How to Play Bingo

Bingo is a fun game of chance that anyone can play. The game is played on a scorecard that’s made up of 25 squares — if you get 5 squares in a row, you win!

EditSteps

EditSample Bingo Cards

Printable Bingo Card
Sample Bingo Card

EditSetting up Bingo

1. Get at least 1 scorecard for each player. Bingo scorecards have 25 randomly numbered squares on them, with the word “BINGO” written across the top. Your goal is to cover 5 of those squares in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row.[1]
• You can find Bingo scorecards online at your local hobby store.
• If you’re playing Bingo with kids, you can print blank Bingo scorecards from off the internet and write in your own words, symbols, or pictures in the squares.
2. Explain to everyone how the game’s letter-number combinations work. In standard Bingo, there are 75 different letter-number combinations. Each letter-number combination corresponds with a square on the scorecards. [2]
• For example, all of the numbers in the “B” column on the scorecard correspond with “B” letter-number combinations. If the caller chooses “B-9,” you would look for the “9” square under the “B” column.
• If you’re looking for a simpler version of Bingo to play with kids, you can use pictures or words instead of letter-number combinations.
3. Choose a player to be the caller. In Bingo, the caller is the person that reads out the letters and numbers that determine which squares get covered on everyone’s scorecards. The caller still gets to play the game with everyone else.[3]
• If you’re playing at a Bingo hall, there will already be a designated caller. In that case, the caller will not be playing with everyone else.
4. Pass out scorecards to all the players. Each player needs at least 1 scorecard. Players can use more than 1 scorecard, as long as they can keep track of all the letters and numbers on the different cards.[4]
• Playing with multiple scorecards increases your chances of winning, but it’s trickier since you have more squares to keep track of.
• When you’re playing with multiple scorecards, it’s possible to win on more than one scorecard in the same game.
5. Give each player a pile of Bingo chips. Bingo chips are what players will use to cover the squares on their scorecards. Any small objects will work as Bingo chips, as long as they can fit inside the squares on the scorecards.
• You can use poker chips, coins, or even small pieces of paper as Bingo chips.
6. Place a chip on the square in the center of your scorecard. In Bingo, the square in the center of everyone’s scorecard is considered a free space. Everyone starts out with 1 chip over that space.[5]
7. Give the caller the letters and numbers they’ll call out in the game. These letters and numbers can be written down on small pieces of paper and then folded up, or you can use actual Bingo balls that have letters and numbers on them. They just need to correspond with the letters and numbers on the scorecards.[6]
• Put the pieces of paper or Bingo balls in a bucket, bowl, or Bingo spinner so the caller can choose them at random.
• If you’re playing Bingo with kids and the scorecards have pictures or words on them, give the caller corresponding pictures or words to choose from.

EditPlaying the Game

1. Have the caller read out a letter-number combination. The caller should grab a letter-number combination at random, without looking, and read it out loud. Have them call out the combination a few times so everyone hears it.[7]
• For example, if the caller pulls out a piece of paper or a ball that says “N-7” on it, they would say “N-7” out loud.
• If you’re playing Bingo with pictures or words instead of letter-number combinations, have the caller read out the word or describe the picture to the other players.
2. Place a chip on your scorecard if you have that letter and number. After the caller reads out the letter-number combination, check your scorecard to see if you have the letter and number they called out. If you do, put a chip on that square.[8]
• For example, if the caller says “G-46,” you would look for the number “46” in the “G” column on your scorecard. If you have it, you’d cover that square with a chip.
• If you don’t have the letter and number the caller chose, you don’t have to do anything.
3. Continue playing until someone gets 5 chips in a row on their scorecard. Have the caller continue to call out different letter-number combinations. Players should keep placing chips on the squares on their scorecard whenever a corresponding letter-number combination is called.
• A player wins if they get 5 covered squares in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row.
• There’s no limit to how many letter-number combinations the caller reads out. They’ll keep choosing new combinations until someone wins.
4. Shout “Bingo” if you get 5 squares in a row. When a player gets 5 covered squares in a row on their scorecard, they should yell “Bingo” so everyone knows they won. When someone shouts “Bingo,” the caller will stop choosing new letter-number combinations.[9]
• If more than 1 player shouts “Bingo” after the same letter-number combination is called out, all of those players win.
5. Have everyone clear their scorecards after someone wins. Once someone has called out “Bingo” and won that round, everyone should take all the chips off their scorecards. You should always start a new game with a clear scorecard (except for the chip on the free space in the center).[10]
6. Mix up all the letter-number combinations for the next game. To start a new game of Bingo, the caller will need to mix all the letter-number combinations they called during the last game back into the bucket, bowl, or spinner they’re using. Always start a new game with all of the letter-number combinations mixed together.

EditTips

• Don’t use more scorecards than you can keep track of during the game.

• Play Keno

EditQuick Summary

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