Bingo cards, bingo tickets, bingo books – it doesn’t matter what we call them – they’re all the same thing! They are the numbered cards that we use when playing bingo – we cross off the numbers as they are called to create a ‘line’, ‘four corners’, ‘house’ etc.
Types of bingo tickets.
90 – ball bingo tickets.
This is the style of bingo ticket we are used to playing in the UK.
It’s a 9 x 3 grid with 5 x numbers and 4 x blank spaces per row with possible numbers 1 – 9 in the first column, 10 – 19 in the second column, 20 – 29 in the third etc. The numbers in each column on one ticket will always read from smallest to largest as you can see on the right.
Tickets are usually sold in strips of 6 which is a common quantity to play in one game. Colours of the tickets vary so that it is obvious which bingo ticket applies to each game.
75 – ball bingo tickets.
These are used in the United States but are very seldom seen in the UK except in home bingo games.
Each ticket is a 5 x 5 grid with each column under one letter of the word ‘B-I-N-G-O’. Column ‘B’ will contain 5 x random numbers between 1 – 15, column ‘I’ will have 16 – 30 etc. with a ‘free space’ in the middle square.
This is the reason that many bingo balls will also have a letter on them. So while playing 75-ball bingo, the shout for – for instance – 33 is actually ‘N – 33’ because this is the column it falls under.
sliders / shutterboards.
The basics of these ‘permanent cards’ are that each number has a slider window which is slid over the number when it is called. They can be purchased in either 90 ball or 75 ball bingo styles and while not used in ‘official’ bingo halls they are ideal for playing at home or for regular village bingo events.
electronic bingo tickets.
These are relatively new to the UK but are certainly being used in many of the larger bingo halls such as Gala. The exact specifications vary slightly depending upon the make of electronic bingo ticket and the bingo hall in which you play, but the general principle is that you touch or type the number called into your machine. It will automatically be assigned to the correct card (of which you can now play several!), though it is still up to the player to call ‘House’ if they win.
Where did bingo tickets originate?
The American toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe began to market his new ‘bingo’ game in the 1930s (see History of Bingo). It soon became apparent that with the limited ticket variations there were often several winners at any one time. So the myth goes that he employed the services of a Columbia University professor by the name of Carl Leffler to create new and unique permutations. He managed to create 6000 different variations – but the whole process sent him insane!!
For many years reusable cards were the norm until modern printing methods enabled the cheap and efficient mass production of paper bingo tickets. This is why we still tend to use the term ‘bingo card’ even though they are paper tickets we are actually playing with.
How many bingo tickets should I play at once?
The simple answer is – “as many as you are happy with”. Obviously the more cards you play in one game the higher your chances of winning (and the higher the cost!), but all bingo players – no matter how proficient – have a limit as to how many they can play at any one time. The best advice is to start with just one or two tickets and gradually increase the number as you play more. If you reach the point where you are missing numbers because you are playing too many – and therefore missing potential wins – then it’s time to back off and get back to a more comfortable amount.
However, if you are playing with the new electronic bingo cards then the only limit will be the one set by the establishment in which you are playing.
Print your free bingo tickets.
There are many bingo ticket generators out there – we like my free bingo cards because it does just what it says with no signing up or signing in.