So, you fancy yourself as a bingo caller? Or perhaps you just wondered what’s involved in this fun, fast-paced job? Read on to learn all about what being a bingo caller entails, as well as tips on being a bingo caller so good they’ll be begging you back for every bingo night.
Look the part
Appearance is important no matter where you are—you wouldn’t show up to an interview looking a state, so why would you as a bingo caller? Wherever you’re working, you need to ensure that you’ve put effort into your appearance.
Take care to look the part—bingo players won’t be impressed by a bingo caller who looks like they’ve crawled out of bed without looking in the mirror. Try and aim for a smart-casual look to make a good impression.
Preparation is the key to a smooth, confident bingo calling session. If you want to use funny bingo calls, why not note them down just in case your mind goes blank? Or if there’s important information to give out before the game begins, jot down some bullet points to be sure you don’t miss anything.
Familiarise yourself with the equipment
Wherever the game will be held, arrive a little early so you have time to get comfortable with your space and equipment. Whether you’ll be using a terminal or a roll cage, you need to familiarise yourself completely with it. You don’t want to accidentally cancel a game because you pushed the wrong button!
If you’re using a microphone, you should give it a test run also.
Check you can be heard
Once your audience have arrived, your first job is to check that they can hear you clearly. Some players may be hard of hearing, and if the game is in a large hall, people at the back may struggle to understand what you are saying.
A quick, “Hello everyone, can you all hear me?” should help you gauge whether you need to speak up or adjust your microphone.
Being a bingo caller is all about personality! There’s a reason bingo halls don’t just use computers to call the numbers; having a fun, friendly bingo caller is all part of the experience. Introduce yourself to the players and welcome them- you can even use a stage name if you’d prefer.
It’s important to make a good impression with these people. If they like you enough, they might even request for you to come back another time, and they’ll be more forgiving if there’s a blip later on during the game.
To avoid arguments and confusion later down the line, make sure everyone knows what they’re doing from the start. You may wish to clarify:
For example, “We will begin this game of 90-ball bingo at six o’clock. There will be three prizes in this game; £10 for the first player to one line, £20 for the first to two lines, and £50 for the first with the full house.”
If you are calling for people who may not have played bingo before, a little more explanation may be necessary. You may also wish to clarify house rules, such as how to declare bingo, what happens if two players call simultaneously, and what happens if a player calls bingo late.
Bingo games can go on for a long time, especially if you’re repeating numbers a lot. Before you begin, have a bottle of water nearby. Calling the numbers will likely make your throat dry, so sipping some water will make you more comfortable.
Speak loudly and clearly
It’s easy to feel uncomfortable when raising your voice, but don’t forget, the players desperately need to hear what you are saying. You don’t want your voice to be muffled, quiet, or overpowered by your accent.
Try to leave people time to mark
Repeat the number several times, taking around 10-20 seconds before moving on to a new number. This is to make sure that all the players in the room hear you properly.
You can judge this by watching your audience. If heads have come up and are waiting for you to read the next number, you know people are ready. The last thing you want is someone complaining because they misheard you or you moved onto a different number too quickly.
Be authoritative and confident
If there’s one quality that a bingo caller needs to have above any other, it’s to have an authoritative presence. Bingo is a fun and exciting game, but that doesn’t mean it’s without any problems. There will always be some form of conflict during a game—whether it’s a friendly charity game or one in a commercial bingo hall. Sometimes two or more players will get a Full House at the same time, or even announce a Full House too early or late.
In these types of situations, you’re the one who will have to take charge and smooth things over. You can’t let bingo players run wild—you have to sort things out quickly and efficiently.
Listen for bingo
While you’re calling out numbers, don’t forget to keep an eye and ear out for the all-important “BINGO”. Players take these things very seriously—and if you’re not paying attention, they’ll eat you alive. Many arguments have started in bingo because there’s confusion surrounding which player shouted bingo first.
Make the right call
Bingo has become synonymous with the traditional ‘old-fashioned’ bingo calls—‘Cup of Tea’ for Number 3, anyone? Of course, some commercial establishments forgo these calls as it can make a game of bingo take twice as long. Plus, quite a lot of people now find these calls to be too cheesy and outdated.
This means that it might be your choice to decide whether you’re going to use these bingo calls or not. No calls at all might speed up the process, but at the same time some people are rather fond of the traditional calls. Of course, if you want to give things a modern spin, you could always try BingoPort’s 21st century bingo calls.
Read your audience
Some bingo players might want a loud and energetic caller, and others might want someone a bit calmer and more relaxed; it’s your responsibility to pick the right style. Consider what kind of event you are calling for, and the people in your audience.
Take it seriously
It’s important to remember that bingo isn’t just a game to some people- it’s a lifestyle. So, while you’re allowed to have fun with your job, you also need to take it seriously. Don’t slack off, and make sure you give these people your full attention. No-one will respond well if you’re making a joke out of something they love.
That being said, being a bingo caller is great fun, and if you look like you’re having a good time, the players will too. Judge the tone of the room and host your game accordingly. A smiling face is much more pleasant to look at than a grouch!
Hopefully we’ve covered everything you need to know to become the best bingo caller. If you’re interested in becoming a professional bingo caller at a club, you might want to contact some of the major bingo halls near you directly.
Has all that bingo caller advice got you in the mood for some bingo? Find a great bingo site to play on here.