HomeOnline Bingo BlogArchive for November 2009

Archive for 2009

Four Important Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Bingo Site

Perhaps you are brand new to the world of online bingo or maybe you’re an experienced player whose site just closed down – whatever the reason, you find yourself looking for a good online bingo site to join.  While most online bingo websites are perfectly legitimate, there still is a great variation from site to site in terms of how well you will like them.  Consider these four factors when choosing any online bingo sites to register with.

The first thing to consider is if the online bingo site offers a good variety of games to choose from, particularly if you have a favorite type of game.  It would be a shame for someone to register and deposit money into a bingo site only to find out that they only offer 90 ball bingo but you prefer 75 ball bingo.  Most sites these days do offer both but not all.  Plus there are a number of other versions now available so it’s nice to play at a site with a good selection.

The next thing to explore would be the site’s software platform.  Most sites will offer either a practice version or even free bingo games so that you can test out the functions for yourself.  You want to be sure that the platform is user friendly and that you can find all the features that you need.  Try to check out the chat room functions, as well, since it can take a lot of the enjoyment out of the experience if you can’t figure out how to navigate around the chat rooms.

Another thing to consider would be the bonuses and promotions offered by the site.  Initial deposit bonuses are common and are definitely a plus, but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor.  If a site gives you a big bonus but there typical promotions are not very exciting, chances are you could be bored out of your mind trying to spend that bonus.

The last thing to consider is the prizes and jackpots on offer at the online bingo site.  Sure, online bingo is a very entertaining way to pass the time but isn’t it a lot more fun when you have the chance to win a great prize?  The more popular and solid online bingo operators will have a wide assortment of prizes, even holiday trips, as well as some good size cash jackpot games.

Tips for Playing Bingo Patterns

Like me, most of you are probably familiar with the traditional patterns of getting a bingo with 75 ball bingo.  You win by getting a five square line either vertically, horizontally or diagonally.  Of course, there are more variations that have been developed to make the game more interesting.  Patterns like “postage stamp”, “around the block” and “picnic table” are pretty common in bingo halls across the country.  However, with online bingo, the patterns get even more complicated and you can even have serial patterns on multiple cards in any given game.

One thing that helps to spot the pattern is to not worry about any numbers that aren’t in that pattern.  In other words, instead of marking every number called, only mark the ones that fit the pattern on your bingo card.  This makes it much easier to see when you actually complete the pattern.

Patterns can be fit into any theme and now is a good time to see a lot of different holiday patterns.  Sites may offer Christmas tree patterns, candy cane patterns or other holiday themes.  Some sites will spell out words so that you may have to play a certain number of cards and get each letter in order to win.  Naturally, these more complex bingo patterns will take longer to play most of the time so plan accordingly.

Often the site’s software will make the pattern obvious to you, with shading or outlining, so that you won’t have to remember a very complicated or serial pattern.  That makes it easier to keep up because with a pattern game like that, if you get behind looking for your numbers, you may never catch up.

Do You Participate in Bingo Tournaments?

There are basically two types of online bingo tournaments available.  The first type, a fixed number of games or time based tournament, is actually falling out of favor these days but you may still see them offered.  The other type, much more popular these days, is a tournament that runs for a certain period of time and the person can play as much bingo during that time as possible.  Since the second type of bingo tournament is the most common one today, that is what we will discuss in this post.

This type of tournament is won by the person who gets the most points during the run of the promotion.  Generally points are earned by depositing and spending certain amounts of cash, say one point for each pound spent.  Often the site will make it more fair and more exciting by adding other ways to earn points such as getting bingo on a certain pattern throughout the tournament or winning chat games or even referring friends to the site.

Unless you are an extremely avid bingo player, I would recommend staying away from tournaments that only give you points for spending money.  If you don’t have an endless bingo budget, those types of tournaments are very tough to win.  It’s better to look for tournaments that give points for activities that you normally do.  Then it’s easy and natural to earn points and have a shot at winning the prize offered.

When choosing a tournament, you should not only be considering how to earn points, however.  You should also consider how long the tournament will run and what prizes are being offered.  After all, no sense winning a tournament that gives you a prize that you’re not really interested in, is it?  The more attractive the prize, the more people will get in on the action, so your chances of winning may be lower with the biggest prizes.

How Does Online Bingo Work Anyway?

When you’re involved in the bingo world, it can be hard to remember that there are still many people who have never played online bingo or visited a site.  I continue to get questions from people who have no clue how it all works so this post is to help any newbies to the world of online bingo.

