Playing the Game of Bingo

Bingo is a game popularly played by all ages. It is a game of chance comprised of a person in charge who is a non-player and several players holding their bingo card(s). The person in charge or the caller is the one who announces what number has been randomly drawn from a tumbler containing all 75 numbers in a bingo game. However, not all numbers are drawn as there is a pattern which the players have to form in their bingo card(s). Once the number is drawn, it is set aside and cannot be drawn again.

Before explaining the simple mechanics of the game, it is important to clarify some bingo terms:

A Bingo Card - a 5x5 matrix of random numbers electronically printed on a paper. Among the 75 numbers in a bingo game, only 25 is written on the card. These 25 numbers are placed on the card vertically. Each column contains only 5 numbers. The first column, which is sometimes called as the B-column can only have numbers ranging from 1 to 15. The second column or the I-column can only have numbers ranging from 16 to 30. The third column or the N-column is numbers 31 to 45. The fourth or G-column is numbers 46 to 60. And the last column is the O-column and is the numbers 61 to 75. The center of the card, which is located on the I-column, is always a FREE slot. Therefore, there is always 24 numbers in a card.

Pattern - every bingo game has a pattern to follow. Common patterns include a diagonal or horizontal lines. There are also patterns which have parallel lines or any specific pattern the person in charge would prescribe. The most common pattern is the blackout or full house which means that all numbers in the card must be marked.

BINGO! - The word a player shouts when his card contains the winning pattern.

Winning Card - A winning card is that which, if matched with the drawn numbers, contains the same and would form the exact pattern as prescribed.

Marked Cards - for easy recognition players usually put distinguishing marks (i.e. beads, dried corn cobs, etc.) on their cards when the caller announces a drawn number and that same number matches the prescribed pattern in their cards. Marking the cards helps the person in charge to confirm if the card is indeed a winning card.

Like any other game the main goal of bingo is to win. But before one can make a claim for a BINGO prize, should there be any, the winning card must be double checked and matched with the winning numbers. When the person in charge and the other players have conceded that the player indeed has a winning card, only then can the player proclaim his win.

Note that in a bingo round, there can be more than one winner.

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