The best betting themed TV game shows

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History of Betting-Themed Game Shows in the USA

There are several game shows that have betting themes and motifs, and here we're going to look at the history of some of the most popular.

There have been a ton of game shows over the years that have been popular on television in the United States. Something that really adds to the competitiveness and excitement of these games is when there is an element of betting involved. We're going to look at a few of the most popular television game shows in the United States and how the betting worked in these games.


In the popular Jeopardy game show, there are two situations where wagering happens. The first is in the Daily Double when the player can wager up to their entire winning balance on the answer of their next question. The second is in wagering during the Final Jeopardy round. The importance of this is that only the winner gets to keep their winnings, and the second and third place finishers only get small prizes that help to cover their travel expenses. This means that there is a lot to calculate when it comes to trying to win. 

Deal or No Deal

Hosted by Howie Mandel, this game has people picking out different briefcases to see their values inside. The gambling decision in this game goes between choosing to take a "deal" by getting a settlement amount or going with what's already in their briefcase. A quick calculation can show you that they always undershoot the average value of the briefcase with their offers, but there's more to it than the pure value of the money when you take the utility of the money into consideration. For example, there's a much bigger difference between winning $1,000 and $101,000 than there is between winning $900,000 and $1 million even though there's a flat $100,000 difference between the prizes.

Let's Make a Deal

Home of the famous Monty Hall problem, people would be given a prize with the option to trade it for another prize, which they often did not know the answer to. One popular format is that there are three different doors to choose from, and two of them often have a weak prize, known as a zonk, behind them. The gambling aspect of the game show takes place when people try to decide if they should keep their current prize or "trade" for whatever the chance is for the other prize. To make this game more interesting, a lot of people would dress up in crazy outfits to try to get chosen.


The bottom line is that these games have different ways of incorporating gambling into the way the game is played, but they all put players in a position where a good understanding of the odds will give them an advantage over the competition, which is sometimes the host of the gameshow itself.