How to play 75 Ball Bingo
75 ball bingo is the game that is common in the USA and this article describes how to play it. This game has a more recent history than the 90 ball game (see the history of 75 ball bingo) but is interesting as it has a variety of patterns that you have to try and make to win the bingo. Read more about how to play 75 ball bingo below.
75 ball bingo is the traditional US version of the game and is played with a bingo card of 5 by 5 squares – but there are only 24 numbers as the centre one is marked as ‘free’ – that is, it counts as already marked off. Following here is a picture of an example 75 ball bingo card.
The 75 ball bingo card
The letters B – I – N – G – O across the top of the card don’t just spell out Bingo, they also help to guide eye when marking the numbers off as they are called out. The first column ‘B’ will contain numbers from the range 1- 15, the I column from the range 16-30, N 31-45, G 46-60 and the O column numbers from the range 61-75. The balls, as they come out of the machine (or are displayed on the board or on the graphics of an online site), also have the appropriate letter on them as well as the number. This is unlike 90 ball (UK, Aus, NZ style bingo, see how to play 90 ball bingo) where the balls just have a number on them.
Introducing 75 ball bingo
The aim, as in other bingo games (see introduction to playing bingo), is to mark off a certain pattern before anyone else does. Because with 75 ball bingo cards the centre square is ‘free’ the pattern will always contain this square. The patterns vary from room to room, and from game to game, but as well as simple patterns like lines, crosses, corners and so on you can get more complex ones. This can make the game more involved than the 90 ball version with just its lines and full house, but that can make for a more interesting game.
Winning patterns in 75 ball bingo
The many different patterns that are possible to form the ‘bingo’ winning pattern make for far too many variants to list them all here, even if I could track them all down! So for brick and mortar bingo halls and bingo rooms see the details of the games to find out which patterns are possible for the games. Pay close attention to the pattern you need to make to win! Some of the simpler patterns are shown below.
seventy five ball bingo card showing four corner patternseventy five ball bingo card showing diagonal cross patternseventy five ball bingo card showing vertical-horizontal cross patternseventy five ball bingo card showing a coverall – all numbers matched
The patterns shown on the example bingo cards above are, from left to right, the four corners (plus the free middle square of course), a diagonal cross, a vertical-horizontal cross, and all numbers matched as the final pattern on the right. This all numbers matched pattern has a special name – ‘the coverall’ – and is the equivalent of the full house in 90 ball bingo
Playing the game of 75 ball bingo
As the game progresses the numbers are called out and you need to mark off any numbers that match on your card(s). In a live game the numbers are announced by a caller and also usually displayed on a board, and you mark your cards with a special pen called a ‘dauber’. This is designed to mark the card but not obscure the matched number, as if you win the card’s numbers will have to be checked against those called out to validate the win. You need to pay attention and mark the numbers quickly, and also recognize a pattern if you hit it. In a live game you need to call out when you make the bingo to claim the prize! If you are slow and don’t realise you won someone else might make the pattern subsequently – if they call out first the prize is theirs even if you made the bingo pattern earlier (but didn’t realise it at the time). It can sometimes be tricky to see the pattern as the balls don’t come out in order obviously, and so you have to pick out the pattern from your daubed numbers on the cards. So don’t get too many cards at once if you are new to the game! Once you get used to playing bingo you will be able to keep up with more cards.
Things are a bit easier in an online game. The software calls the numbers out – there is a visual indication of the ball numbers (and letters) as they are called out, with a board showing the numbers called. There is a voice option too where the numbers are announced as they come out. Nearly all sites have an ‘autodaub’ feature (in fact some sites only have this with no option for manual daubing) where the software marks your cards for you. So just watch the numbers fill in and wait for the pattern to hit. Sites often have a system where your cards are arranged with the ones closest to a pattern match at the top with ‘3 to go’, ‘2 to go’ and so on as you get closer. For more details about how online bingo works specifically see playing bingo online.
You can usually buy just one card, or several up to some upper limit (which is usually quite high). The cards will be unrelated so you can have the same number appear on more than one card which is the same as 80 ball bingo. This is unlike 90 ball bingo where the cards in the strip of six have their numbers allocated so that all numbers from 1-90 appear on the strip of six cards, and no two cards in the strip have the same number on them.
Further articles on playing bingo
Introduction to playing bingo
How to play 90 ball bingo
How to play 80 ball bingo
Playing bingo online
Progressive jackpots in bingo
Bingo jackpots and pre-buy cards