UK Bingo – Definitive Guide (2024)

  • 6 mins read

What are the rules of UK bingo? Why is online bingo usually more advantageous than live games? Whilst you’re here, let us teach you some bingo lingo terms too.

  • UK Bingo is played with 90 balls, and 9×3 tickets which have 15 numbers and 12 blank spaces. We cover how the game works, and how you win.
  • We then look at 5 big advantages of playing online bingo, compared to playing in a brick and mortar venue. These most important of these is automatic daubing – so you won’t make a mistake as regards marking off numbers (as you might do live, costing you a big win). Also, there’s the possibility of more cards per game, a bigger community to chat with, smaller games, bigger games, and exciting bingo variants!
  • Know what number ‘Fat lady with a walking stick’ is? How about ‘Nearly there’? We pick out common bingo lingo that’s useful to know.
  • If you’ve ever had a question about UK Bingo, this definitive guide covers it all.

What are the rules of 90 Ball UK bingo?

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

uk bingo rules

In the UK 90 balls are in the draw. Usually bingo tickets consist of 15 numbers and 12 blank squares. Bingo tickets usually have 9 x 3 = 27 squares. In each row there are 5 numbers present, meaning 4 squares are blank. You can buy a strip of 6 tickets, meaning you have all 90 numbers. This means you will be able to cross off any number in the draw. Of course, this does not mean you will necessarily win anything. This is because the numbers you need to win may across more than one ticket.

How do you win a 90 Ball UK 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. Automatic daubing (which is a key advantage of online bingo too) prevents mistakes. 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. Sometimes, you will pay a lower cost per card. Automatic sorting of your cards makes it easier to spot winning cards.

As you can see bingo rules are really easy to understand. Just make sure to daub your numbers correctly, and declare wins immediately, if playing live.

FIVE Reasons Why online bingo Is Better (Than live bingo)

Automatic daubing – our pick of the advantages of online bingo

You don’t need to daub your numbers – this is automatic. Plus, automatic sorting and highlighting of your best cards.

This means you won’t make a mistake as regards marking off numbers (as you might do live, costing you a big win), making this our pick of the top 5 advantages of online bingo.

More cards per game

You can usually purchase more cards per game. Of course this will cost you more, but usually improve your odds of winning. You may even pay less per card depending on any deals available, when bought as part of a bundle!

Online chat & community

You have the opportunity to use online chat with other players from all over the UK or even worldwide, possibly building lasting relationships and a community with a far greater reach of players than you would at your local live venue. Also, as your numbers are automatically daubed, you can spend your time chatting, without worrying about making costly mistakes.

Smaller & bigger games

You can usually play for much smaller amounts per card (even 1p per card) than would be viable at a live location. Also, whilst live bingo have some notable big prize games (usually by linking various clubs to create a bigger game), games with big or even life changing jackpots are more frequent online. If playing bigger games, remember to practice bankroll management – we cover this in our sports betting mistakes definitive guide – but, this applies to any form of gambling such as bingo.

Exciting Variants

You could also play different versions of bingo not available at your local venue, such as American 75 ball bingo. Just like poker players enjoy variants, bingo players may find different bingo game types much more interesting than playing exactly the same game every time!

Familiarise yourself with Common UK bingo ball nicknames

Bingo callers may use UK bingo ball nicknames (or ‘bingo lingo’), for each ball. They may say “Two little ducks, 22.” Some callers will use different nicknames from those indicated below, and/or only use nicknames for some of the balls drawn. Here are some examples of interesting nicknames for certain balls. Knowing these nicknames is not essential to understanding how bingo works, but might be fun nevertheless.

what the number looks like

uk bingo nicknames

The visual resemblance or similarities to other things, of numbers when written down gives rise to various common nicknames. Some of these are perhaps the most famous and well known bingo ball nicknames, and are easy to remember.

  • 2 One little duck
  • 22 Two little ducks
  • 11 Legs eleven
  • 8 One Fat Lady
  • 81 Fat lady with a walking stick
  • 88 Two fat ladies


Well known names for quantities are a source for some nicknames.

  • 6 Half a dozen
  • 12 One dozen
  • 20 One score


These are extremely hard to guess without learning. These are our least favourites nicknames, as they could easily refer to multiple numbers – for example weight and wait rhyme with any number ending with an eight, shine rhymes with any number ending with a nine, and more with any number ending with four. Nevertheless, here are some examples.

  • 28 Overweight
  • 29 Rise and shine
  • 34 Ask for more
  • 58 Make them wait

90 possible balls

In UK bingo, there are 90 balls in total (compare to US bingo, where there are 75 balls). As such, various nicknames arise:

  • 45 Halfway there
  • 89 Nearly there
  • 90 Top of the shop


Nicknames referring to well known superstitions related to numbers:

  • 7 Lucky
  • 13 Unlucky for some