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How to play Bingo?

Bingo is a game of chance played with randomly drawn numbers which players match against numbers that have been pre-printed on 5x5 matrices. The matrices may be printed on paper, card stock or electronically represented and are referred to as "cards." Many versions conclude the game when the first person to achieve a specified pattern from the drawn numbers. The winner is usually required to call out the word "Bingo!", which alerts the other players and caller of a possible "win". All wins are checked for accuracy before the win is officially confirmed at which time the prize is secured and a new game is begun. In this version of bingo, players compete against one another for the prize or "jackpot".

Alternative methods of play try to increase participation by creating excitement. Since its invention in 1934, modern bingo has evolved into multiple variations, with each jurisdiction's gambling laws regulating how the game is played. There are also nearly unlimited patterns that may be specified for play. Some patterns only require one number to be matched, up to cover-all games which award the jackpot for covering and entire card and certain games award prizes to players for matching no numbers or achieving no pattern.

Bingo cards
The most common Bingo cards are flat pieces of cardboard or disposable paper which contain 25 squares arranged in five vertical columns and five horizontal rows. In addition, Dual dab, or "double-action" cards have two numbers in each square. Each space in the grid contains a number, except there may be one or more "Free" spaces, which are considered filled. Typically the game is played utilizing 75 numbers. The letters B, I, N, G, O are pre-printed above the five vertical columns, with one letter appearing above each column. The center space may be marked "Free". The printed numbers on the card commonly correspond to the following arrangement: 1 to 15 in the B column; 16 to 30 in the I column; 31 to 45 in the N column; 46 to 60 in the G column and 61 to 75 in the O column. In U-Pick'Em bingo and other variants of bingo, players are issued three 25 number cards which contain all 75 numbers that may be drawn. Players then mark which numbers they wish to play and then daub those numbers according to the numbers drawn.

There are about 5.52*1026, (exactly 155 × 145 × 135 × 125 × 114) possible arrangements of the numbers on a bingo card.

The most chips one can place on a Bingo board without having a Bingo is 19, not counting the free space. In order for this to happen, only one empty cell can reside in each row and each column, and at least one empty cell must be in each diagonal.

Equipment

The numbers which are called in a game of bingo, may be drawn utilizing a number of methods to randomly generating the ball call. With the expansion of computer technology in bingo, electronic random number generators are now common place in most jurisdictions. However, some jurisdictions require mechanical ball draws which may utilize a randomly shuffled deck of bingo calling cards, a mechanical ball blower that mixes ping pong balls with blown air or a cage which is turned to mix small wooden balls. All methods essentially generate a random string of numbers by which players match to their bingo cards.

Culture

Single games often have multiple bingos; for example, the players may first play for a single line; after that, play may go on until a full card is called; then, play could continue for a consolation full card.

Players often play multiple cards for each game; 30 is not an unusual number. Because of the large numbers of cards played by each player, most halls have the players sit at tables to which they often fasten their cards with adhesive tape. To mark cards faster the players usually use special markers called daubers. At commercial halls, after calling the number the caller then displays the next number on a television monitor; bingo cannot be called until that number is called aloud, however.

Bingo is often used as an instructional tool in American primary schools and in teaching English as a foreign language in many countries. Typically, the numbers are replaced with beginning reader words (such as those drawn from the Dolch word lists), pictures, or unsolved math problems. Recently[when?] many teachers have taken to using software to automate the creation of bingo cards, as it is slow and laborious to do it by hand for large numbers of cards.

A system of etiquette exists in organized play. It is considered rude to carry on conversations with others or on cell phones during an active game. Making excess noises with daubers or allowing your cell phone to ring is also considered rude.

Terminology

Waiting/Cased – When someone only needs one number in order to complete the Bingo pattern, he/she is considered to be “Waiting” or "Cased".

