After arriving at the bingo hall, your first step is buying your bingo cards (or a book of cards) at the sales counter. Each book usually contains of five to eight colored bingo tickets, each color corresponding to a different game. Bingo cards are usually the throwaway type but you may find the hard cards a well.
In the US, each bingo card is laid out with a grid of five columns and five rows preprinted with 24 random numbers out of a total of 75 possible numbers used in the game. The word "Bingo" is printed across the top of card with each letter of the word at the top of each column. The numbers in the B column are between 1 and 15, the I column between 16 and 30, the N column (containing four numbers and the free space) between 31 and 45, the G column between 46 and 60, and the O column between 61 and 75. There is also a free space in the middle space on the card.
The bingo caller will announce the selected pattern for each bingo game before it starts. There are many different patterns used in bingo games, the most basic being a straight line in any direction: vertical, horizontal or diagonal. Other patterns include the four corners of the bingo card, or shapes such as the letter E. A coverall is a pattern where all of the numbers on the bingo card have to be covered.
This process of selecting and calling balls is repeated until one the players cover the selected pattern for that game and shout out, "Bingo!" A floor person then is responsible for verifying that the winner's pattern is correct and that the numbers covered on the bingo card match the numbers that have been called. If the numbers match, then the game is over and the winner is paid the prize. If more than one player has won, the prize money is split up into equal parts.
When playing online bingo at sites, your bingo cards are randomly selected for you and some sites automatically mark the numbers on your card for you.
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