Bingo is a popular game around the world. There are many variations, but the most popular way to play is with a card that contains 24 numbers and one free space. Bingo is not a difficult game, but a thorough understanding of the rules and procedures involved will help you get started more easily.
A bingo card is a five-by-five table of squares with a number in each square except for the one in the center. That center square is called the “free space” and can automatically be marked by all players as completed.
Each column has a letter at the top, which together spell out B-I-N-G-O. The spaces in the B column are marked with numbers between 1 and 15, I numbers are between 16 and 30, N numbers are between 31 and 45, G numbers are between 46 and 60 and O numbers are between 61 and 75. Since there are only five spaces in each column (or four in the middle), there are thousands of unique number combinations for bingo cards.
A caller is the master of ceremonies for a bingo game and randomly draws and calls out letter columns and numbers. For example, he might call “G54.” Players then look at their cards, specifically the G rows, to see if they contain the number 54. If they mark the spot as completed.
The object of a bingo game is to fill up your card according to house rules. This usually means marking all the numbers in a column, row or diagonal, or by filling an entire card.
When someone's card is filled accordingly, he must yell out "Bingo" in order to claim a prize. If two or more people call out at the same time and more than one has in fact filled her card, they each win a prize. In the case of cash prizes, the money is split among the winners.
Prizes typically range from small trinkets to large cash payouts--as high as $10,000 in some bingo games in Las Vegas.
Charlie Jay has written for publication for close to five years, with experience on community and college newspaper staffs. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish and served in several editorial positions for publications at his college.