Connie comes to Long Point Road that morning prepared.
She has her fully stocked dauber (foam-tipped pen) caddy, a pair of troll dolls (one appropriately wearing a Bingo Troll t-shirt for the occasion), her lucky elephant figurines and a sleeve of Ritz crackers to keep her energy up.
It’s Tuesday afternoon at The Post Bingo, 9101 Long Point Rd. Connie and her friend share a table covered with their lucky charms and also with bingo cards — both paper and electronic versions.
They listen for the numbers being called, holding their daubers ready to mark squares in hopes of being first to get enough squares in a row and yell, “BINGO!”
All the trinkets seem to work, at least for Connie’s table mate, who wins $500 — and then promptly hands me $10 from her $500 in winnings.
I resist of course, but the ladies explain it’s just “what you do” at the hall — share your winnings for good luck. Or perhaps they just took pity on the newbie with her measly four electronic tablets. Either way, the money goes to The Post Bingo to buy another fully loaded bingo tablet — more chances to win and more money for charities.
The Post Bingo, located in the Spring Branch Management District, is a nonprofit bingo hall where you can play bingo every day of the week, with proceeds going to four local charitable organizations, including three local VFW halls and the Houston Sports Lions Club.
Each day, players can play multiple bingo games to win $50, $500 and $750 cash prizes. Most days, the bingo hall opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m. with the big games at noon and 1:30 p.m., so you can play and enjoy a lunch from the snack bar. On Sundays, the hall is open from 4 to 9 p.m.
It costs just $10 to get your electronic bingo pad “fully loaded,” meaning it has 66 cards to play in all the games for the day. From there, you can pay more to make some cards “double action,” meaning each square has two numbers, with double the chances to win. There are specials on a regular basis, which are usually announced on The Post Bingo Facebook page.
In the electronic version, the machine does all the work for you. As players get close to getting bingo, tablets all over the room start beeping, adding to the excitement.
Most regular players, like Connie, set themselves up with several machines and multiple cards to increase their chances of winning.
In between the regular bingo games, staff roam the room pushing carts and selling “pull tabs,” small paper games. More chances to win cash.
While it’s located in a modest strip center, The Post Bingo space is bright and immaculate. It’s not crowded on this Tuesday, and players are spread around the room, some in groups, some alone and some with just a friend or two.
Workers at the counter where you buy your bingo cards or tablets are welcoming and helpful with instructions.
Overwhelmed with all the choices at first, I decide to go the electronic route. So, for me, the instructions are simple: “Just do what the machine says.”
Later, after I get comfortable and make new bingo friends, another regular — George — comes over with three paper bingo cards for me to try my luck. He even lets me borrow a dauber.
Over the intercom, someone from the snack counter announces an order for one of the players: “Your extra crispy corn dog is ready!”
A few seconds later, another voice comes over the intercom: “Does that mean burnt?” A few chuckles come from the various tables around the hall, but a new game is starting, so it’s time to concentrate.
(For the record, I order a grilled cheese sandwich, and determine it was cooked to perfection.)
You must be 18 or older to play bingo, but children 6 years and older can enter The Post Bingo with their parent or legal guardian. Every adult who enters must play bingo, which means everyone is paying attention to the games.
Bring cash or a debit card because you can’t use credit cards to purchase bingo products.
While there is a pretty extensive food and beverage menu at the snack bar, no alcohol is served. The atmosphere is intended to be “family-friendly.”
In fact, the bingo players and the staff serving them seem like a family. On Facebook, the hall starts each post with “Hello Post Family” or a similar version.
Grab your lucky troll doll, maybe a friend or two, and come meet The Post Bingo Family.
Whether you win or not (and I did not, sadly), the experience is worth the price of admission. And you even might bring someone good luck.
The Post Bingo
9101 Long Point Rd.
— By Dorothy Puch Lillig