Understanding Bingo Terms and Definitions

Bingo is more than a game; it has become a way for people to gather and socialize, and has, through the years, developed its own language. Therefore we suggest that before playing online or in a commercial Bingo hall, the following terms should be understood and learned.

In commercial halls you will often hear players talk about "Man Alive", Key of the Door" and "Red Raw". These are Bingo terms, or slang used to denote the numbers on the cards. All numbers have nicknames. Man Alive is 2, Key of the Door is 21 and Red Raw is 64. Other nicknames are Sweet Sixteen (16), Naughty (69), Between the Sticks (86) and Top of the Shop (90).

Because some callers refer to numbers by these terms, it is important to become familiar with them.

Other Bingo terms that you should be aware of have to do with the way people refer to areas in a commercial hall. The "Front of the House" speaks of the desk located at the front; the Mushroom is the Bingo term used to denote the apparatus where people sit down and play. The name is derived from the shape of the structure, which has a large head, narrowing at its base.

When playing online, the chat room, as one might expect, is where you can engage in conversation with other players. Also in online play, the "halls" are divided into separate "game rooms". Game rooms are also used in other online casino games like Poker and Black Jack.

Terms related to gameplay include the flyers, a ticket holding a solitary game; auto-purchase, a computer software that some halls use to automate the purchase of cards; the Bingo Board is an electronic device that displays the number as it is announced by the caller.

A Bingo Board should not be confused with the Table Bingo Board, which is a Bingo game variant. The Game Board, on the other hand, connotes an electronic machine that displays the pattern needed to complete the card.

The following Bingo terms relate to the apparatus used to produce the numbers: the Ball Shooter is the device where a ball is placed; the Ball Runway is the "tube" which the ball traverses; the Lifter is the device used to lift the ball and the Gate is part of the apparatus where the ball departs.

Casino Night is sometimes used to refer to a major Bingo event, although strictly speaking it connotes an affair that includes other gambling games such as Roulette, Black Jack, Craps etc.

Apart from the ordinary cards, some halls also sell flimsies. As the name implies, a flimsy is a thin sheet of paper, usually containing three card games. Called by some players as "throwaways", these sheets cost a few dollars more than the ordinary card, but the payout is also higher.

A few more terms worth knowing are Main Stage Bingo, the "grand finale" in a Bingo event, and Late Night (or Moonlight Bingo), a Bingo session that commences late evenings (not earlier than ten) and continuing until the wee hours of the morning.

While these terms may be initially confusing, the truth is that once you begin to play, they will become second nature. The more you play, the easier it will be to understand Bingo terms.