1/3/83 - Present
Plinko is by
far the most celebrated and enjoyed pricing game ever played on
The Price is Right. The game is simple. A contestant is shown
four small prizes. For each prize, s/he sees two digits, but only
one is right. Either the first digit shown is the correct first
digit or the last digit shown is the correct last digit. For each
small item guessed correctly, the contestant wins a chip. Bob
gives the contestant a free chip just for playing the game, so
five chips can be earned. The contestant climbs to the top of the
Plinko board and drops the chips on a pegged board. The pegs send
the chip skyrocketing all over the board until they land in slots
representing money amounts at the bottom. The slots are, from
left to right; $100, $500, $1000, $0, $5000, $0, $1000, $500,
$100. A maximum of $25,000 can be won. After all the chips have
dropped, the contestant wins whatever money s/he has earned to
In August, 1996, CBS
aired a 25th Anniversary Special in primetime to celebrate The
Price is Right's long run. On that special episode, Plinko was
played with a special $10,000 slot replacing the $5000 slot. This
slot became $10,000 permanently during the 27th season, meaning
that a total of $50,000 can be won.
When the highest
slot was $5,000, the maximum amount ever won on Plinko was
$21,000. With the advent of the $10,000 slot, a record of $23,000
has been achieved. Unfortunately, an all-zero score has also been
obtained. A "win" in Plinko is technically defined as
the perfect score ($25,000 formerly, now $50,000). So Plinko has
technically never been "won." In a show with five other
pricing game wins and a non-perfect Plinko playing, Bob will NOT
declare the show a perfect show! However, most TPiR fans consider
any contestant lucky enough to hit the big slot at least once to
be a winner in this game.
On the short-lived
Doug Davidson version, the $500 slots were replaced by $2,500
In the event a
Plinko chip should get stuck on a peg, Bob has his trusty Plinko
stick which he enjoys using greatly. The chip will knock the peg
down the board, in which case that chip won't count and the
contestant can use it again.
The premiere of
Plinko occurred on January 3, 1983, which makes it a great day in
game show history. Interestingly enough, three new game shows
premiered on NBC that same exact day; Just Men!, Hit Man, and
$ale of the Century. Although the first two held only 13-week
runs, $ale of the Century stayed on the air for over six years.
Plinko is definitely
the pricing game most TPiR fans would give their right leg to
play. The producers are well aware of this and drum the
introduction to the game up with a huge fanfare. The crowd goes
wild when anyone hits the big slot on the board; Lord only knows
what would happen should someone nail the game for $50,000.
On the Navy nighttime special in
2002, the $10,000 slot was made into $20,000, making a $100,000 win possible.
On the Army nighttime special in 2002, $40,000 was won.
The podiums for the prizes were slightly different on the first
episode. If the contestant guessed the correct digit, a placard
saying only "WIN!" along with the chip would be shown.
The placard would be further folded to show the correct price.
This was modified so that correct guesses showed the
"WIN!" along with the price. The original sign showing
"$25,000" was not a sign at all but a modified version
of the hanging display that often is used for items up for bid
such as jewelry and watches. It spun around with a little disco
ball and said "$25,000" on the side. That was quickly
scrapped for the current Plinko sign. The current Plinko sign was
originally displayed in the back of the audience; it was moved to
the turntable shortly thereafter, although it was in the audience
during the Davidson version. The entire setup for the game was
refurbished in the late '80s with a slightly updated Plinko logo,
new colors, and a more stylish font for the numbers in the slots.
A plexiglass board was added to cover the Plinko board in the
late '80s after a few wayward chips completely took flight off
the board. The beloved Plinko sign that flipped to show the maximum (i.e.,
unattainable) winnings was replaced by a cheesy graphic in 2002.
chance to win $25,000 worth of disco records! Look at this thing--isn't it cool?
This is the premiere of Plinko!
the first time the world saw the Plinko board! A day to
mark in history!
famous Plinko podiums from the first airing back in 1983.
the "1" the first digit in this prize or is the
"2" the second digit? She guessed the
she's a winner! There's a good shot of the Plinko chip.
These placards lasted one show.
price was $32! These placards were darn confusing.
ready to drop the first Plinko chips ever! This gives a
pretty good shot of the dollar values that are possible.
Avoid those nasty zeroes!
reminds the contestant that pesky stuck chips can be
removed with his magic wand, er, Plinko Stick.
first Plinko chip ever landed in $500! Not too shabby!
we have a jam on the P-500...Bob promptly removed these
chips. He always removes the chips after they've ended
because they can disrupt play down there.
Her last chip landed in $5000! The first Plinko player
ever netted a cool $6,500!
is the second playing of Plinko...could we zoom in on the
sign back there in the audience?
are the current placards...note that this Plinko chip was
ready to get out.
an indication you've done bad. You don't get a chip;
instead, you see the price of the product. :(
is the display that reads out how much the contestant has
won. The silly thing wasn't working on the premiere!
to normal here; the Plinko sign on the turntable...
a slightly different $25,000 graphic.
are the updated Plinko colors from a 1998 ep. shortly
before they added the $10,000 slot...
graphic is spiffy, I have to say!
the updated Plinko board...heavy on the cyan.
the podiums got updated!
the slots look nicer too! $5000 looks nice no matter what
font it is in.
is Judge, our biggest Plinko winner ever, giving Bob a
good luck kiss.
you can win up to $50,000 in the game! I wish someone
the mighty $10,000 slot!
a haul! Judge took home $22,100 in cash with him! Can
someone beat his record?
||Yup! On the
30th season premiere, a $23,000 win! Picture provided by Martin
the nighttime special in May, 2002.
|What a huge
haul! From the Army special, 2002.