How To Win on The Price is Right
November 13, 2013 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Game Theory - it's not just for economists If you find yourself going on The Price is Right, you'll need this handy cheat sheet explaining how to win The Price Is Right—not just the Contestants' Row segment, but all of its many pricing games. This guide, which conveniently fits on the front and back of an 8.5-by-11-inch piece of paper, does not rely on the prices of items. Also see this
posted by 2manyusernames (28 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
My biggest pet peeve about how people bid on the Showcase Showdown is when someone randomly tacks on some piddling dollar amount (e.g., bidding $22,545 instead of just $22,500) because it's completely unnecessary, and how stupid would you feel about that $45 if the price ended up being $22,530 and you were overbid?
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:16 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ehh, I'd rather just go sit in Craig Ferguson's audience instead, get some free candy and have a few laughs. Now THAT'S gaming the system!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:16 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


So many years ago, my fave bartender at my fave bar used to claim he was on the Price is Right, and that he won. And he couldn't bring any of his winnings back with him because he was there on vacation and couldn't transport it or clear customs with all that stuff. He was a colorful character, the type that said hilarious crazy things and gave off a "take this with a grain of salt" vibe so I didn't entirely buy it. He had flames tattooed on his wrists, did special effects for and starred in low budget B-movies in such roles as "Bionic Bigfoot" and "Zombie Cop", was in or affiliated with a band called Hot Piss (he would wear a headband with their name on it at work), and said he had written a cookbook for people with no money that included such recipes as "suck tomato soup through a rigatoni noodle". So one day I'm there in the bar and it's pretty empty, and the bartender puts on the projection screen and it's the Price is Right. And...he wasn't making it up. He won the damned Showcase Showdown and everything; Bob was kind of making fun of him because he seemed goofy, and at the end he and the Barker Beauties were jumping up and down on a bed he won. There's no real point to this story but man, Josh was kind of an awesome guy.
posted by Hoopo at 9:20 AM on November 13, 2013 [19 favorites]


It seems that a lot of the guy's advice would suddenly become a lot less useful if the producers read them and made the appropriate acts to make the games more random. It isn't so much a guarantee on how to win, but a guarantee to improve one's chances of winning, as.

I know a fellow who made it onto the Price of Right and won a car. He told me that due to the taxes, he couldnt' afford to take the car (which was the base model, as is), so just took the cash equivalent. He's now a professional whistler with Cirque du Soleil.
posted by Atreides at 9:32 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


how stupid would you feel about that $45 if the price ended up being $22,530 and you were overbid?

I'm guessing just about as stupid as if the price was $22,485 and you bid $22,500.
posted by scrowdid at 9:38 AM on November 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Atreides and Hoopo just made me realize that I'm too boring as a person to be in The Price Is Right audience.
posted by armacy at 9:39 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Funny how the main picture in the article is of Bob Barker, who retired in 2007. That was six years ago. Give it up, Drew.
posted by Melismata at 9:44 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing just about as stupid as if the price was $22,485 and you bid $22,500.

Very true, which is why I would only bid in multiples of a thousand, as it's pretty rare that winning bidders guess the price to within 3 figures.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:45 AM on November 13, 2013


> "...when someone randomly tacks on some piddling dollar amount (e.g., bidding $22,545 instead of just $22,500) because it's completely unnecessary, and how stupid would you feel about that $45 if the price ended up being $22,530 and you were overbid?"
There'd be no reason for anyone to feel any more stupid in that situation than if they had bid $22,500 and had overbid an actual price of $22,455. One guessed price is no more special than any other, your preference for round numbers notwithstanding.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 9:48 AM on November 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


And my free lesson for everyone today is "How to be picked to 'Come On Down'" 101:

1)Don't let your mom hang around waiting for Mario Lopez to show up at The Grove to film Extra, otherwise you'll be late and your group will get split up to fill seats.

2)Should your group be split up, don't pick the seat by yourself, even if it puts you in the front middle, because you'll end up next to the couple that leaves halfway through! Seriously, who leaves The Price Is Right?

3)Emphasize it's your birthday during the audience interviews, otherwise they might pick the other person born on the same day who doesn't know who to play the games.


One of these days I'll have to make it back out to LA and actually get picked now that I know this :)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:05 AM on November 13, 2013


For example, in the most recent season of Price Is Right, the Honda Accord LX was valued in different games as $22,587, $22,480 (twice), $22,934, $22,423, $22,791, and $22,841.

I wonder why that is?
posted by TedW at 10:12 AM on November 13, 2013


Some of this doesn't make sense to me.

The cost of an oven was $1,999.

Person A bid $1,200.
Person B bid $1,050.
Margie bid $1,150.

