The Latest ‘Bingo Lingo’

Some of the terms used by bingo callers are confusing especially to new players. Linguists could probably have a field day exploring this new dialect centered on a very old game. In the US bingo callers usually just call straight numbers but in the UK it is an entirely different story. Bingo has come a long way since the days of ‘beano’ when players covered the numbers with beans instead of daubers. Now bingo is one of the most popular internet games and millions play internet bingo regularly. In fact people spend more money playing bingo than they do attending movies and sporting events. In addition to producing its own unique language the bingo industry is worth about $2 billion dollars a year!

The language at bingo halls and at bingo sites is confusing at first but is quickly learned. There are some basic terms such as ‘set’ or ‘waiting.’ Set and waiting are called out when a player only needs one more number to win the game. The term ‘Ball in Monitor’ is somewhat confusing but basically means that if a player hasn’t already won the game the next number could produce a game winner. “Hardway Bingo” is a game where all the numbers in a row must be marked without any gaps to win. “Postage Stamp Bingo” is a game where the numbers on all four corners of the bingo card need to be marked to win the game.

“Picnic Table Bingo” or “Letter X” is a game where the topmost row on the card is the most important. “jailbar bingo’ is a game where the player needs to fill in the ‘B’ ‘N’ and ‘O’ lines on the card. Card numbers have nicknames and there are several excellent glossaries available online with definitions for each. Although the sheer number of colorful bingo calls will seem overwhelming at first most players learn them quickly. Most of these calls are used at live games and at bingo sites. Most players at online bingo sites are very tolerant of new players and go out of their way to help. If you plan on playing bingo in the UK you’d better brush up on your ‘bingo lingo.’

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