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Aug 21, 2020

6 min to read

How to Play Bingo – Differences between British and American Version

The bingo game is popular throughout the world, but did you know that it has two basic versions? The original British variation uses 90 balls, while the American version includes 75 balls in a single session. Here are the differences between the two and how to play them!

How to Play Bingo – British Version

Different bingo cards

In the United Kingdom, bingo was first famous as Housey-Housey. After switching names to bingo, the game was more popular than ever. You could find a club to play it at every corner.

As time passed, the popularity of the bingo halls decreased. But that doesn’t mean that people played this game less. The appearance of the internet caused the players to migrate to online gaming platforms. Today, thousands of players from all over the globe play the British bingo version online.

This variation uses 90 balls per session. The session utilizes a single drum with 90 balls marked with numbers from 1 to 90. Each card contains 15 numbers, and the player usually needs to match all numbers to qualify for the main prize.

Getting Strips of 6 Tickets

Here is how a standard bingo ticket for the British bingo looks like. It contains six strips of fifteen numbers. Since the game uses balls from 1 to 90, that means there is enough room to use all numbers throughout six strips.

Each strip contains nine columns that contain different number categories. The first column on the left will contain chosen numbers from 1 to 10, while the last on the right will have those from 81 to 90.

The strips are observed separately once the session starts. Think of each strip as an individual ticket for a bingo game. If you are playing offline, the purchasing minimum might be set to a single strip of six cards. However, if you play online bingo, you might be able to purchase just one strip. If you want, you will have the option to purchase more.

The advantage of purchasing an entire strip of six tickets is that you will mark a number regardless of which ball is drawn by the bingo caller.

Game Process

Before a bingo session starts, you will need to purchase tickets. The process of buying tickets begins with selecting a website that offers the British version of this game. The majority of internet bingo operators have at least a single 90-ball room, so finding a suitable site shouldn’t be hard.

After identifying the site, it is time to find a bingo room that meets your needs. Consider the frequency of the draws, ticket price, as well as the prize fund. You can purchase one or more multiple tickets for the session as long as you have sufficient funds in your account. Once you buy the cards, you should wait until the draw starts.

Here is what you can expect in every session:

  • Players gather before the draw begins. You should be in the room at least 30-60 seconds sooner if you are playing online. If you are playing in a land-based hall, coming 20-30 minutes earlier should give you enough time to sort your tickets so that you can mark the numbers quickly.
  • The game uses a single drum with 90 balls. The numbers will be drawn one at a time. The bingo caller will say the number out loud. If you are playing online, you will see the number on the screen. Your task is to see if the numbers on your ticket match the drawn ball. If yes, go ahead and mark the number.
  • The game finishes once the first player completes a full house. That implies matching all 15 numbers on a single strip to the numbers drawn. The full house prize might be won by a single player or divided equally.
  • The only remaining thing is the prize payout. In online bingo, the rewards will usually be distributed to your account automatically. As for bingo halls, the payouts should be available after the game.

Winning Combinations in the British Version

The great thing about the British bingo variation is that the winning combinations are quite simple. Here are their values from the strongest to the lowest:

  • Full house
  • Two lines
  • A single line

A Single Line

The first prize you can win during a bingo draw is for matching a single line. That will include matching all five numbers from a single line to the ones drawn. The person who reaches this combination first wins the prize. If there are multiple winners, they split the reward.

Two Lines

The two-line reward will require you to match ten numbers with those drawn from a drum. The requirement is that these are two lines that contain five numbers. The rules are the same – once somebody wins, they claim the prize. The draw continues as the players can still pursue the grand reward.

The Full House – The Grand Prize

The full house is also known as a coverall, and it involves matching all 15 numbers from a single card to the ones drawn from the drum. The coverall is the highest prize you can win in a bingo session. The usual rule is that the draw ends once someone calls the full house reward. The award can go to a single player, or multiple winners can split it.

Mechanized Cash Bingo

Even the bingo halls have modernized, and they are not using only paper anymore. Instead, they use a board with a 4x4 square grid. The numbers are divided into four columns – the first one contains numbers from 1 to 20, the second from 21 to 40, the third from 41 to 60, and the last column from 61 to 80.

The columns are marked with different colors to recognize the categories quickly. A bingo caller is usually a machine with an automated voice. Once a number is drawn, it says the category color and the actual number.

