Saturday 28th December

How to play Bingo

BINGO! This game can be a fun and exciting way to spend time with friends. Find out more about playing Bingo at Lantern Club.

BINGO! Is there anything more exciting than being the person who calls out this word first at your local Bingo game?

This fun activity is enjoyed by thousands around the world. To celebrate its arrival at The Lantern Club in the form of our regular Cash Housie Bingo event (more on that soon), we’ve found some fascinating facts as well as information on how to play bingo.

The History of Bingo

So widespread and popular is Bingo that the cry of ‘Bingo’, which lets everyone know you have won, is also used as a generic term to express a sudden positive occurrence.

But where did this game begin? We may associate Bingo now with our local community club but its history dates back to Medieval Italy.

In the mid-1500s, Italians were playing "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia," the Italian lottery. This game was played with cards divided into numbered squares. The winning numbers were drawn out of a sack.

A few centuries later, the game found its way to France, where an enterprising Frenchman printed numbered cards. With three horizontal rows and nine vertical rows, the winners would need to be the first to cover a horizontal row matching numbers again drawn from a sack.

How Bingo got its name

By the early 1900s, similar games had sprung up around the world. There is a fun (though most likely fabricated) story from the US in the 1920s. A similar numbered card game to Bingo was being played at fairs and carnivals, with players using beans to cover the numbers. Because of the beans, players called ‘Beano” when they won.

Edwin S. Lowe, a struggling toy maker decided to make cards of his own. Legend says that during an early and highly spirited game, a player got over excited and yelled out “Bingo” rather than “Beano”. Lowe used the name and saved his company.

Since the game was being played under the name of “Bingo” already in the UK, the above story barely holds water but Bingo it now was and Bingo it has remained.

Differing versions of essentially the same game are played in Japan, Germany, the USA, The UK, Italy, France and Russia. The game known as Bingo is also rapidly gaining popularity throughout South East Asia. Before long, it looks like the whole world will know how to play!

The Benefits of Bingo

As much fun as it is, it turns out that Bingo is also beneficial to your health!

Concentrating on your card and listening for your numbers is an excellent exercise for your cognitive functions. Cognitive functions are the mental processes that help us to carry out any given task.

Keeping your cognitive function sharp and in practice is a good thing for anyone. It means your memory is improved or at least maintained, as well as other basic functions.

Bingo even helps fine motor skills. Some studies have shown that elderly people who play Bingo have improved fine motor function thanks to the rapid and repetitive movements the game requires.

Social Bingo benefits 

Along with this comes the obvious social benefit of a lively Bingo game. Multiple players are needed, meaning that, by default, you are in company when you play (even online there are usually chat rooms).

Having even a small amount of social interaction is crucial for mental health and Bingo is an excellent way to achieve this. For many seniors and elderly folk, Bingo nights also mean something to look forward to every week.

This is not to say that younger people can’t play too. Come along to Lantern Club’s Cash Housie event to experience the fun of bingo for yourself and potentially pick up some cash prizes.

How to Play Bingo

Now that we know how great it is, it's time to learn how to play Bingo.

The game has a number of ways to play. These differ from country to country or even from venue to venue! Make sure you check the specific rules at your venue.

With that being said, there is a basic format to any Bingo game. It is simple to follow and easy to play, which is perhaps one of Bingo’s greatest strengths.

You start by paying for your cards (generally you are charged by sets of numbered cards). A novice might start out with one card but you will see experienced Bingo players with numerous cards spread in front of them. These cards are always marked in a grid pattern, with each square containing a number. The amount of numbers on a card varies. In the US for example, the game is most commonly played with 75, as opposed to 90 in the UK.

Stack of Bingo cards

A caller will draw random numbers and call them out and players will mark off the number if it appears on their card. Different patterns and goals are used for the win but two are most common. A ‘house’ winner or ‘housie’, will have marked every number on their card for a total victory. Smaller wins are awarded for complete lines vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

Check with your venue, but usually a complete line allows you to call out “Bingo!''... without a doubt the best part of the game!

Speaking of checking with your venue, don’t hesitate to contact Lantern Club if you have any queries about upcoming Cash Housie Bingo games, or keep reading this article to find out more.

