One dream every Price is Right fan has throughout their lives is the chance to play Plinko. Who wouldn’t? It’s a simple game that has a really huge reward — $10,000 that can turn into $50,000, if a contestant has five chips — and it’s difficult enough that you want to keep playing to find the sweet spot that’ll win you $10,000 for each chip.
On Friday, Price is Right host Drew Carey went on The Late Show to answer some pressing questions from Colbert’s graphics team about the show. One of the things that was brought up was their theory about Plinko’s $10,000 sweet spot:
“If you drop the chip from the dot of the ‘i,’ are you more likely to win $10,000?”
Carey gave his own theory:
“My theory is, you should drop it from the center — and the dot of the ‘i’ is off to, if you’re looking at it, off to the left just a little bit — so you want to drop it where the break in the ‘N’ is on the bottom. You wanna drop it from there, that’s in the middle. If I was playing Plinko, I would drop it from right there, and just let it go. I wouldn’t shove it or put any spin on it, I would just put it even there, and just put my hand off, and let it drop from the middle. That, to me, has the best chance of getting the $10,000 in the middle.”
Here’s the board as a visual:
So does this theory hold? Well, let’s check out a couple past winners and see where they placed the chip that landed in the middle of the board.
Here’s Kristy, who had three out of five chips land on $10,000:
Here are the chip placements she chose:
It would seem as if she had more success placing the chip close, but not exactly where Colbert’s graphics team theorized the sweet spot was located, therefore making Drew Carey wrong.
I’m not satisfied with conceding that yet, so let’s look at another contestant: David, who landed two out of five chips on $10,000.
Here’s where Dave placed the chips:
You can see Dave placed the chips right at the spot Carey said he’d place them to win $10,000, and unfortunately, Carey was wrong. To be fair, I didn’t take into account whether either contestant put spin on the chip, or pushed them into the Plinko board. Also, Carey has watched way more Plinko contestants than I have. He’s probably seen (and played) enough Plinko to get a feel for how to win the big prize.
But ultimately, to win Plinko is to have dumb luck and/or happenstance. There are way too many variables (i.e. pegs and gravity) to determine the right way to win. Also, Carey probably lied to Colbert, just so CBS wouldn’t get angry at him for giving away secrets, therefore making them lose money to too many people.
Damn it, Plinko. Why do you have to be so difficult and fun to play?