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How to win at carnival games
No doubt you can win the giant panda. But how much dough do you want to blow on something that cost about 50 cents to make? The minds behind these games have set them so you’ll pay big for that damn bear. We asked game –booth managers at some of the country’s busiest state fairs, boardwalks, and carnivals just how lousy your odds really are.
Balloon darts – 57%
Aim at the shiny ballons; they’re reflecting light because they’re most inflated or ready to pop. And throw hard, arcing your dart so it’s more likely to hit the top of the ballon, where the latex is stretched tightest.
Skee-Ball – 46%
Don’t even bother with the hard-to-nail 100-pointers int the top corners, they’re all ball wasters. Shoot for the 40 point center opening instead: If you miss, you’ll still score; the 50 and 30 point holes are right above and below it.
Water gun races – 36%
This isn’t child’S play. Watch a race to pick the most accurate gun. Then pay for two games up front. Calibrate your aim tjhat first game. Then maintain that firing position for the next one. The win should already be in your sights.
Cat rack target throw – 33%
Any guy with half an arm can throw a fastball at a fuzzy cat target. But it’s smarter to hit two at once. Throw diagonally across the both. That sharp angle of impact should create a ricochet that’ll mow down more meowers.
Basketball shooting – 27%
The rim is squeezed slightly, so you’ll miss with anything but a swish. Since the hoop is also closer than typical free-throw distance, a higher-than-usual trajectory will increase the possibility that it will fall through.
Basket toss – 21%
The ball is bouncier that you’d think, and the woven baskets are relatively shallow. To avoid any bounce-outs, try a soft, underhanded lob that makes the ball land just past the front lip of the basket. Add a little spin for good mesure.
Knock over the milk bottles – 19%
Aim for the middle bottom bottle of the pyramid. It’s like Angry Birds – if you knock out the tower’s support, there’s a better chance the rest of the bottles will crash down hard enough to tumble off the platform.
Coin toss – 8%
The chances of winning at the coin toss are slim to none. But if you insist on throwing away your money, here are a few tips to increase your odds: First of all, aim high. The arc will give the coin a better chance of staying on the plate. And contrary to the ring toss, spin isn’t a great idea since it increases the risk of having the coin bounce off. And finally, use spit. Applying a bit of saliva to the coin will help it stick better, though try not to be obvious about it.
Ring toss on a soda bottle – 2%
Your throw needs to land perfectly to avoid being deflected by adjacent bottles. Crouch down and lightly fling the ring like a Frisbee toward a front-row bottle, where at least one side is free of bottle blockers.