Online bingo sites work by the players purchasing their bingo tickets and entering a bingo room to play the game.  Just as at the live bingo games, the cost of tickets for each game may vary depending on the value of the prize or jackpot offered.  Unlike the offline bingo halls, where the prize is pretty much always cash, online bingo sites come up with a staggering variety of prizes that you can win.  We’ve seen sites that offer everything from haircuts to electronic gadgets to fabulous holiday trips and cruises.  There really is no limit to what they could come up with next!

Obviously, if you buy more tickets to a game, you will have an increased chance to win that game.  For those choosing which bingo game based on chances of winning, you may want to check out the UK style 90 ball bingo games.  Those games offer three chances to win compared to the single winner of traditional American style 75 ball bingo games.  You also have a higher chance of winning when there are fewer people playing.  You can play at an unusual time to find a room without too many players.

The games themselves are much faster paced online than in a land based bingo hall.  A typical game runs only about 4-6 minutes so anyone can find the time to play an occasional game of bingo.  There are also versions that play even faster for those who want a bit more excitement and the chance to squeeze in more playing time.  A newer variation, known as 80 ball bingo, runs a bit longer than the classic 75 ball bingo but doesn’t take as long as the 90 ball bingo game.  There is even an option called Speed Bingo where the numbers are called much faster than normal.  A game of Speed Bingo can be over in two minutes!

The Evolution of Bingo

Bingo has it’s roots in a lottery style game played way back in the 16th century but it wasn’t widespread until much later when the game was known as “beano” in America.  An enterprising toy salesman heard a woman mistakenly yell “bingo” instead of “beano” at a county fair and he turned that into a game that could be played in every home.

For many years, bingo has been a traditional method of fundraising all across America.  It’s been played at fairs, at local VFW halls and churches everywhere.  In fact, regular weekly bingo games have become a staple at one church or another in just about every town or city in the country.

In the UK, a fixture in many rural communities has been the local bingo halls.  These serve not just as a mild gambling event but as the major hub of social activity in many villages scattered across the UK.  Rather than raising money for charities, these bingo halls are usually owned by a number of large bingo operators, such as Gala Coral or Mecca, and they definitely are for profit businesses.

Then along came the internet.  Suddenly it became possible to create applications that people could play on their computers in the comfort of their own homes.  This has changed the world forever in many, many ways but none so much as the world of bingo.  From the first known online bingo sites in the mid-1990s to today, the applications have grown more sophisticated and versatile every day.

Today, there are hundreds of online bingo sites up on the web so the bingo lover is confronted with an absolutely stunning amount of choice.  While online bingo has attracted a younger crowd to playing bingo, the competition is also making it harder for individual sites to keep their market shares.

With the recent recession, that may or may not be over (depending on who you talk to), the most popular thing in online bingo is to offer free bingo but still award cash prizes.  Naturally, this is an idea loved by bingo players all over the world!

Free bingo, while good for players, may not be such a great idea in the long run for the bingo sites, though.  It’s so easy for players to skip around playing all the free bingo, that it’s making it very difficult for the online bingo operators to attract a faithful member base.  The sites are offering ever greater incentives to make a deposit as well as loyalty schemes to keep members on the site longer and more frequently.

While the overhead in running an online bingo site is much lower than that of a land based bingo hall, you do have to understand that there is still a finite amount on hand to entice players.  Eventually, without depositing members, a site will go under – that’s just economic common sense.  We’ll see how far the free bingo craze goes before too many sites realize they are losing too much money to continue.

Tombola Bingo Introduces Bingo Translator

A word that is catching on in common language usage, at least in the online bingo world, is binglish.  This is the term used to describe the text speak language of the bingo chat rooms, along with the various terms that came about only due to bingo.  It certainly can feel like the rest of the players are speaking a different language when you first encounter the online bingo chat rooms and many people get confused.

Since Tombola Bingo wants to make it easier and less confusing, they’ve actually created a Binglish translator for their players to use on their site.  All you need to to is input the acronyms you encounter into the translator and it will tell you what it means in commonly understood English.  For example, GL becomes good luck and WDW becomes well done, winner.

What is most interesting about this new translator tool is that Tombola Bingo actually consulted a language expert in their development.  Senior Language and Culture Lecturer, Angela Smith of Sunderland University, says that the lingo used in the chat rooms is a sub-cultural language development that helps to give the bingo community a sense of group identity.  Apparently, the binglish is what is helping to foster that community feeling that envelops the game of bingo.

