To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Plinko, CBS is devoted an entire episode of The Price is Right to the popular pricing game today.
For those of you not aware of the strangely named, strangely alluring game, players are given one free chip (and in a guess-the-price-game, have the chance to earn 4 more) and tasked with dropping it down a giant pegboard consisting of nine circular-shaped slots at the bottom. The slots range from $0 all the way up to $10,000 (the center slot). But the twist is that the drop is not a straight one, the chips can veer sideways or end up nowhere near your goal.
The game is both revered and maligned for it’s profoundly dumb format and requirement of no skill. NPR‘s Linda Holmes called it “the completely inferior game in which people win money by basically sliding a plastic circle through a plastic pegboard which behaves in a functionally random way to award them money. You really might as well watch people pull the handle on a slot machine or draw straws. If Plinko were called Straw Drawer, you wouldn’t think it was so great, would you?”
Rhett Allian, Wired writer, created theoretical models of the chip starting points and likely cash prize . His conclusion on best Plinko practices? “Your best bet is to start right in the middle.”
And it can be done. Watch this contestant (starting at 4:21) land the coveted $10,000 slot:
Hey, apparently it’s good enough for Snoop Dogg. The rapper played during the show’s celebrity-charity week:
And what I think is the best part about watching Plinko, the contestants’ reactions. Do you think this guy school-girl-screams like this in real life? (Start at 4:46)
PopWatchers, how do you feel about Plinko? Profound or profoundly dumb?