How to win every time at Deal or No Deal, according to science
It’s been away from our screens for seven years, but Deal or No Deal finally returned on Monday.
A new group of contestants will face off against the fearsome banker for a chance to win a life-changing cash prize of up to £100,000.
Players must resist several tempting offers from a mysterious opponent as they open those famous red chests in their quest for the grand prize.
In general, success in a game depends largely on luck, but carefully studying the chances of opening the “Big Five” box may be the key to success, the analysis shows.
Here’s the best strategy for making the right decision at the right time, according to science.
Players must resist tempting offers from the creepy banker while opening those famous red chests. In general, the success of the game depends largely on luck, but carefully considering the chances of opening a “Big Five” chest could be the key to success.
he is back! The popular game show will return to television screens on Monday (November 20), headed up by new host Stephen Mulhern (pictured). In each episode, a contestant takes on the infamous banker for the chance to win up to £100,000. There are no questions, except one: Deal or no deal?
Jared Stock, a software developer and data scientist at Thoughtworks in New York, called Deal or No Deal “the greatest game show ever created.”
“Competitors are constantly balancing risk and reward, betting on the value they have in their case and adjusting their risk tolerance based on the values at play,” he said.
“The suspense and drama when we watch someone file cases and wonder whether to accept huge sums of money is very entertaining.”
For those who were very young during the series’ original run, the premise of Deal or No Deal is deceptively simple.
The player is presented with 22 locked red chests, each containing a secret amount of money, ranging from 1p to £100,000. (For the original show on Channel 4, the jackpot was £250,000, but this was reduced in the rerun.)
One of these 22 chests belongs to the player, so the money inside is essentially theirs if they want it – but they don’t know what the amount is and can’t open it until the end of the show.
Instead, they have to eliminate other boxes one by one by opening them and, at various stages of play, considering offers from “The Banker” – a real person at the end of the phone.
The banker’s job is to buy the chest from the contestant – but his offer will depend on the amounts still in play and the likelihood of the player’s chest containing a large sum.
So, for example, if all of the top five amounts (£10,000, £25,000, £50,000, £75,000 and £100,000, collectively known as the ‘Big Five’) were still in place, the offer would be huge because there The greater chance of one of them being in the player’s box.
One of Banker’s offers will arrive just over halfway through the game when there are 11 boxes remaining (“11-box”), and analysis shows this to be a crucial moment.
The first five amounts (£10,000, £25,000, £50,000, £75,000 and £100,000) are collectively known as the ‘Big Five’.
Chances of finding the top five total (if they are still playing)
– 14 boxes left: 35.7% probability
– 13 boxes left: 38.4% probability
– 12 boxes left: 41.6% probability
– 11 boxes left: 45.4% probability
– 10 boxes left: 50% probability
– 9 boxes left: 55.5% probability
– 8 boxes left: 62.5% probability
That’s because the chances of hitting one of the ‘Big Five’ suddenly start increasing, MailOnline has found – no matter how many Big Five funds are still in play.
Let’s say the contestant is lucky enough to have all five major amounts still in play in Box 11. In this scenario, the chance of opening one of them is 45.4 percent.
But this percentage rises to 50 percent when 10 funds remain, 55.5 percent when nine funds remain, and 62.5 percent when eight funds remain.
After 8-Box, the chances of opening one of the top five escalate more sharply, indicating that 8-Box is a good time to pull back and say to the banker: “Deal.”
Of course, the fewer “Big Five” still in the game, the less likely the contestants will be to find one of them at each stage of the game.
For example, the chances of opening a Big Five chest if there are only two still in play are 18.1 percent when there are 11 chests remaining and only 9 percent when there are eight chests remaining.
So players who are unlucky enough to open more of the high five early in the game may be buoyed to stick with these lower odds and reject further offers from the banker, even though they are likely to be chasing a much lower amount.
Having a successful game depends largely on sheer luck; To put it in perspective, the chances of a contestant getting £100,000 in their pot are just 4.54 per cent.
However, taking into account the different percentage odds at each stage of one big opening game is a useful tool for making wiser decisions.
