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How to Win at Nine 'Price is Right' Games

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 19th 2010 3:06PM
Drew CareyI love 'The Price is Right.' If I were to pick my 20 favorite TV shows of all-time, it would be on that list. But that doesn't mean it doesn't anger me. Actually, the contestants who play 'Price Is Right' anger me.

You'd think that anyone who attends a taping of the show would be familiar with its games, but you'd be amazed at the number of people who have never seen the one they're about to play or have seen it yet still completely screw it up. The contestants on 'Wheel of Fortune' often make me sad, but at least they seem to know how to play (even if you often wonder "why can't they guess this?" and "why are they still buying vowels?!").

What follows is a guide to winning seven popular games on 'The Price Is Right.' I didn't include games like Squeeze Play or Pick-A-Number or One Away or Switch? or a half dozen others because those games really just involve luck.

1. Contestants Row. OK, technically, this isn't one of the "games," and technically I'm not even going to tell you how to win, since it depends on what the prize is and what position you hold in Contestants Row. But I can tell you two ways not to lose. One, don't bid $1 unless you're the last person to bid on the prize. It's amazing how many times people will bid a buck when they're the second or third person to bid, giving the next person a chance to bid $2. Second, don't bid $1 under another person's bid.

I saw someone do this just a couple of weeks ago, and it made me want to kick in my television set. Someone bid $1000 and then the next person bid $999. The hell? You'd have to be exactly right to win the bid. I was waiting for Drew Carey to say, "Well, that was a dumb bid!"

Maybe we should give this person the benefit of a doubt and just assume that she bid this way because she was thinking of bidding under the other player but got nervous and confused and thought bidding a $1 under the other person would mean that anything under the other person's bid would be "closer" to the actual price. Yeah, that's confusing, but I bet that's what they were thinking (even if it doesn't make any sense).

And anyone who runs up on stage when their name is called to "come on down" should be disqualified immediately and forced to sit in the corner as other players win MacBooks and trips to Europe.

2. Cliff Hangers. You have 25 steps to work with here, so you should win this game. The prices of the three prizes will probably get higher as the game progresses. The first prize will probably be $10-$20, the next one will probably be $20-$30 and the last one will probably be the most expensive. Now, this game has gotten slightly harder since Drew Carey took over, with more of a mix of prices, but if you just play it logically and remember how many steps remain, this should be a cinch (especially if you nail the first two prices and have a lot of room to play with when you guess the third).

3. Bonkers. Never, ever, ever listen to the audience. You can't just stand there and point to the spots and wait for the audience to yell out prices. You have 30 seconds. This is one of those games where you just have to go nutty and put the paddles on as many spots as possible. Don't even think of a price -- that will just confuse you. Another tip: the price probably won't be all paddles on the bottom or all paddles on the top, so keep that in mind. Mix it up as fast as you can.

4. Ten Chances. No other game gets me more tense. One day I thought Bob Barker was going to have a stroke dealing with the player who just couldn't get it. Like 3D-TV, this game shouldn't be watched by pregnant woman or the elderly.

Don't listen to the audience in this game either. It's too confusing and takes up too much time. Just focus on the numbers on the board and write the price down. Also, the price is not going to be $652 or $907, OK? Talk about over-thinking. So don't waste a space writing those numbers. It's probably going to be $625 or $790 -- a nice, round-ish figure.

5. Range Game. This is another game that has gotten harder in the past couple of years. It used to be you didn't even have to worry about what the price of the prize was, the red range box was always kinda in the middle of the board. Now it can be harder, depending on what price the range starts at. Take note of that. You know it's not going to be right near the bottom and you know it's not going to be right near the top. So think of what price it could be and make an intelligent guess about where it will be in the large middle chunk of the board.

6. Stack The Deck. You're going for a car, so why do you have to know the first digit in the price? You need to fill in the last three numbers, since they could be anything. When you win the first pick, I'd go with the fourth slot. If you win another, go with the third spot. If you win another, go with the last spot. Sure, you could pick the third number first, like this guy does, but I'd go with the fourth slot (especially important if you wind up only getting one pick).

