Monday, December 19, 2005

BRING BACK CAROL MERRILL: NBC, desperate for something, anything, that works after a generally disastrous fall launch, begins a 5 night television event tonight--"Deal, Or No Deal?" Gameplay is ludicrously simple:
  • A contestant is presented with 26 briefcases. Those briefcases have some amount of money in them, ranging from a penny to one million dollars. They choose one, which remains closed.
  • The player then eliminates 6 briefcases from contention, which are opened, revealing how much money was in them.
  • Based on which briefcases have been eliminated, "the bank" makes an offer--keep playing, or take an offer calculated to be (roughly) the mathematical expected value of the remaining briefcases, including the "chosen one."
  • Repeat (with the number of briefcases to be eliminated prior to an offer being made reduced each round) until the player either takes the deal or there are only two suitcases remaining.

This could be interesting with the right host. However, color me unconvinced that Howie Mandel is that "right host." Also, it seems to me that there is an ideal way to play the game assuming the goal is to maximize winnings. Any of our more mathematically inclined readers care to explain?

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