How to "win" carnival games

Well One at least
The only trick that I know about is in the “Game” where you burst balloons by filling it
up with water, by shooting it with a squirt gun hooked to a hose, shoot only the new
balloons. The ones that have been used are streached. I noticed that one time I was trying
to win a teddy bear for my daughter. My balloon just kept getting bigger but the pretty
girl that the carnie was trying to hustle just kept breaking balloons.

Basketball- The rim is usually smaller and the ball is always over-inflated. Regular shots will never fall, you have to go with a “granny shot” approach. No backboard.

That’s the only one I know.

Best bet. Don’t play.

Um, is there a question here? Or was it intended as a response to another thread? Or should I move it?

I’m so confused!

confused here also.

I vote MPSIMS.

If only so I can see manny work.

I think this is the question:

I could be wrong.

(Isn’t editorial license a giggle?)


Seriously, though, justwannano is not one of our “frequent forum fudgers,” which is why I asked. Let’s see what he has to say.

Of course, he’s probably already emailed me, but I’m having access problems at hotmail right now.

I’ll bet there are googleplexes of web sites about carny games, but I don’t care enough to find 'em for you.

What I know off the top of my head is this one:

There’s a game where the object is to ENTIRELY cover a painted red circle on a countertop by dropping 5 (or 6?) smaller tin disks over the circle; you have to drop them from a height of an inch or two above the circle, and CAN NOT move them after they’ve landed; if any little smidgen (sp?) of red is showing after you’ve dropped the last disk, you lose.

Naturally, your instinct is to place the disks in a “perfect” symetical, circular, overlapping flower-petal pattern, but that won’t work, even if you can manage it! The only pattern that covers the red circle is an elongated (more oval than circular) overlapping flower-petal scheme.

‘The only pattern that covers
the red circle is an elongated (more oval than circular) overlapping flower-petal scheme.’
Not so, one of the disks is actually slightly more oval than round.


Are you SURE about that?

  1. I saw the game mentioned in a math puzzle book where they demonstrate the solution using “fair” discs; the trick, according to the book, was the counterintuitive placement of the discs, not bugus-shaped discs. Also…

  2. The carny hands you the discs all at once, no? If you hold them like a deck of cards, you would eaisily notice a tampered disc.

Handy (part II):

I think there is a similar carny disc-game where you have to cover a STAR, not a circle. I’ve never seen that one, but perhaps that game requires doctored discs to win.

The games where you have to sink 3 balls on a pool table have several gimmicks - the cue they give you will have a terrible tip with no chalk, so you can’t use english on the cue ball. The table is almost always out of alignment, so the balls will roll in odd directions if you roll them slowly. And the pockets are usually pretty tight.

The best results on these tables can usually be had by breaking the three balls softly so they all stay at one end of the table. All your shots have to be firm, center ball hits. If you wind up with an angle on the ball that takes the cueball away from the other two, you have to plan to go 3 rails around the table with the cue ball. try to hit softly, and you’ll miss.

I took my little brother to a carnival once and let him shoot the basketball for a buck. It’s true that the rims are quite a bit smaller than regulation. Anyway, my bro was about 10 years old, so it was all he could do to heave the ball up toward the basket.

Well, the ball clanged off the rim hard, went up into the air, and made a perfect swish into the net on the adjacent backboard, which was 5-6 feet over from the intended target.

The carny was flummoxed. He’d never seen that before and wasn’t too sure about awarding the prize. I tell him “Hey, he shot, it went in a basket, come on.” He eventually gave up the prize.

Mostly, I think one’s best chance is to pick a contest where you are competing against other suckers, like the shoot the water into the clown’s mouth to make the car move, or something. No matter what, someone has to win every time.

I posted a question a while back about how to win at the ‘shower rod ring around the neck of the bottle game’. They always give huge prizes for that one. While everyone agrees it is luck, and there is a very narrow margin of error, I would like to know of the many ways of throwing it if one is more like to work. The techniques I’ve seen are:

  1. frisbee style with spin, throwing straight
  2. high arch, no spin, hoping to come straight down on the bottle
  3. random throw, bouncing around hoping it lands on a bottle

I have personally won using style (1) and seen people win on style (2) but never seen anyone win on style (3). With my limited sample size, I can’t be sure style (3) is de facto a shitty style of throwing, but does anyone know if there is a better way to do it than others?

stuyguy, they explained it clearly on tv once. Our local fair got rid of games that cheat like that one, & that one isn’t there anymore.

Now the one that you all have seen & play, throwing a coin on a table to get it on a spot to win a prize? seems fair. But you can beat it if you can get a little bit or ear wax or other wax on your coin so it won’t bounce :slight_smile:

According to GAMES Magazine (I’ll try to find the month when I get home), the game where you try to cover the spot with the disks is, in fact, fair, and easy, given enough practice and knowledge of just where to drop them, (hence the carnie’s success in the demonstration), but it’s very hard to drop them that precisely without more practice than any mark is ever going to get, and the required pattern is rather non-intuitive. Trust whoever you want, handy, but I’m putting my money on GAMES.

Of course, it’s quite possible that some folks cheat anyway, but it ain’t necessarily so.

I actually know one! This one is tough, but it always has big prizes, and can be mastered relatively quick. The goal is to climb a rope ladder that is at a 30 degree angle (or so) where one rope goes through the middle of the rungs instead of one on each side. The trick is balance. When you move, move the opposite foot and hand at the same time, ie left foot right hand. Always pick them up at the same time and set them down at the same time. That way you never throw your balance off and can crawl towards the top. It cant be done one limb at a time, the rungs are too far apart, and using the two limbs on the same side is right out.

The game where you throw the ball in to the fruit basket that’s on an angle. It’s just like sex, gotta get it up to get it in. Arc that baby and it will stay in, any direct try will bounce out.

At a recent carnival here (in the Midwest), I was shocked to see the basketball game at the END of the row of games. This meant you could walk beside it. I swear, the basket would’ve look like this from the top:

        /      \

SERIOUSLY!!! Is that cheating, or what!!! Although they ALWAYS have a miniscule sign that reads: “non-regulation hoop” or “non-regulation ball”.

even if you win these games, the first prize you get isn’t worth what you paid to win on the first try.