Online bingo was the shot in the arm that rescued the once popular game from a fall into certain obscurity. Once the sole preserve of elderly relatives, nowadays everybody is getting in on a piece of the action.
The first online bingo website was developed in 1996 and was a free game called “Bingo Zone” hosted on the web 1.0. It has slowly blossomed into a colossal industry with exciting versions of the classic game developed, some exclusively available on bingo websites.
Your First Step
Unsurprisingly, understanding the concept and the rules should be the first port of call for any bingo rookie. Bingo players receive one – or several – playing cards on which are printed a series of numbers arranged in a grid.
A bingo caller announces numbers which are selected at random and each player in the game must check off the numbers from their cards. During physical games a dauber (a thick pen), bingo counters or plastic windows are used to cover successfully called numbers – sometimes using electronic terminals – but online this can be done automatically.
The object, depending on the chosen variant you’re playing, is to cover up a single line of numbers, multiple lines, a specified shape or the complete card – a full house. On completing a card, players should call “line” or “house” to let the caller know that someone has won, so play can stop.
The card will then be checked to verify it has indeed won and the prize money will be awarded. On bingo websites, winners can be automatically announced, but this is not always the case, so players must maintain concentration.
Choose a Trusted Provider
The next stop on your online bingo journey should, of course, be to find a bingo website you enjoy. In such a competitive market, there are many to choose from, so it’s important you make the right decision.
Established and reliable industry mainstays like Jackpotjoy are trusted by thousands of players daily to provide exciting online bingo games with attractive prize pools. Jackpotjoy has an intuitive GUI (Graphical User Interface) that is easy to navigate, and a library of games and styles for every taste imaginable.
Beyond finding a site whose art style you like, look for a variety of secure payment methods so you know your money is being safely taken care of. Digital wallets like PayPal offer a valuable intermediary level of protection and are recommended over bank transfers and debit card payments online.
Find Your Favourite Variant
Somewhat surprisingly, to many bingo beginners, the game comes in a variety of flavours and styles, each with their own quirks and features. Finding your favourite, however, can be an exciting quest all of its own.
Try your hand at all bingo versions available on your chosen site, making use of the free play mode if it is offered or wagering the lowest amounts possible until you find your rhythm. Before starting any game, make sure you’ve read fully the accompanying rules since each game may be slightly different depending on your provider.
The main bingo games available are:
90 ball bingo – most popular in the UK and played on a 3×9 play card (with only 5 numbers on each line). Prizes are awarded to the first to complete a single line, then two lines and finally a full house. If you’re from Britain you’re likely to be familiar with many of the famous bingo calls that have crept into popular lexicon…”two little ducks, 22!”.
80 ball bingo – you’re less likely to encounter 80 ball bingo, played on 4×4 grids, but it’s still a lot of fun. It’s sometimes called “shutter bingo” as it used to be played on hard cards with shutters to cover the numbers, removing the need for daubers and bingo chips.
75 ball bingo – the most common bingo variation found in the USA, 75 ball bingo is played on 5×5 grids with the centre square allocated as a “free space”. What makes this game unique is that winners are the first to successfully complete an announced pattern: from a cross to a letter to a ladder.
30 ball bingo – a rapid fire game played on a small 3×3 play card, 30 ball bingo has become popular because of how simple, quick and exciting the games can be. It also means players are able to squeeze in more rounds of bingo into the same time frame.
Operators are on a continuous quest to develop the next exciting bingo variation, so you’ll likely encounter new games unique to each website too. If you’re a casino fan, you might also enjoy Slingo which is a slot machine style game with a bingo mechanic – it can be played solo at your own pace.
Your First Game Essentials
Once you’ve deposited funds into your online balance, you’ll be ready to start your first game. Choose a style of game that appeals to you and enter the lobby.
Read the rules for the game thoroughly so you’re not left feeling overwhelmed and then familiarise yourself with the layout of the game. The settings tab will allow you to change your stamp symbol and colour and also personalise your layout.
Most providers offer an accompanying chat room alongside the game in which you can talk to other players and even ask questions if you are unsure. When you’re ready, choose how many tickets you’d like to purchase and let the fun begin.
More tickets obviously means a higher chance of winning but with the increased outlay, the rewards are less. Hopefully you now feel like you’re prepared to enjoy your first ventures into the world of online bingo.