You activate a board by inserting credit. Depending on the hall, you can play with up to four boards at once. If the number on your ticket is called, you cover that number with a plastic chip. After qualifying for a prize, pressing the button will inform everyone you won.

It is worth noting that electronic boards allow multiple clubs to connect. That way, the halls can organize bingo games with a large prize fund. The rewards in these “linked sessions” can reach tempting sums.

How to Play Bingo – American Version

The main difference between the American and the British version is that the US one uses 75 balls. However, that is not the only difference because the American version contains far more variations. Although it always utilizes 75 balls, the winning combinations required might vary significantly. The thing that doesn’t change is a drum with 75 balls marked with numbers from 1 to 75. That drum will be used during the draws.

Each state in the US has different regulations for their bingo games. That is why it is important to consult the local law before playing in bingo halls. However, you always have the option of playing online and choosing one of the many bingo sites and rooms available.

Bingo Cards

A bingo card for the American version of this game is significantly different than the British ticket. First of all, the structure of a single ticket is different.

A card contains a 5x5 square grid with a total of 24 numbers. The unique thing about the US bingo is the field in the center, which is always empty. In some variations, this field participates in the winning combination, which might make your job easier.

The five columns are marked with different letters to form the word bingo. The first column is marked with B and contains numbers from 1 to 15. The next one is the “I” column, which contains numbers from 16 to 30, and that continues until the fifth “O” column with numbers from 61 to 75.

A single ticket is usually enough to participate in a bingo draw. While you can purchase multiple cards, some US game variations limit the number of tickets per session per player

Game Process

The first thing to do is to find where you will play the 75-ball American variation. If you don’t have a club nearby, head to the preferred bingo site. You can find websites that offer different rooms with various rules and winning pattern requirements. That way, you can switch between rooms to maximize the fun and thrill of playing bingo.

Once you find the desired room and you understand the rules, go ahead and buy the ticket. Feel free to select any number of cards you want to purchase and wait for the draw.

Here are the general guidelines for the draw:

  • Make sure that you are in the room a minute or two before the draw starts. The internet connection should be stable. If you play offline, position yourself in your seat so that you feel comfortable, and you can mark the numbers effortlessly.
  • The first ball will be drawn from the drum. The bingo caller will announce it, and you might see it on the screen (if there is one). Mark that number on tickets where you have it.
  • The numbers will continue drawing until a player wins the main prize, or the session ends per the game’s rules. After the draw finishes, the prizes will be awarded.

Winning Combinations at American Version

The reason why people love the 75-ball American bingo is that it offers many potential winning combinations. Before you enter a room and purchase tickets, make sure to read the rules. You want the requirements for winning the prize(s) to be clear. Depending on the bingo game chosen, these are the most popular winning combinations.

Coverall (Full House)

It is the classic winning combination frequently used as the main prize in the American bingo games. The full house or coverall means that you need to match all numbers on your ticket with the ones drawn. That is not an easy task when you should match 24 numbers, which is why the rewards can be very attractive.

The drawing usually stops after someone calls this prize. It is not uncommon for the prize to be split among multiple players who had the same winning bingo number.

Triple Bingo

The triple bingo involves matching the full three lines of numbers to the ones drawn from the drum. The lines could be either in a diagonal, vertical, or horizontal direction. That means you should match a total of 12 numbers but in the specified pattern.

Hardway Winning Patterns

The double hardway winning combination requires the grand prize winner to match two lines with the numbers drawn. The trick is that the lines can only be in a vertical or horizontal direction, which means you need nine or ten matches.

The triple hardway is a harder winning pattern, which requires three lines to be matched. The difference, when compared to the classic triple-line winning pattern, is that only the horizontal and vertical numbers are calculated toward the win.

Other Winning Combinations

Let’s take a look at some other winning patterns commonly found in the US bingo:

  • 4x4 block – if you manage to create a 4x4 block of the matched numbers, you qualify for a prize.
  • 3x3 block – this one is also famous as the block of nine, and it should be easier to acquire than the 4x4 block.
  • Crazy L or Crazy T – form the letters L or T from the lines of matched numbers. The first vertical and the last horizontal line make the letter L, and the first horizontal and third article the letter T.
  • Broken frame – match the numbers located in the four corners plus the third number in the first and fifth columns. It should form a “broken frame.”

Please note that there are at least 20 winning combinations present throughout online rooms and land-based clubs. That is why reading the rules is the safest bet to understand the winning pattern for the 75-ball American bingo you want to play.

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