For eleven years, from 2005 until 2016, Deal or No Deal was one of those afternoon shows that was loved by students and pensioners alike. So every day, at around 4pm, up to 3 million people settled down with a cup of tea and a biscuit to see if the day’s contestant would be going home with a quarter of a million pounds.
The show’s concept wasn’t an original one. It was an adaptation of the Dutch programme called Miljoenenjacht (Hunt for Millions), but it took off in the UK unlike anywhere else in the world. And, although it was eventually cancelled in December 2016, its legacy lives on. Visit most online casinos and the chances are that you’ll find a slots game or two themed around the concept. A few sites even offer a version of the game as part of their “live casino” offering with a dealer opening the boxes at the players’ bidding.
But surely one of the most realistic ways that you can continue to enjoy the thrill of Deal or No Deal is through the version that appears on a range of online scratch cards. These effectively recreate some of the excitement of discovering whether or not you have won a big reward as the prize amounts are revealed.
For anyone unfamiliar with the TV game, the concept was a simple one. A contestant was faced with 22 boxes worth a range of values from 1p up to £250,000. The objective was to eliminate boxes one by one until the final one was opened showing the cash prize they’d win. At strategic points in the game an anonymous Banker would call up to make an offer to pay a certain sum to end the game. The amount was carefully calculated in relation to the potential amounts still available to win.
Often the audience would get involved, offering advice about whether the contestant should take the money or press on. Generally, the most popular route to take was to ignore the offer and just hope that the eventual winnings would be greater. For quite a number of players, this simply didn’t work out.
In charge of the proceedings was the distinctly avuncular Noel Edmonds, enjoying the next big hit following his famous House Party, for long a staple of Saturday night entertainment. Noel had just the right personality to cajole the player along in the game, commiserating when things didn’t go their way, leading the celebrations when they did.
While some players believed they were playing to some kind of system, in reality, pure luck was in play. The only control they had over proceedings was by calculating the probabilities of a big prize being in the remaining boxes – in much the same way that a poker or a blackjack player will try to calculate the odds of the card they want being dealt to them.
But it’s this randomness of outcome that has made the game such a natural fit for the online casino, and so versatile in terms of the ways it can be played.
So, while the TV version may be long gone, it’s far from being forgotten.