Bingo’s a great game to just sit a while and relax, the number used will be the same whether you play at your local brick and mortar or instead have a go at a site like https://bingo.paddypower.com/. But have you ever wondered what the maths behind it was like? There’s a lot of numbers involved across a 25 square grid, there’s got to be some pretty hefty mechanics at play if you’re going to try and work out the odds. What’re the chances you win on the first five balls? What’re your odds of winning overall? No need to crack out the calculators, we have the answers for you right here – just read on!
The Raw Numbers
You’ll be glad to hear, the actual probabilities have been worked by famed internet mathematician (and possible sorcerer) the Wizard of Odds whose site can be found here https://wizardofodds.com/games/bingo/probabilities/1/, as you can tell, the statistics he’s working from are based on a 24 number card with one open square and 75 balls total. Already the odds are astronomical on getting bingo on the first ball but they go up the more balls are called until, eventually, it becomes 100%.
So, the longer the game goes the better your chances of winning (I know, what a surprise!) but the sweet-spot for when you’d expect to start seeing a winner called is around the 20-ball mark. Incidentally, the odds of winning with the first five balls in 90 ball bingo is 1 in 14,649,756. Blimey!
The ACTUAL odds
You might think that with numbers like that how can anyone win bingo? But the secret here is that, while the odds of winning at the beginning are slim, your odds of victory are entirely dependent on how many people are playing. If there’s 5 people playing then your chances of winning are 1 in 5. Because while the odds of your card having the exact right numbers is astronomically small, the same applies to everyone else playing. Everyone has the same chance because the numbers are so high that it puts everyone on even footing. But there is a way to improve your chances fairly significantly.
You just buy more cards!
The more bingo cards you have, the better your chances of winning! If every card has the same chance of victory then for every additional card you double your chances. This kind of method doesn’t really help with things like the lottery as there’s no requirement for there to be a winner, but with bingo? Eventually there has to be a winner as the longer it goes the odds reach 100% and if you have twice the chance with two cards…
While it’s fun to look at the colossally huge numbers involved in bingo in order to ensure randomness, the truth is it’ll rarely impact your actual game precisely because they’re so big. But now you’ll have some fun facts to pass around next time you’re playing a game (and if you can remember the odds of winning right at the start, that would be a very impressive stat to throw out!)