While bingo is very much a game of luck, there are certain factors that determine your odds of winning. Unlike slots, where there are varying degrees of winning payouts, Bingo awards a jackpot upon the first completed board. Typically, in most variants of the game, it is a winner take all format.
The time it takes to complete 1 round of bingo is usually anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Players must be the first to have numbers called in a row, column, or diagonally on their board to claim the prize. Due to the quick pace of play, many bingo halls play multiple rounds in 3 to 4-hour sessions.
Online bingo is a bit different in this regard. Many casino sites feature around-the-clock play. Thanks to the internet, players from across the globe may compete against one another at any given time. As such, you can play as few or as many rounds as you’d like in a single session.
Now that the basics of bingo have been explained. Let’s take a look at those factors that ultimately decide what the odds are of winning the game.
Bingo Card Size
Traditionally bingo has been played on cards that have a grid of 5 columns and 5 rows. Each column has a range of numbers in increments of 15 up to 75. For instance, the first column has the numbers 1-15, the second column 16-31, and so forth.
The middle space of the board is considered free or a wildcard if you will. Therefore it is quite possible to win with just 4 numbers called. In fact, there are four ways to win by utilizing this free space. These include both diagonal directions and also by filling a column or row.
Of course, there are board sizes both smaller and bigger than the 5×5 grid. If speed is important, a 3×3 grid with 30 balls and a total of 9 spaces is a great choice. 30-ball bingo takes a mere few minutes, although the jackpot is considerably smaller too.
Then there is 90-ball bingo which is 3 rows by 9 columns. This is the rare case where it is possible by completing rows (called lines) once, twice or three times which is known as a full house.
Number of Bingo Cards
Whether you’re playing bingo online or in a local group, there normally aren’t any restrictions on how many cards you can play in a round. Since every card has the numbers randomly generated, there are limitless combinations possible. Obviously, the more cards you play in a round the greater your odds of winning.
Playing multiple cards at a bingo hall or land-based facility is a little more hectic than online. That’s because you have to manually keep track of the numbers called which means you must scan each card for matching numbers when called. Compare that to online play where many casinos will automatically cross out a matching number.
Number of Players
How many people are playing bingo in a given round greatly affects the chances of winning. Simply put, if there are 10 players, each with one card, you’d have a 1 in 10 shot at winning. The more players competing the likelier that a winner is declared sooner than with fewer players.
If jackpot size isn’t that important to you, perhaps plan to play online bingo during off-peak hours. The downside is that you won’t win nearly as much as you would playing against dozens of others. Although, a smart strategy may involve trying to win multiple rounds during this time to accumulate prize earnings.
The Probability of Winning After a Certain Number of Calls
For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume you’re playing the traditional 75-ball bingo game for the following example. Back in the early 2000’s statistician David B. Agard and mathematician Michael Shackleford tabulated the precise odds of winning after a particular number of balls have been called. They did so with 1, 10, 50, and 100 cards in play.
Playing only 1 card in a game of bingo makes no sense in terms of the real world. After all, what person would play alone when the end result is the same? However, for context, it’s important to understand what the odds are at their most basic level.
In this regard, Agard and Shackleford deduced that a 45% of winning may occur after 40 balls are called. After 60 balls called the odds are nearly 100% – not surprising given only 15 balls remain.
However, the more interesting results of 100 cards played in a game show that a winner is likely to happen at no more than 28 balls called. So if you don’t mind risking more of your money, opt to purchase as many cards/tickets per round as you can afford.
Now, there are opportunities to win at bingo without needing to fork over your hard-earned cash. Just look for no deposit casinos with bingo bonuses and other included perks. Certain rules and stipulations apply but such casinos are completely legitimate and provide the excitement of playing bingo on their dime and not yours!