The role of Bingo call numbers


The objective of Bingo is simple. Whoever crosses off all the numbers before anyone else, wins the game. There are two popular types of Bingo games called 75-ball Bingo and 90-ball Bingo. Both of these games depend on the numbers you have on your ticket. Also, these numbers represent the same ones that are called out. The 'balls' in the games refer to the balls on which they used to print the numbers. These days, electronic devices randomly generate such numbers.

Bingo lingos and their origin

All Bingo Calls or numbers use traditional rhymes which have been created especially for the game of modern Bingo. So, players who are new to the game may take some time to get used to these strange names.

In a game of modern Bingo, all the numbers have specific rhymes. These rhymes came from London in the 20th Century and were used to share some secret information or hidden messages. The popularity of their use in Bingo picked up in the Bingo halls where the players used them to find out whether all the 75 or 90 numbers have been called or not.

Gamblers also used them as a way to differentiate between two numbers. For instance, in a large Bingo hall, the numbers' 15' and '50' would sound similar when called out. So, gamblers adopted the rhymes or nicknames for simplicity and easy identification of the numbers.

These rhymes or nicknames evolved with the game, as more rhymes and names were added.

The significance of the rhymes

Each rhyme is associated with a specific number in the game. For example, the number 'one' is associated with 'Kelly's Eye' and refers to Ned Kelly, a popular heroine in Australian folklore. Similarly, the number 'two' is associated with a little duckling, as it resembles a little duck. And the number 'three' is associated with tea, simply because it rhymes with the word. One other reason why 'three' is associated with tea is that the British like to drink tea.

So, likewise, all the numbers have such rhymes associated with them, and each rhyme has its origin and significance.

Calling out the names

Bingo calls, whether in an online game or on a smartphone, are first called out by their nicknames or rhymes. In every such game, the nicknames come out in the form of audio alerts, and later, the actual numbers are displayed.

Bingo calls

Lingos based on rhymes

Although not all the Bingo calls can be traced back to rhymes, a vast majority of them still have some significance with such rhymes. For example, in a 90-ball Bingo game, of the 90 Bingo calls, 50 of them are derived from Rhymes from the 20th Century. Also, the names of the Bingo calls change as a result of tweaking the rhymes. So, here are some popular rhymes associated with Bingo calls.

  • Garden Gate

    The number 'eight' refers to the Garden Gate. This popular rhyme and Bingo Call was probably a meeting place or a drop-off point for smugglers and other such gang members.

  • Young and Keen

    '15' refers to Young and Keen. This Bingo Call refers to the players of a rugby team.

  • Dancing Queen

    The number '17' signifies the 'Dancing Queen.' The 'Dancing Queen' Bingo call is based on the popular 1976 hit song by Abba and gets its name from the first few lines of the song.

  • Pick and Mix

    The number '26' refers to 'Pick and Mix' or even' Bed and Breakfast' and comes from the traditional two shillings and sixpence, also known as 'half a crown.'

  • Danny La Rue

    In Bingo, the number '52' goes with the famous Irish singer, Danny La Rue, due to his stylish cross-dressing. Some audiences also prefer 'weeks in a year' as it refers to the number of weeks in a year.

  • Turn the Screw

    The English people call the number '62' as 'Tickety Boo', a slang for 'good' or 'in order.'

Lingos based on the shape of numbers

Not everyone can remember all the rhymes. So, to make it easier for such people, some Bingo calls are also named after the shape of different numbers. For instance, the number 'two' is 'A little duckling' as it resembles a duck. Similarly, the number '55' refers to 'Snakes Alive' as the shape of the figure goes together with the rhyme. Likewise, here are a few other nicknames based on the shape of their number counterparts.

  • Legs 11

    The number 11 in Bingo refers to 'Legs 11' owing to its appearance as a pair of legs. People also called it a 'Wolf Whistle' because back then, players would shout out wolf whistles. But the practice was banned because of its sexist nature.

  • Duck and Dive

    The number '25' refers to a rhyme called 'Duck and Dive' and states that while the 'Duck' which refers to the number '2' is cute, you would want to dive and make way for the snake, which refers to the number' 5.'

  • Droopy Drawers

    The number '44' refers to Droopy Drawers and is often used to evoke laughter amongst the crowds present in the Bingo halls.

  • Either Way Up

    The number '69' is called 'Either Way Up' or 'the same both ways' as each digit, when flipped upside down, makes the same number.

  • Six Dozen

    The number '72' refers to six dozen. It also refers to a 'crutch and duck' since the number '27' is called a 'duck and crutch.'

Double Hockey Sticks

While the number '77' refers to as 'Double Hockey Sticks', it is also referred to as 'Double Luck' as the number seven signifies 'luck.' The number is also called 'lucky sevens' or by the visual name, 'two little clutches.'

  • Eight and Blank

    The number '80' is called an 'eight and blank' as it refers to the 'eight' and 'zero' (blank) digits.

  • Straight on Through

    The number '82' is called a 'Straight on Through.' It's also called a 'Fat Lady with a Duck' since '8' refers to a fat lady, and '2' refers to a duck.

  • Two Fat Ladies

    The number '88' is often referred to as 'Two Fat Ladies' because the number '8' resembles a fat lady.

Likewise, many other such Bingo calls are historical references and traditions. With the rise of online Bingo, you have a whole different set of nicknames for all the Bingo calls. Many Bingo cards or tickets vary drastically from one website to the other. So, naming them, and more importantly, remembering those nicknames can be troublesome.