Skilo is a game of chance that was often played on the boardwalks of New Jersey. It was most popular during the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The game used several elements for play. The first of these elements was a skilo card. This card was a flat piece of paper which had 25 squares on it. These squares were arranged in five vertical columns and 5 horizontal rows. Each of the spaces in this grid was given a number. Typically, the numbers ranged from 1 to 75.  At the top of the card, the player could see the word S K I L O written from left to right. There was one letter in each column. In the centre of the card there was a free space and this space was automatically filled for the player.

Each column could only contain certain numbers. The “S” column only had numbers between one and fifteen. The “K” column only had numbers between sixteen and thirty. The “I” column only had numbers between thirty one and forty five. The “L” column only had numbers between forty six and sixty. And the “O” column only had numbers between sixty one and seventy five. The total number of bingo cards made with all of these numbers totals to five point five two times ten to the twenty sixth power. This number expressed as words is five hundred fifty-two septillion, four hundred forty-six sextillion, four hundred seventy-four quintillion, sixty-one quadrillion, one hundred twenty-eight trillion, six hundred forty-eight billion, six hundred one million, and six hundred thousand.

In order to win skilo, the player needs to complete and entire row, and entire column or a diagonal line. The player can have a total of nineteen of the twenty five squares marked without winning. This is if the player does not count the free space.

In special games, other patterns can be used as winning patterns. Examples of this might be four numbers that are clustered together. Another might be marking the four corners of the skilo card. Another might be a blackout game. In this game, players have to cover all of the numbers on their card in order to win.

Drawing Numbers

There are several ways that the numbers can be drawn in this game. The idea is to make the draws completely random as to give everyone that is playing the same chance of winning. Random number generators are often used now to ensure this. While electronic number generators are legal in most places, other places will require that a mechanical ball be used. This can be in the form of a ball blower, a shuffled deck of calling cards, or a cage that is turned and a ball pulled out.


There are several terms used in this game to describe different scenarios of play. If a person only needs one number on their card to win the game, it is said that they are ready, cased, down, set, waiting, or chance. Breaking the bubble refers to passing the minimum number of balls called in order to make a winning pattern. This changes when different patterns are being played. Jumping the gun refers to someone calling a win when they haven’t.