The Basics

A type of marker used by bingo players to mark their cards (the alternate method is to place chips, but they do have a way of sliding around when the card is moved). It has approximately a two-inch barrel, with a small reservoir of ink, issuing through a dome-shaped felt-tip about one inch in diameter.

Technique

The idea is to hold the marker perpendicular to the table, and when a letter and number are called out, press down hard on the spot you wish to mark (for example, B-14). The result is a round dot, usually black but sometimes blue or even purple, depending on local custom.

The Future

The bingo marker faces an uphill struggle coming into the new millenium. Modern bingo halls are increasingly automated, and touch screens are eliminating the need for both bingo markers and chips. But somewhere in North Dakota, or Kansas, or eastern Washington State, there will always be a group of little old ladies who gather on Friday nights, huddled around a table with their fists clenched in anticipation, markers hovering over their bingo cards, waiting for the next number to be called...

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