Guest Author - Robin Rounds Whittemore
Bingo games can be found in churches, casino's, lodges and halls, as well as county and state fairs. Carnivals, cruise ships, and many Indian Reservations offer the game. In smaller towns, even the fire halls can offer Bingo games on certain nights.
You are probably familiar with the looks of a Bingo card. The letters, B I N G O are at the top of the card heading columns of numbers. The numbers are divided up as follows. Under the letter B, you have the numbers 1 - 15. The letter I heads up numbers 16 - 30. N gets numbers 31 - 45. The G column has numbers 46 - 60. The letter O finishes up with numbers 61 - 75.
Someone is "the caller". This is the person who reaches into a hat, barrel or other container to pull out one of 75 numbered ping pong balls. Each ball is marked with a letter and a number as described above. He or she calls out the number, hence the working name of "caller".
Home versions of the game usually do not get elaborate enough to have ping pong balls that mark the letters and numbers. Most of the time, in small or home games, there are small round discs that have the letter and number to call from.
When you are playing the game, you can mark your card with pennies, see through chips, or even colored ink. The colored ink is more for the throw away cards marked on paper. The chips and harder material is for the regular card stock Bingo cards.
Some people play with just one card, while others can try to play as many cards as possible. It is not uncommon for someone to try to play 5, 10 or even 20 cards at once. In many cases, the caller goes slow enough to accommodate people that play multiple cards.
The object, of course, is to be the first one to cover the correct numbers to get a BINGO. In most cases, that means 5 numbers vertically, horizontally or even diagonally. What helps out the most in attaining that goal is that the 3rd number down in the N column usually has an empty space or it is marked free space.
Many times certain places will have special patterns that they would like you to fill. The pattern will be described for everyone. If you still have questions, there will be someone who can show you on your card what they want you to mark.
Possibly the next time you see a place that offers Bingo games, you might want to step in an try your luck. You may even make new friends and gain a new hobby.