Backing the Banker -
admit it. I'm a lout. When I watch Deal or No Deal
(and that's rare, at that) I will typically root for the
Banker to win. Given the way the money works, I define a
Banker Victory as someone going home with less than
$10,000, and the Sunday reruns have not disappointed.
While everyone else is drinking the Flavor-Aid and
jumping up and down in their chairs as people are
winning truckloads of money for picking numbers and
pushing a button, I'm watching to see just how bad the
banker will stick it to his victims. The problem is that
he doesn't do much sticking at all.
In the early rounds, the "Banker" (I
think we all know that the actual offers are calculated
on a spreadsheet and determined by a producer) may as
well be throwing a dart at the wall to come up with his
first offer. The players aren't going to bail out with a
few thousand dollars, even after opening the $750,000 or
$1 million. It just doesn't work like that. So the first
three rounds are more preamble than anything, setting
the stage for the real struggle that comes when the game
goes into case-offer-case-offer mode.
By that point, the offers are completely
predictable. With a few cases to go, the posted offer
will almost always be an eensy bit lower than the
expected value of the remaining cases. The problem is
that an offer that is close to the average of what is
left doesn't make for an interesting decision. If the
remaining amounts are $1, $100,000 and $500,000, an
offer of $200,000, while being completely fair, isn't
very interesting. I submit that a more "interesting"
offer would be of $125,000 or so. At that point, an
actual decision must be made, rather than figuring if
$200,000 is "enough." Yawn.
The other point that disappoints me is
when there are fewer "big" amounts than cases to open in
the next round. At this point, the Banker has the player
over a barrel, but he refuses to tighten the screws.
Take a sample board of $1, $5, $10 and $400,000. A
normal offer will be $100,000, to the surprise of no
one. A more interesting offer would be $35,000. In order
to get to the $400,000, the player must walk that
tightrope every step, and avoid the $400,000. The player
should have to decide whether the outside shot at big
bucks is worth giving up a smaller sum, rather than a
"fair one". There's nothing "fair" about being the
I've long given up the idea that Deal
or No Deal is anything resembling good television,
but it would be nice to see the Banker live up to his
reputation, like he does in other countries.
You can make Travis Eberle an offer he
won't refuse at