Bingo CardsThe entire bingo game, however it is played, revolves around the bingo card. In order to play a game of bingo, players need bingo cards to mark off the numbers as they are called out and complete patterns to win prizes.

 

The history of the bingo card

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The first bingo card is thought to have originated in France during the 1700’s, where players used cards drawn on paper to keep track of the numbers that were called out. The game of bingo was invented before printing, so cards were either drawn by hand or rubber stamps were used. As this was quite a tedious task, cards were reused to save manually having to recreate cards before every new game.
Creating cards proved difficult to begin with as it was extremely time consuming to generate cards that were random and unique. It is believed that the US bingo creator Edwin Lowe enlisted the help of Carl Leffler, a professor at Columbia University, to create 6,000 random cards during his development of the game. He was paying him $100 per card which would be nowadays almost $1500 per card. Leffler was able to complete the task in 1930. However this task proved too much for Leffler and apparently drove him insane.

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It has since been discovered, based on statistical calculations, that it is not possible to create a complete set of entirely unique bingo cards as there are 552 septillion possible combinations. Many of these combinations will only differ by one number, so one card will have identical lines to many other cards.

Further calculations have revealed that it is more practical to ensure the complete randomisation of a set of bingo cards by creating unique winning combinations that do not share identical lines. This ensures a limited number of players will have the winning pattern, and therefore reduce the number of claims to one jackpot.

Free bingo cards types

There are three main types of bingo card – the online card, the live card and the print at home card. The type of bingo card you need depends on how you are playing the game.

Live Bingo CardsThe cards found at live hall games are made from paper with numbers printed on for players to mark off as they are called out. There are usually several cards on a page, with each one featuring a random set of numbers organised into columns to make them easy to find, for example, the first column might feature one or two random single digit numbers, the second column will include numbers in the tens, and so on.

Free Bingo Cards OnlineOnline game cards look similar to the paper variety in that they are arranged in the same way. The only difference is that the numbers will automatically change color or be crossed off as the numbers are called out. The skill factor is missing when playing online bingo games because of the automatic number marking so when more than one player win the prize it is split. Players can get free bingo cards online either by taking advantage of no deposit bonuses or by playing free bingo games.

Printable Bingo CardsFinally, there are also downloadable or printable versions that can be used for home games or as educational tools. These are created by an online bingo card generator and tend to be simplified versions of the ones that you might find in a bingo hall. You can generate 75 ball or 90 ball bingo cards for free with our recommended bingo card generator Free Bingo Ticket.

Different cards for different games

Just as there a variety of different types of bingo games, there are different cards that are used for each kind of

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90 ball bingo cardThe cards that are used for the 90 ball game are made up of a grid of three rows by nine columns. The grid contains 15 random numbers between 1 and 90 – the number of balls in play. The first column includes at least one number between 1 and 9, and the second column will have numbers between 10 and 19, and so on up to the final column which will have numbers between 80 and 90.
75 ball bingo cardThe 75 ball game card differs slightly in that it has a 5 by 5 grid and every square is filled with a number except the centre, which is marked off automatically as a “free” space. The arrangement of the numbers also differs slightly as the first column includes numbers up to 15 and subsequent columns go up in 15’s accordingly.

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These are just two examples of how the cards vary depending on the game type. Other variations of bingo, such as 30, 40 and 80 ball bingo will also have slightly different cards to play on. However, the basic concept of how to use them is always the same.

Using cards to boost probability of winning

Free Bingo CardsThere are many theories about how to improve your chances of winning by selecting cards with varying number sequences or values. However, as every card has exactly the same probability of winning, there is only one guaranteed formula that will give you your odds of winning a game. You can calculate your odds by dividing the number of cards you are playing with in one game by the total number of cards purchased for that game by every player. This means that the only real way to improve your chances of winning bingo is to increase the number of cards you have in play per game.