I’ll make a confession that may shock you, and perhaps even make you question my credibility, too. Up until recently I had never played online bingo. I know, it’s difficult to believe, but I focused instead on games like roulette and poker. Bingo, you see, had just never grabbed my interest. Not in the least because it was a game I frankly did not give any credit, and branded as not being a “real casino game.” Or at least, not a casino game that deserved much attention.
Bingo has always been one of those casino games that I considered to be of zero intellectual value, simply because it was 100% luck based. And can you blame me? Technically, there is literally nothing a person playing bingo can do to change the results. You pay money, are given a card with a few numbers on, and then simply sit back and cross your fingers, hoping that the numbers on your card come up before the numbers on someone else’s card. That is not, frankly, what you would call a game that requires much in the way of actual effort.
But, in the spirit of being a person that tries every casino game at least once, just for the sake of being thorough, I decided to play a bit of online bingo.
A Journey Into A New World
The first thing I noticed, upon trying out online bingo for the first time, was that there sure are a hell of a lot of online places that offer the game. I had been under the impression that bingo was more of a niche game, and that I was going to struggle to find any online bingo games that had many players. But, upon looking around, I realized that there were dozens of online bingo websites, and many were doing steady business. It was my first surprise
Upon finally deciding on a website that I felt deserved my money, I signed up, bought a few bingo tickets and got busy listening to numbers get called out via an automated voice. Simultaneously, I checked my emails on my phone and played a bit of Angry Birds. First impressions were not good – the game was as dull as I had imagined.
How, I asked myself, were there so many websites dedicated to this snore-fest?
It’s Not The Game…
But then something interesting happened. It was during about my fourth game of bingo, yawning and half watching a late night rerun on TV, that I noticed a rather vigorous text conversation happening at the bottom of my screen. A group of the other players were in a heated debate as to the name of the actor in an old 80s sitcom. Curious, I followed the conversation and, knowing the name of the actor they were talking about, decided to fill them in.
Before I knew it I had been dragged into the conversation, with some of the players insisting I was wrong, while some others insisted I was right. When the actual bingo game had finished, the conversation had not, and I bought another bingo card just to remain part of the conversation.
Two hours later I was on a first name basis with half of the other players, and an elderly lady named Greta was giving me advice on how to find a girlfriend. She explained that I didn’t value myself enough, and should place a higher price on my company. She also promised to send me a tart (the cake kind!) if I gave her my postal address.
It was then that it began to occur to me what the appeal of the game of bingo was.
A Social Framework
I had heard before that bingo was the most social casino game available, but had honestly never really registered what that meant. I found that roughly 80% of the players in online bingo halls were not there to play bingo – they were there to chit chat, make small talk with strangers and catch up with old friends. Online bingo halls are used as a common ground to be social, and it’s frankly a rather wonderful thing.
I recall being in chat rooms when I was younger, and spending a great deal of time trying to spark up conversation with strangers. I also recall how quickly they fell out of popularity, being replaced by online forums and communities.
Bingo, however, is a modern form of chat rooms I had never known existed. I can honestly say that I now return to the bingo rooms occasionally, just to make a bit of small talk with some of the people I’ve become friends with. Most of them are indeed a great many years older than myself, but are also a great deal of fun to talk to. I also discovered that while I was chatting, the wonderful autodab feature dealt with my cards for me, and I was winning quite a bit with no effort. I also have to admit that when I did actually focus on the cards there was a frisson of excitement when I waited to see if my card would win. I get it now. I admit, I was wrong about bingo (and I don’t often admit I was wrong).
And in case you’re wondering, Greta never did send me a tart.