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Bingo Rules

Author: Peter Falconer

Somewhere there is someone who has never played bingo.  He didn't play it with his friends at birthday parties when he was a little child.  He never went to a church or fraternal organization "Bingo Evening".  He didn't give it a try in a casino nor did he ever get online to pay the game.  It is for that person, whoever and wherever he may be, that this article is being written.

Bingo is an extremely simple game.  You buy a card which has five columns, each headed by one of the letters in the game's name: B, I, N, G and O.  Under each letter there are five squares, and any of 15 different numbers appears in one of those squares.  Under "B" the numbers range from 1 to 15.  Under "I" from 16 to 30.  "N" reaches from 31 to 45, "G" from "46" to "60" and "0" from 61 to 75.  There is one exception:  The middle square (the third one down under "N" has no number -- it is a freebie, meaning that it is considered as being covered from the moment the game begins).

Don't worry about remembering which letter has which numbers.  You will be reminded whenever the person leading the game calls out a particular number.  If, for example, 7 is chosen, he will say, "Under the 'B' -- 7.  B7." 

The numbers are selected randomly as a drum with bingo balls inside is turned.  One ball will come out, be caught by a little basket on the outside of the drum, and the leader will read aloud the number which appears on it.

If the number called appears on your card, you put a marker on top of it to cover it.  (If you are playing online, the software will probably do this automatically for you).

The object of the game is to cover all the squares in whatever pattern has been chosen for that particular round.  You may be required to cover the entire card.  You may be asked to have one line or one column covered.  You might be told to get a diagonol line covered or to form the letter "X" (two diagonals). You might just be told that the four corners have to be covered.

The first person to cover all the squares for the particular pattern needed for that round wins.  (Just make certain that you don't clear your card until the leader verifies that the winner did not make a mistake and that all of his needed squares are, indeed, covered.)

If you find the game too simple, you can make it harder (and increase your chances of winning a particular round) by buying and playing more than one card. You are allowed to buy as many as you wish but be careful:  if you have too many you won't be able to keep up with the game.