How to play bingo

A complete beginner's guide

Learn how to play bingo & win with MrQ! Find out everything from daubing tickets to calling bingo - become an expert roomie with our full guide.

Bingo is the communal game of chance that has charmed the British public for years. It's a game about daubing numbers, scoring line wins and trying to bag the ultimate prize: the coveted Full House. But gone are the days of crammed bingo halls - the age of online bingo is finally upon us.

In this quick guide, we are going to show you how to play bingo online, the best tips to play and show you some of our favourite games. Let's get daubing!

What is Bingo?

Bingo is a game of chance played on a numbered card or ticket. It's similar to a lottery in that random numbered balls are drawn from a special device. The drawing device (usually a cage with a mechanical handle) jumbles and randomises the bingo balls.

In a bingo hall, a "caller" is responsible for operating the drawing device and calling out the ball numbers. When a number is called (usually over an intercom system), players are expected to scan their tickets to find matching numbers.

Special pens called daubers are traditionally used in bingo halls; these are used to mark numbers on a ticket. To win a game of bingo, you need to daub all numbers across a line or over the full ticket. Once you have marked all numbers, it's time to shout "Bingo!"

How to play bingo
Step 1: Buy Your Tickets

First you will need to purchase your cards from the ticket office. Typically, these are sold in strips of six.

Top Tip: A single bingo ticket is a 3x9 grid with 27 total spaces. On each of the 3 rows, there will be 4 blank spaces and 5 spaces filled with random numbers - that's 15 numbers per ticket. Tickets are sold in strips as each card collectively makes up 90 numbers in the strip - the same number in a game of 90 ball bingo.
Step 2: Wait for the game to start

Once you have purchased your tickets, it's time to take a seat and wait for the game to begin. When the next round kicks off, the caller will draw balls from the cage and announce the numbers over the intercom.

Top Tip: Look out for screens or other visual aids to make sure you mark the right ball; with lots of chatter going on, it can be hard to hear what has been called!
Step 3: Daub the called numbers on your ticket

You will now need to scan your strip of tickets to find the matching number. Once you find a called number, mark it with your dauber to keep track of your progress in the game.

Top Tip: If you mark all numbers on your card - don't forget to shout bingo!

Playing Online Bingo vs Bingo Hall

Over the years, bingo has moved away from the classic halls to online gambling sites. Playing online bingo is very different from the traditional land based scene, and comes with many advantages such as:

No ticket daubing: All numbers are marked automatically - so you won't ever miss a number again! If you do prefer the classic daubing experience, you can switch to manual mode for a more vanilla gameplay style.

You can play on any device: Take your favourite bingo games on the go on your mobile or tablet.

Pre-buy Your Tickets: Even if you can't join a room for the bingo draw, your tickets will still be marked. If you win any prizes, these will also be paid into your account!

Choose your bingo game: You may be mostly familiar with the classic British 90 ball format. But don't forget to try other unique variants like 75 ball and coverall bingo.

Chat Games: The heart of the online bingo community is in the chat - and chat moderators keep the fun flowing with regular chat games.

How to play bingo online

First of all, you'll need to purchase your ticket(s) - just like if you were in a real bingo hall. Prices vary from game to game - but you should find the cost of each ticket visible in the room of your choice.

Depending on the version you choose to play, your tickets will either contain numbers from 1 to 90, or 1 to 75.

Once the game begins, numbered balls will be displayed in the call box. If these numbers match a digit on your ticket, then it will be automatically marked by the bingo software.

In a traditional bingo hall, a drawing device is used to randomise the balls. But in online bingo, a random number generator is used. RNG is a special software which produces random results - ensuring that all games are fair.

Online Bingo Features

One of the biggest technological enhancements in online bingo is the automatic marking of tickets. This feature alone eliminates all errors, which can be common in land based bingo. However, there are some extra software features available, including:

Autoplay: If you want to avoid the process of repeat buying tickets, you can set an option to buy them automatically. Set how many tickets you want and the number of games to autoplay for - the system will do the rest!

