How to Play Bingo
If you’re new to bingo, then you’re going to need to know how the game works before you start playing it. It’s actually quite simple for the most part, when but you first set eyes on your bingo site there’s a lot going on. It’s for this reason why we are not only going to show you how the games work, but also how the sites are likely going to work as well.
What’s important is that you take your time to learn the process and then execute. If you miss a step then it might be that you miss out on things like bonuses which could leave you out of pocket, and you might not end up playing the games that you initially wanted to play either.
Fear not, we have you covered!
Choosing your Bingo Site
The first part of your journey is choosing where you want to play. There are hundreds of bingo sites online right now, but some are much better than others.
At this stage it’s impossible for us to tell you which site(s) to sign up to; every site is slightly different and everyone’s individual tastes are different as well.
A good place to start is with the bonus that are on offer. We’ve got plenty of article on this already, so we won’t be going too in depth here, but your bonus is likely going to be the biggest hook for most bingo sites.
What we will say is that you shouldn’t always go with the bonus that offers you the most ‘free’ money. You see, these offers all come with what’s known as wagering requirements, and these are basically terms that are set out by the bingo site that you need to adhere to in order to release your bonus money as withdrawable cash. The main thing to note with this is that you need to wager through your bonus a certain number of times. The higher the rate, the more you need to play and the more difficult that bonus money is to convert.
This is where you need to have an idea about how much and how often you plan to play. If you are new and have no idea, then try and find the bonus with the lowest wager requirement possible as this will offer you the best chance of clearing the bonus.
Choosing an Alias
A fun part of the process is that you are able to choose your alias when you sign up. This is your bingo name and what other players will call you if you interact with them. You can be as open or secretive as you like with this and you do not even have to use your real name, in fact, most people do not use their real name to add a bit of security to things.
Get creative as you like here, it’s a good way to show your personality and maybe even make people laugh. You see all sorts; OhBingoBalls, 1FatLady, BingoBoss, LuckyLouLou, and even… Roger – how did he come up with that one?
You will also be able to choose an avatar as well. Some bingo sites will let you upload a picture or photo for your avatar, but others will require you use one of their stock images.
Choosing a Game
Once you’ve got your bingo site locked down, you then need to look at the games that you want to play. There are a lot to choose from these days, so this can be quite overwhelming if you are new.
The main games are usually 90-ball and 75-ball bingo. These are what’s often referred to as the ‘bread and butter’ of the industry and pretty much all online bingo sites will have these games available in some form.
Other formats will include 40-ball, 50-ball and 80-ball for most bingo sites. You’re also going to find things like jackpot games, bonus games, and branded games as well, which will vary from site to site.
The lobby is where you will choose the game that you want to play. In this area you are going to be able to see quite a bit of information about each game before you open it up.
From the image above you can first see the name of the game and little bio about it. In this case, the game is called Rush. If you notice in the top left hand corner there is a small ‘i’ symbol. Well, if you click this it opens up a more detailed brief on that game and how it works. If you are new, then it’s well worth checking this out first.
As you work down the card, you will notice a cup symbol and, in this particular case, the figure £8,561.91. This signifies that this is a jackpot game and it also highlights the amount that the current jackpot is currently at. This is a progressive jackpot, so the amount will keep increasing in real time every time someone buys a ticket.
Moving on, you will see the prize pool for the game, which is £8 in this case; the cost per bingo card, which is £0.02; and the number of players currently in that game, which is 37.
Finally, the bottom of the card shows you how long until that game starts. In this case it’s 36 seconds. You will find that game’s timer will reset after a game has started so the timer will always be counting down.
Game Lobby and Buying Tickets
Once you have chosen the game that you want to play, you then select it and you will be taken to the game lobby.
A typical game lobby might look like this:
As you can see, there is an awful lot going on, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking at. We highly recommend that you take a little time to have a look around here and familiarise yourself with how it works. The games can move quite quickly, so you do need to have a bit about you when first trying them out. It’s worth noting that you can access a lot of these lobbies for free, so you don’t need to play straight away.
The top left section gives a summary of the game you are about to play. As you can see, it has the number of players, the total price, and the jackpot for that game. It also shows you how much you are going to win for a line, 2 lines, and then a house on the right hand side.
This section is also where you will see the balls get called when the game starts. They will replace the ‘sales close in’ graphic.
The bottom left section is where you choose the number of tickets that you want to play for each game. Remember, the numbers here show the total amount of tickets for this single game, it is not a simple case of 1 ticket per player per game, which is a common mistake that new players make.
It’s a pretty simple process and you just move the slider to the number of tickets that you want. As you can see, in this example we have chosen 5 tickets at 2p each, which means a total spend of 10p for this game. You can have up to 72 tickets for this particular game, but the max number will range from game to game.
You won’t be able to choose the numbers that you get on each card, these are randomly assigned to each player as and when they purchase their tickets. They only thing you control here is the number of tickets that you can buy for each game.
