How to play bingo with playing cards 

How to play bingo with playing cards 

Card bingo is a simple game to be played with 52-card deck of standard playing cards. Whether you’re at camp with the kids or hanging out with friends at the pub, this can be a fun and spontaneous game with little need for anything more than that deck of cards you carry around in your pocket. Let’s take a look at how it compares to traditional bingo and the rules of the game. 

Brief history of bingo

Bingo itself is thought to have originated around 1530 in Italy, before migrating to France, and then to England with the French aristocracy in the 18th century. Bingo is thought to have been brought to the Americas by the British – although, there is one key difference between the UK and USA gameplay, namely that they play with 90 and 75 balls respectively. Traditionally, balls would be randomly selected and announced by a ‘caller’, which is then marked off bingo tickets by the players until a winning combination is achieved. 

With the rise in technology and the internet, bingo has seen many technological advancements over the years – from random number generators instead of a bingo cage, dabbers or electronic score sheets instead of bingo chips, and, of course, the rise of online casino games. Nowadays, players in the UK can try their hand at online bingo at Paddy Power, choosing from live bingo rooms like Age of the Gods, Cash Cubes, and Paddy’s Full House, or on-demand slot-bingo hybrid ‘slingo’ games such as Piggy Bank, Cleopatra, or Inca Trail. The introduction of technology to bingo allows players to interact with one another and the caller in real-time, or access immersive bingo games from their own homes, depending on the style of bingo that they prefer. 

However, if you are looking for new card games to play with your standard decks, it might surprise you to learn that there are several ways to use them for a high-energy bingo game. Let’s take a look. 

Basic card bingo

To play the basic game, take two standard 52-card decks – which in themselves originated from tarot cards, according to Britannica – and remove the jokers, keeping the two stacks separate.

Then, gather your players – the game allows up to ten players along with an additional player to call the cards. Next, deal five or six cards from one of the decks to each player, placing the cards face up to make the bingo cards. 

With the cards all dealt, the caller will then take the second pack face down and turn over the cards one by one, calling out the number and suit of the card. If the player has a card in front of them that matches both the suit and number exactly, it can be turned face down. The first player to turn over all of their cards is the winner of the game. To announce achieving this, rather than the traditional call of ‘bingo’, some players will shout ‘Bango’ or ‘Hoy’, instead.


Sticky Thirteen

Of course, as with any card game, card bingo has a wide range of variations. To make the game more high-energy and quick, some games might omit the need to match suits. When these rules are in place, you only need to match the number or rank of the card. For smaller groups of players and longer games, players can be dealt up to thirteen cards each – also known as Sticky Thirteens.

Thirteen Card Bingo

This variation allows for larger groups of players. Each table has four players with a pack of cards dealt to each player, thirteen cards each, similar to Whist. The caller draws cards from a separate pack, and the first player to have all their thirteen cards called claims a prize.

Suitless Bingo

In this version, suits are ignored, and only the rank of the cards is called out. Players turn down all the cards they hold of that rank when it is called. Multiple players can win simultaneously, either sharing the prize or determining the winner based on who claims it first.

Bingo with Payment for Uncalled Cards

This variant involves using only one deck of cards, with suits ignored. Each player puts a stake into the pot before each deal. Five cards are dealt face down to each player and ten face down to the center of the table. Players discard any cards they hold that match the rank of a face-up card in the middle. A player who discards all their cards shouts “bingo!” and wins. If no one wins, the dealer continues turning cards until ten different ranks have been turned up, and players pay additional stakes for cards they have not discarded, with the winner collecting the pot.

Bingo with a Jackpot

In this British variant, two 52-card packs without jokers are used, and suits are ignored. Each player contributes one stake to the main pot and two stakes to the jackpot before each deal. Cards are dealt face down to each player and face down to the “jackpot pile.” The dealer turns up cards from the jackpot pile, and players discard cards that match the turned up card. The first player to discard all their cards calls “bingo!” and collects the main pot and the jackpot. If the jackpot pile is exhausted, the dealer continues with undealt cards, and the player who discards all their cards calls “bingo!” and collects the main pot only, while the jackpot remains for the next deal.

Bingo with Betting Rounds

This variation involves betting rounds similar to poker. One 52-card pack is used, and suits are ignored. Players place an ante, and five cards are dealt to each player and five face down to the table. The table cards are turned face up one at a time, with a betting round before each card is exposed. Players discard any cards that match the turned up card. The first player to discard all five cards wins the pot. If no player achieves this, the winner is determined by adding up the values of the remaining cards in players’ hands.

High-Low Bingo

In this variation, two 52-card packs shuffled together are used, suitable for a larger number of players. A player who discards all five cards calls “bingo!” and wins the entire pot. If no one declares “bingo!” after the five table cards have been turned up, the pot is split between the highest and lowest value hands, with picture cards counting as 10 and aces as 1 for the low hand and 11 for high. The total value of all five cards is counted in determining the highest or lowest value hands.