Common bingo terms for the new bingo player
ADMISSION ... Most bingo halls or parlors have a minimum number of cards that you must purchase as the price of "admission." Typically you must purchase an "admission packet." The packet usually contains three to six card for every regular game. Packets also usually contain some special games. Exactly what is part of the admission packet varies widely from hall to hall.
AFTER GAME(S)... The game(s) played after the end of a regular "session" of play. See definition of session.
BINGO! ... When a player has all the numbers required for the game or "pattern" being played. This is when you may yell "BINGO!" At this time, all the other players who were "on" murmur "Oh, shucks!" The Bingo Today newspaper has launched a national campaign to rename the game "Oh, shucks." To date there has little support for this revolutionary idea. If they can call the game "Beano" in Massachusetts, why can't we call it "Oh, shucks" in the State of Washington?
BLACKOUT... A variation of the game of bingo in which the object is to cover all the 25 spaces on your card. Usually 50 to 60 of the 75 bingo numbers have to be called to cover all the numbers on a card. But blackouts in as few as 42 or 43 numbers have been recorded in the Seattle area in the past five years. Blackouts in 48 or 49 numbers, while not frequent, are not uncommon.
BINGO BOARD... A display board, usually electronic that "lights up" showing each number as it is called. There are 75 numbers and a "free space" in the game of bingo.
BLOWER. . . A forced-air device that mixes the bingo balls and dispenses them to the "caller" who announces the number and displays it on a "bingo board."
BONANZA BINGO... A special version of bingo played on small paper cards. The sealed sheets are sold prior to each session but additional sheets can be purchased during each session. Rules for "Bonanza Bingo" vary from parlor to parlor but typically the caller draws 50 numbers before the start of the session. The numbers are posted on a special board. If a player can get a blackout on any one of the Bonanza Bingo sheets purchased, using the 50 pre-selected numbers, the player wins an "instant" prize. Towards the end of the session, if there is no winner, additional numbers are drawn until there is a winner for one or more "consolation" prizes.
BUY-IN ... see "admission."
CALLER ... The person who draws and announces the bingo numbers. This is also the person to blame if your number does not come up before somebody else bingos.
CONSOLATION(S) ... The prize or prizes offered on some "special" or "flimsy" games if there is no winner in a predetermined number of calls.
COVERALL ... see "blackout."
DAUBER ... An ink marker sold in a small plastic bottle for the purpose of marking off numbers on "flimsy" sheets. See definition of flimsy.
EARLY BIRD ... A bingo game played before the start of a "session." But sometimes the Early Bird game is merely the first game of the session. The first game of a session is more commonly known as a "Warm Up." See definition of "session."
FLIMSIES ... Bingo cards printed on thin sheets of paper. There are usually three cards printed on a single sheet but flimsies are also printed in one, two, four, or six or 9-card formats. Typically a flimsy sheet costs one or two dollars and a win on a flimsy on a "special" game usually pays quite a bit more than a win on a "regular" game. Also called "throwaways" in some areas.
FREE SPACE ... The space in the center of a bingo card. It does not have a number assigned to it. It is always "wild." Cover it on all your bingo cards when you start a new game.
GAME BOARD ... An electronic display board, usually attached next to the "Bingo Board" that looks like a bingo card and shows what variation of bingo you are playing on that particular game on the program. For example, "Four Corners," "Chevron," "Regular," "Blackout," etc. See diagrams below for more examples of bingo patterns.
HARD CARD ... A bingo card printed on heavy cardboard material usually with shutters to cover each number as it is called. A bingo card contains 24 numbered spaces and one "free space." The numbers are arranged in five rows or columns of five numbers each. The numbers in the "B" row contain five numbers between 1 and 15, picked at random. The numbers in the "I" row contain five numbers between 16 and 30. The numbers in the "N" row contain four numbers between 31 and 45 and the "free space." The numbers in the "G" row contain five numbers between 46 and 60. The numbers in the "O" row contain five numbers between 61 and 75. Players have thousands of unduplicated cards to pick from. Some manufacturers print unduplicated series of 6,000 cards. There are also series of 9,000 cards available. Hard cards and "flimsy" cards have a series number printed on them. Card number 1252, for example, will always have the same numbers in the same spaces. Hard cards are fast becoming a thing of the past. Soon they may even be collector's items!
