mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, July 30, 2007

and BINGO was his game, yo...

Unlike other states, like Mad Anthony's original home slice of New Jersey, Maryland allows for-profit bingo parlors to exist. One of those places is Fullerton Manor Bingo, on Belair Road. BSOM and I have passed it a number of times on our way to various yard sales, and every time gone "we should go there and play bingo some time".

So Saturday night we - bsom, his wife, and I - finally decided to do it. We had a little trouble figuring out when bingo actually started - the web said 7pm, but the dabbers that bsom had bought the last time he went there said 7:45. It turned out it started at 7:30, so we were pretty early.

Fullerton Manor Bingo is located in what was probably a SuperFresh supermarket at one point. It has the decor of your high school cafeteria - wood paneling, institutional folding tables and chairs, asbestos tiled floor. It has a snack bar in one corner, reminicent of high school in that you stand in line and hold a plastic tray. Unlike high school, though, everything is deep fried and or covered with cheese. I got nachos and a root beer float, the dinner of champions.

Also, unlike your high school cafeteria, most of Fullerton Bingo allows smoking. There is a non-smoking section, but it's downwind from the smokers with nothing blocking it. It wasn't too bad, but I did smell pretty smoked by the end of the night.

You can opt for a number of different packages, which depend on how many cards you play at a time. I went with the 18-pack, on account of it being $1 more than the smallest package.

If, like me, the only time you've played Bingo was games in grade school, serious bingo comes as a bit of a surprise. It isn't just getting stuff in a row - they also play patterns - Y, Z, round robin, postage stamps, 6 pack, 9 pack, fill the board, four corners, ect. Trying to keep up with checking 18 boards for numbers and recognize the patterns is harder than I've expected - those grannies have some mad skillz, yo. I've always thought of bingo as strictly a game of luck - either you have the numbers or you don't - but there is skill involved - a bad player could easily miss a number or not recognize a pattern and not realize they have a bingo.

It was fun at times, especially when it seemed like I might actually win something - which didn't happen too often. I didn't win anything, and neither did bsom or his better half. And I can't say it was that exciting - there were times it dragged on, where it felt more like math class than a game. Still, it was an interesting way to spend a Saturday night. It was also worth it to people-watch. Most of the bingo players were elderly women, some very elderly, but there was a smattering of young people, of white trash types, of grandparents with grandkids, and more. There were also some pretty hardcore gamblers. They sell "instants" - basically scratch -off lottery tickets, except you pop them open instead of scratching them. We saw at least two people buy stacks of probably at least 100-200 of them. That's pretty hardcore.

Anyway, if you want to feel young, or enjoy stamping numbers for hours for the slight chance of winning a small amount of money, I highly recommend Fullerton Manor Bingo.


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