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Jasmine’s The Price Is Right Strategy Guide: Ten Chances

Hi there, I’m Jasmine. We continue our look at pricing games on The Price Is Right with another popular game, Ten Chances.

Ten Chances is played for a car and two other prizes. Given three digits to choose from, you may write down guesses for the price of the first prize, which is made up of two of the three digits. When you are correct, you win the first prize and move on to the second. Here, you are given four digits to choose from, of which three are found in the price. When you guess the second price correctly, you may move on to the car. You are given five digits, and the price of the car includes all five digits; only the order is unknown. You have a total of ten chances, and you win whichever prizes that you guess correctly within that span.

Ten Chances is an old classic, introduced near the end of the third season in 1975. However, its play rate has dropped precipitously in the last twenty years. Until about 2000, it was played fifteen to twenty times per season, but it was played only eleven times in Drew Carey’s first season in 2007-8, and since then it has never been played more than ten times in a season.

Nonetheless, it does come up on occasion. So let’s prepare ourselves for it.

As with a number of other pricing games, there is an unwritten rule in Ten Chances: all of the prices end in zero. Since about the mid 1980s, this rule has become an important part of the game. In fact, Drew Carey often seems disappointed in players who fail to adhere to this rule, and Bob Barker did not even bother to hide his contempt for players who were unaware of it.

Following the zero rule dramatically improves your odds of success in this game. In fact, since there are only two possibilities for the first price that end in zero, and only six for the second price, you can guarantee yourself at least two chances at the car.

I would give one more piece of advice: change the trailing digits first. As with Bonkers, far too many contestants jump haphazardly around the solution space. If you have a rough estimate of the price, that may give you a hint as to the first digit or two. But don’t abandon that guess until you’ve exhausted all possibilities for the remaining digits.

Michael, for instance, starts with a guess of US$18,970 for the car. Instead of then progressing to US$18,790 – which would have been correct – he jumps to a couple of guesses above US$19,000, and then to a final guess of US$17,890.

Contrast this with Trimona, whose first guess at the car, US$19,840, is unsuccessful. So what does she do? She steps, carefully and methodically, down the range of possible prices until she arrives at the correct price, US$18,490.

So now that you know how to play Ten Chances, shall we try it out? Below, we have given you three digits. Type your guess for the first value, a two digit number, and press Enter. When you are correct, you may move on to the three digit number, and then the five digit number.

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