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09th Jan 2024

How to Play Bingo

At a Glance:

  • Play either 75- or 90-ball bingo
  • Play one scorecard (or more) of 25 squares, with random numbers
  • Each time a number is announced, daub it on your scorecard/s
  • The winner is the player who reaches either 5 consecutive numbers daubed, or the entire scorecard
  • The winner shouts ‘Bingo’ and has their scorecard checked

Loved by millions of players worldwide, bingo is a centuries-old pastime: combining a certain number of bingo balls with numbers on them, a scorecard, some chance – and a whole lot of fun!

Even better – while bingo is sometimes enjoyed offline, it’s nowadays way more popular online! You can easily play bingo virtually, remotely, at home, and even make it for kids too!

How does the game of Bingo work?

Bingo is really easy to play – even online bingo!

First, you need to decide which game you’ll play – 75-ball bingo or 90-ball bingo, with 75-ball bingo usually being a quicker game, as there are fewer balls.

The speed of the game is also up to how many players are playing (which, if you’re playing bingo online, could be hundreds of players!) as well as the number of scorecards you have. Your scorecards should have 25 squares, with random numbers in each square.

How to Setup Your Bingo Game/Online Bingo Game?

You’ll need at least 1 scorecard for each player, but you can also have more than one per player. Each scorecard will have 25 numbered squares, with a different, random set of numbers per scorecard.

  1. Your cards can either have BINGO labeled at the top, or you could just have the numbers. When a caller calls out the numbers, they might say the letter of the column, followed by the number. In that case, you know to find that number in the column of the letter they called out. Other bingo games might just call out the number itself.
  2. An easy way to quickly find the number on your card is to remember that the first column will host numbers 1-20; the second column, numbers 21-40; the third column, numbers 41-60, the fourth column, numbers 61-80 and the fifth column, 80-90 (in games of 90-ball bingo).
  3. One player, if you’re playing at home, or remotely, will be nominated as the bingo caller, or if you’re playing virtual bingo, this will be the computer. The caller reads out the numbers telling you which squares to check off (this is known as ‘daubing’) on your scorecards.
  4. Remember – if you’re playing across a few scorecards, you’ll need to daub your squares across each of these, and sometimes, numbers can come up across several scorecards at once! It also means you might get a bingo on more than one scorecard at once, so make sure to keep your eyes closely peeled!

What’s the trick to winning bingo?

Before we get into the ‘trick’ of how to win bingo, we should really talk about how the game of bingo is won.

The idea is, you can either win when you’re the first one to cover 5 squares in a row (either horizontally, vertically or diagonally – but they all must be touching squares!), or if you cover all of the squares on your boardcard.

To win either of these, you need to listen to the bingo caller calling out the numbers, and every time you hear a number, check your card/s and cross out the square (‘daubing it’) if it has the number that’s just been called. Rinse and repeat until you have either a line or the entire card!

Having said that, there are some ways you can increase your chances of winning the bingo game – even when you’re playing remotely or at home with your kids!

Having more bingo cards gives you more possibilities to win, although it can be frustrating when you have parts of one card daubed off, and parts  of a second one also daubed…but not quite enough to make a winning bingo card!

You could also play bingo games with fewer balls – a 75-ball game will go quicker than a 90-ball game, as there are fewer balls to come up and be called!

Having said that, because playing virtual bingo is computer-generated, there’s less wait time between balls being called, so it doesn’t really make much of a difference to the speed of the game – if anything, those online games can happen at lightning speed!

A few things you should know:

  • If you’re lucky enough to win – either the 5-square row, or the whole bingo card – you need to shout ‘bingo’. The caller (or app, program or otherwise, if you’re playing online or remotely) will stop the game and then double-check if you’ve really won. If you have, a new game will then start.
  • If two or more players shout ‘bingo’ and win at the same time, all of them win! Bear in mind, you can’t cheat at this and say you’ve won when you haven’t really – the caller/computer/program will verify if you’ve won or not, using your bingo numbers!

How do you play bingo at home?

