# Bingo Cards

The simple numbered card with letter labeled columns have generated an entire community and industry of bingo players, followers and enthusiasts. Since the inception of the game of Bingo, several different varieties of cards have been developed, tested and played. Here, we give a little background on the rather interesting history of bingo cards and an explanation of why you play the one you do.

## What is a Bingo Card?

A bingo card is most commonly constructed from a flat piece of cardboard or disposable paper. The traditional bingo card, also known as an American bingo card, contains 25 squares, arranged 5 vertical rows by 5 horizontal rows. The middle space of the card (row 3, column 3), is typically a "free space." The columns of the card are labeled with the letters "B-I-N-G-O." The "B" corresponds with column 1, the "I" with column 2, and so on. The rows are subsequently labeled with numbers between 1 and 75, allowing for about 5.53x10^26 possible number arrangements. Usually column B includes numbers between 1 to 15, column I has numbers 16 to 30, column N has numbers 31 to 45, column G has numbers 46 to 60 and column O has numbers 61 to 75.

As numbers are drawn and called, players place a marker on the corresponding space on their bingo cards. Once the player completes an entire line (whether horizontally, vertically or diagonally) they call "Bingo!" and win. The most chips that any one card can hold without reaching a Bingo is 19 (not including the "free space").

## The History of Bingo Cards

The game of bingo has roots that trace back to the 1500's in Italy to a lottery game called "lo Giucco del Lotto d'Italia." By the 18th and 19th centuries the game has immigrated to France and Spain where it was transformed into a game including playing cards, toked and numbers, as well an educational took to each recognition. In 1929, Edwin Lowe, the man credited with developing modern bingo, observed a game played at a traveling carnival near Atlanta, Georgia in 1929. Lowe took the game, played with dried beans, a rubber stamp and cardboard sheets, back with him to New York where he began playing with friends and transforming the game into modern Bingo. Lowe created two versions of the game - a 12-card set that could be played for a wager of \$1 and a 24-card set that was played for a \$2 wager.

Since Lowe's creation of modern Bingo, several variations of the game have sprung. The expansion of the online bingo market has created a new era of innovative bingo games and ways to present the age-old game.

### Online vs. Real Bingo Cards

In recent years, the world of online bingo has grown immensely. With several online bingo sites, as well as entire communities and networks of individuals whose common interest in internet bingo bring them together, the game of bingo is reaching new boundaries and demographics daily. Typically, there are no major differences between the online bingo card and the card used in real-live bingo games. The major differences between online bingo and real bingo are the way in which the spaces are marked.

On many online bingo sites, you number spaces will automatically be marked as the numbers are called. This allows you to play several cards at once. Another big difference between online and real bingo are that in real bingo, numbers are called from a physical numbered ball dropping out of a circular generator. In online bingo, the numbers called are determined by a random number generator in the computer. Bingo is a very social game - both on the web and in real life. Online bingo maintains the sociability of the game through the very interactive bingo chat rooms and "bingo lingo" that online bingo players prescribe to.