How to play bingo: a bingo guide for beginners

Posted in Bingo tips Meccabingo | 1st December 2018

how to play bingo online

If you think that bingo is a fairly modern game, then you’ll be mightily surprised to hear that it was first documented in the 1500s. Back then there was a game called “beano” in which players marked numbers off their cards against numbers pulled out of a sack. Sound familiar?

Technology has come a long way since then and the way that we play bingo has evolved massively. However, the principles and bingo rules have stayed largely the same since its inception and you’re still required to mark numbers off of your card as they are called out.

The rise of online bingo

In the past, you would have had to attend a game at a bingo hall if you wanted to learn how to play bingo or to win some money from the game. However, although bingo halls are still around, they have largely been eclipsed by online bingo, with 85% of players choosing to go the online route rather than to a physical bingo hall.

If you’re thinking that you’d rather play bingo online in the comfort of your home rather than venturing out into a bingo hall, whether it’s as a first-time bingo player or a first-time online bingo player, then there are some things that you should know.

With such a wide variety of bingo sites and a myriad of different games, themes, and jackpots available, playing online bingo for the first time can be a little intimidating. If you’re new to the game and want to learn how to play bingo, read on and check out our simple bingo guide! If you’ve read enough and want to get started – go play bingo now

A quick overview on how to play bingo

One of the aspects that makes bingo such a popular game throughout the world and in all sorts of age groups is that the bingo rules and instructions are incredibly easy to learn. In a nutshell, all you have to do is listen to the person calling the numbers out and scratch or mark them off your card if you hear yours. That’s the quick version of how to play bingo, however, and there are a number of different types of bingo that can affect some of the factors. So it’s always a good idea to get a deeper look into bingo rules and how to play the different variations of the game.

How does bingo work?

Online bingo and land-based bingo is played by crossing off the numbers you have on your tickets when they are called out. If you want to know how to win bingo, then all you need to do is cross off all your numbers before anyone else. The type of bingo game you are playing decides how many numbers are on your ticket.

The numbers on your ticket will correspond with the possible numbers that can be drawn by the bingo caller. Don’t get confused if you hear the games being referred to as “90 ball” or “75 ball”, etc. The numbers used to be printed onto a ball and then received by the bingo caller to announce, hence why the amount of numbers that will be called out is still referred to as a “ball”.

However, times have changed drastically since then and so have the ways in which we play bingo and now bingo in some clubs, and in all online bingo games, is electronic. 

Winning a bingo game can change depending on a couple of factors that we will look at in more detail below. For example, you could just fill one line and win, or cover up your whole card in a full house to win. You could also win money if the game has a special prize for scratching out the numbers in a particular pattern; if your numbers are called and you get to mark this particular pattern out, then you may not win the game but you could win extra money.

Online Bingo Tutorial – How to Play Online Bingo

Watch our video tutorial above!

Online bingo rules 

Bingo rules are fairly simple whether you are playing online bingo or playing bingo in a club. First of all, you will need to buy your tickets. Our online bingo tickets cost from as little as 1p and are available before the start of the game in the bingo lobby.

The game will start when the first number is announced. If this is on your ticket(s), cross it off. If you are playing online bingo, our clever system will mark the numbers off for you. However, if you’re playing in a club for the first time – pay attention! The pace can take a bit of getting used to, but it’s all part of the fun and gets your adrenaline pumping.

Numbers will continue to be called until someone has crossed off all the numbers they need to get the first prize, often by completing one line. If there are further prizes to be won, these will be announced and the numbers will continue to be called until 2 lines and a full house has been found – the latter is where all the numbers on a ticket have been crossed off.

As mentioned above, one of the hardest parts about playing in a club or in a bingo hall is keeping up with the pace of which the numbers are called. If you don’t manage to shout out in time and the next card has already been drawn, then you’re not going to win that one. Finding and marking numbers is no small achievement when you have to juggle a number of cards and try to mark them off as soon as you find them, and that’s why you’ll find that most land-based bingo games need some sort of quiet. 

However, if you play online bingo there are a ton of options and enhancements to take advantage of. 

  • Autoplay: Most online bingo sites will have a system that automatically marks the numbers on your cards as they are called. This means that you don’t have to frantically search for them.
  • Best card sorting: This is when the computer will sort your cards into order so that your card that has the most chance of winning will remain on the top for you to keep an eye on.
  • Best card highlighting: This is when the system will be primed to give you an alert or highlight a card if it is getting close to winning.

