tips and rules of the game
Don’t try to be over-smart by altering the bingo card. It is not permitted and in the case you are
caught doing so, legal actions will be taken against you. Follow the rules and be honest while playing
the game. Some common rules are:
In most of the bingo halls, the player must be at least 18 years.
It must be checked that whether the hall has any restriction on the alcoholic beverages or
Reservation of particular cards is not allowed in any hall.
There is the prohibition of entering and leaving the hall while the game is going on.
In some halls, it is not allowed to watch the game while relatives or friends are playing.
Everyone needs to buy his own card.
The winner should shout “bingo” much loud so that his voice can reach the caller. Also, the
Bingo must be declared before the caller announces the next ball. In the case, player remain
unable to claim his bingo before the next ball, his bingo be taken as invalid.
It is expected from the players that they don’t create any disturbance during the game
because it will distract other players.
In nutshell, Bingo is an interesting game that everyone should play or try once.