Tambola Game Guide [2023] – History, Tickets, and online gameplay

Tambola game

Tambola, also known as Housie or Bingo, is a popular board game that involves a mixture of luck, skill, and experience. If you are looking for entertainment for parties, clubs, kitty parties, and events, Tambola is a fantastic choice. It keeps the audience engaged and gives them a chance to win prizes. So, what are you waiting for? Read this Tambola game guide to know about tambola tickets, gameplay, rules, and game variations. We also highlight online tambola games and how you can generate tambola numbers online.

So, let’s dive in!

Tambola game – What is it?

Tambola is a board game played with a caller/host/dealer calling out numbers from 1 to 90 and the players crossing out the numbers. The numbers are printed on a specially designed card called tambola tickets.

At the beginning of the game, the caller will decide the winning point of the game. A popular winning point is Full House, where the first player to strike off all their ticket numbers wins. Some other tambola dividends/winning combinations include Early 5, Top Line, Middle Line, Bottom Line, Four Corners, etc.

After deciding the winning point, the caller draws a number from a box/container and announces it to the players. If it is present on their ticket, the players must strike off that number. If not, they must wait for the caller to announce the next number. The first player to tick off all of their numbers and achieve any pre-decided winning points must get their tickets verified by the host. The player is declared the game’s winner with a successful ticket verification.

Winning in Tambola is purely chance-based. Why not try playing skill-based games where you can apply your knowledge and craft strategies to win the game! Zupee App offers real cash games like Ludo, snakes and ladders, and carrom which puts your time management, and decision-making skills to the test.

Tambola Tickets

Tambola is a number-based game, and it is played on a specially designed card partially filled with numbers from 1 to 90. These cards are known as tambola tickets.

In a classic tambola game, there are six tickets on a page. Have you ever wondered why this is so? The reason is that there are 90 numbers in a tambola game, and each ticket consists of 15 numbers. Hence, six tickets will be 15×6, which equals 90 numbers. Of all these six tickets, the most interesting part is that each number from 1 to 90 occurs only once, covering all 90 numbers. As a result, when a number is called out, it will appear on only one of the six tickets.

Tambola number guidelines

A tambola ticket has 15 numbers distributed typically in 3 rows and nine columns in a haphazard manner by following the specific guidelines mentioned below:

  • Each of the three rows contains five numbers from 1 to 90.
  • Each of the nine columns may have one, two, or three numbers, but each must contain at least one number.
  • The first column of any tambola ticket contains numbers ranging from 1 to 9, the second column contains numbers ranging from 10 to 19, and so on until the ninth column contains numbers ranging from 80 to 90.
  • A number is not repeated more than once in any tambola ticket.

Here’s what a classic tambola ticket looks like:

Tambola ticket example

Tambola tickets variations

Some creative tambola tickets are being developed with several unique variations to make the game more exciting and interesting. Have a look at some of these variations of the tambola ticket.

Ludo Tambola

Ludo Tambola is a variation of the classic tambola ticket. Here the ticket is in the form of a Ludo board. 4 ticket numbers are placed within each of the four colored squares – red, green, blue, and yellow.

Generally, 16 tambola numbers are present on the ticket. However, the gameplay remains the same, i.e., the caller calls out a number from 1 to 90, and you need to strike off the number if it is present on your ticket.

Depending upon the winning combination, you can win a prize. For example, one winning combination can be ticking off all the four numbers belonging to a particular colored square.

Festival Tambola

You get to see tambola tickets styled in a particular theme during festivals. For example, the Diwali Cracker tambola ticket contains three sets, and each set can be identified by a different name – Rocket, Anar, and Ladi.

Similarly, you can style your classic tambola tickets by adding a festival theme. The gameplay will remain the same as classic tambola, but the total numbers on the ticket might vary.

Special occasion Tambola

Tambola tickets can be styled for various occasions. You can design a birthday party theme tambola tickets, where rather than having numbers in a 3×9 grid, you can creatively place them inside a cake grid. The numbers already present on the ticket might vary.

Tambola number generator – Online vs. Offline

Tambola number generator

The host/dealer/caller is an essential part of the game in classic tambola. The host is responsible for drawing or generating tambola numbers. They generate the number by picking them up from a non-transparent box/container without looking at them and then announcing the number to the audience/players. Every time, the host has to randomly pick up a tambola number from 1 to 90 and call it out to the players.

So, traditionally, it’s the organizer of the tambola game, i.e., the host/caller, who is considered the tambola number generator. Hence, it becomes tough for the host to buy their own tambola ticket and play the game.

But when you play a tambola game online, you don’t have to worry about the tambola number generator as they are operated by artificial intelligence. So, if you are hosting a private game, you can also play the game and enjoy it!

How to play Tambola?

The traditional offline rule of playing tambola is very straightforward. First, the game host distributes the tambola tickets consisting of 15 numbers from 1 to 90 arranged in rows and columns. They will then announce a number by reaching into a non-transparent box – containing 90 tiles printed with the numbers – and picking a tile randomly without looking at it.