Smith said, “These sorts of phrases and abbreviations offer the notion that people are in the same room rather than the reality of being separated by possibly hundreds of miles.  The translator enables newcomers to join a community that already exists online much quicker than they would otherwise have been able to, and once there, have fun communicating in this very specific sort of language.  For users, I’m sure it could almost be as much fun to join the community and use this language as it is to play.”

What is Housie and Who Plays It?

Some of you may be confused by some of the different terms used in the online bingo world.  One that is commonly asked about is housie.  Well, there is really nothing to be confused about – housie is simply what Australians call bingo in their country.  And believe me, they do like their bingo down under!

One would think that the Aussies would play a game similar to the UK’s famous 90 ball bingo with the 3 row, 9 column design that has 27 squares.  With the UK bingo style, players have three chances to win as they have the one line winner, then the two line winner and then a full house winner.   Each successive winning combination is generally worth a larger prize.

Funnily enough, the Australian housie is actually the same as the American 75 ball bingo game with the traditional 5 x 5 grid consisting of 25 squares.  While there are a number of patterns that can be played with this version of bingo, there is only one winner per game on a normal basis.  The simplest pattern on an ordinary housie game is getting a five in a row line, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally.  However, some of the pattern games can get more creative.

The Aussie and American version of the UK full house is called blackout or coverall.  Either type is won by covering every square on the card.  Generally, the lower the amount of called numbers that it takes to win, the larger the prize.

Of course, playing online bingo, a person rarely has to choose only one version of the game.  Most online bingo sites offer both 75 ball bingo and 90 ball bingo rooms so you can switch back and forth with ease.  Some sites even offer some unique new variations such as 30 ball bingo, 50 ball bingo and the popular 80 ball bingo.

Playing Bingo Patterns

Anyone who has played bingo a time or two knows the standard patterns used: single line, two line, full house, four corners and coverall are pretty universal.  However, with the online games and software evolving every day, more intricate patterns are being invented and played every day.  Pattern games are normally only played in 75 ball games as the configuration of the cards and the way 90 ball is usually won does not lend itself to a lot of variation.

Postage stamp is a pretty common pattern that can be played anytime.  That pattern is completed just by getting the four squares within any corner or a certain corner if the game calls for it.  Double stamp would mean getting two of those corners in order to win.  Another common pattern is the picnic table.  That is an X with the top line covered, too.

Because of the even square design with the 5×5 grid within it, 75 ball bingo cards are perfectly suited for multiple pattern designs.  These come themed to coincide with promotions such as a heart pattern for Valentine’s Day or sometimes even letters to spell out a word.  Those work with multiple cards, of course, one letter per card to spell out the chosen word.

Offline Bingo Vs. Online Bingo

Bingo players enjoy the game for the ease of play and the social aspects of bingo.  Luckily, both of these features can be enjoyed both offline and online.  However, there are some small differences that you should be aware of if you’ve only played one version before.  Each one has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

One of the most enjoyable aspects offline is the ability to chat with your neighbor at the table.  However, most avid bingo players will shush you when the games begin.  That’s because you can easily miss a number if you’re talking and it can be difficult to catch up.  Online, however, you can turn on the autodaub feature at many sites and the computer will do that all for you.

The prizes tend to be a higher value online, especially if you play a progressive jackpot game.  If you’re hoping to hit a life changing amount of money playing bingo, you are far more likely to do so online.

The variety tends to be greater online, as well.  There are some games, like speed bingo and 80 ball bingo, that are generally not offered offline.  For a wider variety of games, online has the bingo halls beat hands down.  Plus most online bingo sites offer a bunch of cool side games that you won’t find in a bingo hall.

Play Online Bingo in Your Browser

I hear so many people say that they don’t play online bingo because they are afraid to download the software.  First of all, if you are dealing with a well known, reputable online bingo provider, you are not going to have to worry about viruses, trojans or other nasties from their software.  They would never deliberately alienate their potential customers that way.  Secondly, you don’t have to download anything at many online bingo sites now.  Most offer a flash based version of the software that enables you to play all or at least most of the games right in your browser.

Flash is simple to create yet can be used to create very complex games these days.  You can see flash based games everywhere, from scratch tickets to full arcade style games.  The gaming industry has adopted flash with a vengeance and you can find bingo and almost every type of gambling game created with flash today.

Some bingo sites won’t offer every single game in a flash version but generally they will make at least the most popular games available.  On the other hand, we are seeing more and more sites that only offer flash games and do not make a downloadable option at all.  It’s much safer for the players as there is no concern of malware at all but it’s also easier for the site to make changes.  With downloadable software, every time the site adds a new game or makes changes to an old one, they would have to have all their players update their software.  Flash eliminates the need to hassle customers this way.