Bingo Beginner’s Guide

Playing online bingo is a pastime which is soaring in popularity around the world, with millions of people logging into their accounts to enjoy a range of games. If you’re new to the world of online bingo, and want to know the basics, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Queen Bingo, we don’t just offer you top quality reviews, but comprehensive knowledge on how to play the game and make the best choices for your gaming style. To get started, let’s talk about what bingo actually is, and where it came from.

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What is Bingo?

Bingo is a game involving players who are given cards containing a set of numbers. These can also be referred to as tickets, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. A caller will announce numbered balls, which are released one at a time, and the goal for players is to mark them off on their cards. Once a particular set of numbers has been completed, the player with this card is declared a winner. There are usually several winners in a game of bingo, as prizes are delivered according to different patterns or amounts of numbers being marked off. A typical setup is a winner landing one line, then two, then all of the numbers on their card – known as a full house. You can either play free bingo or real money bingo. With the latter, all card purchases are put into the prize pot, and the totals are reissued to winning players. Some jackpots are pre-determined figures, which are announced to players before the game begins.

If you’re playing online real money bingo, there are options available to make gameplay easier. For example, the auto-daub feature means players don’t have to check the numbers on their cards against the calls. Indeed, there isn’t technically a requirement in such a situation to be paying attention to the game at all! However, players will often turn on the auto-daub feature as a precaution, to avoid missing out on any calls.

History of Bingo

Bingo is thought to not originally have borne this name, and the game is believed to have its roots in 16th century Italy. It spread to France from there, and was played by the aristocracy under the name Le Lotto. After that, the game is said to have crossed the English Channel to Great Britain, as well as migrating to other parts of Europe during the 18th century. In Germany, a version of bingo – called Tombola – was used in schools during the following century, in order to teach children skills such as their multiplication tables, history and spelling.

Choosing a Bingo Site

Finding an operator to play bingo on is one of the most important parts of the process. This is because each operator offers something different, and having services which work for your style of gaming is essential if you want to have a high quality experience. This is why Queen Bingo offers a huge library of bingo reviews for your perusal, and we’ve condensed the information down to key factors you need to know about.

  • Is there free bingo available? Playing bingo without parting with real money, whether this is in demo mode or as part of a full free playing experience, helps you to learn the ropes of a particular game, software provider or operator, and decide if you want to keep going. It’s also good for those who want to play bingo purely for the enjoyment of the game, without worrying about losing money. However, for those who want to make it interesting by adding cash into the equation, or if you sense you’ll want to change tack and introduce some money to your games, it’s a good idea to have both free bingo and real money bingo on offer.
  • Is there a no deposit bonus offer? This is ideal for customers who want to try out a site with no risk or deposit required. By creating an account without paying for access to games, you get a rare opportunity to see what a bingo site is all about before making a final decision. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of a site’s offers, especially if it’s a no deposit bonus, as there may be high play through requirements involved.
  • How many bingo rooms are there? A variety of rooms to explore will make your gaming experience more exciting. It also means you have more opportunities to win and increases the chances of rooms not being too crowded. The benefit of having fewer people in a bingo room is the fact that there is less competition for the jackpot or main prize.
  • Are there decent side games available? Sometimes bingo gameplay can seem slow or get delayed for various reasons, so having a good choice of side games will help the time to go by in a much more exciting manner. Some chat rooms will allow for competitive side games with other players, where there are separate prizes on offer for lucky players. A popular side game to play is slots, and as both bingo and slots are similar in that they are easy to play and based on chance, it’s highly likely that you’ll enjoy both games – especially if there is one of each active on your screen at once!
  • How extensive is the games library? It’s important to know you have a multitude of options when it comes to online bingo, as even if you believe you’ll be dedicated to 75 ball bingo, 90 ball bingo or 5-line bingo, you may want a break and to try something new. Furthermore, if a site has put in the effort to provide a well-stocked library, it shows dedication to their players.
  • What are the chat rooms like? One of the best parts of playing online bingo is the opportunities that are available to make new friends and talk to other people who are a fan of the game. Considering the fact that you’ll be likely to spend a lot of your time on a bingo site in the chat section, gossiping with fellow players as you wait for your number to come up, this is an important consideration.

