Bingo is a game of probability and chance. Whether you visit a bingo hall or play online, this odds game is a fun way to make new friends and let off steam.
If you’re serious about the game and you want to increase your probability of winning bingo, you need to view the game strategically. Assuming you’re playing at a site that reports how many tickets are live in each game, you can quickly calculate your bingo odds. You can use that information to decide whether a particular site is worth the risk or you’re better off playing elsewhere.
Let’s take a look at some of the elements that can tip the odds in your favour.
Number of Bingo Tickets
Since bingo is a game of mathematical probability, the more tickets that are in play, the lower your odds of winning at bingo. You can boost your chances by buying more tickets.
By doing some simple math, you can easily estimate your odds by taking the number of cards you’ve bought and dividing them by the total number of cards in play. So, for example, if you buy five bingo cards and there are 100 cards in the game, your odds of winning will be one in 20.
Some bingo halls and websites do not reveal the number of cards being played. In this situation, the best you can do is count the number of players in the game and then make a guess about how many cards each player has. It goes without saying that this is far from scientific.
Fortunately, though, some of the best online bingo sites will actually tell you how many cards are in play in your game. This information is very valuable for determining your precise chances of winning. If other people purchase fewer cards, you won’t need to buy too many cards to double or triple your chances of winning. However, if there are many players in the game, you might consider buying more cards to get the upper hand.
Number of Calls
During a traditional bingo game, the host – known as the caller – will call out the numbers he or she picks out of a container. Some contemporary games – including all online bingo games – use a random number generator instead.
“How many numbers in bingo?” is an interesting question with no fixed answer. Typically, the number of balls in a game varies depending on where you’re playing. For example, in the United Kingdom, 90-ball bingo is the most common variant, while 75-ball bingo is more popular in the USA.
The common thread is that your odds of winning increase as the game progresses, since the number of remaining balls shrinks with each call. This means that your bingo probability on the fifth call is infinitesimally low – you have a much higher chance of getting struck by lightning. By the time the 40th call comes around, your probability of winning is much higher. And if you haven’t hit bingo by ball number 70 in a 75-ball game, you can consider yourself unlucky.
There’s a common misconception that simple patterns like straight lines have a higher chance of winning than complex shapes like an L or a Z. This isn’t strictly true. The fewer balls required to make up the pattern, the more likely you are to get that pattern, regardless of what shape it is. So you’ll have a higher chance of achieving bingo on a five-ball pattern than you would on a 10-ball pattern. But given that everybody in the game is aiming for the same patterns, this doesn’t actually affect your odds of beating the competition.
Number of Players
It stands to reason that the fewer players there are in a game, the greater your bingo odds. But given that the prize pool in progressive bingo games is calculated according to the number of tickets bought, a game with fewer players will also have lower potential winnings. It’s a trade-off you should be aware of.
Of course, you won’t know your bingo winning odds unless you know how many tickets each player has bought. If there are only 10 players in the game but each player has an average of five cards, then the odds are the same as if there were 50 players with one card each.
Essentially, it’s up to you to balance your probability of bingo against the value of the overall prize pool. If you’d like a higher chance of winning but will settle for a smaller prize, you can either play at quiet times or buy more bingo cards. If you’d rather play the high-risk, high-reward game, buy a single card in a busy game and hope for the best.
It’s also worth seeking out jackpots and other games that offer inflated payoffs to bingo winners. Most halls and online bingo rooms change up the games to keep play lively and offer high jackpots for occasional games.
Number of Games
Some players like to spread their bingo tickets across several games for variety’s sake. While this doesn’t actually increase their chances of winning, it can undoubtedly spice things up.
One popular strategy is to buy bingo cards for some busy games with large jackpots and other quieter games with smaller prizes. In this way, you’re hedging your bets between risk and safety. But of course, each additional ticket adds to the cost of your play.
How to Win at Bingo?
