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Best of John Robison

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Slot Review: The Price is Right - Plinko

17 April 2002

Symbols

Plinko is the second slot in IGT's series of slots based on the TV game show The Price is Right. The symbols on the reels on this machine include an asterisk, a price tag, a hexagon with a stylized dollar sign in it, a regular dollar sign, and four contestants. The contestants in this version are Sue, Ken, Cal, and Tif. The number of dollar signs that appear on a contestant symbol gives an indication of its worth relative to the other contestant symbols. In addition, The Price is Right symbol is wild and substitutes for the above symbols.

Showcase Showdown

The Showcase Showdown bonus is triggered when 3 Showcase Showdown symbols land on a payline on the first three reels. The showdown starts with a spin of the famous The Price is Right money wheel. Another contestant, Ray, appears on the screen to cheer you on as you press a button to spin the wheel in the top box on the machine. You have two spins of the wheel to get a total between $0.50 and $1.00. If your total falls in that range, you win the value of your spin times your line bet and you go on to the showdown. If your total is less, you still win the total value of your spins times your line bet, but you don't move on to the showdown. If your total goes over, you win a consolation prize of five times your line bet and, of course, no showdown for you.

You get an extra bonus if your total is exactly $1.00. You get 100 times your line bet plus an extra spin. If your extra spin is $1.00, you win 750 times your line bet. If it's 5 or 15, you win 125 times your line bet. You don't win anything extra for other values; you just go on to the showdown.

In the showdown you're shown two showcases of prizes. You touch the tags displayed across the bottom of the screen to reveal showcase items, add points to a showcase, or increase the showcase multiplier. For example, touching a tag might reveal a boat in a showcase and the "value" of the boat would get added to the value of the showcase. Another tag might add, say, 50 points to the value of a showcase. Finally, a multiplier-increasing tag might increase a showcase's multiplier from 1 to 2 and double the value of the showcase.

When all of the items in a showcase have been revealed, you win the value of that showcase. So you definitely hope to find all the point-adding and multiplier-increasing tags for a showcase before you reveal all of the prizes in that showcase. That way you win the highest amount possible for that showcase.

Plinko Bonus Game

The Plinko bonus is triggered when three Plinko symbols are scattered anywhere on the middle reels. You start off with one chip with which to play Plinko. You have the chance to pick up a maximum of three more chips. You're shown three pairs of bogus products (Hair in a Can is one I can use) and you have to pick one product from each pair. If you pick the right product, you win an extra chip.

The Plinko game itself consists of a large pegboard on the screen. You touch the top of the board to indicate where you want to release your chip and the value of the pocket in which your chip ends up after caroming down the board determines how much you win from that chip. The total over all of your chips is the amount you win in the Plinko bonus.

Plusses

I liked the way the contestants are animated when they are part of a winning combination. And, as you know by now, I like wild symbols. I also think that the way that the money wheel moves up a little just before it starts spinning shows how much attention IGT pays to little details. Contestants on the TV show always push the wheel up a bit to get more leverage on it when they pull down to start the spin. Finally, I liked the way The Price is Right's theme song was well-integrated into the spinning of the reels and the counting of credits.

Minusses

None. There wasn't anything that about this machine that struck me as something I really wanted to change.

I do want to point out however that there is a bonus on five The Price is Right symbols on the 9th payline when you play full coin. Five The Price is Right symbols normally pay 5,000 times your line bet, but you win 200,000 credits if they land on the 9th payline with max coins played. I don't know how much that bonus increases the long-term payback of the machine, but I suspect it's not much because landing five The Price is Right symbols on a payline is a rare event, plus you have to bet 44 coins at a lower long-term payback before you can get that meaty bonus on the 45th.

The Bottom Line

I don't play The Price is Right slots often, but for some reason I always win a few bucks when I do and my streak is still alive after my time at Plinko. If I were a Price is Right fan, I think I could have a great time playing Plinko and Cliffhanger as my main machines.

Forget about that bonus for full coin--unless you have a large bankroll--and just play one coin per line to get the highest hit frequency the machine can deliver.


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net.


For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots by John Robison
Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
The Video Poker Answer Book by John Grochowski
John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots