Types of bingo: The different games explained

From the fast-paced thrills of Speed Bingo to the intricate designs of Pattern Bingo, explore the many captivating variations that make every game a fresh and exciting adventure.

Reading Time
12 min read
Publish Date
Jul 5, 2024
Types of bingo: The different games explained

Bingo is more than just a game; it's a global phenomenon that brings together people of all ages and backgrounds in excitement and anticipation. From the dimly lit bingo halls drenched in nostalgia to the sleek digital platforms accessible from the comfort of home, bingo has evolved, adapting to cultural and technological changes while retaining its core appeal.

Whether you're a traditionalist who cherishes the feel of a dauber in hand or a tech-savvy player looking for convenience and novelty, the world of bingo offers a multitude of games to suit every taste. Let's embark on a journey through the various types of bingo games, exploring the classics and discovering some unique twists along the way.

The classic bingo formats

Before we delve into the details of each traditional variation, here is a short summary of each to help you quickly understand the differences.

Game nameNumber of ballsCard layoutPopular winning patterns
75-Ball Bingo755x5 grid (24 numbers + 1 free space)Horizontal, vertical, diagonal, 4 corners, full card
90-Ball Bingo903x9 grid (15 numbers)One line, two lines, full house
80-Ball Bingo804x4 grid (16 numbers)Horizontal, vertical, diagonal, 4 corners, full card
30-Ball Bingo303x3 grid (9 numbers)Full card (coverall)

75-ball bingo

At the heart of North American bingo culture lies the 75-ball variant, a game known for its versatility and the creative patterns that players aim to complete on their 5x5 grid cards.

The center square is typically free, offering a head start towards the completion of patterns that range from simple lines and shapes to complex thematic designs.

This flexibility in pattern creation not only keeps the game fresh but also allows for a personal touch in each game, making it a perennial favorite. For those intrigued by the endless possibilities of patterns, our guide on Bingo Patterns offers a closer look at how to master this variant.

90-ball bingo

Across the pond, 90-ball bingo reigns supreme, especially in the UK, Australia, and parts of Europe. Characterized by its 9x3 grid, this version unfolds over three stages: one line, two lines, and finally, a full house, where all numbers on a card are called.

The gradual buildup and multiple winners make 90-ball bingo a social affair, where the excitement and camaraderie grow with each stage. It's a testament to the game's ability to foster community and shared joy, whether played in a bustling bingo hall or online.

Learn more about how to play and win 90-ball bingo.

30-ball bingo

For those who find traditional bingo a tad slow, speed bingo offers a thrilling alternative. Played with 30 balls and a compact 3x3 grid, games are fast-paced and can be completed in just a few minutes.

This rapid-fire version is perfect for squeezing in a bit of fun during a coffee break or while waiting for a bus, proving that bingo can adapt to the hectic rhythm of modern life. Plus, with our platform's capability for online game hosting, you can challenge friends to a quick game virtually anytime, anywhere.

80-ball bingo

Nestled comfortably between the rapid pace of 30-ball speed bingo and the more traditional 75 and 90-ball formats, 80-ball bingo emerges as a vibrant and colorful middle ground.

This variant, beloved for its dynamic gameplay, utilizes a 4x4 grid, striking a perfect balance between speed and strategy.

Specialty bingo variants

While the above are the popular bingo games that players know and love, each year new variants seem to emerge that add a twist to the game. Will these new variants be the next phase of bingo's rich history? Let's find out!

Flash Fives (52-5 bingo)

Blurring the lines between bingo and card games, Flash Fives introduces a fresh gameplay dynamic. Instead of traditional bingo balls, players are dealt hands from a deck of cards, and the goal is to cover five cards on their ticket as the dealer reveals the deck. This variant, also known as 52-5 bingo, offers a unique blend of strategy and luck, appealing to those who enjoy both bingo and the unpredictability of card games.

U-Pick'Em Bingo

A twist on the classic formula, U-Pick'Em Bingo empowers players by letting them select their own numbers on a bingo card. This self-selection process adds a strategic layer to the game, as players try to guess which numbers are most likely to be called. Often played in conjunction with traditional bingo games, U-Pick'Em adds a personal touch to the excitement, making each win feel even more rewarding.

Blackout Bingo

Also known as coverall, Blackout Bingo ups the ante by requiring players to cover all the spots on their bingo card to win. This variant can take longer than others, building suspense and excitement as more numbers are called. Blackout Bingo is perfect for those who love the thrill of the chase and the ultimate satisfaction of covering every single square.

Progressive Bingo

In Progressive Bingo, the jackpot grows over time until someone wins by meeting a specific, often more challenging, condition. For example, winning within a certain number of balls. If no one wins in the specified scenario, the game rolls over to the next session, and the jackpot increases, making for some potentially huge bingo prize wins. This variant keeps players coming back for more, adding a competitive edge to the traditional bingo experience.

Bingo Bonanza

Bingo Bonanza is a fast-paced variant where 43 numbers are pre-called at the beginning of the game. Players then mark off those numbers on their cards. The game proceeds at a rapid clip, with players trying to match all their numbers as quickly as possible. The first to complete their card after the initial pre-call wins, making for an intense and exciting gameplay experience.

Death Bingo

In the shadowy corners of the bingo world lies Death Bingo, a variant that mixes dark humor with a dash of suspense. Here, the stakes are high, and the tension palpable, as the first person to shout "Bingo!" is, ironically, eliminated from the game.

