The other night I saw something I will never forget. In the first game of the session, a woman sitting on the far side of the room won. Like most people anymore in many halls, she didn’t seem the least bit thrilled. She quietly said, “Bingo.” Actually, she nearly whispered it.
As I have always said, if I were to own a Bingo hall, if a winner didn’t scream “BINGO!” I would not pay them. Well, back to the woman who won the first game. Within minutes, she had won the second game. Again, she nearly whispered, “Bingo.”
She then proceeded to win game three, then game four, then five. Some of us were about to see if the woman was somehow cheating. Of course she wasn’t. That magnificent variable we call “the odds” had kicked in, royally, in her favor.
I do remember one night, many years ago, in which a friend won seven games in one session. I started calling him “Mr. Lucky.” And, if I remember correctly, he didn’t win again for about seven months.
So, what are the odds in Bingo? To be honest, it’s not worth wondering. Even with computers, it’s a tough task to figure them out. And, the reason it is so tough is that not only, as in KENO, do you have to have the right numbers, you have to have them in the right position on the card.
Remember the e-mail I got several years ago saying that Bingo’s odds were impossible to calculate and that the odds at Bingo were the reason for all the fun? I only know we all have needed a number such as I-19 to win, and the caller calls I-20 and someone else wins. We think we missed it by one! We didn’t. We missed it by the number of numbers that had not been called yet.
Back to the lady who won the first five games in a row. The odds are that that will never happen again for her. She might never even win two games in a row, let alone five!
And, like my friend who won seven games in one session, she might not have the right combinations to win until sometime next year, or never again in her life.
Finally: This might be a good time to again thank everyone for writing to email@example.com. I especially like hearing from Bingo hall employees. Over these past more-than-fifteen years I have tried to be on your side. I know you have a job. You are there all the time, even when we are not. Thanks again for your hard work. See you all next time around.
Drop me a line on the Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you don’t have e-mail, a friend says you can use his physical address: DD, Box 5441, Palm Springs, CA, 92263.
It all started out so pleasantly. The kids were here, and we were recalling old times around the kitchen table. It was fun until it got to the part about how I spanked them with a wooden stick when they were little. When I was a kid, parents were allowed to swat their kids on the backside by hand or with a little “switch” and no one worried that their tiny egos would be damaged forever, or a neighbor might call Child Protection Services. Mom would send us outside to find our own switch and we always came back with a twig, maybe even a leaf or two on it. No one had ever heard of a “time-out,” or “go to your room.” In fact, with eight of us we didn’t really understand the concept of a room of our own. The scary part was the waiting. She sent us to the couch to wait for her to administer discipline. She always said, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” I never believed it.
Then one day I became a mother. Oh my gosh—I became my mother! The picture was different though, because my three kids, born eleven months apart, were smarter than I was at their age. When I sent them outside to get a switch, they came back four hours later, tired and sweaty and hungry. They couldn’t find a switch.
I’d say, “I want you to be good for the sitter tonight while I go to Church.” The response was, “I can’t wait till I am old enough to play Bingo.”
“Eat your spinach, or you will sit here all night. Children all over the world are starving.” One responds, “I have an idea. Let’s give them ours!”
When they went to kindergarten they questioned me about why they were required to carry an empty book bag back and forth. I wondered about that myself.
“Ask Sister Mary that question,” I said.
Her reply was, “because you were told to do so.” After that I felt okay about saying, “because I said so.”
I love you Sister Mary, wherever you are.
Contact Bev at email@example.com.
Dear Aunt Bingo:
I would like your opinion on online Bingo.
I have come rather late to trying Bingo on the Internet, but with the winter weather in my area being so treacherous this year, days and weeks were going by when it was simply too risky to drive anywhere—especially in the evening, which is when I play Bingo.
After a while I really began to miss playing, and mentioned this to my sister-in-law when we were talking on the phone. She is a sometimes Bingo buddy of mine and I was curious if she was feeling the same way. She said that although she is not quite the “Bingo Nut” I am, she had begun to miss it as well and had started playing it on the Internet.
This idea had never occurred to me, so I went online and did a search for online Bingo. It was amazing how many different Bingo sites were out there. There were ones for money and ones just for fun. There were also a bunch of apps you could download and play on your phone. So, with the snow and ice coming down again outside, I sat comfortably at my dining room table and took my first tour of online Bingo.
