Bingo is a game of chance in which randomly selected numbers are drawn and players match those numbers to those appearing on 5x5 matrices which are printed or electronically represented and are known as "cards." The first person to have a card where the drawn numbers form a specified pattern (usually in a straight line) is the winner and calls out the word "Bingo!" to alert others and inform the caller of the win. The card must first be properly checked for accuracy before the "win" is officially confirmed at which time the prize is secured and a new game is begun.
Bingo cards are flat pieces of cardboard or non-reusable paper which contain 25 squares arranged in five vertical columns and five horizontal rows; Dual dab, or "double-action" cards have two numbers in each square. Each space in the grid contains a number, except for the center square, which is considered filled. The highest number used is 75. The letters B, I, N, G, O are pre-printed above the five vertical columns, with one letter appearing above each column. The center space is marked "Free". The printed numbers on the card correspond to the following arrangement: 1 to 15 in the B column; 16 to 30 in the I column; 31 to 45 in the N column; 46 to 60 in the G column and 61 to 75 in the O column.
Players often play multiple cards for each game; 30 is not an unusual number. Because of the large numbers of cards played by each player, most halls have the players sit at tables to which they often fasten their cards with adhesive tape. To mark cards faster the players usually use special markers called daubers.
Waiting - When someone only needs one number in order to complete the Bingo pattern, he/she is considered to be "Waiting".
Breaking the Bubble - The bubble is the minimum number of balls required to complete the Bingo pattern. This is the earliest point anyone could have a valid bingo. Example: Winning pattern is 1 hard way bingo, a straight line without the free space. The minimum number of called numbers is 5 although it is not considered "Breaking the Bubble" until 1 number in each column or 5 numbers in a single column have been called.
Jumping the Gun - One who calls bingo before having a valid bingo. The most common situation is someone calling bingo using the next number in the screen before it has been called.
Wild numbers - Many bingo halls will have certain games with a wild number. Wild numbers allow bingo players to start with multiple called numbers. Typically the first ball drawn is the determining factor.
Standard - All numbers ending with the second digit of the first number. Example: First ball is 22. All numbers ending in a 2 including B2 is considered a called number.
Forwards/backwards - All numbers beginning or ending with the wild number. Example: First ball is 22. All numbers beginning or ending with a 2 is considered a called number. If the first ball ends with an 8, 9 or 0, another number may be drawn as there are no numbers starting with a 8 or 9 and only 9 numbers starting with a zero. Some halls will also redraw a number ending with a 7 as there are only 5 numbers beginning with a 7.
False Alarm - Term used when one calls bingo but is mistaken. This could be because of mishearing the caller or stamping the wrong number by mistake. If one calls a falsie, they genuinely believe they have a bingo. Also known as as a "social error". Another term used for this is a "bongo".