Bingo account sign-up

Once you’ve found a bingo site you believe is the right one for you, it’s time to sign up for an account. Operators usually make it very easy to get started with the joining process, as there will often be a ‘join now’ or ‘sign up’ button in a prominent position on the homepage. There will then be a sign up form, where you will be required to fill in certain details. Even if you have been lucky enough to find a no deposit bonus, and won’t need to depart with your hard earned cash any time soon, it will still be necessary to enter personal details and payment information, due to the fact that this is needed for identification purposes.

Details you will need to enter will be your name, address, email, phone number and date of birth. Ensure that the password you use is a safe and secure one, as if your account gets hacked a malicious third party will easily have access to sensitive data, including your banking details. Keep this password in a safe place or ensure you can memorize it, but don’t worry if you forget it as there will always be a password reset option. If you haven’t been lucky enough to find a no deposit bingo bonus, the next stage after filling in the basic sign up form will be to make a deposit. This step will usually activate a welcome bonus if there is one available, providing you deposit the minimum amount required. Check out which payment methods are available and use the option which is most suitable for you. Perhaps you want to keep it simple and use the credit or debit card in your wallet, or perhaps you have a PayPal account and don’t want the hassle of entering a long card number repeatedly. Maybe you value high levels of privacy and encryption and are a Bitcoin user, in which case there are a few bingo sites out there which provide this option, although they can be harder to find. It goes without saying that all payment methods must be using accounts or cards in the account holder’s name, and it will usually be a part of the terms and conditions for you to only have one account using this payment method per household.

The typical amount you have to deposit to activate a welcome bonus is usually pretty low, so it shouldn’t be long before you can enjoy this benefit. It may be a match up bonus up to a certain amount, or free spins on a particular slot game. It’s worth considering that this bonus will usually have to be used within a particular time frame, so when you sign up for an account with the intention of claiming a promotional offer, ensure you do so knowing you’ll be dedicating some regular time over the next few days or weeks to bingo games. Activating a bonus is usually pretty simple, and this information will be located in the small print of the offer. Sometimes the bonus will be automatically activated once you’ve made the deposit required, which is the easiest way to proceed. On other occasions, there may be a promotional code to enter when you sign up or as you make an initial deposit. Alternatively, you may receive a pop up on your screen asking you if you want to claim a bonus. Bear in mind that if you decline this offer, it is unlikely to come your way again. That being said, people will often turn down bonuses due to the fact that they can have high wagering requirements, and instead prefer to play with real money and have no strings attached from the outset.

Gambling responsibly

If you have an addictive personality or aren’t good with money, it’s probably not the best idea to indulge in gambling of any kind, which includes online bingo. This is because it can be easy for some people to develop an addiction to gambling, or put themselves into financial difficulty if they don’t keep an eye on their bankroll. If you are completely new to online bingo, or you want to check out what safety measures a new operator has, you can navigate to their responsible gambling section. If they don’t have one, this is a red flag and you probably shouldn’t proceed to gamble with them.

All reputable bingo sites will work with organisations such as Gamblers Anonymous and GamCare to ensure all of their players have the relevant information at their fingertips to enjoy their game offering without experiencing any personal difficulty. This means that, more often than not, a site will have links to at least one of these organisations, or similar pages, which can offer you a plethora of help and resources. This help can come in the form of physical support groups, online forms or educational literature. Bingo sites will ensure they keep players informed at every stage of their gaming process, so they are never carrying out actions without being aware of potential consequences and there is complete transparency. Some operators will also take measures to interact with customers when they believe there is a risk of harm, encouraging them to take a step back from gaming if this would be appropriate for their wellbeing. Additionally, as part of their licensing and regulation requirements, operators will ensure young and vulnerable people are kept away from their site. This includes not targeting promotional material at an underage audience, banning those who are under 18 from signing up for an account and requiring identification for deposits and withdrawals.

