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Review: Deal or No Deal

I try to limit my TV intake because, well, I usually feel dumber after watching. One show that I find addicting is NBC’s Deal or No Deal. Like any addict I go through a wave of emotions after spending an hour of my life watching such a mindless show. Regret is at the top of the list because much like crack, this show fries brain cells. It is so dumb and I can’t get enough of

Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe says,

“It’s only a few shades more adult than, say, playing with blocks.”

And Barry Garron of the Hollywood Reporter says, and I agree

That it has been a hit in 35 nations… reveals that there are more international threats than terrorism and global warming.

Why does it bother me so much that I enjoy this show? Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a game of chance, there is no skill involved, period. If you are unfamiliar with the show it goes like this. An extravert is “selected” from the audience to be the player. The player instructs models to open metal briefcaes which contain dollar amounts that range in value from $.01 to $1,000,000. There are 36 cases and the as the player selectes cases to be opened their respective values are eliminated. After each round of openings the host of the show, Howie, gets a highly dramatized phonecall from “the banker” whose primary goal is to entice the player to quit by paying them to stop playing. These offers fluctuate with remaining options on the board and go up or down depending on which options were eliminated in the previous round.

Following each offer from the banker, the player is forced to make a decision, “Deal or No Deal?” The live studio audience encourages the player, in a mob like fasion, to take or reject the current offer.

So what’s the hook? Why does this show get me? The producers have done a great job selecting people that you want to see succeed. Also, I enjoy attempting to guess what the bankers offer should be based upon the values left unopened. Usually I find that I’m logically low. The one key example I have for this is the player who successfully eliminated all options except for $750,000 and $1,000,000. This means that the lowest amount the player could have walked away with was $750k. The banks offer was $880k. Why $880k? I don’t know, but it makes for good TV. I think that below the mean of $875k would make more sense.

This is where the player personality profile starts to matter. I don’t think I would ever be selected for the show because I view this offer from this perspective. You have a coin, on one side you have $100 and on the other you have $75. $75 is yours no matter what. If you don’t flip the coin, I’ll pay you $88 dollars. So you have a 50 – 50 shot of winning the $100 if you play, and a guaranteed $75 if you play and lose. I’d take the $88 bucks and not play. The actual player in deal or no deal, however, believed so strongly that she picked the million dollar case that she played and lost and sacrificed the $130,000 on a statistical 50-50 shot – how stupid. Congrats to her for winning $750,000.

Kendall Schoenrock’s business background includes experience in tech startups, real estate development, and angel investing. Currently he runs Schoenrock Investments, a family real estate investing office that is an umbrella to multiple other entities focused on residential, commercial, and entrepreneurial endeavors.

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