How to Play Tambola?

Tambola, also known as Bingo, Housie, and Tombola, is a popular game that originated in Italy in the early 1500s and was known as "Il Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia." It is often known as Bingo in the Western countries, whereas in South East Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc., it goes by the name Tambola or Tombola.

Tambola in a Nutshell

The game starts with the dealer drawing the number from a box. It could be written on a ball, a piece of paper, or any form. In online games, the number is drawn automatically on the website by software.

With each draw, the caller announces the number and marks it on the board. The objective is to mark/strike all the numbers in the ticket available to the player. The player who first marks all the numbers in the winning pattern is declared the winner after the dealer verifies the numbers on the ticket match the pattern.

If the claimed winning pattern is wrong, you would not be allowed to use the same ticket while playing the game. The game usually ends when the drawings of all 90 numbers are completed or if the winner declares the pattern during the game, whichever comes first.

Part 1: Organizing the Game

We have divided this tutorial into two parts. In this first part, we will see how to organize and set up the rules of the game.

Step 1: Decide on the Winning Pattern or Point

The winning point or pattern decides how a player will win the game, which the caller chooses. There are more than 22 winning patterns you can play in the tambola. You can create your own winning pattern or point or play with the existing patterns popularly played worldwide. Each pattern comes with a certain difficulty, which decides the winning prizes.

Here are some popular winning patterns

  • Full House − If your ticket has all the fifteen numbers called out by the caller, you can claim a full house.

  • Early 5 − In this pattern, you win if you get the numbers five times in a row.

  • First Row/Line − You will win if you are the first one to strike all the numbers on the top row.

  • Corners − You will win if you strike each number on the four corners of the ticket before other players.

  • Bottom Line − You will win if you strike all the numbers on the bottom row before others.

Step 2: Appoint a Caller

A Tambola caller is an individual responsible for drawing out the numbers, calling them to the players, verifying the winning tickets ensuring the pattern matches the numbers on the tickets.

It would be helpful to choose a person with a loud and clear voice as they must constantly call the number and ensure everyone hears the numbers correctly. You can designate a different caller for each round if you play several rounds.

Step 3: Distribute the Tickets

You need to provide each player with a ticket. Each ticket has three rows and nine columns, totaling 27 boxes. Each row has five numbers, with the remaining four boxes blocked out. The first column contains numbers 1-9, the second from 10-19, and so on, up to 90.

If you are playing Tambola commercially, such as at an online game portal, you need to buy the tickets online from the game respective game portal. Meanwhile, if you are playing within your family, you can create your own numbers or purchase generic Tambola tickets or booklets in online stores.

Step 4: Set up the Box

A box is a container that holds the numbers. You need to place the numbers from 1-90 into the containers. You need to shake the container at each call and pull out a number. Meanwhile, if you play commercially, the number will be generated using a machine or an online program.

Part 2: Playing Tambola

In this second part, let's see how the game is actually played −

Step 1: Draw a Number

The first step of playing the tambola is to draw a number from the box and call it out to the audience by the caller. Once the number is called, players must strike it off their ticket if they have it.

Sometimes callers use a nickname for specific numbers, such as lone ranger for number 1, rainbow for number 8, and valentine for 14. You can create new nicknames for numbers while playing with your family and friends.

Step 2: Strike the Number

After the caller calls the number, you need to check the column to see if it has the number. If you don't have it, wait for the next call.

Step 3: Claim the Winning Point

Once you get the winning pattern, you must stand up and declare it to the crowd. It's better to announce it as soon as possible rather than wait for the following number to be called. If you don't announce it immediately, you may miss your chance to win the prize.

Step 4: Verify the Winning Point

Once you announce the winning point, the dealer will check your tambola ticket and determine if the numbers in your tickets match the announced numbers.

If you win, the dealer will announce it to the crowd, which brings the game to an end. If you desire to win more prizes, you decide to continue the game.

If the ticket numbers do not match the called numbers, the dealer will continue the game until someone wins. However, you will not be allowed to continue playing with the same ticket.

Step 5: Receive the Award

This is the last phase of the game, where the dealer will give you the prizes for your winning ticket/s.

In most games, the prize usually consists of cash. However, if you are playing with your family or friends, you can get more creative with the prizes, such as giving movie tickets, gift vouchers, gadgets, etc.