How to Play and Win at Online Bingo
Bingo has been exciting players all around the world since it was first invented in the 1530s. Thanks to the dawn of the internet and the subsequent explosion of online casinos, it's now incredibly easy to find a place to play online bingo games of all shapes and sizes, allowing you to enjoy the game without ever setting foot in a traditional bingo hall! But how is this popular game played and how do you win?
Bingo is one of those games that everyone seems to know how to play, and while the basic gameplay is pretty common knowledge, there are a number of variants, particularly new ones, that are not so widely known. Whether you're totally new to the game and have no idea how it's played, or you've played before but want to know about new variants of the game, you're in the right place! Read on for everything you need to know about how to play and win at online bingo!
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How to Play Online Bingo
Online bingo is all about the numbers. You may have an idea in your head of what to expect, having maybe seen bingo played by older people with chunky ink pens (daubers or dabbers) in churches or halls, using a bowl filled with numbered balls. Though the basic gameplay is the same, online bingo is a far cry from that scenario, offering a fresher, younger and more exciting experience!
In order to give you an idea of how the game is played, let's start with the basics, including the tickets or cards and the various games you may come across before we get into the details of how an online bingo game works.
Tickets or Cards
Referred to as tickets or cards from when bingo was originally played on paper tickets or cards, these contain the grids of numbers that will be commanding your attention throughout the game! Each card contains a random assortment of numbers contained within a grid. Depending on the game, you may find that the grid is a square, such as with a 4x4 or 5x5 formation, while others may be rectangular, such as the 3x9 formation. You may also find bingo cards with a symbol such as a star in the centre, while others may have a pattern marked onto them.
These bingo cards are bought before the game, which can be done easily by clicking on the game you want to play, choosing how many cards you want to play with, then buying them with your deposited funds.
There are a variety of different online bingo games these days, ranging from the traditional 90-ball and 75-ball variants to the newer 30-, 36- and 40-ball variants. What are the balls that are being referred to? Traditionally, bingo is played by blindly selecting numbered balls one by one at random from a bowl or tombola. Different games use a different number of balls, with 90-ball bingo using balls numbered from 1 to 90. Even though physical balls are not used in online bingo, the name has stayed the same to indicate the type of game being played and the range of numbers that are used.
Let's take a quick look at each of the types of online bingo games you may come across:
- 90-ball: This is the most common variant in the UK, with 90 balls numbered from 1 to 90 used, along with tickets in a 3x9 formation.
- 80-ball: A popular variant, this one uses 80 balls numbered from 1 to 80, along with a 4x4 grid of numbers, each column in a different colour, on the tickets.
- 75-ball: The most common game in the US, this variant uses numbers 1 to 75, but differs from other games in that the tickets are in a 5x5 grid formation with the letters B, I, N, G and O heading each column, and featuring various patterns that have to be matched to win.
- 40-ball: This variant is much faster than the more traditional ones due to the fact that there are fewer numbers. Tickets here are small in comparison, with just 8 numbers per ticket, which are grouped into two clover shapes with a number for each leaf.
- 30-ball: Only 30 balls numbered 1 to 30 are used in this game, along with small 3x3 grid formation tickets. The only way to win here is to match all the numbers on your ticket.
Other variants do exist, such as unique games that have been specifically created by game developers, often based on existing slot games, but the above variants are the most common. As a beginner, it's a good idea to start with either 90-ball or 75-ball games until you're more familiar with how it all works.
How it Works
Speaking of which, let's take a look at how an online bingo game works from start to finish. The first thing you need to do to play an online bingo game is choosing the variant you want to play. Clicking on the game will give you the option to buy tickets. Make sure you have already deposited funds at your site of choice as you'll need a balance to buy your bingo tickets. It's a good idea to go with just a single ticket if you're a beginner.
Once you've got your tickets, you just need to wait for the game to start. Game times are usually listed before you buy your tickets so you know when the next one is and which game your tickets are for. Make sure you're in the 'room' in time for the start of the game!
When the game starts, numbers will be drawn (or 'called') at random, one by one. These will be displayed somewhere prominently on your screen. If a called number matches any of the numbers on your bingo ticket, you need to mark it. This can be done by you or you can choose to have matching numbers marked off automatically.
The aim of the game is to match enough numbers to cover one of the winning patterns before anyone else! That could be one or more lines, corners, a square, a specific marked pattern or a full house. This results in the awarding of prizes, which can range from free bingo tickets to jackpot cash amounts!
How to Win Bingo
So those called numbers are the key to winning in online bingo, but what have all the different patterns and lines got to do with it? Depending on the game you're playing, you'll need to get your matched numbers fitting a specific shape or pattern to win.
