Bingo is a game of chance played by people around the world. In Bingo, players have cards that are pre-printed with a matrix of numbers: 5 rows of 5 numbers, for a total of 25 numbers. Across the top of the card, above the first row of numbers, the letters “B”, “I”, “N”, “G”, and “O”. Using the letters and the numbers, each space has a letter and a number, such as “B5” or “G34”. Some cards will have one or more “free” spaces that replace one or more numbers. To play the game, an “announcer” blindly picks a letter/number from a container and calls it out to the players. Any player who has that letter/number on their card makes a mark on that spot on the card. The game is won when a player has marked a specific pattern on their card, usually 5 across, 5 down, or 5 in a diagonal line. When a player thinks they have made the pattern, they yell “Bingo!” The announcer checks the marked card against the numbers that have been called and determines if that card is a winner. The winner usually receives all of the money that was put into the “pot” by the players at the beginning of the game.

Some interesting variations of traditional bingo have evolved over the years. One is “Quick-Shot Bingo”. In this version, players receive pre-marked, sealed cards. The numbers are drawn before the players open their cards. Then the players open the cards to see if anyone has achieved the specified pattern, or Bingo. In U-Pick-‘Em Bingo, players mark specific numbers on their card before the game begins. Then they monitor just those numbers as the game numbers are drawn and announced. This variation is much like the Chinese-developed game of Keno. Horse Racing Bingo is another variation which is played with up to 15 players.

Each player is randomly issued a number between 1 and 15, which corresponds with a number on the top row of their card. As the numbers are drawn, the player attempts to mark all of the spaces in the column beneath that number. Bonanza Bingo is similar to Quick-Shot Bingo. In the Bonanza variation, 43 numbers are pre-drawn at the beginning of the game. The players purchase sealed, unmarked cards which are then matched to the numbers. After a specified period of time, the announcer asks if anyone has reached Bingo. If not, one more number is drawn. If no one gets Bingo, the marked cards are held until the next Bingo session. In this variation, the jackpots get progressively larger as the game continues. Whatever your gaming preferences, there is probably a variety Bingo being played that you will enjoy Bingo has been played for hundreds of years, and will certainly be played for many more to come.

By David Salt
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