JACKPOT ... The prize offered on a "flimsy" game or "special" game. Sometimes the jackpot is progressive and grows every day or every week. Often the numbers needed to win are progressive, too. As numbers are added, the pot becomes easier to win..
LATE NIGHT BINGO ... see definition of "Moonlight" bingo.
LUCKY JAR ... or "Cookie Jar," a container with cash. You win the contents of the Lucky Jar if you bingo on the "lucky number." The "lucky number" is usually the first number called at the beginning of a session. Money is added to the jar every time the lucky number is called or if the "caller" makes a mistake in announcing the game. Usually you can win the Lucky Jar only on "regular" games. There is no lucky number in play on "special" throw-away games.
MOONLIGHT BINGO ... "session" of bingo that starts late at night, usually about 10:00 pm.
MULTIPLE WINNERS ... If two or more players bingo at the same time, the cash prize is divided among them. For example, if there are five winners on a $500 game, they each receive $100.
ON... A player is said to be "on" when one or more cards they are playing lacks only one number for a "bingo."
ON THE WAY ... or "games on the way." The bingo game(s) played on a blackout game prior to the blackout and on the same card. First the preliminary game(s) are played and then more numbers are called until there is a blackout.
PAYOUT. . .The percentage of sales paid out by the "house." The average payout in the state of Washington among all bingo halls is approximately 75 percent. This compares with a payout of approximately 45 percent on Washington State lottery games.
PROGRESSIVE ... A jackpot prize that builds daily, weekly, or monthly if it is not won in a specific number of calls. If there is no winner in x number of calls, consolation prize(s) of lesser dollar amounts are paid. Different variations of progressive games add dollars or numbers, or both, to the jackpot.
PULL TAB ... A game similar to the Washington State lottery game. Tickets sell for 25 cents or 50 cents or even more and typically offer prizes ranging from free tickets to $500. Each ticket has perforated windows which open revealing symbols similar to those found on slot machines or some lottery games.
PUNCH BOARD... Another lottery-type game. The player "punches" out a slot on a board for a chance to win a merchandise prize. Punch boards offering cash prizes are also common.
RENO NIGHT ... An evening of casino games like blackjack and roulette. These are sometimes held in bingo hall Is but more often in restaurants and hotels, Eagles & Elks clubs and other fraternal organizations.
RENO TRIP ... A blackout played for a Reno Trip for Two as the prize. The trip usually includes air fare, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation. Winners have a choice of taking the trip or a cash alternative, usually about $250 to $300.
SESSION ... An entire evening or daytime program of bingo consisting of "regular" games usually played on "hard cards" and special games played on "throwaways" or paper sheets. A session usually lasts somewhere between two and a half hours and three hours and 15 minutes.
SPECIAL ... A game played on a flimsy sheet. See definition of "flimsy."
SPLIT POT... A bingo game in which the winner splits the sales of the game (the pot) with the bingo hall or "house." For example the winner might get 60 percent of the sales and the house would keep forty percent.
SPEED BINGO ... A variation of regular bingo. Numbers are called very quickly and you can bingo in as few as three numbers. Usually played before or after a regular session.
TEXAS BLACKOUT ... A variation of bingo. The first number called will be either odd or even. If the first number called is "even" then all the even numbers on all your cards are "wild." Cover all the even numbers. If the first number called is "odd," cover all the odd numbers. The game then proceeds to a blackout.
THROWAWAYS ... see "flimsies."
WARM UP ... See definition of "Early Bird."
WRAP UP ... just the name of the last game of a "session.