Many online bingo sites will have information pages available where they will provide advice on how to gamble responsibly. Tips include suggestions such as:

  • Setting a limit for the amount you’re willing to spend in a bingo session, and flags for when it’s time to stop, such as losing a certain amount of money or a particular length of time going by
  • Not making a decision to log into a bingo site if it will impact other areas of your life or responsibilities you may have
  • Not signing up for an account if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs of any kind; or if you are in recovery for an addiction
  • Choosing not to play with the sole aim of winning back losses

It’s often the case that players will be able to view the amount of time they’ve spent logged into a site, for a particular session and over longer timeframes. This can usually be accessed through their personal account menu. Account balances should also be prominent, so you know how much you’ve spent, won or lost. There may also be tools available such as a budget calculator, a time and money diary, or the option to self-exclude yourself for a set time period.

Choosing which Bingo game to play

The exciting next step in your bingo journey is to decide what game you’re going to play. You can do this by going to the bingo lobby and seeing which rooms are available. Many bingo sites will have timers, showing how long is remaining before the next game starts. This gives you time to decide if you want to get involved, buy a ticket and wait for it to begin. There are several factors to consider before joining a game. These include how much the ticket costs, how big the prize is, how busy or large the room is and who the chat host is. Some bingo games will have jackpots that are a set amount and will be shown to customers before they join, while others will be progressive jackpots whereby each player’s tickets will be put towards the prize pool.

The most common bingo games to play are 90 ball bingo and 75 ball bingo, although a good bingo site will have many other options to choose from. These can include:

  • 80 ball
  • 50 ball
  • 30 ball
  • Bingo 52
  • Snakes and Ladders
  • TV themed bingo
  • Blox Bingo
  • Cashline
  • Roll On Bingo
  • Cash Cubes
  • Bingo Bowl
  • Bouncy Balls Bingo
  • Hot House Bingo
  • Tipping Point Bingo
  • Speed Bingo
  • Session Bingo
  • Team Bingo
  • Bingo Lotto

Purchasing Bingo cards/tickets

Once you’re ready to enter a bingo room, you’ll need to buy a ticket. Once you’re inside, it’s time to decide how many tickets you want to purchase for the game, and this figure can vary from 1 to the maximum allowed. Check out how many tickets you can buy in one go beforehand if you want to go crazy and have multiple cards on the go. Sometimes players have hundreds of cards on the go due to the fact that they can set the game to auto-daub their tickets for them. If you’re just starting out, then playing with a smaller number may be the best bet as you get used to the game, and this is also good if you want to be cautious with your money, but over time, players tend to buy their cards in batches to increase their chances of winning. If you want to buy lots of tickets but don’t have a large bankroll to play with, look for a bingo room which offers cheap tickets so you can stock up. However, be aware that the prize may not be as high. Ultimately, it’s up to the player to weigh up the best balance for them.

Bingo chat rooms

Many bingo players enjoy logging into a chat room as they play to catch up with their fellow gambling fans, so it’s a good idea to check out what chat features are available with your operator of choice. Playing bingo alone can get lonely very quickly, so sharing the experience with others will make it a lot more fun. Good chat rooms will have a chat host or chat moderator who is friendly, approachable, helpful and welcoming, and they will also introduce competitions within chat windows to give players additional chances to boost their bankroll. Some people who are completely new to bingo chat rooms may find some of the bingo slang and acronyms confusing to start with, but getting stuck in is the easiest way to learn.

Playing Bingo

So you’ve chosen a bingo site, signed up, taken the necessary precautions, chosen a game, bought tickets and explored the chat room options. Now it’s time for the game to begin. With 90 ball bingo, you will have a 9 by 3 grid with 15 numbers ranging between 1 and 90. The usual layout is three prizes being up for grabs, which are staggered as the first line, the second line and then a full house, or all of the numbers on the card. 80 ball bingo features a 4 by 4 grid with numbers between 1 and 80. The winner is the one who marks off all of the numbers on their card first, and there will only be one prize with this variant. 75 ball bingo is also known as pattern bingo, and players will have a 5 by 5 grid with numbers between 1 and 75. A set pattern will be announced before the start of the game, and it will be up to the players to battle to become the first to get this shape on their card. Often, patterns will be in the form of a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line. If you want a faster-paced game, you can go for 30 ball bingo, which has a 3 by 3 grid and 9 numbers. As there are so few numbers to mark off, the action is quick and winners will be announced at a pace not seen in the other variants.

