Bingo explained for complete beginners (UK 90 ball)

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Bingo is a game where numbers are drawn (either by a machine, or by hand), and players mark the numbers on bingo card/s (that they buy in advance of the draw). Each bingo card will contain a subset of the possible numbers that could be drawn.

How does UK 90 ball bingo work?

In the UK 90 balls are used, and usually bingo tickets consist of 15 numbers and 12 blank squares (bingo tickets usually have 9 x 3 = 27 squares) – in each row 5 numbers are present, meaning 4 squares are left blank. You can buy a strip of 6 tickets, meaning you have all 90 numbers – so you will be able to cross off any number that is drawn. Of course, this does not mean you will necessarily win anything, as the numbers you need to win may be spread across more than one ticket.

How do you win a UK 90 ball bingo game?

The overall winner in a Full House game is the first person playing the game, that marks (and declares) all 15 numbers on their card. Other game types are possible, and/or some games may have prizes for marking different sets of numbers (on the same card) such as as all 4 corners, all 5 numbers on 1 line, all 5 numbers on 2 lines.

When playing live, it is usually necessary to declare you have won a prize in order to get paid out. Players may not get paid if another ball is drawn following their win, and they have yet to declare. Some venues have electronic machines you can use – numbers are automatically daubed preventing mistakes (although you must still remember to declare your win in time to claim your prize), you might get the opportunity to buy more cards per game than non-electronic players (and perhaps, at a lower cost per card), and all your cards are sorted automatically making it easier to spot winning cards.