# How to win The Price is Right from a Yale-trained game theory expert

It’s easy to get caught up in watching “The Price is Right” The beloved TV game show Where contestants win money and prizes by guessing the price of goods.

You can get bored while surfing channels and the next thing you know you’re screaming the price of beans at the TV because you want to see one of the contestants win a new car.

If you’ve ever thought about appearing on the show, or simply… I wondered what the best strategies were To win big, Justin L. Bergner has you covered.

Bergner is the author of “Reasonable price solution“, a book he describes as a “reference guide for casual viewers” offering tips on how to win each match In the show.

An investment analyst, Bergner majored in game theory at Yale and has been a lifelong TV fan.

With more than 50 consecutive seasons on the air, the show’s timeless appeal is due to “the stimulating combination of knowledge, strategy and luck” that is the “hallmark” of any well-designed game, he says.

To write the book, he analyzed hundreds of episodes from seasons 47 and 48 to determine the best winning strategies based on the mathematics behind the show. Here are five key strategies that can help you win.

## 1. When to stop spinning the big wheel in Showcase Showdown

Even the most casual viewer will recognize the colorful, oversized Showcase Showdown wheel packed with different denominations of \$1 or less. Three contestants spin the wheel twice, with the goal of getting as close to a dollar as possible but not exceeding it.

The trick to winning is knowing when to stop spinning the wheel. Based on the results of thousands of simulation experiments, Bergner says the first disc would better spin again if its first spin was \$0.65 or less, otherwise you should stop spinning.

If you are the second spinner, you must spin again at \$0.50 or less. If you hit \$0.55 on your second spin, your odds of winning are slightly better if you don’t make another spin. If you are the third spinner, simply spin to beat or tie the higher total of the previous spinners.

These rules are based on the odds of a particular wheel spinning, and will reduce the risk of a spin exceeding \$1, Bergner says.

## 2. Where exactly to drop a Plinko chip?

With the Plinko cash game, contestants can win tens of thousands of dollars by dropping chips onto a large peg-filled board into landing zones worth either \$0, \$100, \$500, \$1,000, or \$10,000.

Getting a chip to land in the mid-\$10,000 region is not easy, as the probability of landing there is only 14.1%, based on Bergner’s observations. However, by placing the chip directly in the middle row, the odds of landing in the \$10,000 landing zone are about 23% – the best of all.

Bergner recommends carefully placing the chip in the row, rather than letting it fall from the top of the board, because the added speed reduces your chances of winning \$10,000.

## 3. Avoid underbidding if you are one of the top three contestants in line

In a row, four contestants bid on the price of merchandise to be closest to the actual retail price without exceeding it. Whoever wins can move on and play other pricing games that usually offer larger prizes.

The odds of winning improve with the order of bidding, with the first bidder winning only 18% of the time, compared to the last bidder winning 41% of the time. The last bidder has the huge advantage that he or she controls whether he or she will receive the highest bid.

However, the underbidding by the top three contestants is “terrible,” according to Bergner.

This is because “the first reaction of these bidders is to believe that they cannot win if they pass, rather than to believe that they have little chance of winning if they do not risk going.” Additionally, for the top three bidders, the next bidder can always “cut” your bid by \$1, increasing its chances of being closest to the actual retail price without exceeding the total.

The result of this low-bidding bias, Bergner says, is that the last bidder wins 64% of the time when it has the highest bid.

As a rule of thumb, the top three bidders should increase their planned bids by about 10% on average to counteract underbid bias, especially for higher priced items over \$1,000.

It’s also important to remember that people tend to remember the sale prices of merchandise, not the actual retail prices, Bergner says. Sales prices are usually much lower than the retail prices used in the offer.

## 4. Do one of these two things if you are the last bidder in line

As shown above, if you are the last bidder in line, you are actually in a better position. You have a 41% chance of winning, almost double the chance of any other contestant.

Since you already have the advantage of being the last bidder, Bergner recommends either “cutting” previous bids by at least \$1 Or place a bid of just \$1 if you think previous bids are too high. He says you can do either option “100% of the time.”

## 5. Bid on the first offer in the Showcase Showdown

At the end of the show, two contestants face off in the Showcase Showdown. The contestant with the highest dollar value of winnings has the option of bidding on the first offer or passing and bidding on the second offer. Whoever bids closest to their bid value without exceeding wins their bid.

Oddly enough, bidding on the first offer results in better results – both the win rate and average bid profits – regardless of whether the offer is lower priced or higher priced.

Bergner believes there is a “grass is greener” phenomenon on the second offer, where the bidder with the highest winnings on the first offer is successful 66% of the time. This can lead to overcompensation for skipping the first offer even though the price of both is about the same on average.

If you are the first bidder, stick to bidding on the first bidder. Otherwise, try to correct the anxiety associated with bidding second, and bid with a greater margin of safety, Bergner says.

## Don’t miss these exclusives from CNBC PRO

See also  Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a bot debate