Bingo101: intoduction to playing bingo

BINGO! Ahh! There's nothing like shouting those five-letter word at the top of your lungs, arms waving victoriously and grinning from ear to ear. For most, it beats winning the most coveted award in any award giving body. Unless, of course, it is the jackpot prize offered by the Bingo master.

All you need to start on this very enjoyable game of chance is money in your pocket, markers or dabber in brilliant colors, a pen and all the luck you can summon! No need for grueling preparations, just call on your stars, add the moon for extra measure and you're all set.

Bingo is usually played in social halls, casinos and the numerous Bingo Halls. For beginners, do not be intimidated! Electronic Bingo boards are mounted on walls displaying called numbers as well as the current pattern being used in a particular game. It is very easy to catch up on and by no time, you'll be playing like a pro.

For first time players, when a game is in progress upon arriving at the hall, be sure to ask the sellers what game is currently being played before buying your game cards. There are usually 3 game cards (bought as a package of 3 with games 1, 2 and 3 on top of the other) in one session with special games in between (special game cards are bought from sellers roaming the hall). One session is equivalent to an entire program of bingo with a warm-up game, games 1, 2 and 3 plus alternating special games usually lasting to an average of two hours, in other countries like the US, a session can last from two and a half hours to three hours plus.

A bingo card contains 24 numbered spaces with one free space (blank) arranged in rows and columns of 5. The letters B, I, N, G and O are arranged on top of the numbers with random numbers under each letter. The numbers in the B column are between 1 and 15, numbers between 16 to 30 corresponds under I, in the N column between 31 and 45, the G column has numbers between 46 and 60, and lastly between 61 and 75 under O.

A dabber is used to mark the called numbers. If you are unsure as to what card to use during a game, serial numbers of the particular set of bingo cards being used are announced before each game.

So, with your game card package in hand, select a comfortable place and start playing. The current game pattern as well as the prize payout (the percentage of sales paid out by the hall) is shown on the Bingo board.

A caller, a non player who randomly selects a numbered ball, conducts the game. Bingo balls are of same weight and size, placed in a transparent container randomly generated by a blower or machine. Watch your game card closely, when holding more than one card, pay closer attention to the one with the most numbers called. When only one number is left uncalled, be extra attentive and always be always ready to shout BINGO!

A successful bingo is having all the numbers on the existing pattern marked. In most bingo halls, you will be asked to affix your signature on the back of the bingo card. It will be taken for validation to ensure you have Bingo. In cases wherein, you failed to shout bingo at the last number called (assuming that the last call is your winning number), your winning card would be invalidated. It's called a Sleeper in bingo lingo. So be sure to watch your cards closely and remember to shout BINGO!