After they announce the selected number, the players must strike off the number if it is present on their ticket. The game progresses for the players to try to make a winning combination. The first player to claim a winning combination by striking off numbers wins the game.

Here are 6 steps to playing tambola:

  1. Know the prerequisites
  2. The caller announces the numbers
  3. Dab the announced numbers
  4. Match a winning combination
  5. Verify the tambola ticket
  6. Award prizes to the winners
Play Tambola

Check out the above-mentioned steps in detail here.

How to play Tambola online?

There are some prerequisites of the tambola game when you play it offline, such as a host/caller, a container, tambola tickets, and a pen or pencil to strike off the numbers on the ticket. But when you are playing a tambola game online, you don’t have to think about these prerequisites. Instead, you need to shift your focus on the game, have fun, and use your skills to observe and claim a winning combo quickly.

Learn how playing tambola online is different from the classic version.

Top platforms to play the tambola online

Here are the 6 popular platforms to play the Tambola game online:

  1. Octro Tambola
  2. Partstuff.in
  3. Tambola
  4. Games2master.com
  5. Tambola Housie – Indian Bingo Game
  6. Tambola Fun

Check out the features of the above-mentioned platforms.

History of Tambola

Tambola or Bingo traces its history to the 16th century, specifically to 1530 in Italy. It was once a state-run lottery known as Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia – a game that many Italians played and French aristocracy still play.

Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia later arrived in France in the late 1770s. The French version, known as Le Lotto, became popular among French nobility and relatively wealthy members of society.

A similar type of Lotto became popular in Germany in the 1850s, less than a century later. It was based on the Italian and French bingo games. Parents and teachers used it to help children learn mathematics as it represented a layout similar to multiplication tables.

The French version made its way to Great Britain and the United States in the 20th century. During that time, Le Lotto gained massive popularity and underwent several transformations. The new variation came to be known as Housey-Housey, which had tickets with five numbers each on three lines and nine columns.

In the 1920s, the first modern version of the game gained its initial storm in popularity when it started appearing at fairs and carnivals. Later, credit was given to Hugh J. Ward, who most likely took the name ‘Bingo’ from pre-existing slang for marketing purposes. In 1942, Erwin S. Lowe received a patent for designing a modern and special Bingo card.

Since the British Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 legitimised social gaming, the name ‘Bingo’ has been used in Europe. Today, Bingo is played worldwide, and the game is continuously reaching a wider audience with online tambola games and Internet bingo growing in popularity.

Tambola game variation

The tambola game is widespread and is played not just in India but all across the globe. In several countries, this board game is played in different variations. Here’s an overview of the variations of the tambola gameplay in different regions of the world.


In Italy, where the game is believed to have originated, the game’s prize is often small financial sums or symbolic tokens. You can buy any number of cards/tickets you wish, and the prize money is split into five lots, namely Ambo, Terno, Quaterna, Cinquina, and Tambola. When players combine 2, 3, 4, and 5 numbers on a single horizontal row, they can claim the prize lots of Ambo, Terno, Quaterna, and Cinquina. A player can then claim the Tambola prize lot when they have marked all the numbers off the whole card.

United Kingdom

In the UK, the prizes are pre-assigned to winning tickets. In other words, after buying their tickets, the players can instantly discover if they have won a reward or not if the last digit of their ticket ends in a specific number (traditionally a zero or a five).

The United States of America

The game variation in the US is similar to the UK tambola. Here, the prizes can be awarded by allowing the player to choose or proactively marking prizes with the winning numbers.


In India, tambola tickets are given to the players to buy. The same money is then used to award prizes. 

Winning in Tambola is purely chance-based. Why not try playing skill-based games where you can apply your knowledge and craft strategies to win the game! Zupee App offers real cash games like Ludo, snakes and ladders, and carrom which puts your time management, and decision-making skills to the test.

Tambola  Game – FAQs

Is Tambola same as Housie?

Yes. Tambola is a popular version of Housie and Bingo.

How to play Tambola?

To play, each player gets one ticket with 15 numbers between 1 to 90 on a 3×9 grid. The player needs to strike out the numbers announced by the host. The player with a winning combination gets the ticket verified and can then claim the prize. Take a look at this article to know how to play tambola and its rules.

Can I play Tambola online?

Yes. There are many websites and apps that allow you to play tambola online.

What is the difference between a private game and a public game while playing tambola online?

In a private tambola game, you can create a tambola game (current or future day/time) and invite friends and family to participate, whereas, in a public game, you can join games that are open to all.

What does ‘Auto-cut’ mean in an online tambola?

Auto-cut is a feature provided on a few online tambola games, where the numbers called out are automatically cut or crossed out on your ticket in case you are late to join the game or missed a few numbers while chatting with other players.

What is Boogie, and what is its impact on a tambola game?

When a player claims for a winning combo, and it turns out wrong after verification by the host/caller, it is called ‘Boogie.’ If a Boogie is claimed on a ticket by a player, a host cancels out the ticket. The player cannot further participate in the game. Hence, the game loses one player/ticket on a Boogie claim.