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Bingo Jambo

If one takes a stroll in most of the big malls here in the Philippines, one would notice that almost all, if not all, have a special area for BINGO enthusiasts. In these halls, people of all ages, and of all walks of life, can be spotted, from a bouncing toddler to a weakly elder, from the masses to the elite all play Bingo. This grand game has been among the favorite past times of Filipino families most especially on weekends.

Bingo is a basically a game of chance wherein random numbers are picked and players match these numbers to their corresponding 5×5 cards which are basically a matrix of numbers and the letters B, I, N, G, O, hence BINGO.

Whenever, a specified pattern is formed, the player shouts “BINGO” to notify the caller of the win and inform other players. The caller will verify the pattern and will declare the winner. A corresponding cash price for the pattern will be given.

Then another pattern is called and another game is played until another player wins. Usually, the game is played in rounds wherein each round has a specified pattern that players aim to form. The pattern becomes more and more difficult round after round and the pot money becomes bigger and bigger, up to the final round, which is famously called as the black-out here in the Philippines. In these rounds all numbers in the matrix must be called and filled out on your card in order to win.

It can be argued that BINGO originated from the similar game Lotto in Italy around 1530. The term BINGO however came from the word Beano in the United States. Beans were used to cover the numbers on the cards back then. It is argued that an excited player shouted Bingo instead of Beano, and the term was adopted then on.

In the Philippines, earlier BINGO games were mostly played in “perias”, an interim amusement place established during fiestas in the different barrios / places. This evolved into a highly popular game and is now often used as a form of charity by religious churches and / or groups, and other fund raising activities. Presently, online and real time games are also available over the web.

Off shoots from the original game have been developed as well, such as Christmas Bingo, Bovine Bingo, Roadkill Bingo etc. Basically the same principles and rules apply, with a little modification for more excitement, and only the rewards are changed. In Christmas Bingo for example, instead of monetary jackpots, gifts are given to the winners, also, at the onset, the cards given to the players are blank and it is up to the players to fill the blanks with numbers from 1 to 40. No duplication of numbers on one card is allowed.

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