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Types of Bingo Games

There are two main types of Bingo games, these are US Bingo and UK Bingo, also known as Housie.

US Bingo

In the US and Canada bingo cards have 5 rows and 5 columns. Every cell has a number, except for "FREE", so there are 24 numbers on each bingo card. The numbers called out range from 1 to 75 and these are called our by a caller as they are randomly selected.

Most bingo games in the US and Canada are organized by churches or charity organizations for fund raising purposes. However, there are also commercial bingo halls in casinos, particularly in Nevada.

UK Bingo or Housie

A typical UK Bingo / Housie card contains fifteen numbers, arranged in nine columns by three rows. Each row contains five numbers and four blank spaces. Each column contains either one, two, or very rarely three, numbers:

  • The first column contains numbers from 1 to 9
  • The second column numbers from 10 to 19
  • The third 20 to 29 and so on up until the last column, which contains numbers from 80 to 90 (the 90 being placed in this column as well).

The game is presided over by a caller, whose job it is to call out the numbers and validate winning tickets. He will announce the prize or prizes for each game before starting. The caller will then usually say "Eyes down" to indicate that he is about to start. He then begins to call numbers as they are randomly selected, either by an electronic Random Number Generator (RNG), by drawing counters from a bag or by using balls in a mechanical draw machine. Calling takes the format of simple repetition in the framework, "Both the fives, fifty five", or "Two and three, twenty three."

The different winning combinations are:

  • Line - covering a horizontal line of five numbers on the ticket.
  • Two Lines - Covering any two lines on the same ticket.
  • Full House - covering all fifteen numbers on the ticket.
    • In New Zealand in bonus (Super Housie) games, often three lines may be claimed - top, middle and bottom, usually with much larger prizes, are also played at various times throughout the session.
    • In the UK, however, it is most common for a line game to be followed directly by a two line game and a full house game, or just by a full house game.
    • In the UK's National Bingo Game only a full house game is ever played. The record payout for the national bingo game was 950,000 and was won by a lucky customer from Gala Sheffield Parkway.
    • In all cases, the last number called must be in the winning sequence. If you do not stop the game in time, beware, because if the caller starts the next number, your claim will be deemed invalid!

Online Bingo

You can play either UK bingo or US style Bingo at online bingo halls. Of course when playing online there are no balls being selected and there is no caller as it is all done electronically with a random number generator. When playing online bingo most software types allow you to play in an auto mode which most players do as most players will play more than one bingo card at a time and using the auto mode means they will never miss a number.

Chat games are available at most online bingo halls and these usually free games often bring as much joy to the players as playing the bingo itself. The chat feature allows the players to meet, socialize and chat during the online bingo game (talking is strictly forbidden during a game in a land based Bingo Hall). Some chat games also bring the chance to win more money.

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