Beginner's Guide to Online and Offline Bingo

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Bingo is classified as a game of chance where individual players use a pen or bingo dabber to mark off numbers on a card. A bingo caller or host will choose numbers at random and call them out to the players. The first person to arrange the called numbers in a row yells “Bingo!” to win.

Bingo Variations: Online, Offline, U.S., and the U.K.

Since the game’s inception in 1530, bingo halls and casinos have created a few bingo variations that try to make the game more interesting. For example, shotgun bingo is a faster version of bingo, where numbers are called immediately, and music bingo integrates music into bingo.


However, classic bingo is played differently depending on the region. U.S. bingo uses 75-balls and a 5x5 bingo ticket (or card), whereas the U.K. uses 90-balls and features a 9x3 bingo ticket.


Depending on your region, offline bingo can be played in a casino, charity event, or remotely by watching a live bingo broadcast. Offline, participants must yell “Bingo!” or call the television station to win. On trusted bingo sites, the player wins automatically without yelling “Bingo!”

How to Play Classic U.S. Bingo (Online or Offline)

If you’re playing bingo online, you don’t have to set up a bingo station. Simply log in to a trusted bingo site and start playing. Offline, you’ll need to pick up your card and wait for a game.

Understanding the Bingo Card

U.S. bingo score cards have 25 randomly generated numbers that range from 1 to 75. The 5x5 card will be separated into 5 vertical sections, each marked with a letter from the word “BINGO.” 


The BINGO numbers for each vertical section are as follows:


  • B: 1 to 15

  • I: 16 to 30

  • N: 31 to 45

  • G: 46 to 60

  • O: 61 to 75


The middle space is often a “free space,” which is a space that’s already crossed out. A player could win with 4 numbers if a winning diagonal, horizontal, or vertical pattern includes the free space. Otherwise, the goal is to cover 5 bingo squares in a diagonal, horizontal, or vertical row.

Understanding the Setup

For most bingo games, each player will be given one bingo card, but other events will allow players to purchase more than one. This increases your chance of getting a “Bingo!,” as all scorecards will be randomly generated. You may also get multiple “Bingos!” at the same time.


For an offline game, players will either use chips (for reusable cards), whiteboard markers (for laminate cards), or a pen/bingo dabber (for disposable cards) to play the game. Online players will click the number on the card when it’s called, or the game will automatically highlight it.

Understanding the Game

The bingo caller will then pull bingo balls from a bucket, bowl, or bingo spinner or use a random number generator from their phone. They’ll call the numbers starting with the letter and ending with the number. For example, “B 5” or “G 58.” This helps the players find the numbers faster.


When the player hears their number, they will cross it off or add a chip. The game continues until someone gets bingo. There isn't a limit to how many numbers the caller will read out in one game. There will always be a winner in bingo, regardless of how long the game takes.


Although the win condition is usually matching 5 squares in a row, other games will have special win conditions. Some winning patterns include the “X,” picture frame, full card, or 4-corners.


When the game is over, the players get a new bingo scorecard and play the game again. The numbers are reset in the bucket, bowl, or bingo spinner, or random number generator.


Image Source: Pexels


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