When you enter a bingo hall you can easily pick out the least experienced players from the rest of the crowd. New players glance around in confusion as they lose track of who is winning. Let's break down what happens in a game of bingo so that we can see exactly what is happening. Then we'll take a look at how you can improve your chances of winning at bingo.
Bingo is a special type of lottery game. A typical bingo game uses 75 or 90 numbers and you have to match a pre-determined pattern of numbers based on what is called out. Unlike the lottery drawings you see on television, where only a few numbers are pulled, in a bingo game the caller continues to draw numbers until a specific pattern on the cards is filled out by one or more players. The first player to call "Bingo" wins the round, but sometimes you may get a couple of people calling "Bingo" together.
When you search for bingo tips you'll inevitably find articles discussing strategies proposed by L.H.C. Tippett and Joseph Granville. These systems are dubious at best due to a common flaw in all gambling systems based on probability theory. The flaw is very simple, too. Probability distributions only tell you what happened in the past over a given set of experiments. No probability distribution can predict the future. If that were possible there would be no gambling games today, or they would look very different from the games we enjoy.
Still, people want to hang their hats on a post rather than drop them on the floor, so they pick a system and hope for the best. Here is what Tippett and Granville have to say about improving your chances of winning at Bingo.
Tippett's system assumes you are playing a 75 ball game. He argues that numbers ranging from 1 to 18 or 58 to 75 are more likely to be called in a "short" game where relatively few balls are drawn; conversely, Tippett's system says that as more balls are drawn they are more likely to fall into the range of 19 to 57.
Granville's system seeks the broadest possible coverage because you cannot predict the future. If you assume an unlimited number of Bingo games, you should see a fairly even distribution in the numbers being called. Hence, Granville recommends choosing Bingo cards that contain as even a distribution as possible of numbers ending in all digits from 0 to 9, as even a distribution as possible of even and odd numbers, and as even a distribution as possible of high and low numbers.
Both systems will "work" and "fail" on a completely random basis, but you'll find people who swear by one, the other, both, or neither. And that is really all you need to know about how well probability theory works with the game of Bingo or any other game relying on an unpredictable outcome. Very subtle factors could hypothetically influence game outcomes over a long period. Whoever mixes up the balls could inadvertently introduce bias into the process. But you would need a very powerful computer and many observations to detect any real bias.
If you cannot predict which numbers are most likely to be called, what can you do to improve your chances at winning in Bingo? Let's start with the low hanging fruit and work our way toward the more advanced ideas.
This is one of those eye-rolling tips, to be sure. Yes, everyone should know that buying more cards provides coverage over the called numbers. If you're an inexperienced player you won't have the motor skills you need to monitor all those cards at once. This takes practice. Experts advise new players to observe the games for a while; and then they suggest you begin play with 1-6 cards. Stick to a small set until you know the patterns and how to scan the cards quickly.
Even so, it's true that the more cards you have the better your chances of winning. But remember that the more cards in play for the entire game has a greater impact on how long the game is played than how many cards an individual plays. A game is more likely to produce a winner after 10 numbers are called with 100 cards in play than with 20 cards in play.
When you play Bingo online you may see there are X cards in play in one room and Y cards in play in another room. If you are hoping for a longer game then you want to join a room with as few cards in play as possible. But remember that other people may join the room after you and sooner or later you'll feel the temptation to jump to a less crowded room. Also, many jackpots are based on how many cards are in play so if you want to play for larger jackpots you may have to settle for a larger number of cards in play.
If a casino offers you a discount on cards, take it. You'll spread the cost of buying cards across more games, thus stretching your money further. That gives you more money to play with.
The number of players in a game does not directly impact the outcome, but the fewer players you see in a room the less likely that any of them will win quickly. Hence, you're more likely to see long games in a small crowd unless everyone is playing 20-30 cards.
If you're not ready to risk big money on Bingo, you can find online casinos that will advance you small sums of "house credit" as "no deposit" bonuses when you register. These small sums come with a few terms and conditions but it's better to play with someone else's money when you are just learning.
If there is an online chat room you don't have to be a social butterfly but the moderator may occasionally offer special prizes. You can only win them if you are an active member of the chat.
If you want to try either Tippett or Granville's system for playing Bingo, you usually have the option of exchanging cards or choosing a different card to begin with. You'll need to practice scanning Bingo cards to recognize the number distributions you want.
Also called "side bets", in Bingo and other games you may be offered a chance to make progressive bets. These are like bets you make on the outcome of your game. Your chances of winning a progressive bet are typically less than your chances of winning a regular game.
If you play Bingo at a local hall you'll want to put together a kit that includes everything you will need: cash, daubers, cards (if you're allowed to bring them in), snacks and drinks (if you're allowed to bring them), and anything else you're likely to want during a game. Pack some tape so that you can attach your cards to the table. If you play U-Pick-Em Bingo then choose the numbers you want to play before you go in.
American Bingo favors the 75 ball game. The US version of the game uses cards or tickets where the numbers are arranged in a square pattern. Each column is labeled by a letter from the word "BINGO". The "B" column contains only numbers from 1 to 15, the "I" column contains only numbers from 16 to 30, and so on.
US style play allows more winning patterns than UK style play. The patterns must be formed on a single card. Games may produce multiple winners as several patterns may be allowed. US players have developed their own vocabulary for Bingo.
United Kingdom bingo halls favor the 90 ball game. The UK version of the game uses cards or tickets where the numbers are arranged in 3 rows of 9 columns each. Each column is assigned a range of numbers (1 to 10, 11 to 20, 21 to 30, etc.). Tickets are printed in groups or strips of 6 so that all 90 numbers appear somewhere among the 6 tickets.
The UK game begins when the caller says "Eyes down". The UK callers use a special vocabulary or jargon.