Deal or No Deal
March 2, 2006 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Deal or no Deal?
Warning: Third link goes to not-much-fun-without-real-money-at-stake NBC corporate game. Interesting to watch the offers change, though.
posted by gilgamix (38 comments total)
All you need to know about this show is that my five year old twin daughters love it.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:27 AM on March 2, 2006

This online version of the game is better -- a bit more suspenseful.
posted by TonyRobots at 8:28 AM on March 2, 2006

Well, I got $70k for a $750 suitcase.

posted by delmoi at 8:30 AM on March 2, 2006

The show is decent, on TiVo, if only to watch people egged on into making bad decisions (as the first article mentions). I am convinced that they do not allow rational thinkers on the show. Let your offer get to $100,000, as it almost always eventually does, then take the money. Simple.
posted by sdrawkcab at 8:30 AM on March 2, 2006

I just won $400,000!!!
(Do they mail it to me?)
posted by Shfishp at 8:37 AM on March 2, 2006

I'm watching the UK version as we type. Totally fucking addictive telly, despite mostly because of Noel Edmonds and his miniature beard. The Italian one is pretty good too, by all accounts. Has more girls in bikinis.
posted by jack_mo at 8:43 AM on March 2, 2006

Haha. My suitcase contained a penny, but I closed the deal for over 65K. Time to buy a boat!
posted by Gator at 8:44 AM on March 2, 2006

It's amazing because you get people who win $407,000 and are disappointed because they didn't get the $2 mil.
posted by smackfu at 8:45 AM on March 2, 2006

Mostly I'm fascinated by this actor who plays "the banker," and the fact that their computer is built to offer worse deals earlier in the interest of people playing it out.
posted by gilgamix at 8:47 AM on March 2, 2006

I hate that show. If I hear one more person say "Well, my lucky number is 5, but I don't know if that means I should open it, or leave it til later", I'll go postal.
posted by seanyboy at 8:48 AM on March 2, 2006

Do the contestants get to keep the suitcases, or just the money inside them?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:56 AM on March 2, 2006

From the first link: "Deal or No Deal" works like this: Twenty-six models each hold a briefcase that contains a sum of money . That's interesting - in the UK variant, the people opening the boxes are all future contestants (the contestant is chosen at random at the start of each show, and so a new box-opener is added the following show, and so on) and they're often called upon to dispense advice to the contestant, chat with the host, etc. So you often get characters emerging over the weeks, making the audience, and especially the other box-openers, much more invested in the outcome. This must have an effect on the decision making process of the contestant - certain box-openers become relied on as sage advisors, etc., even though they often have no sodding clue about odds, and witter on about 'energy in the room' and such (the levels of superstition and numerological mumbo-jumbo on the UK version are ridiculous - box-openers linking arms at key moments, etc.)

The 'pure' version, with models opening the boxes can't be half as exciting. Does the US host do a lot of theatrical banter over the 'phone with 'The Banker'?
posted by jack_mo at 9:00 AM on March 2, 2006

Does the US host do a lot of theatrical banter over the 'phone with 'The Banker'?
That would probably call for an actor. The US version has Howie Mandel.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:04 AM on March 2, 2006

I could watch the clip from Family Guy of Howie Mandel passing out and collapsing into the corner of a table over and over and over...
posted by blastrid at 9:06 AM on March 2, 2006

jack_mo, in the UK version, does the person also get their own friends as advisers? In the US one, once you get rid of a certain number of cases, three or four family members or friends come out and advise you.
posted by smackfu at 9:08 AM on March 2, 2006

Howie Mandel does not play "The Banker." "The Banker" is the shadowy mafioso sillhouette looking figure that calls Howie between various rounds.
posted by afx114 at 9:09 AM on March 2, 2006

The Banker
posted by gilgamix at 9:28 AM on March 2, 2006

in the version of the game that tonyrobots linked to, the banker algorythm is a little off. I got down to two suitcases, and the only amounts of money that were left were $350,000 and $700,000. The banker offered me $161,000. that makes no sense.
posted by shmegegge at 9:29 AM on March 2, 2006

Hey afx114, nobody said that Howie plays the banker.
posted by Shfishp at 9:32 AM on March 2, 2006

Thorzdad was making reference to Howie being the host, and agreed, not a very good one
posted by Shfishp at 9:33 AM on March 2, 2006

I saw a few minutes of this and it's haunted me since. A walk on from the Donald? The contestant was practically dry humping the Trump who visibly winced as he de-hugged into a warm and firm corporate hand shake - maybe it was sympathy mysophobia for Mandell. The audience chanting in unison 'no deal, no deal'. MST3K would have worked magic with those lame Banker/Howie phone calls. Why do they even need Howie, why can't the contestant just answer the phone?

There is an early morning television program in Spain that just shows a close up of someone stirring thick warm chocolate with music/singing. I'm waiting for an analogous half an hour with a close-up of someone counting money. The accompanying audio track being stock pornography audio or a church choir, whatever.

Cut to the chase.
posted by lazymonster at 9:37 AM on March 2, 2006

smackfu said 'jack_mo, in the UK version, does the person also get their own friends as advisers? '

Yeah, I think they can ask mates or family members in the audience at any time, but they usually only bother if it's a big risk/surprisingly big offer...

the shadowy mafioso sillhouette

You get to see the banker?!? Like, OMG!!!

This thread is making me realise that I watch this programme way too much...
posted by jack_mo at 9:38 AM on March 2, 2006

I'm waiting for an analogous half an hour with a close-up of someone counting money. The accompanying audio track being stock pornography audio or a church choir, whatever.

