The Odds of Winning at Bingo

By  //  June 25, 2021

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Bingo is a game of chance, which means the likelihood of winning a game is based almost entirely on luck. Whilst the numbers called are out of anyone’s control, some strategies can be used by players that take advantage of them to increase their chance of winning. First, there is an explanation as to why bingo is a game of chance followed by some tactics that provide the best chance of a win. 

The house always wins

When playing bingo, be aware the house always wins over the long term since the site needs to make some money to cover the costs of offering the games. Reputable sites like Hippo Bingo have to pay for a license to operate which includes regular audits to prove that the games on offer are all fair to the player. The house edge is factored into the machine that generates the numbers in the game. 


The selection of these numbers is driven by computerized random number generators (RNGs) so your lucky number does not have a mathematically higher chance of appearing than any other. If particular numbers are called more often in a bingo session, this is pure coincidence. This also means that every card has the same odds of winning, irrespective of the numbers on them.

… and probability

The odds of winning a game of bingo change according to the number of cards in play and the number of balls that have been drawn. The more cards sold, the lower the odds of winning, though odds increase for the player who buys more than one card. The odds are calculated by taking the number of cards you play divided by the total number of cards in play. So, if 100 cards are in play and you have 10 cards, the odds of a win are 10 in 100.

The probabilities also change depending on which version of bingo you play. In a standard 90-ball bingo game, the odds of any number being called is one in 90. This probability changes to 1-in-89 with the second ball and 1-in-88 with the third and so on.

Another set of figures to look at are the expected number of calls before a player wins, according to the number of players. The more players the faster the game.  This means that for 10 players it takes 25 calls to get a house. This falls to 18 calls for 50 players, 15 calls for 100 players, 13 for 200 players, 11 for 500 players and 10 for 1,000 players. 

Bingo strategies to increase the odds

Tactics to increase your chance of a “House!” win includes playing during off-peak hours when fewer bingo cards are in play. Most online bingo sites will display the number of cards in play in each game. This can mean for example that if 100 cards are in play and one player has four cards, they have a four percent chance of winning the jackpot. However, if 1,000 cards are being played in a game and the player has just two cards, the odds of winning fall to 0.2 percent. 

It is worth bearing in mind that the winning jackpots are calculated on the number of cards purchased. This means that playing bingo off-peak means that the winnings will be smaller than at busier times.  

Finally, check how the jackpot is determined. If the jackpot is a percentage of total cards sold the choice to play one game with all the cards your budget can buy, or play these cards over several games, makes no difference. However, if the jackpot is a fixed prize, play one game at a time so as not to compete against yourself.