How to Play Bingo

In a Nutshell

How Does Online Bingo Work?

If you’re wondering how to play online bingo, the good news is that it’s simple to pick up. In a traditional, land-based bingo hall, a mechanical draw machine is used to randomly pick out numbered balls, which players match against numbers on tickets. The aim of the game is to be the first to get a winning combination on your ticket, such as a line or a particular pattern. 

Nowadays, many bingo enthusiasts choose to play online. Instead of a mechanical draw machine, random number generator (RNG) software determines which numbers are ‘drawn’. Most online bingo games also let you turn on autoplay, so the numbers are automatically marked on your card, and if you get a winning combination, it’s automatically called for you. 

Read on to find out how to play online bingo so you can ghetto grips with the classic game. 

Step by Step

How to Play Bingo in Nine Steps

Although bingo is a simple game, it can seem confusing to the uninitiated, so here’s a rough guide to how to sign up to a site, claim your bonus and start play bingo online. 

  1. First, find the best bingo site for you by browsing our top online bingo sites page. You’ll find a wealth of information on how to choose a bingo site, the kinds of games on offer, and the latest promos. 
  2. Click the link to be taken straight over to the signup page. 
  3. When you’re signing up, most bingo sites will get you to create a username, which will be displayed when you play in any of the bingo rooms. Make sure you use a unique name for privacy.
  4. Unless you’ve been given a no deposit bonus for signing up, you’ll need to add funds to your account. Just navigate over to the cashier page and make your deposit using your preferred payment method.
  5. Once you’re ready to play, head to the site’s bingo area and you’ll be able to see a list of available rooms. You’ll usually be able to see the ticket prices, the potential prizes that can be won, and a countdown to when the game starts. Some sites also publish a schedule of bingo games for the bigger linked and jackpot games.
  6. Select as many tickets as you want, within your budget. Don’t forget, with automatic play, the numbers are marked off automatically, so you can play multiple tickets if you like. 
  7. When playing online bingo, you don’t usually need to pay close attention to your game, as any winning combinations tend to be automatically called. You can simply sit back and watch while the numbers are marked off. You can also use the live chat feature to keep in contact with other players!  
  8. Depending on the type of bingo you’re playing, there may be multiple winning combinations available, including lines or a full house. Once a full house is called, the round is over. 
  9. Some online bingo sites also have large jackpot prizes, which are awarded to players who meet a certain challenge, such as getting a full house within a certain number of calls. You’ll be automatically notified if you’ve won. 

Rules

How to Play Bingo

There aren’t many bingo rules that you’ll need to learn before playing. One thing to keep in mind is that there are a few different varieties of bingo out there. It’s worth reading up on your chosen game before you play, so you understand how it works and what to expect. 

Bingo Game Variations

The main differences between the types of bingo are the number of balls, how many numbers are on each ticket, and the potential winning combinations. Let’s take a closer look at how to play bingo, from variation to variation.

How to Play 90-Ball Bingo

Tickets for 90-ball bingo have 15 numbers, interspersed with blank spaces across a 3×9 grid. The first column on the ticket will have numbers from 1-9, the second column will have numbers from 10-19, and so on. As the name implies, 90-ball bingo has 90 numbers that are called at random, and there are three ways to win:

  • One-line – When you mark off all numbers in a horizontal line on your ticket
  • Two-line – When you mark off two horizontal lines on a ticket, either on the same ticket that had a one-line win, or a different one
  • Full house – When you mark off every number on your ticket, giving you the grand prize for that round

How to Play 80-Ball Bingo

80-ball bingo tickets have 16 numbers between arranged on a 4×4 grid, and each column is a different colour. The first column features numbers from 1-20, the second features numbers from 21-40, and so on. There are different ways to win at 80-ball bingo, depending on the game in question:

  • Lines – When you mark off horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines on your ticket
  • Corners – When you mark off the four corners of your ticket
  • Pattern – When you mark off the numbers corresponding to a designated winning pattern
  • Full house – When you mark off every number on your ticket