“The best contestants in my view are those who can adapt their thinking as the board situation changes,” Stock told MailOnline.
“People who stubbornly go and say ‘I know I have the jackpot, so I’m not accepting any offers’ are always wrong and often end up watching their game collapse.”
“The worst decision people make on this offer is to stubbornly continue to play a risky board instead of accepting an offer that’s perfectly good when it comes.”
Throwback: Deal or No Deal was previously headlined by Noel Edmonds from its first episode in 2005 until it ended in August 2016 after 13 series.
Laura Pearce became the first grand prize winner in 2007
A lot depends on each player’s overall goal.
Those who play to win at least something (and who do not want to regret turning down a good amount) should carefully consider the banker’s offer and not be afraid to deal.
But if players are intent on getting the jackpot, that makes things different.
They will need to be strong enough not to be tempted by the offers and believe in this slim chance (4.54%) of £100,000 being in their pocket – just like the first jackpot winner in the original series.
As former presenter Noel Edmonds said, “If you want big money, you’ve got to come here bravely” – but many contestants were brave and walked away with paltry sums.
“Knowing the right time to take the money takes just as much, if not more, courage than just shouting ‘no deal’ at the banker,” Stock told MailOnline.
“Luck comes largely once you choose your cause, so timing and courage are the real trick.”
Opportunities to open a “Big Five” fund on deal or no deal
If all the Big Five are still in play
22 boxes remaining: 22.7% probability
21 cans: 23%
20 boxes: 25%
19 cans: 26.3%
18 cans: 27.7%
17 cans: 29.4%
16 cans: 31.2%
15 boxes: 33.3%
14 boxes: 35.7%
13 boxes: 38.4%
12 boxes: 41.6%
11 boxes: 45.4%
10 boxes: 50%
9 boxes: 55.5%
8 boxes: 62.5%
7 boxes: 71.4%
6 boxes: 83.3%
5 boxes: 100%
If two of the Big Five are still in play
19 boxes remaining: 10.5% probability
18 cans: 11.1%
17 cans: 11.7%
16 cans: 12.5%
15 boxes: 13.3%
14 boxes: 14.2%
13 boxes: 15.3%
12 boxes: 16.6%
11 boxes: 18.1%
10 boxes: 20%
9 boxes: 22.2%
8 boxes: 25%
7 boxes: 28.5%
6 boxes: 33.3%
5 boxes: 40%
4 boxes: 50%
3 boxes: 66.6%
2 boxes: 100%
If four of the Big Five are still in play
21 boxes remaining: 19% probability
20 boxes: 20%
19 cans: 21%
18 cans: 22.2%
17 cans: 23.5%
16 cans: 25%
15 boxes: 26.6%
14 boxes: 28.5%
13 boxes: 30.7%
12 boxes: 33.3%
11 boxes: 36.3%
10 boxes: 40%
9 boxes: 44.4%
8 boxes: 50%
7 boxes: 57.1%
6 boxes: 66.6%
5 boxes: 80%
4 boxes: 100%
If one of the Big Five is still in play
18 boxes left: 5.5% probability
17 cans: 5.8%
16 cans: 6.2%
15 boxes: 6.6%
14 boxes: 7.1%
13 boxes: 7.6%
12 Boxes: 8.3%
11 boxes: 9%
10 boxes: 10%
9 boxes: 11.1%
8 boxes: 12.5%
7 boxes: 14.2%
6 boxes: 16.6%
5 boxes: 20%
4 boxes: 25%
3 boxes: 33.3%
2 boxes: 50%
1 square: 100%
If three of the Big Five are still in play
20 boxes left: 15% probability
19 cans: 15.7%
18 cans: 16.6%
17 cans: 17.6%
16 cans: 18.7%
15 boxes: 20%
14 boxes: 21.4%
13 boxes: 23%
12 boxes: 25%
11 boxes: 27.2%
10 boxes: 30%
9 boxes: 33.3%
8 boxes: 37.5%
7 boxes: 42.8%
6 boxes: 50%
5 boxes: 60%
4 boxes: 75%
3 boxes: 100%
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