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 it 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!
How to Play Online Bingo
Online bingo is all about numbers. You may have an idea 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!
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 best casino games you may encounter before we get into how an online bingo game works.
Tickets or Bingo 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 has 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.
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, and then buying them with your deposited funds.
There are various 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 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 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 and 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 because fewer numbers exist. Tickets here are small compared, with just 8 numbers per ticket, 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 passport.
Other variants exist, such as unique games specifically created by game developers, often based on existing slot games, but the above variants are the most common. As a beginner, it's good to start with either 90-ball or 75-ball games until you're more familiar with how it all works.
How it Works
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 choose 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 single access if you're a beginner.
Once you've got your tickets, you 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!
Numbers will be drawn (or 'called') at random when the free game starts, 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 game aims to match enough numbers to cover one of the winning patterns before anyone else! That could be one or more lines, corners, squares, specific marked patterns, or full houses. 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 your game, 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. In some variants, this can be a horizontal, vertical, or even diagonal line. Line wins can be found in all traditional variants, including 90-ball (flat 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 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, 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 condition.
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 improve your chances of winning? While you may think not because the numbers are drawn at random, there are 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 many other people are playing, such as in the 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 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 will play with more cards, ensure you have the auto-dab option selected; otherwise, you could quickly struggle to see 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 using chat rooms. A chat room is a little section of the in-game screen where you can chat and laugh with other players as you play, but how does that improve your chances of winning? These chat rooms often have their little competitions that award prizes for matching certain numbers or even doing unrelated things 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 to be sure of a payout when you win. Make sure the site 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 start 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 device. 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 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.