The Price is Right Showcase Showdown Strategy Table

This page lists the odds of winning the Price is Right Showcase Showdown (a.k.a. "The Big Wheel") based on the stay/spin decision made after the first spin.

1st Contestant 2nd Contestant 3rd Contestant First Spin Amt. ---Stay--- ---Spin--- 90.57 0.00 95.13 0.00 48.38 0.00 73.61 4.53 85.75 4.76 43.67 5.00 59.17 8.21 76.88 9.04 39.21 10.00 46.99 11.17 68.50 12.89 35.00 15.00 36.82 13.51 60.63 16.31 31.04 20.00 28.42 15.36 53.25 19.34 27.33 25.00 21.56 16.78 46.38 22.01 23.88 30.00 16.32 17.86 40.00 24.33 20.63 35.00 11.83 18.67 34.13 26.33 17.54 40.00 8.35 19.26 28.75* 28.03* 14.71 45.00 6.96 19.68 23.88 29.47 12.13 50.00 5.63 20.03 19.25 30.66 9.79 55.00 4.45 20.31 15.13 31.63 7.71 60.00 3.39 20.53 11.50 32.38 5.88 65.00 2.48 20.70 8.38 32.96 4.29 70.00 1.71 20.83 5.75 33.38 2.96 75.00 1.08 20.91 3.63 33.66 1.88 80.00 0.60 20.97 2.00 33.84 1.04 85.00 0.26 21.00 0.88 33.94 0.46 90.00 0.08 21.01 0.25 33.99 0.13 95.00

SUMMARY

As Player 1, you should spin again with \$.65 or less. As player 2, you should spin again with \$.55 or less (see below), or spin again with \$.65 or less if you have tied player 1 with your first spin. Player 3 should spin on two-way ties with \$.45 or less, and should spin on three-way ties with \$.65 or less.

Since it's impossible to accurately predict the strategy of any player who will spin after you, I made the following assumptions when creating the table.
• Under the 2nd contestant column, the stay percentage and the spin percentage assume that you have beaten player 1 on your first spin. Obviously, if you are behind after one spin, the correct strategy is to spin again.
• The wheel is completely random, with starting position having no effect on the probability of a specific result. This isn't exactly accurate because, with the presence of the "wheel-must-go-around-once" rule, numbers just past the number you landed on on your first spin are slightly more likely to turn up (especially in the case of people who have trouble spinning the wheel the required full rotation).
• Players following you will make the correct strategic play. For instance, if you have \$.40 after your spins as player 1, and player 2 spins \$.45, I am assuming player 2 will spin again to try to gain better position against player 3 rather than sit on the \$.45 and eliminate you.

WHY THE ASTERISKS AT \$.55?

You'll note that the second player column has asterisks at the \$.55 level. This is because, despite the fact that staying at \$.55 yields a 0.72% better chance of advancing to the Showcase, I believe spinning is the correct action. The logic behind this is that spinning the wheel has the added benefit of giving you a shot at \$1000 and a bonus spin if you hit the \$.45 space. You have a 1-in-20 chance of hitting the \$.45, so the expected value is (1/20)x(\$1000)=\$50. Then when you consider that there is a 1-in-10 shot of winning an extra \$5000 and a 1-in-20 shot of winning an extra \$10,000 on the bonus, spin, that adds an extra (1/20)[(1/10)(\$5000)+(1/20)(\$10,000)]=\$50 to the expected value, making a spin worth \$100. That suggests that spinning is the correct strategy as long as the expected value of the Showcase is below (\$100)/(0.72%)=\$13,889. If you assume that you would have a 50% chance of winning the showcase, that means you would have to have a shot at a \$27,778 Showcase in order to make standing on \$.55 correct. I'm not going to argue with anyone who believes that just being in the Showcase has enough value to make standing their preferred option, but from a purely financial sense, spinning is the way to go. The logic of a spin having value is also the reason I recommend spinning out of a \$.50-\$.50 tie as player 3 instead of going to a spin-off (both options have the same 50% chance of advancing to the Showcase).

MATHEMATICAL DERIVATION OF THE TABLE

Anyone who has any questions about how I came up with the numbers in the table, please feel free to email me.

Matthew Olsen - m.olsen(at-symbol)cox.net