Key differences between land-based and online
Land-based bingo is played in a range of physical venues, including bingo halls, community centres, and even, when the weather allows, open-air spaces. Furthermore, it puts you in the same physical space as hundreds of players; physically seeing the opposition is not possible with online bingo, although chat room and forum facilities might still be available.
A traditional bingo hall can have - along with the players on the gaming floor - the stage from where the caller will read out numbers and the cashier's desk. The presence of many other people in the same room can encourage an exciting level of camaraderie which could feel comparatively absent in online bingo.
However, where online bingo pulls ahead of traditional bingo is in speed and efficiency. While a bingo hall's caller, if proficient, will declare a number each 10 seconds, that interval will be shortened to 3 seconds with a virtual caller. This also isn't accounting for how distraction and momentary lapses in concentration can inadvertently slow down human callers. Verifying calls and wins is also quicker online, where a system does the job automatically; by contrast, in a bingo hall, it can take as long as five minutes for a victorious call to be checked.
The basics of playing online bingo
Still, despite the wide array of differences between the land-based and online versions of bingo, many of the principles of bingo playing remain the same. Once you register - choosing your alias in the same process - and make a deposit at a bingo website, you can enter one of the bingo rooms. "Bingo room" basically refers to an online space where a bingo game takes place. However, you might notice that different rooms are dedicated to different kinds of bingo.
These variants have names like '90 ball', '80 ball', and '75 ball'; however, whichever type you choose, you will encounter only subtle twists to the firmly-established bingo formula. We will explain more about the differences later. After entering a room, you will need to decide the number of cards you want to play in that game and what number spreads will be on the cards. Each card will show a grid featuring rows and lines with numbers that have already been marked.
During this game, the caller will be an online programme selecting numbers at random. If you have never played any form of bingo, you could be easily amused by the bingo calls, whereby quirky terminology or slang is used with the calling of different numbers.
As each number is revealed, you will need to mark it off on your cards. Depending on the type of bingo you are playing, you will win a prize if you succeed in marking off a complete line, multiple lines, or every single number on your cards. Through doing that, you would achieve what the game calls a "full house". The game ends once one player achieves a full house.
Different forms of online bingo in a nutshell
While 90 ball bingo is traditional in Europe, the 75 ball version is more standard in the United States and Canada. Nonetheless, there is little difference in how both are played. In 90 ball bingo, each card has three horizontal lines and nine columns and five numbers per line, meaning there are 15 numbers in total on each card. In each game, players aim to be first in completing a horizontal line, then in marking off two horizontal lines, then in getting a full house.
In 75 ball bingo, there are five columns and five horizontal lines on each card. While each column starts with a letter of "BINGO", each card also has a middle space bereft of numbers. The aim is to either cross off 24 numbers, a particular pattern, or a diagonal, horizontal, or vertical line. While completing a line of any direction will win the player a prize, the game won't end until a full house.
There is also 80 ball bingo, which offers cards each comprising four columns and four horizontal lines. However, this type of bingo follows the same playing rules as the 75 ball version.
What kinds of jackpots are there in bingo?
If you win a jackpot in bingo, it could be a fixed, progressive or community jackpot. A fixed jackpot will be a particular amount that stays the same, no matter how often players win it. However, with a progressive jackpot, the amount will roll over whenever it is not won. The jackpot grows as more people play; however, it is reset if someone does win it. There is also the community jackpot, a share of which will go to everyone who plays when someone wins the progressive jackpot.
How can you boost your chances of success?
As bingo is very much a probability game, employing skill won't necessarily increase your chances of picking up bingo bonuses. Nonetheless, there are some strategies that you could use to shorten your odds. One of these is calculating your odds of victory in a specific game. If, by way of example, a game has 100 cards of which you have 3, you would have a 3% chance of winning in that bingo game.
Alternatively, you could choose to compete only for major jackpots. By choosing to load cards strictly in games where big money is up for grabs, you could boost your chances in the big jackpot rounds.