Is that you Les?
posted by haqspan at 9:41 AM on March 2, 2006

It's a show about opening suitcases.

Seriously, I watched this once and thought maybe it was one segment of a new "Let's Make a Deal" type show. But no, it's opening suitcases. For an hour. Every night of the week.
posted by chococat at 9:45 AM on March 2, 2006

What the hell? Does gilgamix work for NBC?
posted by xmutex at 9:45 AM on March 2, 2006

Hehe, that game is fun.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:46 AM on March 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

xmutex - This link is tagged pepsiblue. The nbc game link was megadisclaimered. Not sure what else I can do to clear my name.
Tax returns?
posted by gilgamix at 9:58 AM on March 2, 2006

One of the most brainless shows ever. It's like they took one of the lesser Price Is Right contests and turned it into an hour long waste of time. No thought required, no skill required, no intellect required and Howie Mandell has sunk to an all time low.
posted by furtive at 9:59 AM on March 2, 2006

I agree. It's really stupid, brain dead entertainment. So why is it so fucking interesting?
posted by fungible at 11:17 AM on March 2, 2006

Money quote: In a 2002 paper notable in game-show delving, two economists calculated the "unique subgame-perfect Nash equilibrium" -- roughly, the best way to play -- in a segment of "The Price Is Right." They found that contestants frequently deviated from it, acting too conservatively when worried about being eliminated.

Other shows that have been studied include "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and "Jeopardy!" But "Deal or No Deal" has created particular excitement, in part because it involves no skill whatsoever.

posted by SweetJesus at 11:30 AM on March 2, 2006

Let your offer get to $100,000, as it almost always eventually does, then take the money. Simple.

Actually, it's not that simple. The game is a constant trade-off between the certainty equivalent for that particular player, the expected value of rejecting the deal, and the player's attitude towards risk.

For some, $100k for certain is too good too pass up. For others, they'd be willing to risk losing the $100k in order to get an extra $50k of equity, even though it would mean that they are more likely to lose.
posted by I Love Tacos at 2:37 PM on March 2, 2006

When I heard about this game, I immediately felt that with a couple of modifications, it could actually be pretty interesting:

Say there were two contestants, the regular one and one who plays the banker. The regular contestant would get to pick the initial suitcase, and the banker, who knows what amounts are in all of the suitcases, would get to pick which other suitcases are opened up at the various stages. The banker could, after a few of the stages, force the other contestant to accept a final offer or take the money in his/her briefcase even if other briefcases remained unopened.

If the regular contestant picks the briefcase over an offer, he wins the difference if the briefcase has more than the offer and the banker wins the difference if the briefcase has less than the offer. And vice versa if the r.c. picks the offer instead of the briefcase. The show could be a really interesting exercise in game theory and mindf***ing for money. (Of course, you'd have to have the two contestants be isolated from each other, take away their cellphones, and have multiple tapings in a day to make sure that there isn't any collusion.)

Instead, it's just another program I'll never watch.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 3:04 PM on March 2, 2006

Okay, one other modification: the banker's offer would have to lie in a predetermined range given the suitcases shown and the regular contestant's choice. Otherwise, you'd end up with bankers who would try to screw over NBC by always offering one dollar less than the highest possible value, or by only offering one dollar more than the lowest possible value. So you might allow one-tenth of to ten times the average value of the unseen briefcases, and the ratio of the highest value to the lowest value of the offer range would decrease with subsequent rounds.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 3:22 PM on March 2, 2006

I saw the UK version of this show when I was visiting my parents recently. I was struck by how it managed to be moronic and yet strangely compelling all at the same time. Still, the fact that it was presented by Noel Edmonds helped stop me from becoming too compelled.
posted by Decani at 4:49 PM on March 2, 2006

Yes, strangely compelling but I quickly grew bored with it. The statistics of it are obvious enough so then it just comes down to random luck and individual tolerance for risk

The only compelling thing in the last two bits I've watched is whether one spouse saying "no deal" when the other spouse said "honey, take the money now" is a sign of deeper problems even if the risk paid off.
posted by obfusciatrist at 5:55 PM on March 2, 2006

I usually prefer game shows where the contestant has to use their brains (usually on useless trivia like on Millionaire and the best game show ever, Jeopardy), but I find Deal or No Deal to be strangely compelling. Largely because I'm amazed at how greedy people can be. I really like money, but if someone offered me $191,000 for standing up there like a doof for 10-15 minutes I'd take it.

But no, the moron wants more and it's bam, down to $64,000 - still a sweet chunk of change but not anywhere near $191, 000.
posted by owillis at 6:09 PM on March 2, 2006

I saw the Indian version while in Bangladesh - managed to grasp some of the basic gameplay after a while. They always have the stories of how the contestant needs to pay off a house or fund a relative's wedding or something...are there similar stories in the other versions?
posted by divabat at 6:09 PM on March 2, 2006

Thinking about this, I realize that I don't really have a great deal of concern over money.

When I played the online version and realized that you are pretty much guaranteed to get over $50,000 (with a very high chance of going over $100,000) I didn't understand how this could be a very suspenseful game. I mean, $50,000 alone would solve a LOT of problems. But I'm thinking of money as only a way of solving problems and eating- other people are dreaming of it. Is this a more logical way to look at things, or do I just have low expectations?
posted by perianwyr at 7:16 AM on March 5, 2006

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