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Bingo Strategy: When Maths and Reality Collide

The call of the balls is one of the most hypnotic sounds in the gaming world, however, if you're not careful these reverberations can have a negative impact on your bankroll. While it's true that formulating a winning bingo strategy isn't easy compared to other casino games such as blackjack or roulette, that doesn't mean it's impossible.

Over the years a number of notable figures have endeavoured to turn bingo's seductive call into sweet music rather than howls of disappointment. In fact, one such mathematician was, Joseph E. Granville. Despite being a stock market strategist by trade, Granville enjoyed games involving numbers and that led him to speculate on the nature of bingo and how it's possible to beat it using mathematics.

A Mathematical Model for Bingo

Despite being a strategy that has more of a foundation in pure mathematics than it does in reality, Granville's assertion was that bingo players could improve their chances of winning if they were able to find a common pattern.

Although something of an abstract concept, Granville maintained that there is a lack of randomness in a game of bingo. In practical terms this doesn't mean games of bingo are weighted unfairly towards certain numbers. However, it does mean there is a greater chance certain groups of numbers will appear during a game. How did Granville come to this conclusion? Essentially he used the work of L.H.C. Tippet to guide his theory. According to Tippet, numbers act in the following way: "As a random sample is increased in size, it gives a result that comes closer and closer to the population value."

When applied to a game of bingo, it's possible to call the master board of numbers the "population". Taking this a step further, the average value of the "population" should be half the number of balls in play (e.g. 45 in a 90-ball game). Finally, as a game plays out, you should start to see the average of the numbers called will gradually approach the “half number” on the master board.

It's All About Being Average

Using this information, you can then ascertain that if the "population" of the entire game has an average value of 45 (half of 90), then the numbers drawn from the machine (real or virtual) should fall in line with this value. If this is true and the numbers drawn add up to the average value of 45, then you should be able to choose game cards that fall in line with this premise and increase your chances of winning.

For example, if you're playing a 90-ball game, you should be looking to purchase tickets with a selection of numbers that converge around an average of 45. Conversely, if you're playing a 75-ball game, you should be looking to buy tickets where the numbers average total of 38.

It's All About Being Average

Of course, in the battle between theory and reality, Granville's idea is one that thrives in the former but falters in the latter. Why? Well, when log into an online platform such as Betfair Bingo, it is impossible to select the make-up of your game card because they are issued to you on a random basis.

In the interests of fairness, all online bingo cards are populated by a random number generator. Because of this, it isn't possible to study the available game cards and choose the ones that have an average total close to the magic numbers. In a game of live bingo this might be possible (although it's still unlikely), but in the virtual world it's not possible.

However, just because Granville's theory doesn't work, it doesn't mean all is lost. Although it's not a sure-fire way to win, one of the best ways to improve your EV is to learn how to manage your money.

By not spending more than you can afford, you limit the risk of going broke and this means you're able to stay in the game long enough for positive variance to swing in your direction. Although this may not be the most ground-breaking strategy ever touted, it's one of the only real ways to enhance your chances of success when you ante-up online.