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Bingo, or housie, as it’s known in Australia, has become one of the drivers of Internet casino traffic now that this popular game has become available online. Bingo appeals to players because it’s not only a fun game that takes advantage of people’s proclivity to match symbols and create patterns, but because it offers a social dimension for people to come together and interact as both friends and competitors.
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If you have spent much time playing housie in a brick and mortar establishment, you may have noted that person who always plays with five or six cards and is so obsessive about the game that she never talks to anyone about anything else. This person reveals a third aspect of the game that accounts for its popularity: you can apply strategy to playing bingo and increase your likelihood of winning.
One bugaboo of many gambling games is that they are stacked in favor of the casino. Your odds of winning are typically smaller than the chances the casino takes your money off your hands. Many games, such as roulette, pokies, scratchies, and some forms of poker, involve chance exclusively and winning at these games over the long run requires simply an absurd infusion of luck.
However, some games–like blackjack, Texas holdem, and video poker–are winnable over time when you use optimal strategy. This means that if you play a certain way you can make the odds work in your favor. This does not mean you have a foolproof way to avoid losing money. Chance always plays a part.
You can play a casino game like blackjack perfectly in terms of optimal strategy and still lose money because you are simply having bad luck. This is important to remember when playing bingo. Although you can develop strategies to maximize your winnings, luck is always a factor and can confound your best attempts, so gamble responsibly and avoid chasing your losses.
Play Multiple Cards
One way in which online bingo mitigates the loss of face to face contact with other players in the real time game is by providing a chat room where you can talk to others while you play. If you are playing strategically, you will likely miss out on this feature.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The advice for playing strategically involves becoming that person that you’ve seen in a brick and mortar bingo hall who plays with multiple cards and rarely interacts with others, except to brag about her perpetual winnings.
No one actually likes this person, but never fear. When playing online, you have a certain level of anonymity. Nobody will know how many cards at a time you play, and no one will hold it against you if you do not use the chat feature. This is not to say you cannot or should not use the chat feature. It’s just unlikely that you’ll have time to do so.
In order to win a game consistently that involves drawing numbers randomly that you match to the numbers on your card, the best approach is to play with multiple cards, and preferably those cards that differ widely from your other cards.
This involves a good deal of concentration, which is why the chat feature is not advisable. You may have to practice playing with two or three cards at once and work your way up to five or six. The more cards you play at once, the better the chances of matching the numbers called out and hitting a winning pattern before other players.
Since the trickiest aspect of this strategy is keeping track of all of your cards, check the settings and preferences for your online bingo software. Some programs offer you an opportunity to set them to automatically fill in your cards and call out “bingo” when you hit. This can help eliminate any difficulty you might have in keeping track of all the new and potentially winning developments on your multitude of bingo cards.
Another helpful strategy in winning at online bingo is to become familiar with the different winning patterns. Over time, bingo has evolved in sophistication from the relatively simple pattern of matching a horizontal line across in order to shout, “Bingo!” and collect your winnings. Here are some terms and the patterns and situations they describe:
Straight Line patterns include the traditional single horizontal line across as the winning pattern, as well as a vertical or horizontal line.
Railroad patterns are those in which two lines side by side form the winning pattern.
The Bow Tie pattern consists of two diagonal lines that create an ‘X’ on the card, along with vertical lines on the left and right edges of the card to turn the ‘X’ into two triangles. Like many patterns, this one can also go by other names, such as the Butterfly.
Starburst and Asterisk patterns are those where two diagonal lines are bisected with a vertical line, forming the asterisk pattern, and an additional horizontal line across forms the starburst.
Number and Letter patterns are those patterns which imitate the shape of a letter or number. A ‘T’ pattern, for example, consists of the top horizontal line and the middle vertical line creating a ‘T’ for the winning pattern. Versions of letter and number patterns that have the numbers or letters on their sides are referred to as “crazy.”
The Diamond pattern is one where the daubed squares form a baseball diamond on your card.
A Castle pattern is one where the bottom two horizontal rows are covered and the third horizontal row has every other square covered, so that it looks like the top of a castle tower.
The Flag pattern has the top three horizontal rows covered as well as the right most vertical line, which creates the flagpole.
A Snake pattern consists of alternating squares on the top two rows across. The left most square to fill is on the second row from the top and, moving left to right, you alternate filling either top or second row squares across the card. The Crazy Snake pattern is a version of the snake on its side, although Bingo halls specify exactly which squares fulfill this pattern.
Blackout refers to filling up your entire card. It can also be called Coverall. Typically this pattern is only used when playing for a progressive jackpot. A limited amount of numbers are called out and if no one wins within that period, the jackpot grows higher. Progressive jackpots are more difficult to win, and playing these is not considered optimum play.
Sometimes, a game may offer two winning patterns. These are your best bets for winning money because there are multiple ways to win. Playing multiple cards at once and being familiar with the different types of patterns are both good ways to apply strategy to your online bingo game, but always remember to play safely and responsibly.