SAN ANTONIO – It may be one of the last things you’d think of anyone doing in the middle of the night, sitting around and playing what, technically, is a board game.
However, that’s exactly what Diana Holguin and two of her sisters do several nights per week.
They attend late night bingo sessions at Ingram Bingo, located along Loop 410 near Ingram Road.
In the games they play, the stakes are especially high. Up for grabs each night are multiple jackpots worth up to $750 a piece.
“If you win you win. If you're lucky, you're lucky,” said Holguin. “You can't be a sore loser playing bingo. It's just fun, you know, and we enjoy it.”
While Holguin takes the games all in stride, her sister, Sylvia, is much more serious about winning.
She brings several “lucky” trinkets, including a troll doll, with her most nights in the hope of increasing her odds of taking home a jackpot.
The competition, though, is fierce, especially on weekends when the bingo parlor boasts a packed house.
Still, on one recent weeknight, there were at least 100 people in attendance.
“We’ve got anywhere from five-year-olds all the way up to 50-, 60-year olds. All different ages,” said Michael Garcia, one of the managers at Ingram Bingo.
Garcia, who has been working at the bingo parlor for the past six years, said he has gotten to know a lot of the regular customers personally.
Angela Torres, meanwhile, is just getting to know her job as a manager and numbers caller.
She said she stumbled upon the career by accident but with prodding from a relative
“My grandma is a bingo freak,” she said. “So my grandma is the one who started it, saying, 'You need to go apply at bingo. You need to go apply.'”
Thanks to that advice from her grandmother, Torres soon will be celebrating four years with the company.
This is not your grandmother’s bingo, though.
The games at this location last until at least 2 or 3 a.m. each day.
An electronic ball selector also has replaced the old hand-cranked ones, and players now have the option of using computers instead of paper game boards.
There is, however, one thing that never changes there.
Even in the wee hours of the night, sleeping is not allowed.
“It doesn't happen often. You'll probably get, like, once a week where we'll have to tell someone to wake up,” said Garcia. ”You have to yell, ‘Bingo!’ Yeah, that's a thing. We can't yell bingo for you.”
For more information on the schedule for Ingram Bingo’s late night games, click here.