Channel surfing tonight led to a stop on a show I'd only heard about before. It was "Deal or No Deal" on NBC. This show has no other point than to put people in suspense over winning money by being lucky. (Hey, that sounds a lot like a slot machine!) A secondary purpose is to showcase some models whose utility is lower than Vanna White's usefulness on Wheel of Fortune. But the contestants think they're skillful if their guessing luck steers them right in eliminating suitcases that have lower payouts. Their final goal is to eliminate all but the highest paying suitcase, (one million dollars, $1,000,000). In fact, contestants are chosen based on videos they submit. These aren't rational engineers. They are people who get excited about any little thing.
Then the 'banker" calls on a fake phone to the head-shaven Howie Mandell, host of the show, to give the contestant a buy-out price based on the expected value of what they might win. You can play "banker" at home if you use an Excel spreadsheet and some statistics.
>>> NOTE: Since I originally wrote this post, I actually made a spreadsheet. See it here... http://uh2l.blogs.com/things_ive_noticed/2006/03/deal_or_no_deal_1.html
Next time you want to play Texas Hold 'Em poker at home, try playing Deal or No Deal with your friends instead.
To fully understand how "Deal or No Deal" works, visit this website...
Watch it at your own risk. It's obviously not an intelligent show, but it draws you in like "24", (a much much better television show), although for entirely different reasons.