Different types of Bingo 

There are many different types of bingo. The main differences are the amount of numbers on each ticket and the amount of numbers than can be called.

90 ball bingo rules

There are 15 numbers on each 90 ball bingo ticket. The numbers are arranged in a 9 x 3 grid. Numbers 1 – 9 can be found on the first column, numbers 10 – 19 are found on the second column and so on, with numbers 81 – 90 appearing in the fifth column.

Numbers 1 – 90 will be called at random and there are three opportunities to win in 90 ball bingo:

1 line win

Players try to cover off a complete horizontal line on their card.

2 lines win

Players go for two horizontal lines. These don’t have to be on the same tickets where 1 line was crossed off, but they have to be on the same ticket as each other.

Full house win

Players aim to mark off all the numbers on their ticket.

Mecca’s online 90 ball bingo rooms include Clickety Click, and Legs Eleven.

75 Ball Bingo rules

Just like in 90 ball bingo, players cross off the numbers on their ticket(s) as they are called. Each 75 ball bingo ticket has five horizontal lines and five columns. Each column is headed by a letter spelling BINGO.

The ‘B’ column has numbers 1 -15, the ‘I’ column has numbers 16 -30 and so on. There is a space right in the centre of the card that is free. This has no number on it and is counted as already being covered.

There are a number of ways to win 75 ball bingo, including line wins as in 90 ball bingo and patterns:


Players try to cover all 24 numbers on their card.

Line wins

Players can win by covering a complete horizontal, vertical or diagonal line.

Bingo pattern wins

Pattern bingo is often played in 75 ball games. A pattern or shape will be declared at the start of the game and players are aiming to cover their numbers to make this pattern on the card. There are lots of different pattern wins available including crosses, chevrons and diamonds.

Our exciting 75 ball online bingo rooms include Deal or No Deal, Jump & Jive and Sunset Strip.

80 Ball Bingo

A relative newcomer to the bingo block, 80 ball games are played with a ticket that has 16 numbers arranged into a 4×4 grid. Each column is a different colour and there are many ways to win:

Line wins

Players can win by marking off horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines.

Pattern wins

Players can also win by making patterns, like in 75 ball bingo. You’ll find out which patterns you need to make before the game starts.

Special bingo games

At Mecca, we have some unique and rather special variants of online bingo. Instead of using traditional bingo cards, you can cross off emojis in Emoji Bingo, pop balloons in Burst Bingo and mark off the numbers on your four-leaf clovers in Rainbow Riches bingo. While the games look different, the rules are essentially the same – you just need to cross off what you have against what has been called.

Playing in Bingo Halls Vs Online Bingo

Playing bingo online and playing bingo in a bingo hall or club is very similar. The main difference is that you don’t need books of bingo tickets when you play online and you don’t have to dab all your own numbers.

Many of our members prefer playing online bingo as it offers the same excitement of bingo in a club, but you can do it anytime, anywhere. Games at Mecca Bingo play round the clock so if you work night shifts or you are an early riser – you’ll always be able to get into a great game of online bingo! Our site is so simple to use that you’ll be able to play bingo free from stress and simply enjoying the game.

How to play online bingo

Playing online bingo is really simple, as the hardest part – keeping up with the bingo calls – is done for you!

First of all, you need to be signed in to Mecca Bingo  and have a cash balance or bingo bonus funds to spend. If you don’t have an account yet, click the ‘Join Us’ button and follow the instructions.

Pick a bingo room

Enter the bingo lobby by clicking the ‘Play bingo now’ button or select which room you want to go to from the bingo tab.

In the bingo lobby, you will see how much tickets are for each game, what the prizes on offer are and when the next game starts.

Decide how many tickets to play in each game 

Click the game that you want to play and select how many tickets you would like to buy. The more tickets you have, the more chances you’ll have to win.

Don’t worry about keeping up with the numbers, they will be marked off automatically on all of your tickets.

You will be notified if you have won a prize and any cash winnings will be credited to your balance immediately.

When the game has finished and all winners have been found, you will have the chance to buy more tickets for the next round.

 Check the bingo schedule 

Ready to play? Now that you know all that you need to about bingo rules, it’s time to get started! Grab your tickets with Mecca Bingo and win big in the next bingo game!

We’re here to help you keep it fun – remember to set your deposit limit. Click here for more details on the safer gambling tools available including reality checks and the ability to take a break from your gaming.