Search the Site

The sad thing about “Deal or No Deal”

Being a contestant on this show requires no talent whatsoever. You pick suitcases. You decide whether you prefer a riskless offer of money to a risky one. Then you go home with a bunch of money. Along the way, the crowd and your chosen friends scream and cheer like there is great skill in choosing among ex ante identical suitcases. Contestants beam with pride when they pick a good suitcase instead of a bad one. The whole thing has a veneer of skill, when really there is almost no skill at all.

Contrast that with Survivor, Apprentice, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, or Amazing Race. On those shows, winning requires some talent.

Deal or No Deal is essentially a lottery. I find that a little depressing.

You can play it online, as a commenter noted below. It is fun to watch the offers that are made and to try to infer what formula is driving the offers.