Bingo is an inherently simple game, at first glance. The rules are fairly easy to pick up, and anyone who can count can play once they get the hang of it. What often surprises new players, though, is the variety in types of bingo. Many assume there is only one kind of bingo, and that there is only one way to play the game.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Bingo is a hugely varied game with lots of different ways to play through online bingo sites like this, bingo halls, with friends—more, really, than we could realistically get into here.
Of course, though, there are a few of the most common forms that you are most likely to encounter when you’re playing. Let’s look at a few of the most common forms.
- 90 Ball Bingo
The most common, the most traditionally played, and the kind you’re most likely to encounter when out at the bingo hall (or indeed online), is 90 ball bingo. As the name suggests, 90 ball bingo involves drawing 90 balls over the course of the game. Of the 350 bingo halls found in the U.K., all of them will offer 90 ball bingo in one form or another.
You will be given a grid with numbers on it, or you can take several if you think you can keep up with marking them all. The goal of the game, in any case, is to mark a full line or two, or a full house, within 90 balls. Though it might sound like a lot, there’s a lot of numbers to be drawn!
Rules can vary per game in terms of how you claim a victory. Usually, though, it’s a single line or a full house. Sometimes, though, there are progressive jackpots, and you can often win a bigger prize if you’re able to call a full house within the first 45 numbers.
If you’re looking for an introduction to the game, whether online or at a bingo hall, 90 ball bingo is a really great place to start.
- 75 Ball Bingo
As you’ve probably guessed, 75 ball bingo is different from 90 ball bingo in one important way: 15 balls! Obviously, 75 ball bingo involves a draw of only 75 balls. It’s a shorter, faster paced game, but the differences aren’t limited to the number of balls that are called. The aims are essentially different as well.
The goal is essentially to make patterns on your sheet, rather than just filling in a line or the whole thing like in 90 ball bingo. You can win for all sorts of patterns, like the ‘pyramid’, the ‘bench chair’, the ‘triangle’, the ‘crossed lollipops’ or the equivalent of the full house, the ‘black out’.
75 ball bingo is much more often played online than in bingo halls, although it is still possible to find live games. In general, though, 90 ball bingo is considered simpler and more accommodating. That said, 75 ball bingo has its origins in the 1920s, so it is by no means an exclusively online phenomenon.
Online, though, 75 ball is virtually just as common as 90 ball bingo and is offered by all major online bingo sites. It’s certainly one of the most common forms, so it’s one worth thinking about playing if you’re just getting started.
- 52 Ball Bingo
This form of the game is something of a blend of the two above. Obviously, it has fewer balls, only 52 this time, so play has to be made more interesting in other ways—the games, naturally, are going to be shorter, and faster paced. Nonetheless, 52 ball bingo remains among the most common forms played today.
52 ball bingo differs from the other two forms in one major way: the balls are not balls, but cards. Hence, there are 52 cards in a pack. You are handed five cards at the beginning of the game, and you mark them off as they are called.
This small number of cards, as you might expect, means that there is only one way to win 52 ball bingo: a full house. There are no prizes for lines or anything like that. You just have to get all of your cards called to win.
Though the prizes will generally be smaller than larger games, one of the great advantages of 52 ball bingo is that it gives you a much better chance of winning. Naturally, if you have to mark off 20 or so numbers out of a call of 90, which gives you only about a 2/9 chance of winning.
With 52 ball, you’ve got a much higher chance, since there are fewer numbers to be read out and to mark off.
Finally, one of the less traditional bingo games is known as slingo. It is a mix of both bingo and slots, combining the best elements of both games. You’ll receive a card with 25 numbers in 5 columns.
The player has to hit the spin button on a slots game, and they will receive five numbers. If your card has one of these numbers, they will be marked off as you go.
The aim is to create a ‘slingo’—that is, a row, diagonal, or column of marked off numbers. When you create a slingo you are awarded a certain number of points, and at the end of the game, whoever has the most points wins.
Slingo, as you can see, is certainly a newer form of the game, and generally limited to online bingo halls. They require special software to work properly, as a bingo game with everyone sat at a physical slot machine wouldn’t be too smooth.
Bingo comes in a great variety of forms, then, and all of the main forms are extremely popular. The traditional games like 90 and 75 ball are just as popular as they ever were, and still are by far the most common varieties. The market for bingo games is ever changing, though, and now we have innovators at every level making the games more exciting.