Times have changed somewhat with regards to Bingo; it used to be Wednesday night, Nan tottering off to the Bingo hall to meet with all her cronies, now everyone plays!
When I think of bingo I instantly think of the bingo caller and blotter pens. The caller would always ready the crowd by calling 'Eyes Down, Ready to Play?' then the game began, all the ones, legs eleven, two fat ladies (not so politically correct now) Eighty Eight! First you would play for a line, then two lines then of course Full house, the excitement and anticipation waiting for your numbers to come up.
When I went to bingo not so long back, it was a little different, I went to one of these big bingo halls, it cost quite a bit to get all the cards I required for the night, and as everyone else in my group asked for six books I thought I would too, When the caller began I must of looked like a blur of ink blotters and arms trying to keep up with checking off the numbers! We played lots of games, and then the atmosphere suddenly got a little more serious, we were now getting ready to play National Bingo. The jackpot was in the region of 25,000 GBP, the live link connected we were off, silence ruled the bingo hall, all of a sudden someone in a different bingo hall shouted HOUSE! The whole thing was over with everyone giving a huge sigh. It was amazing how many people actually finished their evenings there and went home, even though there were still several games to play.
I only went a couple of times, but I enjoyed it, it is amazing how many people actually plan their bingo evenings as a social event, getting together with friends, catching up and chatting between games. There was a nice friendly atmosphere in the hall, except when playing the national game, it turned a bit competitive then! But I could plainly see why people would opt for bingo as a night out, besides there was such a variety of people both young and old, all doing the same thing, equal with each other. There are not many places where you see that happen these days.
I then noticed that online bingo was being advertised on the TV quite frequently, loads of new sites springing up offering incentives for signing with them. I decided to give it a go, try my luck so to speak.
I signed up got my username and password, set up my account and deposited ten pounds, instantly I gained ten pounds as particular this site matched your starting deposit. It was really easy to play, picking the cards you wanted to play, then the game started, I was quite disappointed that you couldn't mark your own cards, this was automatically done by the computer, and I sat staring at the screen watching as my numbers were slowly called. Then Bingo, I WON! 7.38GBP to be precise, this was then deposited into my bonus play account and off we went again.
I repeated the same steps; I then noticed you could instant message the people playing the game with you! I began chatting to a couple of players; apparently they logged in every evening, one of them having a multitude of friends playing online. They were really nice people, one was a young mum who didn't get to go out much, the other was a mum the same age as I was, this was her treat and time out from being a mum, a little me time. For the following few nights whilst funds remained in my pot I logged on at a similar time and sat chatting whilst playing, spending quite some time on there. The funds ran out and unfortunately that is the only time I played, but enjoyed the experience.
When I sit and consider the two very different types of Bingo, I realised that they weren't so different after all, both types of bingo consisted of people getting together, having fun with perhaps the chance of winning a prize. None the less whether you were sitting at home or in the throng of the Bingo hall it was all about having a social life, chatting to and meeting new people. Everyone's a winner!
Anna Stenning investigates the differences between playing Bingo at a Bingo hall or playing online Bingo from the comfort of your own home.