Guide to Essential Bingo Lingo

August 12, 2023

Bingo, a game cherished for its simplicity and cherished for the sense of community it fosters, is not just about matching numbers on cards – it’s a world rich with its vocabulary, a symphony of terms that seasoned players wield with ease.

Whether you’re a newcomer looking to dive into the world of bingo or a seasoned player seeking to brush up on your linguistic prowess, this guide will be your companion in navigating the colorful lexicon accompanying this beloved pastime. From the iconic call-outs that prompt exuberant shouts of “Bingo!” to the jargon woven into the fabric of bingo culture, we’ll explore it all, ensuring you’re not left feeling like you’re in the dark on bingo night.

Whether you play at your neighborhood bingo hall or casino or play bingo online, the game has its vocabulary or ‘lingo’ commonly used by players. Some terms may be familiar to you. Others, however, may be new, especially if you are new to playing online bingo or participating in chat rooms. Below is a list of the most common terms used in bingo.

The most common terms used in a bingo game

Admission Packet – The number of cards that a player must purchase before being able to play. Both physical bingo halls and online will have admission packets.

Bingo Balls – Bingo balls come in a count of 75 or 90 balls. These are drawn from the hopper at random.

Bingo Caller – The bingo caller acts as an announcer and referee for the game. The bingo caller draws bingo balls randomly from the bingo hopper and calls them out to the players.

Cover All – An alternative name used for a blackout bingo game.

Daubers –Bottles filled with water-soluble ink come in several colors. These are used to mark off called bingo numbers on bingo sheets. In online bingo, this is done virtually with a computer mouse or touch screen.

Early Bird- Also known as ‘warm up bingo.’ Early bird games are 2 -10 before the official bingo games. They help players warm up and can ease new people into the game.

Free Space – the square located in the middle of each bingo card or sheet.

Game Pattern – Usually consisting of the five numbers in a row; up, down, across, or diagonal, Game patterns may make up other things such as shapes, an ‘X,’ or four corners, for example

Late Bird – Also known as a ‘wrap-up game.’ Like early bird games, there are 2 -10 bingo games after the regular bingo session.

Nite Owl – Both at the bingo hall and online, nite owl sessions are for hardcore bingo players.

Progressive Jackpot – A prize where the amount of money continues to grow until the final game.

Winner Takes All – Held after the main session, the winner receives all money raised in the sales of bingo sheets or cards for the game.

Bingo etiquette basics

The terminology used in bingo chatrooms is similar to that found in any chatroom, social media, or texting on the phone. When in chat, there are just a few things to remember: First, be friendly! You can make new friends through online bingo. It is also important to remember, NO SHOUTING. Shouting is anytime someone types in all capital letters. Just as it’s considered rude to shout in the bingo hall, it’s not a good idea to shout in an online bingo chatroom.

Bingo lingo online shortenings

Below are some of the most common abbreviations you may see while playing bingo lingo. In use at all online bingo sites.

  • LOL – Laughing Out Loud
  • OMG – Oh My God
  • WD – Well Done
  • AFK – Away From the Keyboard
  • BRB – Be Right Back
  • BBL – Be Back Later
  • FYI – For Your Information
  • IMO – In My Opinion
  • TY – Thank You
  • NN – Nickname
  • GG – Good Game
  • GF – Good Fight
  • GJ – Good Job
  • GL – Good Luck
  • GLA – Good Luck. All
  • BLNG – Better Luck Next Game
  • HB – Hurry Back
  • CA – Cover All
  • CH – Chat Host
  • TG – To Go – (how many are left)
  • SAC – Sorry, A$$ Cards
  • BOGOF – Buy One Get One Free
  • F2P – Free to play
  • P2P – Pay to play

As you step into bingo halls or join online communities, armed with this newfound understanding of bingo lingo, you’re not just a player but a participant in a time-honored tradition that transcends generations. The phrases, numbers, and call-outs are more than mere words. They’re the bonds that unite players in excitement and anticipation, turning each round into a unique and thrilling adventure.

Of course, it is just a small part of bingo lingo. Every site is different, and you may find that different terms are used where you play. The best way to learn the terms is to practice. If there are any terms you aren’t sure about, fellow players are often more than happy to explain them. After a few sessions, they’ll become second nature.

Let the lingo infuse your experience with a sense of camaraderie and shared tradition, turning each game into a delightful journey of numbers, words, and community.


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