Let's take a look at these different winning patterns and in which games you can expect to find them:
- Lines: One of the most common winning patterns is a simple line of numbers. This can be a horizontal, vertical or even diagonal line in some variants. Line wins can be found in all traditional variants including 90-ball (horizontal only), 80-ball and 75-ball.
- Corners: Usually found in 75-ball and 80-ball variants, this winning pattern involves matching the numbers in the four corners of the grid.
- Square: Another winning pattern that's specific to square-shaped grids, this one involves matching the 4 numbers that make up a square shape in the centre.
- Full House: This is the big prize pattern in almost all games! Mark off every number on your ticket and it's called a full house!
- Patterns: Almost exclusive to 75-ball bingo, which is often called Pattern Bingo as a result, pattern wins are when you mark off numbers within a predetermined pattern on the card. These patterns may be in the shape of letters, numbers, animals or any other shape you can think of.
Online Bingo Strategies
So now you know how to play online bingo and what you have to do to win, is there any way to actually improve your chances of winning? While you may think not because of the fact that the numbers are drawn at random, there are actually a few things you can do to get a bit of an edge playing online bingo! The following tips may work to a greater or lesser degree depending on what game you're playing, but they're all worth considering. Let's check them out!
Pick your times wisely
What has the time of day got to do with your chances of winning? Bingo is all about being the first to make up those winning lines and patterns, so playing when there are fewer players means you have a better chance of being that lucky first winner!
You can use this knowledge to your advantage in a couple of ways. Try to choose a time of day or day of the week when not a lot of other people are playing, such as an early morning or on Mondays. You can also check the number of players at a specific time before the game starts so you can pick a game that isn't so busy.
Buy more cards
Another great tip for improving your chances of winning is to simply play with more cards. The more cards you play, the more numbers you have that could potentially be called, and so the better your chances of winning! However, if you are going to play with more cards, make sure you have the auto-dab option selected, otherwise, you could quickly find yourself struggling to find all your matches!
Don't skip the chat rooms
Bingo has always been regarded as quite a social game and online bingo has retained that trait with the use of chat rooms. A chat room is a little section of the in-game screen where you can chat and have a laugh with other players as you play, but how does that improve your chances of winning? These chat rooms often have their own little competitions that award prizes for matching certain numbers or even doing things that are totally unrelated to the game. Miss these and you may miss out on extra wins!
Try a strategy
Did you know that there are a couple of specific strategies that it's claimed can help boost your chances of winning? Marking off numbers on a bingo card doesn't exactly have any leeway for strategising, but you are the one who picks your bingo cards before the game, and it's here that some claim a strategy can prove useful.
Here are two bingo systems to try:
- Granville strategy: Look for cards that have an equal number of high v low and odd v even numbers, and those ending in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9
- Tippett strategy: Based on the theory that longer games of 75-ball bingo will result in more numbers called from the centre of the range (around 38), while shorter games tend to involve more numbers from the edges of the range, choose your cards accordingly!
Choose a reputable site
It's important to choose an online casino that is trustworthy and reputable so you can be sure of a payout when you win. Make sure the site in question is fully licensed by a legitimate gambling authority and offers only provably fair games.
It's also worth noting that many reputable sites also offer great bonuses for playing bingo games. Some may even give you free access to bingo games as a beginner or new player, which is a great way to get started playing the game. It's also common to find sites that reward regular gameplay with bonuses and extra tickets, so look out for those!
Do You Want to Play Online Bingo?
Online bingo is a fun and exciting game that you can play from the comfort of your own home or wherever you are, using your mobile devices. Far from the stereotypical old folk's games of yesteryear, online bingo games are fresh and fun, with plenty of ways to win and even some socialising on the side!
Sign up at any of the thoroughly reviewed sites listed here, make your first deposit and start playing and winning at online bingo today!
Can you win money when playing online bingo?
Yes, you can win money with online bingo games that let you play with real money. In online bingo, you will receive a bingo card just like a bingo game in person, and you will then be able to mark off numbers on your card if they are called. Exactly the same rules apply to winning online bingo as if you are playing your more traditional offline game.
Is playing bingo online illegal?
In many countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and many European countries, online bingo is not illegal. However in many states in the US which prohibit gambling or online casinos entirely, it may not be legal to play Bingo online. It's best to check with your local laws before you register to play.
Can I get bingo bonuses online?
Yes! Many online bingo sites offer a bonus when you deposit or sign up, which gives you a certain amount of cash to get started. This is great for you to try out the game and decide if you like it or not before you decide to commit.