Online Bingo etiquette

While online bingo is a safe, simple and fun game to play, there are a number of things to be aware of. These measures all exist to make the bingo environment the best it can be for you, so they’re worth bearing in mind. Here’s the lowdown.

What you should do:

  • Take regular breaks. Don’t spend more than an hour or so looking at a screen without a rest. Take a walk or stretch your legs for a bit before returning to the game. Your mind will feel fresher, too.
  • Try out chat rooms. These are at the core of every online bingo site, and not only will you have a chance to socialize and make new friends, there will be opportunities to win additional prizes too.
  • Withdraw your winnings regularly. This will decrease the temptation to spend higher amounts with each game, and avoid the slippery slope of trying to win back losses. Besides, sending regular chunks of money to your bank account will give you a feeling of satisfaction.
  • Claim bonuses. These can greatly enhance your gameplay and introduce you to games you never knew existed. Just remember to check the wagering requirements and follow them if you want to claim any winnings you gain as a result.
  • Act politely. This should go without saying in any area of life, but don’t be rude to other players in chat rooms or risk getting a ban. Everyone is playing bingo for the same reason, so there’s no point in having anything but polite and fun conversation.

What you shouldn’t do:

  • Spend too much money. Make sure you create a budget and stick to it in order to avoid experiencing difficulty in other areas of your life.
  • Stay online for too long. It can be easy to get addicted to online bingo, and to convince yourself that you’re only going to play one more game, over and over again. Set a limit to the amount of time you spend in an online bingo session.
  • Give out personal information. This will be needed at the sign up stage, but don’t give it out in the chat rooms. People shouldn’t be asking for it if they do, and this behavior should be reported. Even if you think someone could be a good friend outside of the chat room, don’t give out personal information in an environment where other people could intercept it.
  • Show off when you win. One player is going to land the big win in every game, and everyone else will lose out. It won’t do you any favors if you show off, boast or gloat as a response to winning money, and people won’t want to talk to you as much.
  • Refresh the page during payment. Sometimes it can take a few moments for a deposit to process, and if you get impatient and refresh the page, this could result in the bingo operator taking your payment twice. Wait for the page to finish loading, and if you think there’s been some sort of error, contact customer support.
  • Be rude to customer support. They are there to help, and even if your issue is causing you a lot of stress or irritation, being rude to a member of staff won’t resolve things more quickly – nor will it stand you in good stead for future gameplay on the site.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen if I miss a number?

This may have been a concern in the days of bingo halls, but now that people are making the move to online bingo, there’s no need to worry. Most bingo operators will set games to automatically mark all numbers called out on player cards, so if you have to step out for a moment, you won’t have missed your chance at landing the jackpot.

I’ve won, but someone else said ‘bingo’ at the same time. What do I do?

There can be situations where more than one player lands a win at the same time. This is more likely to happen when there is a big room with lots of players, or if there is a room where lots of bingo networks are connected. In the case of multiple winners, the prize is usually split between players.

Do I have to accept a bingo bonus?

It’s not a requirement to make use of bingo bonuses, especially if you’re not a fan of meeting wagering requirements. However, they can be useful for those who want to experience enhanced gameplay or learn the ropes, especially when it comes to promotions such as free spins and no deposit bonuses. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not you accept an offer.

Is online bingo fair?

Each game of online bingo will make use of a random number generator, or RNG. This ensures that a completely random set of numbers is announced in a game, so that players have no way of predicting which number will come next or formulate a strategy to have an advantage over others. Additionally, bingo sites will be regulated by third party bodies, which make sure the operator is following the rules and keeping games fair.

I can’t find the payment method I want to use. What can I do?

It’s rare that a bingo site won’t have enough payment options to cater to player needs, but sometimes a smaller operator may only have a limited set of choices. If you want to pay using a debit or credit card, or a major e-wallet such as PayPal or Neteller, you will most likely have a full range of sites to choose from. However, if your site doesn’t meet your needs, there will be another one that does.

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