Breaking the Bubble – The bubble is the minimum number of balls required to complete the Bingo pattern. This is the earliest point anyone could have a valid bingo. Example: Winning pattern is 1 hard way bingo, a straight line without the free space. The minimum number of called numbers is 5 although it is not considered “Breaking the Bubble” until 1 number in each column or 5 numbers in a single column have been called.

Jumping the Gun – One who calls bingo before having a valid bingo. The most common situation is someone calling bingo using the next number in the screen before it has been called.

Wild numbers – Many bingo halls will have certain games with a wild number. Wild numbers allow bingo players to start with multiple called numbers. Typically the first ball drawn is the determining factor.

Standard – All numbers ending with the second digit of the first number. Example: First ball is 22. All numbers ending in a 2 including B2 is considered a called number.

Forwards/backwards – All numbers beginning or ending with the wild number. Example: First ball is 22. All numbers beginning or ending with a 2 is considered a called number. If the first ball ends with an 8, 9 or 0, another number may be drawn as there are no numbers starting with a 8 or 9 and only 9 numbers starting with a zero. Some halls will also redraw a number ending with a 7 as there are only 5 numbers beginning with a 7.

False Alarm - Term used when one calls bingo but is mistaken. This could be because of mishearing the caller or stamping the wrong number by mistake. If one calls a falsie, they genuinely believe they have a bingo. Also known as as a "social error". Another term used for this is a "bongo."

Variations

U-Pick'Em bingo

A common form of bingo that allows players to select the numbers they wish to mark and monitor for a win. While this game closely resembles Keno, a game which was invented by the Chinese and predates the Han Dynasty, it is recognized as a variant of bingo and permitted in almost all jurisdictions.

Quick Shot bingo

A game where numbers are pre-drawn and players purchase sealed bingo cards which the tear open or reveal electronically and match there cards against. If a specified pattern is achieved, then the player usually wins a prize according to a prize table. Some versions are played until a player achieves a top level prize and then new numbers are drawn and the game begins anew. This type of bingo may be played over days, weeks or months depending on the difficulty of achieving a top level prize.

Bonanza bingo

Typically 43 numbers are pre-drawn at the beginning of a bingo session. Players purchase sealed cards which are then matched against the predrawn numbers. At a designated time, the caller asks if anyone has bingo. If no one does, the caller then draws one more ball. This game is commonly played as a "progressive" game, where the jackpot increases as more cards are sold. If no one has achiaved bingo after the single ball has been drawn, players then hold their cards for the next session of bingo which may take place the following day or following week. Thereafter, each session a single ball is drawn and players may continue to purchase additional sealed cards until someone aceives a cover-all. This version of bingo awards prizes to players who do not have a single number matched from the initial 42 numbers drawn.

Horse Racing bingo

Up to 15 players are randomly issued a number from 1 to 15 whcih corresponds with the top row of the bingo flashboard. Numbers are then drawn and the first person to haave all five numbers in their column be drawn wins. This is a fast paced and exciting form of bingo typically played in fraternal organizations.

Table bingo

With the expansion of Tribal gaming across the US, there are numerous versions of bingo which now emulate the fast action of casino like table games but utilize the pricipals of bingo where players mark and monitor matrices cards with chips. Casino games like Roulette, Acey Duecy and Money Wheel's have bingo counterparts which are permitted to be played under bingo licenses in many parts of the country.

Electronic bingo

The advent of computer technology in bingo has blurred the lines between traditional slot machines and bingo slot machines. To the average person, bingo based slot machines are physically indistinguishable from an RNG based slot machine typically seen in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Most Native American Tribes which are unable to reach a compact with their state government, utilize bingo based slot machines, as bingo is exempt from state regulation for most Federally recognized tribes.

Christmas bingo

Each player brings three presents to the event. The presents should arrive at the facility wrapped and hidden in a brown paper bag; it is important that no other participant knows which presents each other player brought. After all participants have arrived, the presents are taken out of the undistinguished bags and put in the center of a circle formed by the players.

