Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Deal or No Deal

Interesting game show coming on NBC this week where a contestant picks a briefcase and by opening other briefcases, eliminates certain dollar amounts from the possible amount in his or her briefcase. The amounts range from a penny to a million dollars. After every few briefcases are opened, a "banker" upstairs offers to buy the briefcase from the contestant for an amount less than the average prize remaining on the board. For example, the average briefcase value might be $120,000 ($600,000 in remaining prizes with five left to be opened), but he only offers $110,000 for the briefcase.

There is nothing particularly interesting about this game show other than the psychology involved and how it resembles some decisions made in poker tournaments. As more briefcases are opened, the average prize remaining often goes up because there are so many low dollar amounts in the cases. As the possible stakes get higher, contestants begin to get the urge to make a decision that is unwise based purely on odds, but which will still provide them with a lot of money. Really, it's like making a deal in a poker tournament. You're the chip leader with only a handful of players remaining and you give up a little bit to split the prize pool. You don't win as much as you could have, but you still come away with a hefty prize.

2 comments:

Heafy said...

We've had this show in Australia for about 2 years now. When it started it was once a week, and the big prize was $2M, now it is every weekday and the big prize is $200K.
It's a pretty average show, BUT I never laughed so hard when someone knocks back $350,000 and then five minutes later gets presented with a giant check for $5. Yep, they went to the trouble of writting up the giant check for the $5 prize - it was a thing of beauty.

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