We feel that this is a good point to talk a little about pre buying tickets. Most games that you play give you around a minute or so to buy your tickets. This may seem fast, but once the game starts it will only run for a few minutes at most, which means they recycle quickly.
There are instances where bingo sites run bigger games, and these are usually at peak times through the day and at night. You can pre-buy tickets for these games to make sure that you don’t miss them. You don’t necessarily have to be at your computer or even be logged in for these tickets to go live as long as you’ve pre-purchased them. Lots of people do this for things like large jackpot games or special games that are worth more money than usual.
In the top right section this is where you are going to find the chat room for that game. As you can see, you just type in your message in the bottom box and click send.
The chat box will show you how many people are in that game as well. At top you can see the number in brackets next to the name of that game. In this example we have 36 people in total. You can see a full list by clicking on the multiple headed icon next to it and then send a private message by clicking the far-right button.
The final section of the lobby overview is the bottom right, which includes all the side games that you can play. The range of games here will depend on the networks that they use to power their bingo site, with some having more than others.
It’s worth noting that these games will run within the lobby, so you won’t be moved from the page you are on and neither will you lose the bingo game that you are playing. This is what makes the integration of these side games so popular and so well designed.
The Rules and Marking the Numbers
The game of bingo is very simple. All that happens for most games is that the numbers are called and then you mark these numbers on the card as they are called out. You get paid for 1 line, 2 lines and a full house (all numbers on the card marked off).
The card styles can vary for each game. The traditional are straight line games, where you work your way across a line to win. Others now include the likes of shape pattern games that create shapes with the way he numbers are laid out, and you then need to cross off all numbers that make up that shape. It could be an outline of something, a letter, a circle, square, anything really.
The shape, style or the combination of numbers that you need to mark off to win are outlined for each game. A 90-ball game, which is the main game for most sites, is broken down into three wins:
- 1 line
- 2 lines
The higher payouts will be the for a ‘house’ win as this requires you to fill the whole card, 2 lines will pay 2nd best and then 1 line. The first player to fill a line is the first winner, the game then move son to two lines and once that is won it’s all about getting a full house. This is great because it means you are always in the game until you have either won or it is over. Once house has been called, the game ends and a new one begins.
It’s worth noting that if there is more than one winner, the prize is shared out between the winning players. This is common in games with lots of players, so be aware of this to avoid disappointment. Alternatively, games with fewer players offer a greater chance of winning, but the amounts will likely be much less.
The marking of the numbers is actually an automatic process. The bingo site will take care of this for you so you don’t need to worry about it. There are a few sites that allow you to manually dab your numbers, which might interest some players, but if you miss a number, the sites will still pay out if you’ve a winning card.
Above, you can see how that first section changes as the balls are being called. This is your live, in-game section. You can also see which payout they are currently playing for on the right. In this example we can see that the 1 line bet has been won and the game has moved on to the 2 line prize.
If you are lucky enough to win, then a pop up will appear with your winning username, the winning line and the amount of money you have won. This will also occur when other players have won as well; this way you know when the games end and which line is currently being played for. As you can see, it shows the winning card and the numbers that have been crossed off.
Playing More Than One Game at Once
It’s worth noting that some bingo sites will allow you to play more than game of bingo at a time. This means that you can multi-table these games and target a wider range of games at the same time.
Not all bingo sites will allow you to do this though and it comes down to whether the networks have this feature enabled or not. The good thing about playing multiple games at once is that you can play for more money in the same amount of time. Bingo can be quite limiting in terms of how much you can play for in a single game, so this is a great way to alleviate the issue.
A word of warning though, the games come thick and fast. Even if you are playing just the single game, you will likely be surprised at the turnover rate of the games and the time between each one. If you’re new, then we advise playing one game to start with, and when you’ve got a good feel for how they work and the time between games you can start to add more in where you want to.
Extra Chances to Win in the Chat
Bingo sites like to encourage the use of the chat box. They want bingo to be a bit more user friendly than the likes of casino and even poker to some extent, so they encourage the social aspect. The idea is that you can relax, talk with like-minded people and have some fun.
Some bingo sites like to run promotions in their chat box as well. These can come in the form of a pub quiz, trivia quiz, or some sort of incentive to play x amount of tickets. What happens is that a representative from the bingo site will be running the chat and then you get rewards for hitting some or all of these targets.
The rewards can be pretty decent too, and range from free tickets to bonuses that are applied to player accounts. These don’t run all the time, but when they do they certainly add an extra layer of depth to the game and often have the chat room buzzing as a result.
Don’t forget that the chat rooms will have moderators as well. This means that any unsavoury language, negative tone or aggression shown to other players (or even in general) will not be tolerated and you will be removed from that game. If it continues it can be as serious as having chat removed from your account and sometimes even accounts banned – so play nice!