Biggest Bingo No-Nos

When you’re learning how to play Bingo, along with the rules, it is important to learn the etiquette. As stated earlier, Bingo games will vary but here is a quick list of general no-nos to help you get the most out of your game:

  • Don’t alter your card

    This is flat out cheating and you will get caught. Anyone experienced in running a Bingo game will know what to look for. Along with this, they will also most likely call you out in front of the whole group! Not a good start for a wannabe Bingo champ!

  • Don’t chatter too much

    There will be time for a talk before and in between games. When numbers are being called, stay silent. You will need to concentrate and so will those around you.

  • Don’t repeat numbers out loud

    This is an easy habit to fall into for many people. Try to repeat numbers in your head as you need to. Repeating them out loud is distracting to others and even to yourself if you don’t hear the next call. In time you will get better at recalling the numbers.

  • Don’t steal other players’ lucky seats

    If you’re new, you will notice some players making bee lines for their lucky spot. They will be very protective of their seats so you should stay back a little before choosing your spot. In time, with a few wins, you may have a lucky seat of your own.

  • Don’t cry wolf

    If you haven’t got Bingo DO NOT call it out. This will stall the game and other players will not take kindly to it.

  • Do not disrespect the caller

    The caller is in charge of the running of the game. What they say goes. The caller can not influence the numbers. The only reason to say anything to the caller is if they are too fast or not loud and clear enough. In this case, make sure you remain polite and respectful.

What to Take to Bingo Night

Know that you know how to play Bingo, you need to know what to take to your Bingo night.

Each Bingo hall or venue will be different and may need different requirements. Always double check with the venue to see if there is anything specific you will need.

That being said there are a few essentials you won’t want to be without. Firstly, a Bingo game can see you with multiple cards spread across the table. If the tables at the venue happen to be slick or slippery, you could end up with cards everywhere. Most players will bring some basic tape, glue ore blu-tack to help keep cards in place. All of these are easily found at a stationary supplier or even your local supermarket.

Depending on the seating, a comfy cushion or pillow can be a good idea, as well as snacks and a water bottle if the venue allows.

The most essential tool for any Bingo player though, is the Bingo dabber. Also known as daubers, these are a type of felt tip pen with a very large nib for marking your Bingo cards. There are many different brands and styles available and players will often become attached to their ‘lucky dabber’. Most venues will sell dabbers but they are also easily found online.

“BINGO!”: Some Amazing Bingo Stories

Bingo is such a popular game that it holds several places in the Guinness Book of World Records. Now that you know how to play Bingo, you might hope to get as lucky as UK resident Soraya Lowell did in 2008. Her winnings achieved a world record at £1,167,795; that’s over two million Aussie dollars!

Ms Lowell might not have won as much, but she would have been a part of another record if she had been in Bogota, Colombia in 2006. A retail store decided to try to set a record, and with 70,080 people flocking to their game they were more than successful. This event stands as the largest Bingo game ever! Except, that is, for an online game, which had close to 500,000 players! It’s easier to have more people in a virtual space but Coca-Cola Japan still smashed the record for number of Bingo players with this game in 2010.

A casino in Phoenix, Arizona set two very different records on one day in April this year. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, the casino played a game of Bingo with 1.2m high balls and a card almost 2m square! This is now the largest game of Bingo ever held, with the record for largest Bingo Balls and largest Bingo Card!

Bingo cards

Play Cash Housie at The Lantern Club

Now that you know the history of, benefits and how to play Bingo it’s time to find a game somewhere close to you.

One location to try is The Lantern Club, where we are excited to introduce our new Cash Housie Bingo event.

Cash Housie details:

- Every Monday starting from September 23rd

- This event will be held in the Community Room

- Hosted by Learning Links with Sandy (Lantern Club's favourite bingo caller)

- Books on sale from 10:30 am

- 11 am start

Session schedule:

- 10 Club Bingo games

- 1 BSG Rewards bonus game

- Break

- 5 Cash Housie full house games

- 1 Cash Housie jackpot full house game

- $12 per book

Lantern Club Cash Housie bingo prizes:

- A mix of $20 Coles gift cards, $20 Woolworths gift cards and $20 Lantern Club vouchers.

- Cash Housie prizes: $50 cash per game

- Jackpot starts at $50 and goes up $50 each session until claimed

Anyone can play - both members and non-members. Join us at The Lantern Club for Cash Housie and have some fun with your friends and the local community.