The game of bingo is a very simple and much-loved game in the UK. With the advancements in technology affecting how we all live our lives on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that more and more people are getting their bingo fix online. In fact, as much as 85% of us prefer the convenience of online bingo.
Crucially, we all recognise that famous call – BINGO!
Whether it’s fond memories of our grandparents playing in the local bingo hall, being amused by some of the funny phrases, or hearing a group of grown adults quacking like a raft of ducks upon hearing the caller yell “like a duck – number two”.
With that being said, we at BingoSites.com have put together a complete guide to bingo lingo to inform, and no doubt at times, amuse you!
What are Bingo Calls?
Although bingo calls have been around for a hundred years or more, some of the bingo calls we know today were thought up in the 1950s in order to keep the attention of excitable players in those loud and rowdy bingo halls.
Almost all online bingo sites today still use traditional bingo calls. Here at BingoSites.com, we think it adds to the fun and we like the familiarity aspect of it.
Here are some of the most commonly used terms and slang phrases used in bingo, alphabetised in case you are here looking for something in particular.
Bingo Lingo Explained
- 1TG: This means ‘one to go’ – in other words, there is only one more number left to be called out before you land a winning ticket.
- 2TG: As you probably guessed, this is your two number warning before you land a winning ticket.
- 5 Line Bingo: This version of bingo is becoming very popular at online bingo sites. You have 5 chances to win: you can win with 1 line, then 2 lines, 3 lines and 4 lines. 5 lines is usually a ‘full house’ (see below)
- Admission: This can be with reference to the minimum amount of bingo cards needed in order to pay (think minimum deposit)
- Auto-Play: To save you having to keep racking off the numbers being called out, the majority of bingo sites will enable you to automatically cross off each number on your card. This is good for those of us that struggle to keep up, so you will never miss an important call.
- Best Card Highlighting: Your bingo card will be highlighted by the system when it is getting close to a win.
- Best Card Sorting: Put simply, the clever bingo software will put your best cards at the top of the pile for you, meaning the ones most likely to win.
- Bingo: If you’ve got this far, you probably know what bingo means! But, we’ll briefly explain it in the simplest terms;
The player has a bingo card (it can be more than 1, it depends how many you buy), each with a variety of numbers on it. The caller will call numbers, and then you cross off your numbers if they match those called out.
The ways in which you can win are usually to match (cross out) a full line or the best-case scenario is to cover your entire card meaning you’ve got a full house (see below)
- Bingo Board: Whilst this used to refer to the big electronic board displaying the numbers previously called out, nowadays online bingo sites have their own version. A portion of the screen will be used for displaying the numbers already called, so you don’t miss a beat.
- Bingo Card: Of course online bingo halls do have their own version of the bingo cards used in land-based bingo halls. Each site varies, but you are sure to find a digital version of the familiar card. Your options will differ though. Whilst one site might give you randomly selected (or generated) card, another might offer you the option to choose your own cards.
When a site has randomly selected the cards for you, there is always a chance that they may also allow you to change your set if you’re unhappy with what you’ve been given.
- Bingo Slots: As the name suggests, this is the marriage of bingo slot machines. You will find bingo slots on the majority of online bingo platforms with a diverse amount of themes and bingo bonuses.
- Chat Host: Also called a chat moderator, this will be your caller. The chat host will keep an eye on each game to make sure everything is running smoothly.
- Deposit: In order to play, you first need to top up your online bingo account. This is a fairly simple process, using your payment method of choice, so just follow the simple instructions in the deposit section.
Always check the terms and conditions of the site, as well as the deposit table to make sure you are not going to encounter any unexpected fees. This will also include the time-frame on your payment method. For example, a bank transfer can take days to show up in your bingo account, while a debit card is instant.
- Eyes Down: When you hear this, pay attention, your bingo game is about to start!
- Full House: You’ll be happy if you hear this one, as if you’ve got a full house, you’ve won the top prize available.
- Legs 11: Even if you’ve never played a game of bingo in your life, we can bet you’ve heard of this classic call. The term originated due to the two 1’s creating a similar image to a pair of legs.
- Line: If you cross off all of the numbers on a single line, this is known as a ‘line win’. This is smaller than the main prize, which is a ‘house’.
- Loyalty Scheme: Otherwise known as loyalty programs, with every game you play, you are awarded points. Once you have accumulated a certain number of points in your bingo account, you are able to exchange them to bonuses (usually in relation to bingo only). Always check the terms and conditions, as you will often find there are rules such as minimum monthly wagering quotas.
- Minimum Buy-In: This is the lowest amount of bingo tickets you can buy to play.
- Multiple Winners: As the name suggests, this means that two or more players have won simultaneously, so the prize will be shared out equally amongst the winning players. If the players have called bingo on the same game and call, it really doesn’t make a difference who called it first!
- No Deposit Bingo Bonus: By registering with an online bingo site, you can usually access a ‘new player bonus’ (also referred to as a welcome bonus). This means that you can sometimes play before you’ve even made a deposit. Please remember that ‘no deposit bonuses’ sometimes come with wagering requirements and limitations (such as the max winning amount on a no deposit bonus is often capped).
- Progressive Jackpot: If you’ve ever played slot machines online, you will have heard of a progressive jackpot. The big prize pot will continue to grow until someone is lucky enough to win. The more players, the higher the jackpot has the potential to go.
- RNG: This is an acronym for ‘random number generator’. A very smart computer program all games of chance use, which ensures each bingo game is unique, random and fair play.
- Speed Bingo: As you no doubt gathered, this variation of online bingo is fast-paced, a game with just 30 balls!
- Two Fat Ladies: A particularly comical call; this one has been around for years and not intended to cause any offence! The call for eighty-eight got its name because the two 8’s mimics two ladies standing side by side.
- VIP Scheme: The first thing to mention is that a VIP scheme is different to a loyalty scheme/program. The most notable difference is that with a VIP scheme you are not forced to stick to minimum monthly wagering quotas.
Where did it all Start for Bingo?
Bingo dates back to a weekly Italian lottery in the early 1500s. By the 1800s bingo was actually used to educate children, helping them with mathematics and spelling.
When it comes to the arrival of the game in England, another account of its history leans heavily on the influence of the military. The theory goes that whilst stationed in Malta in 1814, the Maltese taught the British Navy one of their favourite pastimes (now known as bingo).
By all accounts, by the back end of the 1800s, the entire armed forces were regularly enjoying a game of bingo. In fact, it’s believed that’s where some of the original bingo calls were invented.
Fast forward to the early 1900s, AND the game had reached America. Called ‘Beano’ to begin with, the game involved a dealer selecting discs, with numbers painted on them, out of a cigar box. The players would use beans to mark their cards (hence the name).
It’s believed that whilst being played at a carnival, a salesman called Edwin Lowe overheard a player shouting out ‘BINGO’ by mistake, and the name stuck.
Lowe’s influence on the game didn’t end with the name change, as soon after he hired a man called Carl Leffler to assist him in creating a much larger number of bingo card combinations. This was to reduce the amount of non-repeating number combos.
By as early as 1930, he had invented no less than 6,000 unique bingo cards, and bingo has remained popular ever since!.
Without the quirky bingo calls, the game just wouldn’t be the same. There are more amusing calls being created all of the time – some of our favourites here at BingoSites.com are ‘Selfie Queen – 17’, ‘Tinder Date – 8’ and ‘Tag a Mate – 48’. Like everything, some change is good!
Although many new calls have been introduced over the years in an attempt to keep with the times, hopefully, some of the originals stick around for many years to come. After all, they’ve sort of been engraved into our bingo history.