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Rules and Strategy

Bingo: The Great Theories

There are various different variations on the theme of classic bingo, you can play 30 ball bingo which is coined ‘speed bingo’ all the way up to the 90 ball variety, often dubbed as ‘British bingo’. Bingo is played by a great many people around the world and throughout the history of the game there have been people who surmised that there had to be a winning strategy when playing. Logically, it is impossible to alter the course of probabilities in a game like bingo which is ultimately a game of chance. This didn’t stop some people from trying however, and in this article we are going to take a look at two of the more famous people that did.

Leonard H. C. Tippet

Leonard Henry Caleb Tippett was a British statistician. Born in May 1902, Tippett graduated in physics in the early 1920’s from Imperial College London and went on to study for his Masters in Statistics at University College London. In 1927 he invented the ‘Random Number Table’ and during the late 1930’s he became widely recognized for his ability to devise methods of observation and was credited for the invention of an observation method known as ‘snap reading’.

Tippet’s theory for bingo was based on the his assumption that during a 75 ball bingo game, as time passes and more numbers are called, the numbers drawn consequently will move towards the median number which is 38. By his strategy, during a short game you would tend to choose bingo cards whose numbers are either closer to 75 or 1 and during a long game choose numbers that are closer to 38.

He defined short and long games as follows. A short game would be a game of bingo where you would need to complete simple patterns like a full house or 1 or 2 horizontal lines, and a long game is where you would need to complete complex patterns, such as those which resemble specific letters or shapes. These would take longer to achieve due to the complexity of the task.

Joseph E. Granville

Joseph Ensign Granville was an American financial writer and analyst. Born in August 1923, he made popular a form of technical analysis that attempted to predict future prices of stocks and other commodities that were being traded on various financial markets. From 1963 until his death in 2013 he published a series of books and also financial newsletter called ‘The Granville Market Letter’ but it was in 1977 when he published a book called ‘How to Win at Bingo’.

Granville’s theory was one based on probability and also the chaotic nature of ball dispersion. He proclaimed that in order to have the best chance of winning at bingo, the player should choose bingo cards with as many numbers as possible having a different second digit. According to his findings, he stated that around 60% of the first 10 numbers to be called out were shown to have different last digits.

Based on this for example if we’re to take the number 14 (where the final digit is 4), once this is drawn there will be less numbers in the total pool with the number 4 as a second digit, thus a lower chance for you to win if you have a bingo card made up with more numbers with a second digit of 4 according to his theory of numbers being called out having different last digits. It does actually make sense but due to the random nature of ball dispersal it cannot be fool proof.

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We hope you enjoyed that little piece of bingo history. While you think about what these two guys tried to accomplish, why not read another exciting article from the list below: