This is a back to basics, beginners guide to the rules of bingo. Everything you ever need to know about the rules of bingo and how to play online bingo is laid out right here for you. Take a read, absorb the info and check back at any time if you find yourself lost whilst partaking in a spot of fun with your favourite bingo game. We’ll take you through all the most popular bingo variants, otherwise known as 30, 75, 80 and 90-ball Bingo. Whatever your flavour of bingo, we’ve got your back covered with our no faff, comprehensive guide to the rules of online bingo.
Playing Online Bingo
Whilst the basics of bingo rules and play always stay the same there’s quite some difference in the set up of the bingo cards and ways to win with each of the different variants. Thus meaning you need to know a little about each before you play, but we’ve got your back, so just keep reading for everything you need to know about the rules of bingo. In the UK the most popular form of online bingo is 90-ball, so let’s make it our starting point.
Bingo Rules: 90-Ball Bingo
90-Ball Bingo is the traditional format in the UK, it’s what pops to mind when you call up the image of bingo players in a hall on a Sunday night and it offers the classic gameplay. On top of being the UK’s favourite, it is also the most played version of bingo world-wide. 90-Ball Bingo offers a longer game as it has 90 balls in play and takes longer to complete a game then say 30-Ball Bingo.
A packet of 90-ball bingo cards will usually look the same as this. The packet includes 5 individual cards, but it’s normal to play them all at once. Every game of bingo starts with you buying a bingo card. A bingo caller will then start drawing and calling the numbers at random, sometimes using a special kind of bingo lingo that is unique to UK players. When a number is called that you have you blot it off on your card. When you have completed the winning combinations, by blotting them off you will be awarded prizes. An advantage of online bingo is that the bingo software will do the blotting for you if you want, which means you can play loads of bingo cards at once, giving you more chances to win! The above bingo rules are standard for all variants of the game.
As you can see on the 90-ball card, each ticket has 3 rows of bingo numbers and 9 columns. Each card contains only 15 numbers and each column can only contain specific bingo numbers. The first 1-9, the second 10-19 and so on until you hit the last column and run out of numbers having reached 90, your total number of bingo balls in play.
How to win at 90-Ball Bingo
According to the bingo rules of 90-ball, you can win in the following 3 ways:
- First Line: cover all your numbers in any of your 3 rows on a single ticket before any player and you’ll win the first stage prize, a line.
- Second Line: Cover any 2 lines on the same ticket and the second prize is yours.
- Full House: This is the ultimate win and to get it you must block off all 15 numbers on your ticket. By the time players are on this stage of the prizes tension are high as players race for the win, usually with more than 1 player waiting for their lucky bingo number to be called. When bingo was more commonly played in a bingo hall, you would have to be the first to shout bingo to win. Now, online bingo software will automatically recognises a win.
According to bingo rules, when all 3 prizes are won, the game is finished and you need to buy a new bingo ticket to play again.
Bingo Rules: 80 Ball Bingo
Whilst 75-Ball Bingo is technically more popular than 80-ball, for the sake of good order, let’s stick to numerical order. The bingo rules of 80-ball are very similar to 90-ball, however, the layout of the card and ways to win the game are different.
An 80-ball card looks like this. As you can see, it’s a 4×4 grid and contains 16 numbers, with no blank spaces. Each of the 4 columns has a different colour, which represents a number grouping:
- Red: bingo numbers 1-20
- Orange: bingo numbers 21-40
- Blue: bingo numbers 41-60
- White: bingo numbers 61-80.
You play 80-Ball Bingo the same way as 90-Ball Bingo. When your number is called you blot it off, but there are different ways to win, because of the bingo card structure.
How to win at 80-Ball Bingo
According to bingo rules and depending on how your bingo site has structured their games of 80-Ball Bingo, there can be as many as 5 ways to win the game. Check the bingo rules with your provider before playing to know which ways to win are being used.
- First Line: This is a line of only 4 numbers and can be horizontal, diagonal or vertical (exactly the same as a game of noughts and crosses!)
- Four Corners or a Square: Either blot each number in each of the 4 corners or the 4 middle numbers to black out the middle square.
- Two Lines: Anywhere on the board, horizontally, diagonal or vertically.
- Three Line: Same as the above, but with any 3 lines.
- Full House: Blot out all the numbers to finish your card and win the biggest prize.
Bingo Rules: 75-Ball Bingo
75-Ball Bingo is the most flexible and for many, fun, version of online bingo. This is because it is also pattern bingo meaning there can be loads of different ways to win 75-Ball Bingo. A 75-ball card looks like this. As you can see it already looks different from 90 & 80 ball cards. Its square, made up of 5×5 numbers, with a blank space in the middle and Bingo written across the top. There are 25 squares in total, the blank square makes it possible to complete patterns.
As with the other kinds of bingo card, there is an order to the columns and which numbers they contain:
- B: 1-15
- I: 16-30
- N: 31-45
- G: 46-60
- O: 61-75
How to win at 75-Ball Bingo
The rules of bingo for the 75 variant are exactly the same as standard bingo, except- and this is quite big, you can win by making patterns on the bingo card. There are the standard ways to win such as:
- One Line: This can, if you are playing One Line Bingo, be the top prizes and is the first player to get one line in any direction, equalling bingo.
According to the bingo rules, on top of these ways to win bingo the site you play with may also include patterns, which they will announce before the game starts and can be any of the 300 bingo patterns used thus far. Some well used winning patterns are:
- Double Line: two full lines either down, across or diagonal
- X: Complete two lines to make an X across your card- this is one of the easiest patterns you can make in 75-Ball Bingo.
- Full House: Get a blackout and cover all the numbers on your card for the biggest prize.
By adding an air of creativity to the bingo rules, 75-Ball Bingo has created a huge following and is the most played version of bingo in the USA.
Bingo Rules: 30-Ball Bingo
Known as speed bingo, this game offers the fastest gameplay and the smallest bingo card, it’s great to enjoy on the go or when you’re in a fix for time. The rules of 30-Ball Bingo follow on from the rest in the same fashion. It’s the same basic bingo rules, but with a twist. 30-ball is the last variant we’ll go through today.
The card looks like this and is a 3×3 square with only 9 numbers. There are 30 bingo balls in play with
- Column 1: 1-10
- Column 2: 11-20
- Column 3: 21-30.
How to Win at 30-Ball Bingo
The only way to win 30-Ball Bingo according to the bingo rules is to get the all-valuable full house. Due to the smaller size of the card, this happens quickly in 30-Ball Bingo meaning this bingo variant dishes out top prizes in what feels like endless action. It’s a great and fun way to earn some fast cash.
What is the Best Variant of Bingo to Play?
We won’t lie to you, it is possible to statistically tell you which variant works and pays better. Our specialists calculated it and then realised the difference was so negligible that your winning chances are probably better increased by just having more fun and picking the variant that gets you excited. One that you really want to play and will come back to. Remember Bingo is not really a game of strategy, but more luck, so just embrace the numbers game and have fun. If you like quick games or have a short time limit stick to 30-ball or if you’d rather go a little slower and spend more time over each card, play 90-ball. Want to go wild? Try a bit of 75-ball and see where the patterns take you.
How to Start Playing Online Bingo
Knowing the bingo rules is just the beginning, but a damn fine place to start. To commence playing online bingo, you first need to find an online site that suits your needs and expectations as a player. We rate and review what we know to be the best online bingo sites, you can see who we think is the best of the bunch right here. Why not find out about playing bingo for free whilst you’re there?