I decided to go with one of the “money” games where you bet and win actual money, because I thought this would be more exciting and fun than non-money games. Plus, a number of these that I found started you off with a pot of money so you could try it out before using any of your own money. I picked a site and dove in.
It was a little weird at first, but after a few games I got the hang of it and pretty soon was playing multiple cards and slowly got used to all the blinking and flashing numbers and images. There was also a place where players were chatting, but it was mostly silly stuff, which I thought was distracting.
I played at one site until my “bank” got low and switched to another one. I did this two or three times. I also tried a couple of the non-money Bingo games, which I also liked, but felt to me more like kids games than actual competitive Bingo.
The thing that struck me most about Internet Bingo was how VERY different it is from Bingo in a real Bingo hall. The way it looks and feels is different, the way you play is kind of different, and the fact that you are sitting in your home or could be playing in a booth in donut shop or on a bench in a shopping mall is odd.
It’s tough to admit it when you’re a stick-in-the-mud, but to be honest, online Bingo just doesn’t do it for me. Even though there are other players, it felt like I was playing alone. Plus, the game felt very automatic/electronic, while I am a traditional dauber and paper Bingo gal.
I am certainly glad I tried it, and will probably play again every once in a while. But it is clear to me that Bingo will never really be Bingo for me unless I’m sitting in a folding chair with other players around me in a real Bingo hall.
—Amy C., Indiana, via email
Online Bingo has become hugely popular, which I’m sure you discovered when you began your search. Many of the games offer free gaming money at the start to give players an opportunity to test the site and get used to its operation. Once you get the hang of it, of course, and if your goal is to win money, you will eventually have to wager your own money in order to do so.
I have dabbled in Internet Bingo, and from the start realized, like you, that it has a very different feel from playing Bingo in an actual Bingo hall.
For many enthusiasts, that is exactly what they like about it—it’s private, it’s convenient, it’s flashy and modern, and it has a casino vibe they find fun and exciting.
While it is fair to say that it is a good occasional substitute for playing in a Bingo hall, if you are a true social Bingo player—which it sounds like you are—online Bingo doesn’t come close. But on a nasty winter’s day when the snow is falling and the roads are a mess, Internet Bingo can be a godsend.
Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.
I worried about my friend, Elle, who has had two major tragedies in her life recently. First her father died suddenly. He had a rich and full life, but she was very close to him and it was a great shock to lose him.
Then a terrible accident happened to her husband. He was working under a car and it slipped off the jacks and crushed him. Elle was devastated at the loss of her husband. Her two sons are both married and living on the east coast. They tried to be as helpful to their mother as possible, but had to get back to work and their families.
Fortunately this was an industrial accident, so Elle does not have to worry about money, but what did worry me is her mental wellbeing. I decided Bingo could help. I invited her to go to Bingo with Kate and me. We talked it over and opted to make a day of it, starting with a light lunch, then Bingo, then dinner later.
Elle is a funny person, so to see her so quiet and withdrawn was a shock. She fumbled through getting set up for the game, telling us repeatedly that it had been twenty years since she had played Bingo and she couldn’t remember how. She caught on quickly and was fascinated by the “newfangled devices” she found in the hall. She especially liked the monitors showing the upcoming balls and the wins.
Soon she was on and when her number came up in the screen, she made a strange noise, announcing her Bingo to those nearby; I managed to tell the floor worker that she would Bingo on the next number. She did win, but had to split the pot.
That win encouraged her, however, and she perked up and began to enjoy the game and was soon as enthusiastic as Kate or I.
When it came to the big picture frame, corners free, she seemed really lost. I managed to get her back on track, but she still kept daubing everything whether it was in the frame or not. She liked the blackouts best, as she didn’t have to worry about a pattern and actually won one late in the day.
“I like Bingo,” declared Elle as we were gathering our stuff to leave.
“You don’t always win,” said Kate with a bit of grumble. “I have sat through many sessions not winning anything.”
“But don’t let that discourage you,” I chimed in. “It’s fun whether you win or lose and it does keep your mind occupied.” I kicked Kate’s foot as I said this, not wanting her to throw any more cold water on the day.
“Well, I am buying dinner with my winnings,” said Elle. “And I won’t take any sass from either of you.”
That seemed more like the old Elle as we began to fuss about where we would eat.
“I want to go to one of those buffet places where we can have anything and everything. I’ve always wanted to go, but Scott wouldn’t, telling me they were places only for serious food junkies.”
“Okay!” said Kate, perking right up. I like them almost as much as I do Bingo.”