7. Clock Game. For God's sake, don't freak out! Go higher and lower in a logical way and listen to Drew. Not like this woman:

8. Cover Up. This is a fairly easy game to win, but here's the deal: After you cover up all the numbers the first time, you actually don't want a lot of them to be right. Why? Because the less you have right, the more chances you have to keep playing! For example, if you get just one number right, you have four more chances to play. If you get four numbers right, that means you only have one more chance to figure out what the numbers are. This is one of 'Price Is Right' games where less is more.

9. Triple Play. Oh, never mind. It's almost impossible to win this game.

Have advice for 'Price Is Right' contestants?

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micheal resendez

hi again someone asked about taxes after winning..

well i had bid on football stuf to get on stage. i bid 799 price was 1170.

then on stage i had the credft card game pick 3 of 5 prizes with out going over limit. prize 1 was tools 1200, prize 2 was dinning sideboard 1900 prize 3 was recoard /cd recorder 400, prize 4 was esspresso machine 450, prize 5 was stainless steel outdoor cooler 400.

i picked the last 3 and won all 5. went to wheel the two in front over spun i won. then rolled 90 cents. (the wheel is not so heavy if your tall i am 6'1 so no problem for me.

went to show case was goin green had a mac computer, a kitchen recycle cabnet, then a 2008 ford escape hybrid. i bid 28000 won the prizes were 30000 something, so game total of 35707.

well being i won hybrid. taxes to get truck after winning was 2500. then i got a tax credit of 3000 at end of year. then for the rest of the stuff i ended up paying about 600 something.... butt that was paid at end of year also... my tapiing was in 12-07 my show aired in feb 08 and right after show aired i began receiving stuff in mail. i was given cash intead of some prizes well they sent me checks instead of prizes. not all just a few they chose not me.

they want you to win and it is just about getting tickets free online and getting there and waiting in line for a few hours.. so have fun smile and enjoy

April 26 2010 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lawrence fishberg

gee....i am going to follow exactly what this soon-to-be Pulitzer candidate has to say and win it all!....let me put my scrapbooking down for a second and start to prepare!

April 26 2010 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gig Harrison...must you be so inept as to call people idiots just because they don't know how to play the game? Has it ever occured to you that they are there to have fun as well! So judgemental......why?

April 26 2010 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

After that 10 Chances game, No Wonder Bob Retired!

April 26 2010 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kim Allen

I have watched the Price Is Right forever, LOVE the show! I agree, I miss Bob Barker, and have total respect for his love of animals, he advocated for the living beings on the planet who could not speak for themselves, I miss seeing the animals up for adoption. I like Drew Carey also, it's just a totally different scenario. You can't just say "spay and neuter your pets", you have to show people a real animal that needs a home.

April 26 2010 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Theodora Giamo

I watch the show everyday and I love it..I wonder when Drew will be rushed to the hospital with a broken back from the contestant's jumping on him. I also agree with a few people on here that Drew does not have to yell the contestant's name so many times as they approach the front of the studio..Thanks for letting me comment!

April 26 2010 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a previous contestant on The Price is Right (6/4/08 to be exact), I can certaintly understand where these haisty mistakes come from! Growing up, watching the show on TV, I could never understand how and why contestants made the simple mistakes that they made. After being in their shoes, in the heat of the moment, I can sympathize with them! Being on national televison, knowing that your performance is going to be viewed nationwide by friends, family, and old college roomates that you might not have seen in twenty years are big expectations to live up to! It all seems to happen to fast! For example, I was the last to bid in contestants row on a particular item. The highest big was 1200, and the lowest bid was 300. For some odd reason, in the heat of the moment I bid 700. On any normal day, from my living room I would have bid 301. Not on this day! I bid 700. The actual retail price was... 698! You could see the look of dissapointment on my face as the ditsy girl next to me ran up on stage at the chance to win a car. I thought to myself, how could I actually do that?!

In the end, it didn't matter! I finally made it out of contestants row, made it up on stage, won 12K in patio furnature, electronics, and lawn equipment, but got knocked out at the wheel after going over on my second spin! In the end, it was an awesome experience!

April 26 2010 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Earl Bailey

Drew Carey is about as entertaining as watching paint dry! Boy did they make a mistake in going with him! I used to watch every day but after a week with Carey.....no more. Even "The View" is better!

April 26 2010 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob Pivarnik

I'd been thinking about creating some YouTube videos to explain many of the TPIR tricks, but now I can just refer folks to this page .

