LOCATION: BingoPalace. Virginia Beach
Yes, I’ve played regular bingo before. However, this was the type of bingo you’d play in school. One small board, a crayon and there you go. Playing real adult time bingo is bucket list worthy because it’s stressful, intense and definitely an experience. It was nothing I ever expected!
I made it to the BingoPalace before my two friends and decided to grab a table. After observing the clientele of the place, I instantly knew that this should have been something I crossed off when I was 70 instead. HA! There were multiple lines formed to get cards. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing though and just decided to wait. Eventually Terri and Stacy showed up and we could get in line. While standing there, it was evident the sheer rudeness by the elderly around me. They were here on a mission to win lots of money. Don’t mess with an elderly person and their bingo! For $21, I received about 26 bingo sheets and a dauber (big bingo marker). Each sheet ranged from two bingo charts all the way to 18 charts on one sheet. That’s a lot of bingo to be had over the next 3.5 hours. Stacy then proceeded to explain to me how it all worked. Originally it seemed simple enough, hear a letter and number, mark the sheet. However, it was slightly more than that. The number would show up on the TV screen first. You would look for that and mark your sheet to stay ahead of the game. The guy would call numbers too fast and you can’t keep up if you just go off of what he said. The TV screens were key. A sheet of paper on the table let you know what exactly you were playing. The first game of one sheet was usually a straight bingo or double bingo. However, the next play was some odd thing like a kite, seesaw or across the board play. What in the world is a kite or seesaw!!! This was complicated. After settling in, I broke out the Trolls. I saw an episode of “Roseanne” once where bingo was being played. Lucky Trolls were involved. Ever since then, I associated Trolls with bingo. Sadly, (or convenient in my case) my mom had several Trolls left from the 90s. (Why Mom??) She let me borrow them and I set them all up surrounding my charts. Oddly enough, not one patron of BingoPalace said anything about them, double glanced at them, nothin. Were Trolls that normal? Were other more extreme things seen here?! It was crazy! Hopefully these Trolls would bring us the bingo luck we needed.
The game was ready to start and our first play was with a small two bingo chart sheet. I was happy that I was able to ease into this with a small board. I looked at the TV, and nothing was coming up. The guy began to speak. “4, 72, 60, 44, 3, 56, 38” Oh my God! Where were the letters? WHERE WERE THE LETTERS?? I kept asking, but Stacy and Terri were daubin away. I just stared at my board. The guy was speaking in rapid motion, how would I ever keep up!? BINGO was quickly called by a woman in the corner. What in the world just happened? Stacy explained that the small boards were rapid play and just numbers were called. A big sheet would actually call the letters as well. MAN, was this intense. I was literally thrown onto the battle field at once.
After a few rapid plays, we were able to start our first big sheet. While the calls weren’t made nearly as fast as the small charts, it was still pretty fast. I missed several calls while trying to check my 18 charts as fast as I could. It was a constant motion. This was stressful and intense and I’m really surprised so many elderly people enjoy this. This isn’t relaxing at all!
After 3.5 hours of play and tired eyes from constant scanning of the charts, I didn’t win a thing. Neither did Terri and Stacy. I think out of 26 sheets and who knows how many bingo charts on each, I only came close twice. TWICE! These Trolls were definitely not lucky! It was fun and definitely worthy of an experience, but I think I’ll wait to play again when I meet the age bracket. See ya in 40 years BingoPalace!
*Thank you Stacy and Terri for accompanying me on this adventure.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? I wouldn’t mind, but I would rather do the smaller, calmer boards. HA!
HOW TO DO THIS: Find a local bingo place and see what they offer. It’s best to go with someone who has done it before because it can get confusing.