As a first time bingo player, it is always helpful and a lot more fun if you can attend your first time bingo with an experienced friend, but at least go with someone to share the fun with. Bingo staff members will gladly help and explain and answer any questions you may have.
Regular players are usually eager to share their knowledge and experience provided you ask BEFORE the session begins. In any case, this guide will provide you with a good introduction to better equip you for your first bingo experience.
Arrive at least one hour before the start of any Early Bird Games so you have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the facility, items to be purchased, and prices. Bring a ball point pen with you. First, proceed to the main sales counter and ask for a bingo program which usually lists all games, prices, prizes, required purchases, and House Rules. Some of this information may be posted on signs in the area.
Inform a supervisor or staff member that you are a new player. Some games offer a Beginners Pack and occasionally a free ink marker or other gift. The staff member can explain all items that are available for sale.
We recommend you play the minimum on all games. It can be frustrating to purchase more cards than you can mark (dab) comfortably. It will take a little practice to dab and scan all your cards for the correct winning pattern or patterns.
Purchase what is necessary at the sales counter. Ask the cashier to make change with some $1 bills because several games may be available only from selling agents (floor clerks) that continually walk throughout the facility. These games are said to be available “on the floor.” These will be explained below. Purchase an ink marker if you do not have one and keep track of your receipt. Many games require your receipt to be displayed at all times in order to receive any winnings or door prize drawings.
There will be floor clerks walking throughout the facility selling items that are not available at the sales counter. This helps reduce lines at the cashiers. Warm Up Games, Specials, and Jackpot games are typically sold on the floor. The bingo program will identify these games as “not in pack.” Find these games on your program and circle or mark them. Begin purchasing these games from the clerks by holding a few dollars up in the air and the clerks will come to you. Write the name of each game at the top of each sheet as you purchase them. As a reminder, you should have an Early Bird and /or Warm Up Pack, a Main Game (Regular) Pack, and a few sheets of different Specials or Jackpot games. Write your name on the back of each and every sheet which will help the staff remember which sheets are yours in the event there are multiple winners on any single game. It may be helpful to stack your sheets in the exact order of the program if the colors are listed for each game.
Many games will provide you with a free drawing ticket with your Admission Packs and conduct several drawings for free prizes. These will be numbered or require you to fill in your name, address, etc. Tear off the stub you keep and deposit the “House” portion in a raffle drum located on or near the stage.
The bingo caller will arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of bingo and inspect the equipment. He/She will place all 75 balls in the master board to verify all 75 balls are present and in good condition. A player is normally invited to independently verify the same. The Bonanza numbers will be called and displayed on the flashboards if this jackpot game is played. Recall that the 1st 45 numbers are called for a Bonanza Coverall and the game is completed (restarted) later in the session. Go ahead and dab your Bonanza cards at this time. U-Pik-Em games which allow you to write in or circle your own numbers can also be completed. The top or original copy must be deposited in a lock box near the end of the row of tables at which you are seated. The Caller will read the House Rules immediately before the start of the session.
You should now be well organized and prepared for the start of the games. The Caller will announce the game name and number, the color of the sheet, and the pattern to be played before each game starts. He/She will call balls, one at a time, at approximately 10 – 15 second intervals. The caller will place the balls in front of the camera prior to calling the number (at most games) if TV’s are used. Mark your numbers as the balls appear on the TV monitors or as they are called. Watch for the appropriate pattern as the game progresses. Remember if the last number called rule is used and you bingo, yell bingo only when the last number is verbally announced. You must yell bingo loud enough to stop the caller before he/she announces the next number, any part of the number, or even the letter of the next number. If a camera and TV monitors are used to display each ball, you will be tempted to yell bingo when the ball appears on the screen. Wait until the caller announces the number. Hold your sheet in the air and yell bingo if you win.
The Caller and floor clerk must now “verify” your bingo to determine if it is a “valid bingo.” Ordinarily, a floor clerk will take your sheet and place it in front of a player at a different table. This is done so that a “disinterested player” is involved in the process to ensure the game’s integrity and the clerk’s accuracy. Some games will display your card on the TV monitors to accomplish this. The clerk will read the serial number and the free space number to the caller. A digital image of your bingo card will appear on the monitors if electronic verification is available. It will display all balls called in the correct pattern and the last number called will flash.
This may also be done manually by the clerk calling back all marked numbers on your sheet to the caller. The caller will announce “that is a good bingo” and will ask if there are any other bingos. The game will be declared “closed” if no one else yells bingo and the process of describing the next game will begin. If a bingo is determined to be invalid, the caller will announce that is not a good bingo and your sheet will be returned to you and calling will continue.
Everyone at CactusBingoSupply.com hopes this information will make your bingo experience more relaxed and enjoyable.
Good luck, and most of all, HAVE FUN!