Like any odds game, the thing that determines long-term outcomes in bingo is probability. Bingo is, at the end of the day, a game of chance, and there’s no surefire way to win. There are, however, ways you can put your money to smart use. Here are some tips you can use to tip the balance in your favour.
Since the number of cards being played directly influences your bingo odds of winning, a game with only three or four people gives you great odds. Competition for the prize will be low, which usually means that the jackpot will be small. However, if you get lucky and find probability casino sites that offer fixed-prize games regardless of how many people are playing, you’ll have the best of both worlds.
If you want to improve your odds of winning at bingo, some of the best times to play are:
- During inclement weather: This advice applies only to physical bingo games. Chances are that bad weather will discourage people from going out, which will mean fewer competitors and better odds on the game for you. Bear in mind that if you’re playing online bingo, the opposite could well be true – people could decide to stay home and play during a storm.
- Off-peak times: If you’ve been playing bingo for a long time, you’ll have an idea of when your favourite hall or website is at its quietest. These slow times may be midweek during business hours, late at night, or during the holiday season, when many people prefer to spend time with their families. Remember, there will be other cunning players using this same strategy, so there’s a chance it can backfire.
Play Multiple Tickets
Some players like to buy as many bingo tickets as they can afford. This increases their odds of winning bingo, though it also increases the amount they spend. It’s common for players to buy more tickets as they grow more experienced to keep themselves entertained.
This is a matter of simple mathematics. If there are 80 people playing bingo and each person has one ticket, each of those players has a one in 80 chance of winning. If you were to join the game and buy 20 tickets, the total number of tickets would increase to 100, and a bingo odds calculator would show that you’d have a one in five chance of winning. With the addition of your tickets to the pool, everybody else would now have a one-in-100 chance of winning.
Of course, you’d also be spending 20 times as much as each of the other players. And while this strategy can work well online in a game that automatically checks off your numbers for you, it can backfire at the bingo hall, where you’ll have to keep track of all those 20 tickets manually. This can be nerve-wracking and you might miss a few numbers.
In bingo, the odds on cards are equal, which means every single card or ticket has the same chance of winning. There’s nothing wrong if you want to stick to just one ticket or invest in 10; it all depends on how much money you’re willing to risk.
Choose Tickets With Unduplicated Numbers
Since bingo tickets feature each number only once, every card has an equal chance of winning. However, some players feel they can maximise their odds of bingo by buying multiple tickets without any numbers that are duplicated among them. While maths shows that this doesn’t improve your chances, it’s satisfying to know that you can mark every number off at least one of your cards, even if it isn’t in the right position to fit the winning pattern.
Keep the Same Tickets
If you’re wondering how to play odds on the same ticket, you’re in luck. Some bingo halls let players keep the same cards or tickets session after session for the benefit of players who think this is advantageous. Their logic is that the caller will eventually call the numbers on those tickets if they play the same tickets again and again. There is no mathematical basis for this, as all balls are returned after each game, and the caller does not have any say in what number he or she picks out. The process is random.
That doesn’t stop some players from considering certain cards lucky, especially if they’ve won with them before. Others think that since their ticket hasn’t won yet, they are now “due” to win. In reality, every ticket has an equal chance of winning, regardless of whether it’s old or new.
Logically, the only potential advantage you’d gain by holding the same ticket is that you’ll become familiar with the locations of the numbers, which means you will be able to mark them quickly and not miss any of them. This may make it seem like your odds of winning bingo have increased in a game at a physical bingo hall, where the process isn’t automatic.
Calculating bingo odds is a matter of simple maths. The problem is that while you can easily work out your chance of winning, there’s not really anything you can do to get ahead of the curve. Your best option is to assess how many tickets you’re willing to buy and whether you prefer shorter odds and a smaller prize pool or longer odds but great potential winnings.
Most important of all is that you stay alert when you’re playing the game at a bingo hall. If you don’t hear the number being called or if you forget the pattern you’re trying to make, you could cost yourself a valuable win.