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Written by OnlineBingoCity Team Bingo Experts
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How to Play Online Bingo

Let’s kick things off with a rundown of the basics of online bingo gameplay. If you’re already somewhat familiar with the game, stick around to refresh your memory and maybe learn something new. If you’re a complete newbie, don’t worry, we’ve got you! Getting into the game of bingo starts with joining a good online bingo site, such as those which have been carefully reviewed on our site here, so it’s a good idea to opt for one of them to ensure your experience is the best it can be. Then, your basic steps are as follows:

  • Get a bingo card (or two!)
  • Mark off your numbers to form a pattern
  • Call “line” or “house”
  • Collect your winnings!

Once you’ve joined your online bingo site of choice, make your first bingo deposit, claiming any welcome bonus that’s available, then you’re ready to get your game on!

Getting Your Bingo Card

Once you’re signed in and loaded up with some funds to play with, the first thing you’ll need to do is buy your bingo cards/tickets. There are usually a number of games to choose from, but it’s probably best to stick with one of the most popular games to start with, such as the 90-ball or 75-ball varieties. Many online bingo sites feature a section for beginners that includes the classic versions of the game, so you can get used to how it all works.

Buying tickets for your bingo game of choice is as simple as choosing how many tickets you want, then clicking to make the purchase. The funds will then be deducted right from your bingo account balance. The price per ticket depends on the game, with many starting as low as just 1p! You can buy anything from a single ticket up to 6 or more tickets at once.

To play your bingo tickets, either wait until the site opens the game for you automatically, or you can visit the bingo room yourself and wait for the start time.

Bingo Card Patterns

So you’ve got your bingo tickets and you’re ready to play but what exactly are you looking for? The aim in bingo is to mark off numbers as they’re drawn and announced to complete a line or pattern or get a full house.

For example, in 90-ball bingo, your ticket will consist of a 3×9 grid with numbers and spaces. During the course of the game, numbers will be drawn and called, with any matches on your card being marked off, either automatically by the game or manually by you. If you’re the first player to mark off every number on a horizontal line, you’ll win the 1 line prize. Mark off 2 lines and you’ll get the 2 lines prize. If you’re lucky enough to be the first player to mark off every number on your ticket, you’ll get the big full house prize!

Other bingo games offer different ways of winning. For example, in 75-ball bingo, the ticket is a 5×5 grid, with prizes awarded for horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines. In other variants of the game, you’ll win a prize for marking off numbers in a specific set pattern.

How to Win at Bingo

Prizes in online bingo are won by marking off enough numbers on your bingo card to complete a line or pattern or all of the numbers for a full house. Once the game begins, numbers will be drawn at random and called. Any matches on your bingo cards need to be marked off. By default, this happens automatically, but you can also switch the auto daub feature off and manually mark off the numbers yourself.

Since other players will be playing at the same time, you need to cross your fingers and hope that you’re the first to mark off enough numbers to make 1 line, 2 lines or the full house if you want that prize!

Wins are usually flagged automatically and announced to all players, with the community chat often erupting with congratulations for the winner. How much can you expect to win? Prizes depend on the game you’re playing. For example, penny bingo only costs a few pence to play but you could win jackpots of £100 or even more! Some games have set prizes, whilst others offer linked and progressive jackpots that can top thousands of pounds!

How to Call Bingo

So what do you do when you’ve matched enough numbers to win a prize? Traditionally, winning bingo players need to stand up and shout ‘Bingo!’ to attract the caller’s attention, get their ticket checked and collect their prize.

However, online bingo is a little bit different. You don’t need to shout bingo, although you can if you feel the urge! Winning lines and patterns are usually picked up automatically, with prizes dropped into your account right away. If you’re playing manually, you might need to hit a bingo button to register your win, so make sure you familiarise yourself with how that works before you start playing.

What does Bingo Lingo Mean?

Two little ducks? Knock at the door? Garden gate? If you’ve ever heard these phrases and wondered what they are, here’s your answer: bingo lingo! Bingo lingo for bingo beginners is useful, as it helps you get into the game. These are phrases that often rhyme with the numbers they represent, with many of them dating back several decades. At offline bingo venues, the caller often says either the phrase or the number, with the players responding with the opposite.