Before play begins, each participant receives a blank bingo card with 25 squares. Each player then fills in their card by putting any number between 1 and 40 in each empty box. No number should appear more than once on any card.

Play begins as a caller - who can also be playing - picks a number out of a hat. Each person who has that number on their card crosses the number off and selects a present from the center. After each person who had the called number has taken a gift from the center, the caller picks another number. Play continues as before until all of the presents have been selected from the center. At this point with each number called a player must 'steal' one from another player.

Play ends when the caller has picked all the numbers. Each player then gets to keep each present that they ended the game with.

Other bingo's

Buzzword bingo is a bingo-style game where participants prepare bingo cards with buzzwords and tick them off when they are uttered during an event, such as a meeting or speech. The goal of the game is to tick off a predetermined number of words in a row and then yell "Bingo!".

In modern businesses where collaborative "teams" gather as a matter of routine to review activities and map future actions, sessions are often led by guest speakers or notable personalities higher up the pay scales or chain of command. The language used by these speakers often includes predictable references to arcane business concepts, which are perfect for buzzword bingo players to use on their bingo cards.

Part of the game is to have the courage to actually yell "Bingo!". In order to avoid reprimands that would surely follow if such behavior happened, the participants are more likely, as the speaker utters the buzzwords, to look at one another quietly and mouth the word "Bingo" without making a sound to the delight of those that may have seen it. The result is a statement that the speaker is just spouting off a bunch of buzzwords and really providing little value. The concept was popularised by a Dilbert comic strip in 1994[1]

One documented buzzword bingo occurred when Al Gore, then the Vice President of the United States known for his liberal use of buzzwords hyping technology, spoke at MIT's 1996 graduation. Hackers had distributed bingo cards containing buzzwords to the graduating class.[2]

A 2007 IBM commercial displays buzzword bingo in action.

Bovine bingo is a traditional rural fundraising game that is often played at country fetes and summer fairs, usually for fundraising purposes.

Bovine bingo is not really a form of bingo, but a form of lottery. The game is set up by marking out a grid of rectangles on an enclosed land area, such as a paddock or farm field. This is usually done by chalking lines. The grid cells are then numbered or otherwise identified in some way, and chances are sold on each cell. A cow (or other livestock animal) is then let loose within the enclosure. Where the first "cowflop" (defecation) lands determines the winner. Another popular variation of this game takes place during parades, usually with horses. Same rules apply, however.

The game is sometimes controversial because of the stress the animal may be exposed to.

The game is also known as "Cow Chip Bingo", "Cowpie Bingo", "Fertilizer Lottery", "Cow Patty Bingo", "Cow Pat Lottery", or "Bossy Bingo."

Roadkill bingo is a game in which the pictures of 24 different animals are placed randomly in a grid, printed on paper or cardboard [1]. The game is traditionally played in vehicles during long distance travel.

When a dead specimen of one of these animals is spotted by a player, that square in the grid is marked off with either a bingo blotter or some other writing instrument. Small poker like chips may be used to designate spotted dead animals, however the cajoling due to bumps in the road make this a less viable option.

Traditionally, only the first person to spot the roadkill is entitled to mark off the corresponding picture. As in regular bingo, the object of the game is to spot a sequence of five dead animals which are in the same row or column on the bingo card. At the instant that five in a row is achieved, that player is obligated to yell "bingo", loudly and clearly, and the player is said to have "got a bingo." Prizes for bingos are typically decided upon before the commencment of play. Spotting five dead animals in a row whose pictures are along a diagonal of a card also counts as a bingo. Four corners may also count as a bingo. The center square is often free, meaning that no dead animal need be spotted to mark it. Controversy may arise when a dead animal is spotted which may not technically be classified as roadkill, and when two players simultaneously spot the roadkill. Players in the front seat have a clear advantage, however, the driver must have someone else mark his or her card.

To promote brevity of games, regional variations include animals more likely to be found dead in the particular locale. The West Coast version was played by soldiers in Saudi Arabia during operation Desert Storm.