Tips and tricks for making Tambola/Bingo/Housie interesting

One of the most popular pages on my site is the one about Dumb Charades. I remember from back in school/college that dumbcharades was one of the most popular games played within a group, of course next to Antakshari. Another game very popular in India (and, as i found out, very popular in Cyprus too) is the game of Tambola. It is also known as Bingo or Housie.
When i was working/staying in bangalore, our apartment used to organise Bingo once a month with the tickets priced at 2 rupees each. We used to be 5 guys (fresh from college s/w engineers) staying together. While other bought 1 or 2 tickets each, we used to go and buy 10 to 15 tickets each , virtually dictating the way the event was conducted. Others didn’t complain, for we contributed to the big prize money in the pool. But, more often than not, we cornered most of the prizes due to the heavy probability in our favour.
I have been conducting Bingo sessions in our outdoor events at work for few years now. I do it a bit differently and as far as i know, it has been well received. Traditionally Bingos (or is it Bingoes) have cash prizes for the first five, the three rows and a full house, the cash prizes coming from the sale of the tickets. In the tambola events i organise, i do give out cash prizes, but also lot of other small gifts which can be souvenirs, fridge magnets, tshirts and pracically anything else which is not so expensive. If i do manage to get sponsors, then the big gifts come out. So, if you are organising a bingo, try to get a budget for it and then buy many small gifts and give them out apart from the cash prizes. if you don’t get a budget, make a guess as to the amount of money you will collect and then pre-buy gifts for that amount.

Now that you have so many gifts, how are you going to give them away if there are only 4 prizes (3 rows + 1 full house)? This is where you have to do things differently. i have given below the list (in random order) of all bingo “events” for which i have given away prizes. You can pick and choose from the list below based on the number of gifts you have, your interest level in organising the event, the time available for the event (more the prizes, more the time ) and the interest level of the players.

  • Anyone with the number 1 on their ticket. If all players have bought the full column, change it to – Anyone with number 1 on their topmost ticket – i usually start off with this one giving all the ppl 1 cent/1 rupee as a prize!
  • Apart from the three rows, you can also give a prize for the first 4 columns i.e. the first and the last number on the first and the last row.
  • If you are playing Bingo with a group of really enthusiastic people, you can also add prizes for the 5 columns on a ticket. Each column is not defined as the column appearing on the ticket, but as the respective numbers. Eg: 1st column would be the 1st number on each row irrespective of where the numbers actually are.
  • It will be a morale-booster to also have a unlucky-one prize for the one who is the last to get a number on his ticket.
  • If your group contains people of both sexes and of different ages, you can give prizes based on boys/girls or kids/parents/grand parents etc i.e a prize to the kid with the most/least number of numbers marked on a ticket.
  • You can also play around with mathematics (if you have people buying an entire column) such a 1 number in 1 ticket, 2 numbers in another ticket and 3 numbers in another or any such combination.
  • You can give prizes for combination of numbers in the rows i.e. 1 number on a row, 2 on another and 3 on the other.
  • While selling tickets, give discounts to people buying the entire column ( 6 tickets). This will encourage people to buy the set which gives you more options to give prizes.
  • Giving away absolutely junk prizes in the middle will keep the audience entertained. Eg: After giving away lot of prizes, the person to receive a prize will be looking forward to a goo prize. Then you can suddenly call for a combination which you expect many to have and call all of them to get a prize. You could then give each of them a chocolate or something equally silly!
  • If you run out of allocated prizes for the first session on Bingo towards the end, but people are still interested, you can always give out free tickets for the next session as a prize.

Hope these tips help you in organising a good game of Bingo!
Btw, if you don’t have the cards to play, you can check this post for a link with which you can print Bingo cards for free.

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Posted in India, party_games
95 comments on “Tips and tricks for making Tambola/Bingo/Housie interesting
  1. poonam says:

    i often conduct the tambola games in the ladies meet.
    could u pls tell me a nice and interesting way to introduce the game rather some interesting facts about the game before we start the game.

  2. Neetu says:

    want to know some theme based tambola games e.g karwa chauth, teej, diwali etc

  3. ratika jain says:

    want to know some theme based tambola like karwa chauth dusshera etc

  4. aman says:

    can anyone plzz tell me how is sandwich played in tambola and other variations also

  5. Gobs says:

    Can someone pls help me with link from where I can print tambola tickets???


  6. sapna bhura says:

    i want to organize a vegetable housie.pls help.

  7. shekhar says:

    rohan ,,,,,,,,,,,,,thanks a dozen ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,i was searching it for years together ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,u made my day ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,thanks a lot

  8. KB says:

    @Gobs “print tambola tickets” is available at:
    @sapna bhura “i want to organize a vegetable housie.pls help.” it is available at:

  9. Subhash Aswal says:

    Plz send me the details in brief regarding Tambola.
    I don’t know how to play it.

