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Bingo Rules for Beginners

Publish Date:17/03/2020
Fact checked by: Jordan Noble

Understanding Bingo Rules

Bingo rules in the UK are not too difficult to understand, but we wanted to help any new starters who might not have played the game before.

At Betting.co.uk, we have you covered with our simple guide to bingo rules. We will go through the rules of bingo, both online and in a bingo hall, so you can make the most out of your next visit to one of the UK’s bingo operators.

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The rules of bingo – At a glance

Where have you been your whole life if you don't already know the rules of bingo?

Just kidding — check out the below summary:

  • Each player is given cards with a separate set of numbers on them
  • The bingo caller selects numbers at random from a machine randomiser
  • Each number is called out and the players mark down the number if it’s on their sheet
  • The aim is to get either a diagonal, horizontal or vertical line on your sheet
  • If you manage to get a line shout "house" to let the caller know you've won
  • The caller will cross reference your bingo card with the numbers they have called
  • If your numbers are all correct, you have won!

bingo balls

Eyes down! - In-depth bingo rules UK

Bingo rules are very simple. Essentially, you begin with a card filled with 24 numbers and one blank space. Numbered balls will be drawn at random and announced by the caller. If the number on your card matches any being called, you mark them off. This continues until someone can call “Bingo!”

Below, we’ll look deeper into the ins and outs of the game, provide a full guide to the Bingo rules and etiquette you’ll need to follow both on and offline, and much more besides…

The bingo lingo – What does it all mean?

One thing that you might like to know and that could come in handy while playing is the nicknames for the various numbers. Here are some of them to give you a flavour of what you can expect, with each nickname for the first five numbers.

  1. Kelly’s eye; at the Beginning; Nelson’s Column
  2. One little duck; me and you
  3. Cup of tea; you and me; one little flea
  4. Knock at the door
  5. Man alive

Bingo rules UK: Different types of bingo rules to remember

This may come as a surprise to you but there are in fact different types of bingo and, like baccarat rules, each variant come with their own set of rules. We’ve quickly taken a look at these different rules to help you in case you end up playing a different version online as opposed to the bingo rules UK operators use.

Bingo rules UK

Also known as 90-ball bingo or European bingo, consists of 90 numbers. Each card or bingo ticket as it’s usually referred to, is made up of 3 rows and 9 columns. There will be 5 numbers in each row along with some blank spaces.

In the first column will have numbers between 1 and 9, the second column will have numbers between 10 and 19 and so on until the final column, holding the numbers between 80 and 90.

There are three chances to win each Bingo game. One would be to cover a line, another would be to cover two lines and the third would be to cover all lines, making it a full house.

American bingo rules

Also known as 75-ball bingo consists of 75 numbers. Each card has 5 columns and 5 rows making 24 numbered boxes and one blank space in the middle which counts as covered. The letters BINGO are above the top line. This is because each numbered ball will have one of those letters with them, making it easier for the player to find it on their card.

There are multiple ways to win playing American Bingo, you can play for a certain pattern of which there are many, or you will have to cover 1 to 5 horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines. Another way you can win is called coverall and it's where the player covers all 24 numbers.

80-ball bingo rules

This game consists of 80 numbers and the card is a grid made up of 16 squares (4x4). Each column is coloured, the first is red and holds numbers between 1 and 20, the second is yellow and holds numbers between 21 and 40, the next is blue and holds numbers between 41 and 60 and the final column is silver and holds numbers between 61 and 80. Unlike 75-ball and 90-ball, each square holds a number, there are no blank spaces.

The winning patterns may vary with 80-ball Bingo. If you’re playing at a bingo hall, sometimes the winning patterns are displayed on the card, so look them over otherwise, there are usually members of staff that can inform you. If you choose to play online, each website should have their own winning patterns displayed. Some typical winning patterns you are likely to come across are 1,2,3 horizontal, diagonal or vertical lines and coveralls.

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Bingo etiquette: Rules to remember when playing bingo

Whether you’re playing online or in a bingo hall, there are some quick rules for bingo etiquette you need to respect and follow. Otherwise, you might find that your experience is less than enjoyable. You wouldn’t break roulette rules so why would you break bingo ones?

Respect the bingo caller

Always respect the bingo caller. The numbers will be selected at random and they have no control over which numbers come in which order. Also, don’t interrupt or distract them while they are calling numbers. Similarly when playing live casino rules, it just  slows things down and it annoys the other players, too!

Respect other players

If you’re new to a bingo hall, hold off until many of the other players are seated. Many of them like their usual spots because they see it as ‘good luck’. At the same time, be polite when online; don’t use chat functions to offend or annoy the other players.

Don’t call false bingo

There’s always someone who does this in bingo halls and it just ends up being a waste of time. It can also get you banned if it happens regularly. Luckily, online bingo has an auto dab option to minimise this happening.

You need to be of legal age

One of the most important rules for bingo, of course, is to be legal age for gambling. You need to be at least 18 years of age and some bingo halls and online sites require you to be at least 21 years old, so be prepared to prove your age and identity.

Conclusion - Get your dabber ready now you know bingo rules in the UK!

When it comes to games, Bingo is probably the most recognised worldwide. It’s simple and fun, making it easy for new players to get into. You can even try one of the best bingo apps to win money if you feel like experiencing bingo on the go.

Bingo will, however, only stay fun if the players adhere to the rules and have good bingo etiquette whether playing in a bingo hall or online so remember to be respectful to other players and those hosting or calling out the numbers.

Finally, always remember to check which type of bingo you are about to play and the winning patterns available for that game. In halls, it’ll likely be European or 90-ball bingo unless stated otherwise but online it’s likely to vary so don’t get caught out for example by following rules to 90-ball bingo whilst actually playing 75-ball bingo.

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