Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Midnight BINGO Story
I won $100 last night playing midnight BINGO. It was a $500 game, but there were 5 winners on my same number, so it was split between us all. This was the first time I've ever won playing midnight BINGO. It's really an interesting setup.
The BINGO hall is a very large building, separated into a smoking and non-smoking. You walk into the hall on the smoking side, pay your $10 for 3 hours worth of BINGO cards, and find a seat. The environment is unlike anything I've ever been in before. First off, there are a lot of older folk there, many of whom are ladies. These ladies carry their custom BINGO dauber bags, equipped with daubers of every color from metallic green to dark deep blue. There are also some shady looking folk, too, dressed as miscreants and possibly up to no good. There are the lonely looking folk, sitting by themselves and hoping for the big win. There are the addicts, people who go several nights per week and use the lottery as their career. There are the volunteers that work, too, and they are a different breed all together.
I sit in the non-smoking side, as I'm a non-smoker. I go with my friend William and we play from midnight til about 3 in the morn. The room is very fluorescent white, the bright lights reflecting dimly off of the cream/white tiled floor. There are tv monitors all over the walls, displaying the current BINGO ball called. There are grids up across the wall showing what numbers have already been called.
All around there are some sort of crazy games going on along with the BINGO. I'm not sure how these games work, but I think they work like pull-tab lottery cards. People will randomly shout out "Flash on Kings" or "Ham and Eggs." There's a horse race game, too, but its too complex to describe currently. (Or maybe I'm too lazy to think how to accurately describe it. It is, after all, after midnight.)
All the while I'm looking around at the people I'm competing with. Do I really deserve to win? By me winning, am I taking inadvertently hurting someone else? Are most of these lonely people and older people folk that are widows? Did she just call out G-51? Do I want to get an appetizer boat? "Flash on Kings." What the heck does that even mean?
I don't play midnight BINGO too often, as it is a draining experience on the body. There are several ways to get a BINGO, such as a coverall (the entire card is covered), a double BINGO (you have to get 2 regular BINGOs on one card), hardway BINGO (where the Free Space doesn't count), and many more. The process requires an intense focus because of all the options. Then, there's also the strain of second guessing yourself. See, you don't want to call out a false BINGO. For that, well, let's just say you really don't want to call out a false BINGO. The society that reigns there will exile you at a minimum, the mob will form and throw you out on your butt, or you'll look like a red butt baboon. Oh, and the death stares of Medusa from the old lady is not pleasant, either.
Regardless, playing midnight BINGO is always interesting. It leave you dragging the following day, but if you win it's well worth it. Actually, one game is worth $1000. In total there is over $4000 given away at the midnight BINGO session. There are several sessions throughout the week, and not all of them are at midnight. There is a lot of money passing through this system, and I'm guessing it's all legit, and I would have no reason to think otherwise except for the stereotype associated with a place like the BINGO hall. It's a fun night, especially if you win, and the atmosphere is intriguing and thought provoking.