8 secrets behind The Price is Right’s Plinko game Plinko has been beloved since Bob Barker introduced it on January 3, 1983. Here are its secrets.

The game show titled ‘The Price is Right’ (TPIR) is among the most popular game shows in the United States. It features games that allow contestants a chance to win thousands of US dollars. Some of those games are more popular than others and Plinko is among the fan favorites since Bob Barker introduced it on January 3, 1983.

If you love this classic game show, then you will also love these fun facts about it:

Plinko got its name from the sound it makes

Bob Barker told the story of how Plinko got its name once but many people today missed that episode. If you are among those who have wondered why it is called ‘Plinko’, then you may be surprised to know that the answer is very simple. Barker said that the team decided to call it ‘Plinko’ because of the sound it makes as the chip hits the pegs on its way down. The sound goes ‘plink! plink! plink!’ and then it just stuck like that. It really is that simple and that fits with how fun and easy Plinko really is.

There’s a similar children’s game in Japan known as pachinko

Plinko is not the only one of its kind that uses pegs and gravity as the core elements for entertainment. There is a similar game that exists in Japan which also got its name from the sound that it makes. It is called a ‘pachinko’ and it has been used in all kinds of entertainment since its introduction way back in the 1920s.

It can be found as a game for dispensing candies or toy prizes for children at sweets stores or an exciting arcade game at pachinko parlors. The name ‘pachinko’ comes from what children called the game because of the ‘pachink, pachink’ sounds when hitting the pegs. Unlike Plinko, these games are smaller and use a ball that has to be shot to the top rather than simply being dropped.

The first Plinko contestant scored $6,500

The first contestant to ever have the honor of playing Plinko on 3 January 1983 was a woman named Judy, who took home $6,500. This may seem small to modern fans of the TPIR, but the grand prize was only $25,000 back then. Today, the grand prize is up to $50,000 on regular days and a whopping $1 million on Big Money Week.

The first million dollar Plinko only ended in a win of $600

During Season 43 Big Money Week, Plinko was played for a million dollars for the first time. The hopeful contestant let loose his chips and…won $0 in the first round, $500 in the second round, and finally $100 for the last round. A whopping $600.

Plinko has changed considerably since its initial appearance

TPIR has featured Plinko many times over the years thanks to its popularity. As with most games, it had to go through a few changes until it became how most people know it today. Most of these changes are aimed at fixing glaring flaws such as the chips flying to the audience because the front side was open.

Bob Barker had to give the player another try if that happens so they remedied that by placing a clear glass front. However, this posed another issue where the chip would get stuck between pegs so Barker had to poke it and give the player another try. The issue didn’t happen too often but it persisted until Drew Carrey’s time to host. They finally replaced the pegs with a triangular shape to prevent getting the chip stuck but it still happens albeit very rarely.

There are only 10 Plinko chips and they are all protected

Last but not least: there are only 10 authentic Plinko chips in existence, and each of them has been presented on TPIR on multiple occasions. They are all protected by the staff as honorable pieces of the game’s tradition and may even be more valuable than gold at this point. Other than being commemorative tokens, they don’t affect how fun and easy Plinko is but it’s still fun knowing that the tokens have been part of the entire journey so far and will likely stick around in the future as well.

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