Here are a few common examples of bingo lingo and where they come from:

  • Two little ducks: Number 22 – Each 2 looks a bit like a duck!
  • Knock at the door: Number 4 – Rhymes with the number
  • Garden gate: Number 8 – Another number rhyming phrase
  • Legs eleven: Number 11 – The 1s look like a pair of legs!
  • Unlucky for some: Number 13 – This number is often associated with bad luck
  • Dancing Queen: Number 17 – Abba’s song of the same name mentions 17
  • Two fat ladies: Number 88 – Each 8 looks like a fat lady!

Bingo variations

There are many different types of bingo games available to play online today, giving you lots of exciting options to try out!

Most beginners get started with the most popular British classic game, that is, 90-ball bingo, which features 3×9 grid tickets, the numbers 1-90 and prizes for 1 line, 2 lines and the full house.

Another favourite is the American classic game of 75-ball bingo, which features a 5×5 grid ticket, the numbers 1-75 and prizes for horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines and the full house. In addition, some 75-ball bingo games offer payouts for various patterns and shapes, such as crosses, pluses, letters and around 300 or so others!

80-ball bingo is much like 75-ball bingo, but with a more colourful theme, a 4×4 grid and the numbers 1-80. This game used to be played at bingo halls and was known as shutter board bingo due to the fact that you had to close little windows to mark off the numbers. Online versions of this game usually pay prizes for horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, various patterns and the full house. You can also get a payout for marking off all four corners in some games.

There are, of course, many other types of bingo games available online, including the more thrilling Speed Bingo, the playing card based 52-5 Bingo, the double up prizes and progressive jackpots of Bubble Up Bingo, and various games based on popular slots and TV shows including Fluffy Favourites Bingo and The Masked Singer Bingo.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you should definitely give Slingo a try too! Slingo is a mashup between slots and bingo, with the game consisting of a 5×5 grid bingo card and a single row of reels underneath. Spinning the reels reveals numbers that you can then mark off the grid to make lines for prizes. The reels also give you the chance to win instant prizes, the ability to mark off any number in the column or the whole grid, or even free spins!

Bingo History

It may surprise you to know that bingo didn’t originate in the UK or even the US! The game is believed to be based on Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia, or the Italian lottery from around the 1530s. It quickly spread to France, where it was known as Le Lotto, before finally reaching across Europe and making it to the UK in the 18th century.

The modern version of the game was spotted at carnivals and fairs in the 1920s and subsequently marketed as Bingo by Hugh J. Ward. The game exploded in popularity in the UK when the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 came into effect, which allowed larger prizes to be won. Both Mecca and the Rank Group introduced the game to their many dance halls across the UK and the rest, as they say, is history!

Today, while there are still a number of bingo halls dotted around the country, the convenience and easy accessibility of online bingo has made it an extremely popular choice with players, with some 3.5 million people now playing the game online! Online bingo has a long history, from well before the internet ever existed!

Bingo Tips and Tricks

Bingo is, of course, all about luck, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tips and tricks you can put to good use to ensure you have a really enjoyable game!

  • More tickets means more chances to win
  • Play a game with fewer players
  • Find a gaming system that works for you
  • Keep track of your game spend and casino wallet

The first little trick you could try is to buy more tickets. Most sites sell their tickets in strips of 6, with each strip containing every number from 1 to 90. That way, you’ll get a match for every number called and you might even be lucky enough to pocket that first prize!

Next, pay a bit of attention to how many people have bought tickets for the game you want to play or how many players are in the room you’re playing in. The more players there are, the less likely you are to be the first to make a line and win a prize.

Many players swear by certain systems, which claim to guarantee wins on a regular basis. For example, Tippett’s system suggests that in 75-ball bingo, early numbers called tend to be around 1 and 75 while later numbers tend to be closer to 38. Granville’s system posits that players should choose bingo cards with a balance of even and odd numbers, high and low numbers and those ending in consecutive numbers.

Of course, these systems don’t take into account the fact that the numbers in online bingo are drawn by a Random Number Generator (RNG). However, they are fun to try all the same.

Another great tip is to plan your strategy carefully. It’s tempting to spend a lot of time in the chat window gossiping with other players, but many find that distracting when looking for wins, especially if you’ve chosen to mark off the numbers yourself. In fact, many players opt for the auto daub feature for that very reason, leaving them free to enjoy a good natter without missing out on those all-important wins!

Finally, do remember to keep track of your activity. It’s very easy to lose sight of how much you’re spending and end up emotionally involved in the game. Bingo should always be about having fun, so if you find yourself getting upset that you didn’t win or intent on chasing your losses, that’s a good time to stop and have a break.