As a three-time game-show vet ($20,000 Pyramid, Trump Card, Wheel of Fortune), I can tell you that once you're up on that stage, the surrealism of it all can result in such manifestations as cotton mouth, adrenaline shakes, and cerebral flatulence. So, don't blame the folks who lose their minds. It's a normal, human response. And good television.

Here are my basic TPIR tips:

If you're going in a large group, especially with matching T-shirts, you may want to separate into two distinct groups with different shirts. Only one person from any group is ever selected. If you have a military uniform, wear it.

Any Number: The Piggy Bank has NEVER started with a 0. Zero is USUALLY the last number of the car or the smaller prize.

Cliffhangers: The three prices ALWAYS progress from lowest to highest, and as of April 2010, the third prize has NEVER been more than $50.

Clock Game: If you rememeber that this is only a jazzed-up version of "I'm thinking of a number from 1 to 10," you'll find it easier to keep your composure. After a failed experiment, they're back you using a second prize worth less than $1,000. Starting the second round with a first bid of $999 is your best bet. If that's not it, try $899 as your second bid. If Drew ever says "Lower" in a high, squeaky voice, he's trying to get you to go $1 lower than your previous bid. Take the hint.

Cover Up: Getting the first number is easy. Try to guess the 2nd number incorrectly, so you'll get one more turn than if you'd gotten the first two numbers correct right away. The cars here ALMOST NEVER end with 0.

Double Prices: (or any game where the prize is two IDENTICAL motorcycles, bikes, Vespas, cars, etc.) Hello! The price will ALWAYS end in an even number, often an 8.

Golden Road: Until you get to the end prize, don't EVER guess a number that is repeated elsewhere in the price your guessing at. The final price MAY have a repeat, but not often.

Grocery Game: Figure out which is the lowest-priced item on the counter, and SAVE THAT ONE FOR LAST, when you need the wiggle room to squeeze in between $20 and $21.

Half Off: Don't necessarily go with your first instinct. They purposefully make your choices tricky here. Items here are deceptively expensive or inexpensive.

Lucky 7: calling all 5s will almost guarantee you a loss, unless it's a special all-couples or all-military show. Then, the producers will often craftily stack the odds in players' favor.

Magic Number: The gap between the two prices is ALWAYS at least $1,000. I can't believe so many people lose this game. Settle on a Magic Number just under your guess for the bigger prize. The lower prize is usually trickier.

Now Or Then: There is ALWAYS one product that didn't exist at the Then time. Find it.

Range Game: The range spans $600 and the rangefinder spans $150, so you have a 1-in-4 chance going in. Look at the midway point, and decide if you want that area in the upper part (covering lower prices) or lower part (covering higher prices). The correct price has NEVER been in the top or bottom $50, so you can almost make the odds 50-50. REMEMBER: Planting the rangefinder dead center is often a losing strategy.

Safecrackers: The price ALWAYS ends with a 0.

Secret X: All your Xs go in the CORNERS. Period.

Temptation: TAKE THE DAMN PRIZES! The odds are always against you on this one. Take the sure thing.

Ten Chances: The prices ALL end on 0. ALWAYS.

Two For One: The numbers almost never come all from the top or bottom. (I've only ever seen it once.) Choose the middle digit for your free pick, as the first digit is USUALLY the higher of your two choices.

So many prizes and grocery items are used repeatedly. Learn some, if you plan to be on the show. Those outdoor heaters are $518, and one set of washer/dryers they use often go for $2268. That juice drink they often use is $3.39, and UDDER CREAM is cheap!

If you see aspirin, vitamins, or other pills in Bullseye, Check-Out, Grand Game, Hi-Lo, Let 'Em Roll, or any other game, CHECK THE PILL COUNT! A bottle of 24 is a lot less than a bottle of 100.

There! Now, go win something.

April 26 2010 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No one could ever replace Bob but I think they could find someone better than Drew. I've always liked Drew but he's not right for this show. He's very monotone and doesn't know how to generate excitement during the games. Bob was (is) dignified, Drew is not. Bob had so much class and personality and was a real showman (and btw, he would tell losing contestants he was sorry as was someone's complaint). If appealing to the younger generation requires being more 'common' and less dignified then that's a sad sign of the times. TPIR was one of my favorite shows but I gave it up awhile after Drew took over.

April 26 2010 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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