Ticket Sorting: Instantly see which ticket is doing the best with ticket sorting. As numbers are called and marked, the bingo software will sort the cards with the most marked numbers to the front.

Highlights: The bingo software can also highlight the ticket most likely to win. Keep your fingers crossed and watch that card - it might be your ticket to the Full House!

Types of Bingo Prizes

1 line (or 1L): Fill an entire horizontal line of numbers on your ticket. You can even shout, 'Line!' if you fancy.

2 Lines (or 2L): Same as above, but a second line of numbers is added to the challenge (on the same ticket, of course). More lines mean bigger cash rewards.

Full house: The treasured grail of all bingo players, cross off all the numbers on your ticket to win the big prize. Ranging from a couple of pounds to rolling jackpots, yelling 'BINGO!' has never been so satisfying.

Coverall: Winning a game of 75-ball bingo works a little differently. Match a set pattern of numbers to win the prize. As the song goes, the winner takes it all! Some games in this category use a 'coverall' rule that requires you to mark every number on your ticket in order to win.

90 Ball vs 75 Ball Bingo

The UK and US apply their own unique rules when it comes to playing bingo. Neither form is better than the other, and fun is practically guaranteed whether you choose a 90 or 75-ball game. Below are some of the main characteristics of each variant:

90-ball bingo: You'll be more likely to encounter a 90-ball game if you play in the UK, with tickets arranged in grids of 9 columns and 3 rows. It's perhaps the most traditional form of bingo as we know it, with single lines, double lines and full houses.

75-ball bingo: The most popular choice of bingo in the US and Australia. Somewhat trickier, it still offers the same amount of entertainment in the form of predetermined patterns, instead of left-to-right lines. Your ticket will also look different, with a 5x5 grid enclosing a star in the centre.

Different Types of Bingo

90 ball and 75 ball bingo games might be the kings of the online castle, but there are also many new types of bingo available. Here are just some of the variations you may find in your daubing travels:

Pattern Bingo: Match a pattern on a ticket and you take the main prize! You'll find out what pattern you will need in the game info - there could even be prizes for several types of patterns.

Jackpot Bingo: A special type of bingo game where calling full house in a specific number of balls will award a huge jackpot prize. The jackpot can either be fixed or progressive; in the case of progressive games, a portion of each ticket sale is used to fund the pot. That means the prize grows and grows with each ticket sale!

80 Ball Bingo: One of the newest kids to the scene - 80 ball bingo games are played on a 4x4 ticket with 16 numbers total. Mark off horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines to net some prizes. Very popular for pattern bingo games too!

Online Bingo Tips & Tricks

Want to improve your game and hit more bingo jackpots? Be a better playing by following these simple tips and tricks:

  • You have a higher chance of winning in a room with fewer players. Always be on the lookout for a smaller crowd.
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, more players in a room means there are bigger prizes to win.
  • While you can choose to mark tickets manually in online bingo, we don't recommend it; missing a number could be the difference in a Full House win
  • Have access to free bingo? Don't forget to buy your tickets - it's almost always worth claiming your freebies.
  • The chat is an excellent spot to make some friends - congratulate your fellow winners or strike up a conversation with your fellow roomies!


How many lines are in bingo?

On a 90 ball ticket, there are three lines of numbers - 75 ball tickets boast 5 lines of numbers. The lesser played 80 ball game has tickets with four lines.

Can you play bingo online for free?

Yes, there are a variety of free bingo games with real money prizes up for grabs. Access to <a href="">free bingo</a> can be tied to a deposit or as part of a welcome bonus. For example, MrQ gives you 24 hours of <a href="">free bingo</a> on a £10 deposit.

How do you play bingo online for money?

Enter a real money bingo room and buy your tickets - if you are playing with real money, you should be eligible for real money prizes. Hit a 1L, 2L or Full House to win some cash.

Is online bingo fair?

Yes, online bingo games use RNG to produce random results - keeping gameplay fair for all roomies. All games at MrQ are also regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

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