Camaraderie Important to Bingo Players

People use different methods to relax and unwind after the stress of a hard day at work. Some will grab a cocktail, some will turn on the television and some go to bingo halls to relax. These players choose to dab numbers on paper cards in hopes of bringing home a handful of cash. They also enjoy the company of friends as they play. Some believe the antidote to stress may be found by constant, methodical dabbing of bright colors on a stream of numbers called during the game. Players hope for any combination of numbers that will enable them to call “Bingo!”

Bingo player Bruce Pinti told reporters “It’s a cult.” Pinti has been playing bingo for 22 years. Pinti and his wife Denise consider bingo a night out and win fairly often. Pinti stated “It’s relaxing. And it’s good for hand-eye coordination.” Pinti’s statement is backed up by several university studies into the effects of bingo on older players. Pinti claims bingo players live 10 years longer than those who don’t play the game. Pinti and his wife have been playing since they married 22 years ago but Denise began playing 20 years before their marriage.

The couple enjoy playing the game and said it is the camaraderie and social interaction between players that keeps them coming back for more bingo. The Pinti’s usually play bingo at the Freehold Jewish Center and consider it their ‘home game.’ Pinti said “We’re like a family.” Pinti was guarding their regular seats as his wife searched for specials and more game cards. The couple has reserved the same seats for over two decades. In many bingo halls players have their regular seats that they consider ‘lucky’ and woe to the intruder who tries to sit in those seats!

Once the games begin silence reigns. The balls bounce around in the cage that is like a hot-air popcorn maker,. Other players such as “Betty Boop,” as her friends know her, usually arrives early to get her ‘lucky’ seat. Betty places her tchotchke, trinkets in front of her. Betty sets up Betty Boop figurines, leprechauns and other tiny ceramic pieces in a specific pattern and is ready to play. Most of the players know each other and strong friendships have grown over the years. Experts say the camaraderie among players is one of the most important aspects of bingo.