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On the face of it, bingo and poker are two polar opposites on the same scale. Both are traditionally played as community games, and both have been phenomenally successful due to the advent of online gaming.
However, as poker players head for the bingo tables, it is clear that it is the differences between these kindred spirits that is not only driving the success of both but also encouraging players of each to try their hand at their kindred spirit.
While there are obvious differences - cards and human opposition in online poker opposed to (different!) cards and balls calling the shots - there is also a unity between the two.
Both games are extremely cognitive. Poker players have long argued that it is a game of skill, and while bingo players will readily accept the role that luck plays in picking the winners from the runners up, there is little doubt that strategy in bingo plays just as much a part as it does in poker.
Furthermore, both games can be enjoyed for free. While there tends to be much more of a consistent carnival atmosphere in free bingo halls, poker players generally keep to themselves. This is in "regular" play, and in free tournaments poker players tend to let loose a little, and the banter can fly back and forth more freely. In bingo halls, the chat is often seen as part of the game, and part of the appeal in joining any given site.
The image of bingo as being one for the older generations only is also one of the past. High-profile celebrity players like Christiano Ronaldo, Gary Barlow and Michelle Obama have reinvented the game as one for all generations, and the online aspects of the game have allowed this new appeal to flourish. Suddenly, the barriers are down and the focus is on the game itself - a key factor in bingo's rejuvenation.
Poker has always had its own celebrity stars, including Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher, and Hollywood has always been in love with the glamour and daring involved with the game. While the similarities between poker and bingo may not necessarily mean that we are set to see the stars of the silver screen cross bingo paths just yet, the likelihood is that bingo players have already welcomed poker veterans into their ranks as kindred spirits, and vice-versa.