How to Play Bingo

Four Methods:Sample Bingo CardsSetting Up BingoPlaying Bingo at Home or in a HallPlaying Online Bingo

There is a huge amount of satisfaction that comes with yelling out the word, "BINGO!" Get into this luck-based game by following these steps to learn how to play American Bingo, United Kingdom/Australian Bingo, or online Bingo.

Sample Bingo Cards

Printable Bingo Card

Sample Bingo Card

Method 1
Setting Up Bingo

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    Understand the goal of Bingo. Bingo cards are different in the United States versus in the UK and Australia.
    • If you are playing American Bingo: Your goal is to cover five squares in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row. Cards in the US are 5 rows by 5 rows with a letter from the word BINGO written above each vertical row. The numbers on each square are generated at random. There are 75 balls with either a B, I, N, G, or O on them as well as a number. These letter-number combinations should occasionally coordinate with a square on your card.[1]
    • If you are playing British or Australian Bingo: Your goal is to fill one, two, or all three of the lines on your card. These cards are 3 squares by 9 squares. Each square has a number in it and are generated randomly. There are 90 balls with numbers on each that can be selected by the caller. The amount of money or prizes you win varies by how many of the horizontal rows you can fill. These cards are sold in “books” or “flyers”. Each book contains 10 bingo cards. Each card has its own unique color.
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    Designate a caller if you are playing at home. If you are playing in a hall, a caller will have already been chosen. The caller is the person who selects balls that have numbers and letters written on them. He or she calls the number-letter combination out to the players.
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    Hand out cards and chips. Each player should have at least one card. You can also play with multiple cards at a time. While this is harder than just playing with one card, it increases the chances that you will win. Making sure everyone has the same amount of chips is not necessary because you can always take more chips.
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    Mark off the "Free Space." This is your easiest placement as it is free and does not require a number to be called for you to cover it. For US players, the free space is generally located in the center of the card.
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    Place the balls in a spinner if you are playing at home. You can purchase a spinner from a toy or game store. To save money, you can also place all of the balls in a bucket and mix them around. The caller should select a ball without looking at the bucket.

Method 2
Playing Bingo at Home or in a Hall

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    Select a ball if you are the caller. Grab a ball, either from the bucket or spinner, without looking at it. Read the letter-number combination (or just number if not in the US) out loud to the players. The ball will say something like N7 or just 32 (if in the UK or Australia).[2]
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    Place a chip on a square if you have the number combination that the caller has called out. Always pay special attention to the marking of the number on your bingo cards! Every player has to listen carefully to the caller and the numbers he announces during the bingo game. Mark the correct numbers on your bingo cards. A mistake of this kind may cost you your win.
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    Shout "Bingo!" when you get five in a row (or a full row if playing in the UK or Australia). It is up to you to call "Bingo" loud enough for the caller to hear. Make sure that you call it immediately--Bingo must be claimed on the most-recent number called. If the caller has already called the next ball, or is in the process of doing so, it is too late to call Bingo.[3]
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    Clarify that you heard all the numbers correctly. The caller should ask you to read the numbers you have marked. If you made a mistake and marked a square with a number that wasn’t called, your win will be void.
    • If desired, you can play for second or third place.

Method 3
Playing Online Bingo

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    Create a username for yourself on the Bingo website of your choice. Supply a valid address so that you can collect your prizes.
    • Be aware that while most online Bingo games are free, some of them may require you to pay a fee before you can play.
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    Understand the online format. A window will pop up that contains your Bingo card(s), the number that has just been called as well as a list of previously called numbers, a list of online players, and a chat room where you can talk with other players.[4]
    • To chat during the game, simply type into the chat box and then press the "enter" key on your laptop.
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    Look at the pattern you must complete to win. While some online Bingo games are played the normal way (US-getting five in a row or UK/AUS-getting a whole row or more filled) most online Bingo games will randomly generate a pattern that players must fill out on their own cards to win. This pattern can generally be found in one of the top corners of the window.[5]
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    Play Bingo. Players get three cards. The website computer will call out numbers. If a number called matches a square on one of your cards, click on that square.
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    Win by matching the designated pattern. Hit the "Bingo" button when one of your cards matches the pattern.


  • Never play more bingo cards than you can watch.
  • Avoid very crowded bingo halls. Simply put, the more people participate in the game of bingo, the less the chances for you to win are. Generally, Monday through Thursday is a good time of week to go to the bingo halls. There are generally less players at Bingo halls during the week versus the weekend.
  • Always look for bonus money and bonus games. Highly reputable online bingo halls always offer bonus money and/or bonus games.

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Categories: Games of Chance