Bingo is really easy to play at home, and you have three main ways to do it:

  1. Offline – make your own bingo cards and setup a game among family or friends, with physical bingo cards and bingo balls
  2. Online, with a bingo app, with virtual bingo cards and an automated bingo caller
  3. Remotely, via a video chat platform, where each player makes their own bingo card (or uses a virtual one)


Offline bingo

This is a great way to keep your kids quiet, and bingo for kids is so easy to do!

You’ll need bingo cards – which you can make yourself, bingo balls (which you’ll probably need to buy) and someone who is happy to be the caller.

Online bingo

Probably the easiest and quickest way to play, using a bingo app (such as Bingo Blitz) will take all of the hard work away from you. You’ll have a virtual set of bingo cards, virtual bingo balls and an automated caller too! You’ll also be able to effortlessly switch between different types of bingo games, and even have some cool extra features (freebies, bonuses, powerups and challenges) to make your online bingo game a little more exciting than standard, offline bingo!

Remote bingo

If you’re looking to play offline with friends, joining a video chat session, where each of you have made your own bingo card, is a really great way to lay!

Either one of you could be nominated as the caller, and have physical bingo balls to use, or the caller could use an online program to randomly generate the bingo balls to be called.

How do you play bingo for kids?

Playing bingo for kids is a really easy way of keeping them entertained, for hours on end. There are also so many ways you can do it, with customized bingo cards for each occasion!

Playing bingo for kids is pretty similar to the standard game, and you can have whole-family fun, with just a few small tweaks, depending on the age of the kids:

  • Slow it down. Both online, virtual bingo and offline bingo – and even remote bingo – can go very, very fast. It can even be tricky for adults to keep up with the action. A great way to make for a friendly bingo for kids game is to slow down the rate of play – calling balls with several repeats, and giving kids time to check their card/s for their number/s. Speaking of which –
  • Have kids play with one card. If there’s any one bingo for kids tip we can give you, it’s that kids should be trained how to play. Although it’s a pretty easy game to grasp, having to dilute their attention between several cards can be very difficult for a child of any age (and some adults too!), this is even more the case when a child has ADHD or other concentration issues. Once everyone is more used to the game, you could always try introducing more cards, and see if they can handle it.
  • Mix up the numbers with symbols or images! Of course, you might enjoy using the traditional bingo numbers, but in bingo for kids, a fun way of doing things is to replace the numbers with other meaningful images – perhaps characters from a TV show, game or book, or with other symbols or colors. Just be prepared to take some extra time between bingo calls, to allow every player the chance to scan their card/s for the new image!

How do you play bingo in the classroom?

As we mentioned above, bingo for kids is an excellent way to keep them engaged and having fun – and that’s even more true on a grander scale, like in the classroom!

Because bingo is such an easy game to set up and you can have as many players as you like, it’s an ideal game to play in the classroom – for all ages!

There are a few different setups you’ll need to know about, depending on whether you want to play virtual bingo or offline bingo in the classroom:

  • In-person bingo: prepare bingo cards for the class. You could play bingo as a tournament, with several cards having the same numbers, and add a new card for successful players after every round. You’ll need to buy bingo balls, and could even nominate a student to be the bingo caller.
  • Remote bingo: make sure every player has a set of standardized cards, which can be shared and downloaded before the game. You can use an online program to generate the bingo balls, and even the caller, or nominate one player to be the caller.

Whichever way you play, you can be almost guaranteed that every player will be in for a good fun – and engaged – time. AC

The Bottom Line: how to Play Bingo

When it comes to playing bingo, you have so many choices, no matter the circumstances.

For those of us on lockdown, or even if we’re self-isolating out of personal choice, playing a remote version of bingo (virtual-style) is a great way to get your bingo fix, without having to go out of your way or break any laws. It’s also a super easy way to engage with friends, family and loved ones during the pandemic.

However, the easiest of all types of bingo to play has to be the online version, such as with a free bingo app. Because most of the action – the caller, the bingo balls chosen and more – is all automated, you can focus on getting to what matters most: playing bingo and having fun!

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