How to Play Tambola Game: A Beginner’s Guide

Tambola, also known as Housie or Bingo, is a popular game of chance that involves numbers, tickets, and exciting dividends. If you’re new to Tambola and feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of how to play the Tambola game and understand its key components. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to join in the fun with confidence.

What is Tambola Game?

What is Tambola Game?

Tambola is a game that combines luck and strategy. It’s played with a Tambola ticket, which consists of 15 numbers arranged in a 3×9 grid. The game master, or host, calls out numbers at random, and players mark these numbers on their tickets. The objective is to complete specific patterns or “dividends” on the ticket to win prizes.

Components of Tambola Game

Before we delve into the game rules, let’s familiarize ourselves with the essential components of Tambola:

  • Tambola Counters: These are numbered from 1 to 90, and the host draws them one by one during the Tambola game.
  • Tambola Board: This board consists of 9 rows, each containing 10 cells. It’s used to display the numbers called during the Tambola game.
  • Ticket Pricing: The cost of a Tambola ticket typically ranges from 50 to 100 rupees, depending on the host’s choice.
  • Ticket Booklet: Each Tambola pack usually includes a complimentary booklet with 6 tickets per page.

Now, let’s explore how to play Tambola with a single ticket.

Single Ticket Variant of Tambola Game

Single Ticket Variant of Tambola Game

In the single ticket variant, your Tambola ticket contains 15 numbers organized into 3 horizontal lines. Each line must consist of exactly 5 numbers. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  • Horizontal Lines: The ticket has three horizontal lines, as shown. Ensure each line contains exactly 5 marked numbers.
  • Vertical Columns: The 9 vertical columns on the ticket correspond to different number ranges:
    • Vertical Column 1: Numbers 1 to 9
    • Vertical Column 2: Numbers 10 to 19
    • Vertical Column 3: Numbers 20 to 29
    • Vertical Column 4: Numbers 30 to 39
    • Vertical Column 5: Numbers 40 to 49
    • Vertical Column 6: Numbers 50 to 59
    • Vertical Column 7: Numbers 60 to 69
    • Vertical Column 8: Numbers 70 to 79
    • Vertical Column 9: Numbers 80 to 90

As the host calls out numbers, focus on the respective vertical column for each number rather than scanning the entire ticket. If the host announces a vertical column as a claim, highlight the line between them to distinguish it.

Vertical Column Claims

  • Vertical columns can also be claimed as dividends. To claim a vertical column, all the numbers in that column must be called out.
  • A vertical column can contain 1, 2, or 3 numbers, depending on your ticket.

Using a Sketch Pen

As a beginner, it’s recommended to use a dark-colored sketch pen to mark your numbers. This ensures visibility and prevents confusion during the Tambola game. A set of sketch pens can be purchased for as little as 10 to 15 INR.

Dividends in Tambola Game

Dividends in Tambola Game

Tambola offers various dividends or patterns you can aim for to win prizes. Let’s explore some common ones:

  • Early 5: To win an Early 5 dividend, mark any 5 numbers on your ticket from any vertical or horizontal line.
  • Lines: Tambola has three horizontal lines. To claim a line, ensure all 5 numbers in that line are marked on your ticket.
    • Line 1: Top Line
    • Line 2: Middle Line
    • Line 3: Bottom Line or Last Line
  • Corners: The Corners dividend involves marking the 1st and 5th numbers of the 1st line and the 1st and 5th numbers of the 3rd line. Remember, these numbers don’t have to be in the first cell but the first and last numbers of the respective lines.
  • Blocks: Tambola tickets are divided into 9 vertical columns, which can be grouped into 3 blocks:
    • Block 1 (Breakfast): Finish vertical columns 1, 2, and 3.
    • Block 2 (Lunch): Finish vertical columns 4, 5, and 6.
    • Block 3 (Dinner): Finish vertical columns 7, 8, and 9.

Remember, the quantity of numbers in each block may vary, but you must mark all numbers in the respective vertical lines to claim the block.

  • Full House: The most common dividend in Tambola, Full House, requires marking all 15 numbers on your ticket.

Stay Organized and Win

Stay Organized and Win

To stay on top of the game and avoid missing a winning claim, consider these tips:

  • Write line numbers in front of them for easy reference.
  • Use a consistent method, such as underlining marked numbers and circling the remaining ones.
  • Stay focused, especially when you’re close to achieving a dividend.

With these guidelines, you’re well-equipped to enjoy Tambola and join in the excitement at gatherings without any worries. Happy playing!


Tambola, also known as Housie or Bingo, is a delightful game that combines luck and strategy. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, understanding how to play Tambola can make your gaming experience enjoyable and stress-free.

We’ve covered the fundamental components of Tambola, including the ticket layout, the role of the host, and ticket pricing. For beginners, the single ticket variant is an excellent starting point, with its 15 numbers organized into 3 horizontal lines and 9 vertical columns.

We’ve discussed the importance of using a dark-colored sketch pen for marking numbers to ensure visibility and prevent confusion during the Tambola game. Additionally, we’ve explored various dividends or patterns you can aim for to win prizes, such as Early 5, Lines, Corners, Blocks, and the coveted Full House.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between Tambola and Housie?

Tambola and Housie are essentially the same game, known by different names in different regions. The rules and gameplay are identical; the only distinction is the name.

How much does it cost to play Tambola game?

The cost of playing Tambola can vary depending on the host and the event. Typically, tickets range from 50 to 100 rupees per ticket. The host decides the ticket price.

What do I need to play Tambola at home?

To play Tambola at home, you’ll need Tambola tickets, Tambola counters numbered from 1 to 90, and a Tambola board with 9 rows and 10 cells in each row. You’ll also need a host to call out the numbers.

Can I play Tambola with just one ticket?

Yes, you can play Tambola with just one ticket. In fact, the article provides a detailed guide on how to play Tambola with a single ticket, making it easier for beginners to get started.

Are there variations of Tambola game?

Yes, there are several variations of Tambola, including different patterns, prize structures, and even theme-based versions. The article primarily focuses on the basic rules and dividends of Tambola.

What are some common dividends in the Tambola game?

Common dividends in Tambola include Early 5, Lines (Top Line, Middle Line, Bottom Line), Corners, Blocks (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner), and Full House (all 15 numbers marked on the ticket).

How do I ensure I don’t miss a winning claim?

To avoid missing a winning claim, it’s essential to stay organized. You can mark your numbers consistently, write line numbers in front of them, and use a dark-colored sketch pen for better visibility. Keeping focused and following the rules can help you claim dividends successfully.

Can I play Tambola game online?

Yes, there are online platforms and apps that allow you to play Tambola virtually with friends and family. These platforms simulate the game’s traditional aspects and make it convenient to enjoy Tambola remotely.

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