To play, every gamer needs to buy a ticket with numbers. A caller starts to call out numbers and the players need to cover them on their tickets. There are three tiers of prizes, the lower is scratching one line of numbers, the second is two lines and the full house is completing the whole ticket before the other players.

Since the game started to gain popularity in the 60s, many great players contended for the podium. In comparison, with games like poker, which has big regional and international competitions, it’s hard to determine who is the best Bingo player, because it’s based on chance, and usually the number of wins is less stable. Although, it’s possible to determine the biggest wins that have been seen in the years.

Discover the Best Bingo Players of All Time
Bingo Players

History of Bingo

Bingo has a rich past, beginning in 16th century Italy as Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia, derived from the Italian lottery. Initially, players selected a number and awaited a caller to announce it for a win. The game gained traction and travelled to France, becoming Le Lotto, particularly popular among the aristocracy. This French version introduced a card format with numbers in vertical and horizontal rows, similar to the 90-ball British Bingo.

By the 18th century, Bingo had reached the UK, becoming a favoured social pastime. People played in ballrooms and hotels, often competing for cash, luxury vacations, or valuable items. The game's popularity continued to grow throughout Europe.

In the 1800s, German educators recognised Bingo's educational potential, using it to teach children numbers, spelling, and logic. They developed versions like Animal Lotto and Spelling Lotto, where teachers acted as callers, and children solved equations or spelt words to win.

The game arrived in the US in the 1920s, introduced by Hugh J. Ward at carnivals and fairs. Known as Beano due to the beans used for marking numbers, it was later renamed Bingo after Edwin S. Lowe misheard the name. Lowe patented the first Bingo card in 1929, cementing its modern identity.

The 1960s Betting and Gaming Act in the UK allowed large cash prizes, boosting Bingo's appeal. Today, this game thrives both in-person and online Bingo, with various themed versions available, making it accessible to a global audience.

The Extraordinary Story of John Orchard

The extraordinary win of John Orchard, an ordinary man from Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, became a national sensation in the UK Bingo community in 2012. Orchard’s journey to fame began a day in December when he attended a typical Bingo session at his local Gala Bingo Hall in Scunthorpe. What he didn’t know was that this would be the night that changed his life forever.

Orchard, a 60-year-old father of three, had been a regular Bingo player, enjoying the game for its social aspect and the occasional small wins. However, on this particular night, he won the National Bingo Game’s jackpot, securing £5.9 million. This was, at the time, the largest prize ever won in the history of the National Bingo Game, propelling Orchard into the spotlight.

When he won Orchard was in complete shock. He recalled that moment as surreal and unbelievable. Initially, he struggled to comprehend the magnitude of his winnings. The other players and staff at the Bingo Hall erupted in cheers, sharing his joy and amazement. This massive win was not just life-changing for Orchard but also brought significant attention to the Bingo community, highlighting the game’s potential for substantial financial rewards.

Orchard’s life before the win was modest, working at a local food processing factory. This lucky event allowed him to retire immediately and start planning for a more comfortable future. Orchard spoke about using his winnings to buy a new house, travel, and secure his children’s futures. He also expressed a desire to give back to his community, considering charitable contributions to local causes.

Orchard’s story captivated the public, showcasing the dramatic impact that Bingo can have on an individual’s life. His win was widely covered in the media, with interviews and features in newspapers and on television, turning him into a somewhat reluctant celebrity. Despite his newfound fame and fortune, Orchard remained grounded and humble, attributing his win to sheer luck, and maintaining his love for the game of Bingo.


Bingo is a game of chance and it’s hard to pinpoint and classify the most skilful starting from his origin. One of the most famous Bingo people in the UK is John Orchard, with his extraordinary story of a life-changing win. Whether many of us will even share the same luck is something to be debated, however for John, I am sure he will never regret his choice to play Bingo.

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