This macabre twist keeps players on the edge of their seats, as they balance the thrill of nearing victory with the looming threat of elimination. Perfect for Halloween parties or gatherings that appreciate a touch of the gothic, Death Bingo turns the traditional goal of bingo on its head, making for a night of laughter, shrieks, and surprises.

Quickie Bingo

Imagine the adrenaline of a bingo game multiplied tenfold, with numbers called out at the speed of light, reminiscent of a racetrack commentator on the final lap. Quickie Bingo is not for the faint of heart; it demands your undivided attention, sharp reflexes, and the ability to keep up with a relentless pace.

This variant is a thrilling test of concentration and speed, where only the quickest and most alert can hope to triumph. Ideal for energizing parties or injecting some fast-paced fun into your bingo night, Quickie Bingo proves that sometimes, faster is better.

U-Pick 'Em Bingo

For those who've dreamt of wielding control over fate, U-Pick 'Em bingo offers a tantalizing opportunity. This variant allows players to select their own numbers on their bingo card, infusing the game with a strategic layer akin to playing the lottery.

The thrill of choosing your destiny adds a personal touch to each round, as players mull over their choices, hoping their intuition leads them to victory. U-Pick 'Em Bingo is a delightful blend of luck and strategy, perfect for players who enjoy having a hand in crafting their own fortune.

Shotgun Bingo

Shotgun Bingo is the sprinter of the bingo family, a game of sheer speed where the first person to mark off any number called wins. This rapid-fire version is over in the blink of an eye, making every second count.

Players must be alert and ready to pounce at the first call, turning the usual leisurely pace of bingo into a high-stakes race. Ideal for quick ice-breakers or as a fast-paced interlude between longer games, Shotgun Bingo offers an instant jolt of excitement, proving that sometimes, the quickest draw wins the day.

Educational and thematic bingo games

Bingo with words

Bingo's adaptability extends into the realm of education, where it can transform learning into an engaging, interactive experience.

Word bingo, for instance, uses vocabulary words instead of numbers, making it an excellent tool for language learning, whether in the classroom or at home. Our guide on how to play bingo with words provides insights and customizable options for creating your own educational bingo games, tailored to the learning objectives of students or the interests of participants. We also provide a selection of free-to-use blank bingo templates letting teachers customize to match their lesson plans.

Picture bingo

Instead of numbers, picture bingo uses images on the cards, which can be themed around anything from animals and nature to movies and celebrities. This variant is particularly popular in educational settings, where it can be used to teach children about different topics in a fun and engaging way. It’s also great for themed parties, adding a personalized touch to the entertainment.

Music bingo

Stepping away from numbers and words, music bingo offer a sensory twist on the classic game. In music bingo, players listen for songs instead of waiting for numbers to be called, marking their cards when they recognize a tune.

Movie bingo

Movie bingo, similarly, involves identifying movie clips or themes. These variants not only enliven parties and gatherings but also test players' knowledge and attentiveness, making for an entertaining and competitive game night theme.

Online and virtual bingo

Traditional bingo goes digital

The digital revolution has ushered traditional bingo formats into the online world, making it easier than ever to join games from anywhere. Online bingo retains the essence of the game while offering added conveniences, such as automatic number marking and a wider network of players. It also aids with in-person games too, with online number generators making callers lives easier.

Our platform caters to this digital shift, allowing for online game hosting for up to 2,000 players and offering unlimited card creation, ensuring that the spirit of bingo thrives in the digital age.

Innovative online variants

The online bingo scene is also a hotbed for innovation, where developers experiment with new formats, visuals, and gameplay mechanics. These online-only variants push the boundaries of traditional bingo, incorporating elements like power-ups, achievements, and interactive themes.

For players seeking novelty and a dynamic gaming experience, these innovative games represent the cutting edge of bingo's evolution.

Adding more variety with patterns

A significant aspect that enriches the variety and excitement of many bingo games, especially the 75-ball variant, is the use of bingo patterns. These patterns add an extra layer of challenge and fun, as players don't just aim for a single line or full house but must also pay attention to the shape forming on their bingo card. Some popular patterns include the traditional 'X', the festive 'Christmas Tree', and the ever-challenging 'Blackout', where the goal is to cover all spots on the card.

The beauty of bingo patterns lies in their ability to transform a straightforward game into a myriad of possibilities, each requiring its own strategy and offering a unique bingo experience. This versatility ensures that no two games are exactly alike, keeping players engaged and on their toes.

Make sure to check our full guide on the fascinating world of bingo patterns and how they add to the game's variety.


Bingo's enduring appeal lies in its simplicity and the sheer variety of ways it can be played. From the classic 75-ball and 90-ball formats to educational and thematic variants, and the expansive world of online bingo, there's a version of the game for everyone. As we've explored the many faces of bingo, it's clear that its versatility is key to its popularity.

Whether you're organizing a game night, looking for a fun educational tool, or simply seeking a quick entertainment fix, bingo offers endless possibilities.

In the spirit of bingo's adaptability and community, we encourage you to explore these different types of bingo games. Perhaps, try hosting your own themed bingo night using our customizable options, or dive into the world of online bingo with friends near and far. Whatever your preference, bingo remains a beloved pastime that can bring people together, spark joy, and even serve as a bridge between generations.

The Bingo Card Creator Team

The Bingo Card Creator Team

We're the Bingo Card Creator Team, bringing you diverse, engaging bingo templates and content.

Share this article

Was this article helpful?


profile picture

Log into Bingo Card Creator

Log in to share your opinion about this article

Get this week's best Bingo content.

artical post group

Related articles

Browse all