Plinko

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 that point.

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 slots.

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.

Set Changes: 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.

A chance to win $25,000 worth of disco records! Look at this thing--isn't it cool? This is the premiere of Plinko! Here's the first time the world saw the Plinko board! A day to mark in history!
Those famous Plinko podiums from the first airing back in 1983. Is the "1" the first digit in this prize or is the "2" the second digit? She guessed the "2"...
And she's a winner! There's a good shot of the Plinko chip. These placards lasted one show. The price was $32! These placards were darn confusing.
She's 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! Bob reminds the contestant that pesky stuck chips can be removed with his magic wand, er, Plinko Stick.
The first Plinko chip ever landed in $500! Not too shabby! Folks, 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.
Hooray! Her last chip landed in $5000! The first Plinko player ever netted a cool $6,500! This is the second playing of Plinko...could we zoom in on the sign back there in the audience?
Yikes! Too close... Here are the current placards...note that this Plinko chip was ready to get out.
Here's an indication you've done bad. You don't get a chip; instead, you see the price of the product. :( This is the display that reads out how much the contestant has won. The silly thing wasn't working on the premiere!
Back to normal here; the Plinko sign on the turntable... ...and a slightly different $25,000 graphic.
Here are the updated Plinko colors from a 1998 ep. shortly before they added the $10,000 slot... ...this graphic is spiffy, I have to say!
And the updated Plinko board...heavy on the cyan. Even the podiums got updated!
And the slots look nicer too! $5000 looks nice no matter what font it is in. This is Judge, our biggest Plinko winner ever, giving Bob a good luck kiss.
Now you can win up to $50,000 in the game! I wish someone would! Here's the mighty $10,000 slot!
 
What 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 Landry.
From the nighttime special in May, 2002. Classy!
What a huge haul!  From the Army special, 2002. Boo!