Why Don’t I Ever Win at Bingo?

Why Don't I Win at BingoI know how you feel.

You’ve been hitting the bingo hall or bingo sites for a while now, and despite playing diligently you have never managed more than the odd line here and there – if that.

Is there something wrong with you? Are you playing badly? Are you just unlucky?

Honestly, we’ve all been there, and as demoralising as it might feel sometimes, rest assured that it’s nothing to do with you personally.

Bingo is a game of chance, so if you are struggling to get a win then it just means that lady luck hasn’t found her way over to you yet.

There’s nothing you can do to make her smile on you either, but you can do a few things to help get her attention.

I’ve written another article on increasing your chances of winning, so won’t go over that again here. Instead, this will be a sort of opposite article, pointing out a few pitfalls you may be falling into if you feel like you are having more bad luck than others.

Let’s start with real life bingo first, before moving on to the online game.

Bingo Halls: Why You Feel Like You Never Win

Why I Always Lose Bingo Hall

If you are a regular at a bingo hall, you get to know the other regular faces, so when the same hands shoot up to make a claim week in week out, you may well wonder what is amiss.

But think about the different packages on offer when you walk in, they might be something like:

  • Package 1: 6 x Early Game, 18 x Main Game, 12 x Main Link, 5 x National Game = £20
  • Package 2: 6 x Early Game, 27 x Main Game, 18 x Main Link, 5 x National Game = £25
  • Package 3: 6 x Early Game, 36 x Main Game, 24 x Main Link, 5 x National Game = £35
  • Package 4: 6 x Early Game, 45 x Main Game, 30 x Main Link, 5 x National Game = £40
  • Package 5: 6 x Early Game, 54 x Main Game, 36 x Main Link, 5 x National Game = £50

Most people buy one of the cheaper packages when they play, which will obviously include fewer tickets for each game, but a few will drop £50 or more every time they visit.

Someone with 54 tickets to the main game has 36 more chances to win than someone with 18 tickets to the main game – that’s a 200% increase!

In other words, the person with 18 tickets would need to be 3 times as lucky as the person with 54 tickets in order to win.

It’s true that each single ticket has the same statistical chance of winning as any other ticket, but the more of those tickets you personally own, the better your personal odds of winning are.

Also, think about this; how often do you go?

If you are a once-a-month type of player, for example, that means you play bingo at the bingo hall 12 times a year. Let’s say you have had 1 win in that time. Doesn’t seem like much does it, 1 win all year?

Now consider a weekly player, who plays 52 times a year, and has had 4 wins. Winning bingo 4 times in a year sounds a bit better right?

But 4 wins out of 52 games equates to a 7.69% win ratio, whereas 1 win in 12 games works out as an 8.33% win ratio, so you would actually be doing better in this scenario.

Now obviously, you may not have won at all, but the point I’m making is that looks can be deceiving. Win frequency is relative to how often you play, and how many tickets you buy, and actually, spending more and playing more in order to attempt to win more often isn’t necessarily going to leave you better off.

So you might notice someone winning more often than you, but compared to how frequently they play, they might actually be experiencing less luck than you.

Online Bingo: Why You Feel Like You Never Win

Why I Always Lose at Online Bingo

With online bingo, the same principles apply as explained above, but since the game is digital those factors are multiplied.

A night with 500 people at the bingo hall is a very busy night, but online bingo rooms can have thousands of people playing at the same time at certain points in the day – so you really do need a stroke of luck to get anywhere.

Compounding this, you can often buy over 100 tickets for each game with online bingo, which, when multiplied by the number of players in the room really starts to escalate.

Have a look at how many tickets would be in play in these different situations:

Tickets per Player 100 Players 500 Players 1000 Players 2000 Players
10 1000 Tickets 5000 Tickets 10000 Tickets 20000 Tickets
20 2000 Tickets 10000 Tickets 20000 Tickets 40000 Tickets
50 5000 Tickets 25000 Tickets 50000 Tickets 100000 Tickets
100 10000 Tickets 50000 Tickets 100000 Tickets 200000 Tickets
120 12000 Tickets 60000 Tickets 120000 Tickets 240000 Tickets

In the most extreme example you might be up against 240,000 other tickets – so if you were feeling like you never win you would be in very good company!

Now obviously, everyone in the room will not be playing the same number of tickets, but even if we take a number from somewhere in the middle of the table which might be more representative, there might be 25,000 tickets in a busy game.

Even if you buy the maximum of 120 tickets, that would give you just a 0.48% chance of winning anything. And that’s combined, each individual ticket has a tiny 0.004% chance of being a winner, so have ten tickets would up that percentage to 0.04%.

The other thing with online bingo is that everyone uses an alias, like CrazyKarenBlueBells or xx001984BlueSkies00xx or whatever, so it all feels more detached.

At least in an actual bingo hall you can see and hear the winner, so it all feels like a closer competition; but online the prize has gone to some random person in another part of the country (or even the world) who you will never know, and you have no one to commiserate with.

The Psychology Behind Feeling Unlucky

Feeling Unlucky Playing BingoBingo is actually a completely fair and balanced game, because who wins is totally out of the control of anyone involved.

The balls are drawn at random and the tickets are given out at random, so the result is therefore random.

No one can do anything to make their tickets more or less likely to win, all you can do is physically buy more tickets, but if you do this then you risk more money, which re-balances things.

Everyone’s chance of winning is therefore exactly the same in proportion to the money they have spent and the financial risk they have taken.

Of course, luck does come into it, so some people can experience highly unusual lucky or unlucky streaks, but more often than not, the feeling that ‘I never win’ is shared amongst most of the people in the room.

This is all to do with psychology, and a few well studied mental tricks our minds play are involved here:

  • Negativity Bias: Our brains have a natural tendency to focus more on negative experiences than positive ones. So when something bad happens, we tend to dwell on it and forget about the good stuff that’s also going on.
  • Selective Perception: Ever heard of the saying “seeing is believing”? Well, sometimes we only notice the bad things that confirm our belief that we’re unlucky. We might ignore or forget the good things that happen, which makes us feel like the bingo Gods are against us.
  • Attribution Theory: This is a fancy way of saying that we tend to explain things that happen to us. Sometimes, when something bad happens, we blame it on bad luck instead of looking at other reasons. It’s easier to say, “I’m just unlucky” rather than considering other factors.
  • Comparison Trap: We often compare ourselves to others, especially in competitive environments like bingo. When we see people seemingly doing better or having more luck, it can make us feel even more unlucky in comparison. However, we are comparing one person (ourselves) with many others (all other players), so it’s a massively unbalanced way of looking at things.
  • Emotional State: Our emotions on the day play a big role too. When we’re feeling down or upset, it’s easier to focus on the negative things happening around us. This can make it seem like we’re always unlucky, even if it’s just a temporary feeling.

So next time you see someone else call Bingo when you are still 3 numbers away, and you feel like having a huff about it, remind yourself that everyone else in the room lost too, and think about why.

Do you not play often? Have you only bought a small number of tickets? Did you actually win a few months ago and have just forgotten about it?

Most of all, remember that playing bingo is about the fun of it more than the winning. If you’re not having fun, then win or lose, there’s not much point playing at all.