The UK and the US share many similarities, and even more differences—from spellings to word variants (it’s football not soccer!). But did you know that these differences are apparent even in bingo? The UK tends to favour 90-ball bingo whilst the US commonly plays 75-ball bingo—but what exactly is the difference? BingoPort’s latest guide will take you through the rules of both variants and the differences between the two.
Both 90-ball bingo and 75-bingo follow the same general rules of bingo. You have bingo cards that you’ll mark off when the numbers are called by a bingo caller or are randomly generated by your bingo site. Players then manually dab their cards or their numbers are automatically marked off online. The objective is to mark off the numbers to complete the winning pattern—the first player to do so wins.
While the general rules stay the same between 90-ball and 75-ball bingo, there are still differences between the tickets and the winning patterns—as you can see below.
90-ball bingo is the main variant played in the UK. A typical ticket for the game contains 27 spaces, and is arranged into nine columns by three rows. Each row contains five numbers and four blank spaces. Each column contains three numbers—the first column has numbers from 1 to 9, the second has 10 to 19 and so on.
Tickets are created as strips of six because this allows every number from 1 to 90 to appear across all six tickets. So, if you buy a full strip of six, you’re guaranteed to mark off every number called—until someone calls House. If you have only one ticket in comparison, you’ll only have a 1 in 6 chance of having a number called.
Bear in mind however, that buying a strip of six tickets will not guarantee you a win. Tickets contain random numbers and this random structure means that each ticket has an equal chance of winning. The odds of winning are slim—just like your chances of winning the lottery. But that’s what makes bingo so much fun—you never know when luck might be on your side.
The game is usually played for a line across, two lines across and then a full house. It’s played at a fairly rapid pace—once a line’s gone, you move onto the next winning pattern. Experienced players will be able to mark an entire set of six tickets in one go. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of concentration. If you’re a bingo newbie, you might find this a little difficult at first.
The main choice of bingo in the USA is 75-ball bingo. While it can seem more complicated than 90-ball bingo, it’s quite simple once you’ve gotten your head around it. Each card has five columns which are split into 25 squares filled with 24 numbers. The middle square is a free space which can be marked off immediately. Each number in the five columns corresponds to a letter at the top of the card: B-I-N-G-O, e.g. B7, I23, N42, G55 and O74. This can be helpful when you’re trying to hunt down your numbers.
Unlike 90-ball bingo, 75-ball bingo cards are independent from one another—they don’t run in strips. This means that if you play with more than one card, it’s possible that you might have to mark off duplicate numbers. It’s for this reason that you might find 75-ball to be slightly slower than 90-ball bingo.
The patterns for 75-ball bingo can also vary compared to 90-ball bingo. At the start of the game, players are told which winning pattern they’re playing for—it could be four corners, a star or letters. The house might set up shapes or letters on the cards like a diamond, house or arrow (as you can see below). In ‘cover all’ games, players aim to mark off every square, the same way a Full House works. Unlike 90-ball bingo, this can mean that there’s only one winner per game.
Ultimately, it all depends on your individual preferences. Some people prefer the fast-paced thrill of playing 90-ball bingo, and others prefer the difficulty that comes with handling multiple cards at once in 75-ball bingo. If you’re anything like us however, you probably love both variants—bingo is bingo after all!
If you need to get a better idea of what both variants entail, why not try out both variants in one of BingoPort’s Recommended Bingo Sites? Or, you could create your own bingo cards with BingoPort and host a bingo night with your friends to decide.
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