Bingo, whether played on a computer or in person, is a game most people have heard of. Those who have never played it, however, may not be familiar with the rules and procedures that govern the game. They may not even be aware that there are two major forms of bingo in the world: 90-ball and 75-ball.
Rules for 90-Ball Bingo
As the name suggests, 90-ball bingo is played with 90 balls, each one of which is marked with a number from 1 to 90. In bingo halls, a physical machine will spit out balls for a caller to announce; in some places, the caller will reach into a bin and pull out a ball at random. In online bingo, a virtual machine will choose a ball for the caller.
Once the number is announced, players search their cards for that number. The number will appear once on a card or not at all. Playing several cards at once increases the odds of getting the number. 90-ball bingo uses cards with three rows and nine columns. Players win either by marking off all the numbers on the card in a “full house” or “coverall” game, or by marking five numbers in a horizontal row in a regular game. 90-Ball bingo is most common in the UK.
Rules for 75-Ball Bingo
Only the numbers 1-75 are used in this form of the game. In person or with online bingo, these players use a 5×5 card with the square in the centre considered “free,” which means that it is marked by default. Players mark their cards as in the UK version, but there are many winning patterns depending on the game being played.
Players might need to mark off numbers forming a complex pattern such as a barbell, or they might only need to form a straight line of five numbers in a row. Whatever the pattern needed, the centre square can be used if needed.
75-ball bingo is most common in the U.S.
Calling out “Bingo!”
In both versions of the game, the winner is the person who achieves a bingo first and calls it out. Players that fail to notice they have scored a bingo will forfeit their prize if another player achieves bingo and calls it out.