There is an endless number of patterns you can use to cover your board in bingo. Many seasoned players know some of the more popular designs, but there are also some that are unique to individual bingo halls. A particular pattern at one bingo hall can have a different name at another hall. It can be a little difficult to keep up, but this guide will help you start to learn about a few of the most common advanced bingo strategies.
A Few Notes About Patterns
There are a few things you should know about patterns before heading into any game. Most of these apply to all bingo halls, but you can double check to be sure.
A pattern is crazy if any orientation is acceptable. For example, if you need to form a capital ‘T’ a crazy T can be to the side or upside down.
The Hard Way
Patterns that are accepted the hard way means that you cannot use the given free space when forming that pattern on your board.
Using Multiple Boards
Some patterns require players to use multiple boards to form the pattern. The caller should designate how many cards you can or should use for each formation.
It is very common for one game to use multiple patterns on the way to the final pattern. For example, the caller might call out picture frame or postage stamp on the way to a blackout pattern.
Here are some of the more common patterns you will find during bingo games. Remember, these might have different names at each bingo hall so double check with a floor clerk beforehand.
Straight Line Patterns
Straight line patterns are what you will find in most standard games. These designs include any straight line that goes vertically, horizontally, or diagonally on the board. You will see this used in one-line or regular bingo. You can also see this pattern in double or triple-line bingo and can have one of each. They don’t always have to run the same way, but that is up to the hall and caller.
Any letter that forms with lines, like L’s or T’s, can be used for a letter pattern. These can also be called crazy, and any way the letter is oriented (upside down or sideways) is accepted.
If you have all the horizontal top row and all the diagonal boxes from top right to bottom left, this is a lucky seven.
These patterns are a part of double bingo. If you have two rows, either vertically or horizontally, next to each other, this is called a railroad track.
There are two ways you can get a picture frame pattern. If you have all the edges filled in, like a picture frame, that is called a large picture frame. You can also get a small picture frame if you have a smaller box within the larger edges.
You can have a postage stamp pattern if you fill the four boxes in one corner. Usually to have a single postage stamp you fill the four boxes in the upper right-hand corner. A double postage stamp happens when you have two corners filled.
There are two diamond patterns. A little diamond is when you fill the boxes above, below, to the left, and right of the free space. A big diamond forms around the center square on each side.
The kite pattern is a variation of the postage stamp pattern. It includes the four squares in one corner and then a diagonal line to the opposite corner. This pattern can also be called crazy, and then the tail of the kite can point to any of the four corners.
Arrow or Magic Wand
The arrow is another variation of the postage stamp and kit. It has a six-square triangle in one corner and then a diagonal line to the opposite corner.
The American Flag pattern happens when you have the first three horizontal rows filled and then a two square “flagpole” at the bottom. For this pattern, the flagpole can be on either side.
You can get a castle pattern if you have the bottom two horizontal rows filled along with every other square filled in the middle row.
You can have a few different block patterns and they are all variations of a postage stamp. A six-pack is when you have two rows of three squares filled, like a six-pack of soda. If you have two rows of four blocks that is an eight-pack and a block of nine is three rows of three squares filled.
Coverall or Blackout
This pattern is when you cover the entire board. There are a few ways that you can do this, and there might be specific patterns along the way that you must fill to get a blackout or coverall.
- The most common blackout is for a progressive jackpot, and you will only have a certain number of balls called to get all 24 spots. So, if it’s a 51-number blackout, you only have 51 turns to get all 24 squares, or the jackpot rolls over into the next game.
- Odd-even is a variation of a coverall where the caller will have you cover all the odd or even spots on your board. Then they will only call odd or even numbers until your card fills up.
- Speedball is yet another variation of the coverall. In this version, the caller will rapidly call out numbers until someone fills a card. Sometimes they might even leave out the letters to make the game harder.
Another pattern you might find is a snake pattern. You can make this pattern by getting a zigzag line of five squares starting at the top edge of the board. It typically begins with the second square of the ‘B’ column and then zigzags from there, but if it is a crazy snake pattern, it can start anywhere.
These are just a few of the patterns you might find at your local bingo hall. There are tons of other card designs, and they might have a different name at your hall. If you want to get a leg up on the other players, talk with an experienced player before the game to learn about the patterns at that hall. Remember, have fun!