  10. vidit says:

    hai please give new housie ideas to my e-mail and it give today

  11. Sandeep says:


  12. Bairavi says:

    Hai Rohan…

    Thank u very much for the phrases…It will definitely help me to conduct the game tomorrow…thank u once again

  13. surya says:

    thanks for phrases bt i want some interesting games apart from three lines, king or queen corner. how to ply sandwitch on the ticket.

  14. KB says:

    @Surya Other kind of game winnings and winning criteria can be seen here at:
    @sandeep bollywood theme, find it here dude:
    @Subhash About Tambola, you can find it here:

  15. AG says:

    I am looking for Malayalam calling phrases , as i am planning to conduct a tambola event this weekend pls help me if anyone know, i already knw the english one ,

  16. GA RAMANEETH says:

    I want some thing different tambola on aqua theme.please send me immediately to because we are org.on 8th of this month.
    Thanking you,

    Geetha Raman.

  17. Ankita says:

    I Urgently need a Tambola announcer for our weekly event of the same…. Can somebody help me??

  18. simran says:

    i want tambola games with twist

  19. Rajat Thakkar says:

    i want to know abt the prizes other than early 5, lines and houses.for eg. queens corner, kings corner etc.

  20. Can you plz suggest some games of tambola for party and that should be with twist…..!!!

  21. bratati says:

    i want 2 know abt d prizes besides queens corner:kings corner lines

  22. rakesh says:

    how to play valentine’s special tambla

  23. sugandhika diddi says:

    pls suggest me tambola regarding festive theme and house names etc

  24. jacob says:

    hi,thanks for the interesting info.i needed some clarification abt king and queens it the numbers on the left side or is it on the right side?i did conduct a tambola the other day…but we had arguments with the audience who claimed that that the kings corner is in the right and queens corner vice versa. i had done extensive internet research abt it before the event…and a few of the sites including yours do mention that the king’s is the corner on the right…ie the 1st column.please clarify.

  25. jacob says:

    i mean…the audience claimed that the kings corner is on the left and queens the right….i’ll b grateful if u could clarify

  26. jyoti agarwal says:

    pls suggest me some enthusiastik and sexy games for my kitty party which will be held on 22of this month.


  27. jyoti agarwal says:

    how to play queen corner and valentines’s special

  28. sudhir singh says:

    dear tambola/housie readers,
    ur wait 4 various games of tambola is over. i am going 2 list a few 4 ur info and practice.
    1. top line,(of 5 numbers)
    2. center line,(of 5 numbers)
    3. bottom line,(of 5 numbers)
    4. bamboo (center number of each line ie. 3 numbers )
    5. jona (unlucky lucky person ie. who remains with no number cut till last)
    6. queens corner(first No of each row/line ie. 3 numbers)
    7. kings corner(last No of each line/row ie 3 No.)
    8. four corners(4 corner Nos of one ticket)
    9. full house (15 No)
    10. out house(15 No ie. after full house)
    11. children house (ie. full house 4 children only, elders can play but not claim d house)
    12.snow ball ( in limited No of calls ie.a full house in 55 calls)

    i hope above games would make it interesting 4 some new inductees to d tambola world .
    regards, sudhir

  29. Anjali says:

    Are all the Tambola tickets completely different? What is the possibility of 2 tambola tickets being similar?

  30. padmanaban ra says:

    how to tell the numbers like 11 means railway line and 7 means hockey stick. please narrate each numbers like above

  31. parmila says:

    in ur particular ticket if all d numbers below 50 r cancelled den it will be called as JAWANI.. nd after50 its BUDHAPA…

  32. Swarna says:

    I have conducted a few theme based tambolas – Incredible India, Mismatch, etc… I have generated tickets, set my own cues and made my own clues. Pl feel free to ask for other theme based tickets, cues, clues.

  33. chhayaa negandhi says:

    hi everyone.i have been conducting n annoucing tombolas since past 25years. there are many more games that can be played depending upon the type ofpeople .kitty parties, clubs, charity events, children, picnic etc. if interested u can coctact me

  34. Anju says:

    I want holi related tam bola. Something new?

  35. hema says:

    send some diffrent way of playing on kitty parties

  36. Aishwarya says:

    need help to organise housie for 1000 pax, how to personalise this? pls help me

  37. hossain says:

    can any one help me with a list of phrases. it should nt be related to any spl occassion. just in general terms…

  38. dr.yogesh jindal says:

    plz.tell me the intersting way to creat the tambola game.

  39. Sona says:

    I want to make script and tickets for tambola game based on Mughal Era.Pls help

  40. Poonamkhurania says:

    I have to organise kitty on 15 aug2013, all the nearby festivals and national days can be mixed , kindly suggest 1/ few games related to these as earliest

  41. richa says:

    i want to know some new tambola game for kitty & birthday

  42. richa says:

    i want to know some new tambola game for kitty & birthday can u give me some ideassss thanks..

  43. Jyoti Agarwal says:

    Plz mail me the karva chauth based theme tambola

  44. sreesha says:

    pls help me with some interesting numeral phrases for Housie game…

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