To play bingo, ye must first purchase a bingo card (or cards). The card consists of five rows and five columns, creating 25 'cells.' The columns are designated by letters (B, I, N, G and O) and each cell has a number in it, except for the middle cell which acts as a 'free space,' which means it is already covered. When the game starts, letter/number combinations are drawn at random. Fer example, "B-2" or "N-43." When a letter/number combination matches yer card, ye have scored a 'hit' or 'match' and can now "cover" or "mark" that cell. The next letter/number combination is drawn and continues in this manner until someone completes a bingo pattern, which is when ye cover five cells on yer card in a row. The row may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.
There are a total of 75 letter/number combinations available: B 1-15, I 16-30, N 31-45, G 46-60, and O 61-75. Since there are more number combinations per letter (15) than available cells per letter (5), the layout of the various bingo cards vary greatly. In fact, there are a total of 1,474,200 possible unique cards from which to play! Fer this reason, most people play numerous cards at the same time.
When playing online, yer bingo cards are randomly selected. Most sites will give ye three or four cards. Other sites may allow ye to take more. Every online bingo game has a caller or a display board fer the numbers. The game pattern is also displayed. Some games automatically mark the numbers on yer card fer you. The game ends when a player scores a "bingo." If there is more than one winner in a particular game, then the prize is split between all the winners.