Bingo lingo and social etiquette rules vary from one game to another. One parlor may use a set of house rules different from a regular game on the other side of town. Though some slang words are standard no matter where you play, an unfamiliar venue may have its own nicknames for numbers or other aspects of the game.
Now that bingo fans are playing for real money on the Internet, a new set of behaviors and slang terms have appeared. Web-based games and tournaments with a chat feature require an understanding of good online chat manners besides the basics of bingo lingo and good manners.
Talking with other players can help you learn a particular site’s slang and the ins and outs of good manners. Chatting between or even during games can help you relax – as with any game, a player that feels at ease is almost always a better player.
Online Bingo Lingo – Chat
If you are unfamiliar with Internet chat abbreviations and slang, it helps to remember that context is king. An easy example is the abbreviation “GL,” which stands for Good Luck. In context, it won’t take long to recognize that a player who types “GL” is wishing another player good luck.
Other phrases are used for the sake of politeness. Typing “AFK” is a quick way of telling someone that you are leaving the computer for a moment. AFK literally means “Away From Keyboard.” Other forms include:
BRB – Be Right Back
BBS – Be Back Soon
BBL – Be Back Later
Again, using context clues, it’s easy to understand other abbreviations seen commonly in online chat rooms. Rather than typing “AFK,” a player exiting the game or the chat altogether may type one of these Internet chat slang phrases:
CYA – See Ya
CYAL8R – See Ya Later
GN – Good Night
Here are a few more common chat terms. Once you see the pattern (abbreviations using the first letter of the words in a phrase or sentence) you can start to work out the meanings on your own, or even create your own slang used with your bingo buddies.
*G* – A way to express laughter or happiness; the “G” here stands for “Giggling” or “Giggles.”
*S* – This is the same as the above, except here the letter stands for “Smile” or “Smiling.”
OMG – Oh My God or Oh My Goodness (the most common way to express surprise)
LOL – One of the most common chat abbreviations, this stands for “Laughing Out Loud.”
In terms of bingo-specific slang, one abbreviation you’ll commonly see in online game chats follows this pattern:
1TG – One to go. This means a player needs just one number to complete a win.
2TG – Two to go.
3TG – Three to go.
Bingo Gaming Terms
These words are useful to know before you walk into the bingo hall and start playing for real money. Understand these basic bingo terms and you’re more likely to have a fun (and profitable) time at the bingo hall.
Admission Packet or Packet – Bingo halls require patrons to buy a certain number of cards. Think of the admission packet as the price of admission. Depending on where you play, you may be forced to buy between three and ten cards per game. The money collected from the sale of these packets is used by the bingo hall to pay out winnings and pay their operating costs.
Auto-purchase – Exclusive to online bingo games only, Auto-purchase is a type of gaming software that buys your bingo cards for you automatically at the start of each game. This software does the laborious part of online bingo for you and keeps from you from starting a game without any cards to play.
Basket Bingo – This is the name of a specific bingo game where a basket of prizes and goodies is awarded rather than a cash prize. Bingo parlors are most likely to host a basket bingo game when admissions are on the slow side and cash prizes may be a bit smaller than usual.
Bingo Board – The most important part of any bingo parlor is the bingo board, an electronic or manual display of each number that’s been called. At bingo sites this is displayed somewhere on the screen.
Early Bird – Early Bird games are shorter bingo contests played just before the main game begins, usually a 30-ball game designed to get people to show up early and buy more cards. Shorter bingo games attract players who prefer to play multiple cards, as multi-card strategy works best in short games.
“Eyes Down” – The bingo caller will call out “Eyes down” or something similar when the game is set to start. It’s your signal to begin paying attention to your bingo cards and look for a win.
Flyer – This is a slang term for a single bingo ticket with just one card on its surface; the most basic bingo card you can buy.
Four Corners – This phrase refers to a specific winning pattern in bingo wherein you cover all the corner numbers of your card to win. Some games are played using Four Corners rules, others are not. Pay attention to the instructions of the bingo caller to find out what style of game you’re playing.
Front of House -This phrase is generally used to refer to the desk at the front door, where admissions packets are bought or fees are paid.
Pattern – Most bingo games have a set winning pattern that players must mimic in order to win the game. Different patterns exist for different games, such as the Four Corners pattern described above.
Payout Percentage – Sometimes posted on the wall at bingo halls, payout percentage refers to the profits paid out by your bingo parlor after it collects admission prices. A bingo hall’s payout percentage is usually only posted if state or national laws require the parlor to do so.
Wait – A player’s “wait” is the final number they need to be called in order to win a game of bingo.
Nicknames for Bingo Numbers
Every bingo caller has his or her own nicknames for different numbers used to break the monotony of calling the same old numbers time and again and to add a little variety to the game. The best way to learn slang terms for bingo numbers is to play lots of bingo and learn the calling styles of various bingo game operators.
Generally speaking, this list of slang terms for bingo numbers covers the most common alternate bingo number titles. We’re including slang for numbers up to 90 for those of you that like the longer 90-ball style of the game.
1 – Kelly’s Eye
5 – Man Alive
7 – Lucky for Some
8 – Garden Gate or One Fat Lady
9 – Doctor’s Orders or Revolution (as in The Beatles’ song Revolution 9)
10 – Hen, Pin, or PM’s Den (most often used in the UK)
11 – Legs or Chicken Legs
13 – Lucky or Unlucky (depending on the opinion of the caller)
16 – Sweet Sixteen
21 – Key or Key of the Door
22 – Two Little Ducks
23 – You and Me
24 – Two Dozen or Dozens
30 – Dirty Birdie or Dirty Gertie (most often used in the UK)
37 – More Than Eleven
44 – Droopy Drawers or All the Fours
45 – Halfway or Halfsies
50 – Bulls Eye
51 – Tweak of the Thumb (another UK-only slang term)
55 – Snakes Alive or All Fives
57 – Heinz or Heinz 57
59 – The Line
64 – Red Raw (origin unknown, used in both UK and US bingo halls)
66 – Clickety-Click
69 – Naughty
71 – Bang on the Drum
76 – Trombones
79 – One More Time
81 – Stop and Run
86 – Between the Sticks
88 – Two Fat Ladies
90 – Top of the Shop
The majority of bingo number slang words are rhyming puns or plays on the sound of the numbers. Once you realize that, it should be pretty easy to keep up with the bingo caller’s slang. Be patient if you have trouble remembering all the slang terms used for bingo numbers. In time your brain will hear the slang word and the number will pop in your head.
Basic Internet Communication Rules
Until you are good enough friends with other players to crack wise or form inside jokes, politeness is the rule of the day. To maintain some order and help players new to Internet chatting, many games designate a monitor. Be nice to your monitor; he has the power to discipline or ban players that don’t obey the rules.
A rule common to all forms on online communication is to avoid using all capital letters – doing so is akin to shouting in a quiet room. PLAYERS WHO BREAK THIS RULE are considered disruptive and are likely to be corrected by the monitor or other players.
Learning abbreviations used in the game and a few basic rules regarding your behavior will come quickly with a little bit of exposure. If you have specific questions about a site’s house rules, the way a game works, or what an abbreviation means, you can always ask politely for an explanation, especially if there is a monitor or other observer whose job it is to handle these types of issues.