Bingo Etiquette

There are certain things you must do and other things you really shouldn’t do when it comes to playing at bingo halls. For example, it’s the height of bad bingo manners to be rustling crisp packets or chatting away during the game! Players are expected to keep noise to a minimum so everyone can listen out for their numbers being called.

However, what about online bingo? Is there an unspoken set of rules that you have to follow so you don’t tick people off? Luckily, the atmosphere at most online bingo sites is very friendly and bingo hall rules often don’t apply here. Still, there are some things to keep in mind when playing games and using the chat features at online bingo sites.

Firstly, don’t dis the chat hosts! The chat feature of each bingo room can have its own look and feel and is generally run by one or more chat hosts. These are real people who are there to provide a bit of entertainment, but they are also there to make sure everything stays friendly. They have the power to ban anyone who isn’t behaving, so make sure that’s not you!

Choose your chat name wisely. Offensive or vulgar names will result in you being banned. Sticking with the chat, it’s also good manners to not use ALL CAPS when chatting as this is usually construed as shouting or just being plain rude. Some bingo chat moderators also use capital letters to stand out and impersonating them, or anyone else for that matter, is another bannable offence.

Any kind of intolerant, rude or offensive behaviour is not permitted in the chat rooms, with players usually banned as a result. The same goes for any kind of argument or harassment.

Bingo is all about enjoying the game in a fun and friendly atmosphere, so as long as you do your best to keep it that way, you’ll have a great experience.

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How to Play Online Safely

It’s important to know that both your personal details and your hard-earned cash are safe when playing online bingo, but how can you make sure that this is the case? Here are a few tips for keeping your online bingo gameplay safe and secure:

  • Choose a reputable online bingo site: Only join a site that is properly licensed and carefully reviewed, such as those listed here at Online Bingo City
  • Use trusted payment methods: Stick with the options you already use for online transactions and make sure they’re in your name
  • Never share your details: Don’t give your login or payment details to anyone and get in touch with the support team if you think your details have been found or used by anyone
  • Don’t play when you’re fuming: When you’re emotionally charged, it’s easy to rage-buy and regret it later
  • Get help if you need it: Top online bingo sites all offer various levels of support, from the customer service team to responsible gaming tools, so be sure to use them


Still have questions about how to play bingo? Take a look at our FAQs below for the answers.

Bingo is a numbers game that involves a set of numbered balls that are drawn at random, bingo tickets/cards each containing a different combination of some of those numbers and a dauber/dabber for marking off matching numbers.

Bingo is played by first buying tickets/cards, then marking off numbers that match those called or announced during the draw.

The goal of the game of bingo is to be the first player to mark off enough numbers to win a prize. In some cases, numbers must be marked off in a specific pattern to trigger a prize.

Prizes are awarded to the first player in the game that marks off enough numbers to complete 1 line, 2 lines or a full house. In other games, marking off patterns such as all the corners of the card or filling a specific shape will trigger a prize.

Bingo comes in a many varieties, including the British favourite of 90-ball bingo, which is played on a 3×9 grid, the American favourite of 75-ball bingo, which uses a 5×5 grid, and 80-ball bingo, which involves marking off patterns on a 4×4 grid. You can also find other bingo games such as Speed Bingo, Bubble Up Bingo, slots and TV show based bingo games and Slingo.

In bingo halls, the bingo caller is the person who shouts out the bingo numbers as they are drawn so that players know which ones to look for on their tickets. Callers are also seen as entertainers, with many of them using popular bingo lingo as a way to engage with players and make the game more fun. Online bingo games don’t use real bingo callers, with numbers drawn by Random Number Generators and announced by the game, but a similar experience can be had in the chat rooms.

Online bingo games tend to offer two ways of marking off numbers. You can either let the game mark off your numbers for you automatically, which is the default option, or you can switch the auto-daub feature off and mark your own numbers.

Bingo daubers (or dabbers) are large ink-filled bottles with a sponge on the top, a bit like a huge felt-tipped pen. They are used in bingo halls to mark numbers off tickets. In online games, you’ll quite often get a visual representation of a dauber for marking off numbers.

The best tip for playing bingo is to respect other players and focus on having fun. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated and you’ll have a fantastic experience playing bingo online.

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OnlineBingoCity Team

Bingo Experts

💡 Bingo Specialist

We're fans of bingo - so much that we decided to write about it! Rating bingo sites on their game selection, safety, and how high-quality it is, we want you to get the best experience.

More on the author arrow Updated on 7 Jun, 2023