STICKY 13s – bingo with playing cards – easy to run once you get the hang of it.

You will need to buy at least 12 sets of playing cards to start with. Take 3 sets and reserve them as the “calling” cards to be used by the caller.

With each of the other nine sets shuffle thoroughly and divide into four sets of 13 cards. Number these unique sets 1-36 (we always used hair scrunchies to band them up) – these are the sets of cards that players use. As the game becomes more popular you will need to invest in more decks of cards and process them as above to increase the number of players.

The caller gets someone not playing (the staff usually) to choose a set of cards to call from and to shuffle and cut them. The caller then turns over the cards one at a time and calls them to the players.

The winner is the first player to use up all their cards within the limit of 31 cards to be called. We always had one extra rule – in order to heighten excitement – that a player had to declare “last card” when they had used up 12 valid cards.

The stake should be low – £1 is sufficient, and more importantly the legal limit for pubs without a bingo licence is £5. (No other ‘participation’ or entry fee can be charged for playing your Sticky 13s bingo game).

The jackpot is won only if a player gets all 13 of their cards used up before the caller turns over 31 cards. After 31 cards the jackpot is limited to, say, £20 – £50. This way a big jackpot accumulates quickly and becomes a real draw for returning customers.

Remember the maximum that can be used as bingo prize money (for this is a game of bingo) is £2,000 in any week. If your Sticky 13s game exceeds this limit (and you expect it to exceed this limit again within 12 months) you will have to apply for a bingo licence. Failure to do so and to continue to allow the prize to exceed £2,000 within 12 months is a criminal offence under the Gambling Act 2005.

I have used this game in conjunction with quizzes – a round before the quiz and a round after the quiz, that way we ensured that the maximum number of people would stay for the whole night.

Once its popularity has been established, and in my experience this doesn’t take long, you can drop the odd game in to other nights (for instance Hallowe’en, Bank Holidays, Boxing Day … or whenever) and for those nights I would guarantee a fixed jackpot of £100.

Of course, if your customers prefer traditional bingo then give them what they want, there are plenty of commercial kits available.

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