It says Margie really should have bid $1,201. In another reality had she bid $1,201 she would have lost still, because Person A was closer to the price. What's the point then? Is this just a bad example?

Likewise, how am I ever suppose to remember all of these tricks? That cheat sheet is huge. The author says trying to remember prices isn't a good idea, but remembering all of these tricks is?

Still interesting, although I found the tone a little condescending (but that could just be me misinterpreting).
posted by gucci mane at 11:29 AM on November 13, 2013


The cost of an oven was $1,999.

Person A bid $1,200.
Person B bid $1,050.
Margie bid $1,150.

It says Margie really should have bid $1,201. In another reality had she bid $1,201 she would have lost still, because Person A was closer to the price.


$1201 is closer to the correct price ($1999) than $1200 is.

Likewise, how am I ever suppose to remember all of these tricks? That cheat sheet is huge. The author says trying to remember prices isn't a good idea, but remembering all of these tricks is?

Yeah, I laughed out loud when I got to the cheat sheet at the bottom. "Fits on a standard sheet of paper," indeed. There are still 75 separate games to learn. But I guess if you're a diehard and you're going to memorize something anyway...
posted by payoto at 11:42 AM on November 13, 2013


I have nothing really to add except that as a kid, I loved that show. Used to sit about 2 feet away from a small (15"?) black and white tv just screaming at them to bid a dollar over. Sure beat watching the ABC after school special.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:59 AM on November 13, 2013


Wish this had been posted a few weeks ago, I'd parked behind a car with a sticker that said "I won this on Price is Right", I thought it was a joke sticker. As I was locking up the folks came by, and confirmed the guy actually did win it. That's all... would have liked to know now if he used these strategies.
posted by sammyo at 12:15 PM on November 13, 2013


$1201 is closer to the correct price ($1999) than $1200 is.

Wait, what? That's not true: $1999 < $1200 < $1201. Also, all these prices are overbids, so none are eligible to win.
posted by JHarris at 1:28 PM on November 13, 2013


The Price is Right scheme is "closest without going over." You always want to under-bid, because an over-bid means you automatically lose.

Therefore, if they bid $1200, and you bid $1201, you've just screwed them over, because the price needs to be EXACTLY $1200 for them to win.

If Margie thought it was between $1050 and $1200, she should bid $1051, even if she's quite sure it's closer to $1200. If she thinks it's even a dollar over $1200, then her bid of $1201 will secure it.
posted by explosion at 1:39 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


$1999 < $1200 < $1201

Nope
posted by soelo at 2:00 PM on November 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


Don't feel bad for some reason I ended up reading 1999 as 1199 about five times too.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 2:06 PM on November 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wish the sheet had distinguished between "this strategy is based on math" and "this strategy is based on my observation of the outcomes".
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:38 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree with Joe in Australia -- a lot of these are just tricks to do better if they keep presenting the show in the same way. For example, the advice to Flip and Flop in Flip Flop only works if they keep over-favoring that outcome. There's no real way to know that they will continue to do this, other than assume so barring any better information.

On some games, he says there are no strategies that don't rely on pricing information. And then later he uses pricing information on games involving cars, indicating that you can generally assume the price of the car starts with a 1 or 2.
posted by newper at 3:09 PM on November 13, 2013


And they're supposed to guess what all that crap is worth? I mean, is that the principle?

Ah, ha.

...how long has this show been on the air?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:26 PM on November 13, 2013


57 years.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:41 PM on November 13, 2013


The thing that shocks me about that sheet of paper is that if you have a Ten Chances strategy that comes out anywhere besides 100 percent success, you're playing Ten Chances wrong, or at least not helping them play Ten Chances better, because anyone can win Ten Chances who has a functioning consciousness.

Do not get me started.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 4:53 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


P.S. Seriously, the round numbers thing is psychological, not mathematical. There is no reason to bid a round number unless the prices are in round numbers or aren't evenly distributed, which I don't think is true of showcase values. Otherwise, it's all the same. A bid ending in 545 is exactly as likely to be $15 over as a bid ending in 500.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 4:57 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


D'oh! I don't know what it is about by brain that consistently read $1999 as $1199.
posted by JHarris at 5:05 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I seriously still think there might just be a psychological difference between those who are willing to bid a dollar over a person and those who are not. From childhood, I've been in the "that sucks" category, and no amount of game theory I've picked up since then has been able to override whatever socialization that was.
posted by lauranesson at 1:36 PM on November 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


And the weirdest part is that I don't think I'd have a big problem if the bid was like, twenty dollars over. The one-dollar thing seems like a jab to the pyschological eyeball in a weird way to me.
posted by lauranesson at 1:38 PM on November 14, 2013


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