When it comes to bingo, two NKCH employees are in it to win it. Keith Whaley, Environmental Services, and Desiree May, patient care tech are regular bingo players who proficiently handle up to 18 cards per game while monitoring a computer that tracks another 48 cards.
All those numbers can add up to a lot of prize money, if you’re lucky. “The winning does keep me going back,” said Keith, whose favorite places to play are White Cloud Casino and Golden Eagle Casino, both in Kansas.
He believes casino bingo pays more in winnings than churches and other locations. He has used some of his winnings to renovate his home and treat himself to a few vacations.
Keith credits luck and consistency with his bingo success. He knows his odds of winning are better during the week with fewer players, so he plays on Tuesday evenings and sometimes Sunday afternoons.
So, what does the crowd do when Keith yells bingo with so much at stake? “I can feel the vibes that they wished it was them,” he laughed.
Some die hard bingo players believe troll dolls, dice or four-leaf clover key chains bring them good luck. Desiree doesn’t think such trinkets are necessary. “My mom does rub my dad’s head for luck,” laughed Desiree, who works on 11th Floor Hospital.
Bingo attracts all ages and isn’t just confined to the church basement. Today, there are bingo apps. Even events, like the Oscars and Super Bowl, get translated into bingo cards. For Desiree, bingo is just “innocent fun.”
While some players travel to other states for their fun, Desiree plays her cards closer to home a couple times a week at locations in Gladstone and North Kansas City for the last nine years. Desiree uses her prize money to help with expenses.
Besides winning, Desiree enjoys the socialization that occurs over bingo cards and daubers. “I like sitting around a table playing bingo and talking with my mom and aunt. It’s a good time to catch up with each other,” Desiree said. She also has met new friends, who have become like family.
How to Win at Bingo
- Avoid the crowds. Fewer players increase your odds of winning.
- Play multiple cards. See how many cards people are playing and take the average.
- Choose nonduplicate cards. Make sure each card has different numbers.
- Use the same cards again. Some think playing the same cards over and over is beneficial to winning.
- Stay alert. Pay attention to the caller.