How to Become a Fan of the Press Your Luck Game Show

If you've never watched the game show called Press Your Luck, you don't know what you're missing. This article will explain how to become a fan of this show.


  1. Image titled Become a Fan of the Press Your Luck Game Show Step 1
    Understand how the game is played.
    • To earn spins on the "Big Board", 3 players always had to answer a series of 5 questions. Being the first person to guess (and guess right) earned the player 3 spins. The other players then had a chance to pick up 1 spin, by solving a multiple choice question. If no one was able to answer the question during the open question portion, 1 spin could be awarded to each contestant to correctly answer the question from the host's 3 possible answers.
    • Play the "Big Board" after obtaining the amount of spins you answered. Each player would stop the board using a button/plunger and generally yelling "stop". Each space would be filled with various prizes of money and changed every few seconds. Sometimes, the board would be filled with something contestants didn't want (called a Whammy!) If they picked up 4 Whammies, they'd be out of the game. 2 Whammies just in the first round would signal the host to remind them that they are really living on the edge if they picked up another Whammy in the First Round.
    • If the player wants to avoid the Whammy at any time and has money, the player could pass their remaining spins to the player who has more money accumulated. However, the player who obtains them, must play them without re-passing them to someone else; if they pick up a Whammy and still have other spins passed to them, these spins become accumulated spins that they can then pass to others, but they (like other Whammies) lose all their money they accumulated in turn.
    • This goes on for one more set of 2 (question round and "Big Board" round.)
    • Landing on "Big Bucks" will generally pick the contestant the highest amount of money on the Board. This space is only played in the Second Big Board round and can be located in only one space fluctuating between it and a Whammy space.
    • Some spaces, including the highest cash values in the Second Big Board round, gives the player an extra spin along with the cash value.
    • The player, at the end of the game, who has the most money accumulated wins the game, their cash, and all their prizes after (any Whammies). (Whammies can wipe out all prizes obtained too.)
    • Recognize that 4 Whammies would completely halt your game play and force you out of the game, losing any cash, prizes and remaining spins you may have obtained to oblivion up to that time. This page lists almost all the Whammies that were incurred during its original Press Your Luck seasons.
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    Recognize the trademark phrase heard during the Board section "No Whammy....No Whammy...No Whammy...(etc.)" followed later by a screamed "Stop!"(as you see the player press down their plunger button).
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    Recognize that it was easy to cheat and memorize sequences early on in that show's run (as you'll see much later in this article).
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    Understand some of the rarer occurrences that were portrayed in certain episodes of the show.
    • Michael Larsen's epic episode had to actually be split into two complete episodes which aired on 6/8/1984 and 6/11/1984. Michael Larsen supposedly memorized every game board sequence, and ended up picking up over $100,000 US in cash during the show (picking up only 1 Whammy in the first round and none in the second). He was the only player who wasn't asked to return again in following shows and set a new precedent for most money a person can accumulate in one show which was no more than $75,000 US[1]. It also led the producers of the show to add more sequences to the board, so cheating scandals couldn't happen thereafter.[2][3][4][5] In 2003, GSN/Game Show Network aired a documentary called "Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal" about his episodes.[6]
    • The epic spin-battle episode also was a major episode for Press Your Luck fans. Two players during one of the rounds sent their spins back and forth, until it became a big "ping pong" match.[7]
    • The one time that all three players were asked to return the second day only happened once after all players ended at 0 and the last spin between two players resulted in a Whammy (thereby leading every player to a 0 dollar balance). Look for an episode starring Dorothy, Wayne and Joe. It originally aired February 3, 1986. [8].
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    Understand some of the spin-offs and what caused these spin-offs to occur. All good shows came to a close after awhile. After 758 episodes were taped and shown, Press Your Luck was off the air following the September 26,1986 episode. It was replaced many years later by a game show called just "Whammy" or "Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck" (which only ran 130 episodes)[9].
    • The new game show had some differences. Not only will some Whammies on the board mess with your mind a little (by throwing down weird things such as confetti, cotton, or a mess of other things), the board wasn't rectangular in design and was definitely more randomized than the former incarnation. Its other major difference was the way the question rounds were formed. The first round wasn't questions. Players spun the board until they Whammied out the first time, the last player could Freeze and hold, or, if the other players wanted to not risk the Whammy at any time, they too could Freeze, but stop playing. Every few spins, the stakes got bigger as the host asked to add additional Whammies to the board.
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    Recognize and love some of the different Whammies that have struck its victims on all its shows and spin-offs. Watching some of the shows, you'll see a mess of Whammies show up and wipe money off the board during a spin.
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    Recognize the years this show was shown to the public. Press Your Luck was shown from September 19, 1983 to September 26,1986 for a total of 758 episodes (These episodes occurred two days a week). Its much later version (just called Whammy) ran from April 15, 2002 to December 5, 2003 and lasted only 130 episodes.
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    Recognize the objective of the game. Pick up the most money at the end of the game was always the objective of playing the game, while not picking up enough Whammies to stop your game play.
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    Recognize the host. Peter Tomarken (who died in March 2006 during a plane crash) was a game show host of many game shows, but of which Press Your Luck was by far his most-remembered game show host position by most fans.[10]
    • Recognize that the later Whammy episode had a new host who was Todd Newton. Because of its short lasting period, Todd Newton is still well unrecognized in this world today.
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    Recognize the announcers on this program. Rod Roddy (who later became the announcer for The Price is Right during the Bob Barker episodes) was really a comedian when it came to announcing games. He sometimes wasn't able to make it and had to be substituted for two other less-known names (John Harlan and Charlie O'Donnell) who weren't as comedic as the announcer.[11]
    • The much later Whammy had Gary Kroeger announcing its episodes.
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    Recognize some of the special holiday episodes that occurred during Press Your Luck's run. Although there was one holiday episode[12][13], every year the game would have slightly different motifs for different seasons.


  • Press Your Luck ran its shows on both CBS and later in reruns on USA Network. In 2006, during one episode of "Gameshow Marathon", this game was played with celebrity contestants for one episode only using the original format of the game. [14]. Today, all shows of both Press Your Luck and all shows of Whammy are syndicated on GSN/Game Show Network and BUZZR for the viewing public (including the Michael Larsen episode which comes every few years-with the last time seen on July 31,2016 on BUZZR as an hourlong special).
  • Watch some of these episodes on YouTube. Dependent on some user's accounts, some people are displaying these copyrighted episodes on YouTube. YouTube is missing these episodes, so until they find them all, they will live on in infamy. Look for episodes posted by Chris Bryant, Game Show Videos and Game Show Temple who all uploads these videos regularly.

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Categories: TV Viewing and Shows