How to Play 75-Ball Bingo

Tickets for 75-ball bingo have 24 numbers set on a 5X5 grid, with a ‘free’ space right in the centre, which is counted as already marked. The top of the grid has letters spelling out BINGO. Under the B, the column has numbers 1-15, under the I it’s numbers 16-30, and so on. With 75-ball bingo you have a few possible ways to win:

  • Lines – When you mark off horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines on your ticket
  • Corners – When you mark off the four corners of your ticket
  • Coverall – When you mark off all 24 numbers, to end up with a full house
  • Pattern – When you mark off the numbers corresponding to a designated winning pattern

How to Play 30-Ball Bingo 

30-ball bingo is a quickfire version of bingo that’s popular with online players. Some sites call it speed bingo. Tickets have just nine numbers, arranged in a 3×3 pattern. Column one has numbers from 1-10, the middle column has numbers from 11-20, and the third column has numbers from 21-30. There’s typically only one way to win 30-ball bingo, and that’s to mark all numbers off your card. This allows for short rounds and simple gameplay.

Online and Offline

Online Bingo vs. Bingo Halls

Wondering how online play differs from a trip to your local bingo hall? Here’s a comparison of the two ways to play.

Variety of Games

Online bingo offers so much more variety than brick-and-mortar bingo halls. In the latter, 90-ball bingo is the variety you’re most likely to come across, though bingo halls may sometimes offer some different types on their schedule. Sign into an online bingo site, and you’ll often be able to try out 90-ball, 80-ball and 75-ball during any playing session. The virtual bingo rooms also feature colourful and quirky themes that are fun to explore.

Jackpots

While bingo halls can offer sizeable jackpots, the sheer number of players who play online bingo means that you’ll get a larger selection of jackpots to play for. There can be daily jackpot prizes, as well as progressive jackpots that expand as more players get involved, with the potential to provide big cash outs to lucky winners. 

Chat Rooms

One thing that many players love about bingo halls is the social aspect. While online bingo can’t completely replicate the feel of a real-life bingo hall, most games have chat rooms where players can have a natter, complete with emojis. 

Game Features

Playing in a bingo hall means you need to get your eyes down and use your dabber to mark off your cards. You have to pay close attention throughout, or you may miss out on a win. By contrast, online bingo is a much more relaxed experience. Most sites have features including autoplay, which automatically marks off numbers as they are called. When you get a winning combination, you will be automatically notified, so there are no missed prizes. 

Some sites also offer best card sorting, which is where tickets are arranged in order of which one is most likely to win. For example, if a ticket is just one number away from a full house, it’ll move to the top. Another popular feature is best card highlighting, where tickets that are close to a win will be highlighted, or an alert will sound to get your attention. 

Bonuses and Promotions

Some brick-and-mortar bingo halls have new member offers. For example, you may get free tickets when you join, or vouchers for discounted food and drink. However, playing online bingo tends to put a wider selection of bonuses and promotions at your fingertips. Some sites provide bingo tickets or access to free bingo rooms, simply as a gift for signing up. There may also be promotions that can be unlocked when you make your first deposit. This can be in the form of a matched deposit bonus or a certain number of bingo tickets. If the site also has casino games, you might get bonuses such as free spins for slots thrown in, too.

Ready to Play?

Get Started Playing Bingo

Bingo is one of the most popular games in the world, coming in a range of different varieties and formats. So now that you know the basics of how to play, you can sign up to a top bingo site. Read through our list of the best bingo sites available to you to claim a welcome bonus and start playing top games.

FAQs

What is the best bingo game type?

There is no definitive best bingo game type. Different formats will appeal to different people for different reasons. If you fancy a lot of quickfire games, then the 30-ball variation is for you. But if you want to play a less intense type of game, then 90, 80 and 75-ball bingo is probably the option for you.