View Full Version : Beating the ring toss carnival game

03-24-2000, 04:22 PM
I find myself at carnival events quite a bit as of late and I notice that the toss a shower-rod ring over a coke bottle game always has the epicly large prizes. I know the rings fit around the bottles and had a friend win at it once by luck, but he doesn't know how he did it.

Is it better to try to ring it directly, or are they just as likely to make it on if I let them bounce between the bottles in a near miss situation?

In fact, does anyone know of a Web site dedicated to how to beat carnival games?

I'd like to bring home a ton of prizes for the little ones...

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
03-24-2000, 04:37 PM
I remember reading about this years ago, possibly "Skeptical Inquirer."

What it amounted to was this: Their research determined it was strictly a game of chance and that skill was not involved.

IIRC, they tossed 200 (or 2000) times, and had 7 hits.

All 7 hits were the result of the ring bouncing off a different bottle from the one where it landed.

03-24-2000, 06:02 PM
Beating a carnival game is a lot like playing the piano at Carnagie Hall: It takes practice, practice, practice. I liken it to juggling. 10 years ago, it took me about two weeks (at over an hour a day) to master 3-ball juggling. It's this reason that some of the carnival events are easily done by the huckster, yet seldom done by the player. If you really want to beat them, try setting up some coke bottles and tossing rings at them for 2 hours a day for a week. I'll bet you get a ringer about 10% of the time. Is it worth the effort??

Wonko The Sane
03-24-2000, 07:46 PM
I worked in a Ring Toss during the summer when I was 21. I threw rings all the time and made it once. It shocked the hell out of me. It is luck. That's it. There is no way you can see the way a ring will bounce after 5 ricochets off bottles. Throw them and hope, I say.

I have no digital watch

03-25-2000, 12:53 AM
The huckster never does it the "correct" way. They violate the rules one way or another, because that's the only way anyone can consistently win.

Max Torque
03-25-2000, 01:00 AM
Your best bet is to throw the ring in a very high arc, with the ring horizontal from start to finish, like a frisbee. You want it to drop as straight down as possible to minimize the bounce factor. Even doing so, and with lots of practice, you're lucky to ring 5% of your throws. Plus, the game runners will probably have a low ceiling or hang stuffed animals around or make you stand farther back so that you can't get a high arc, making your chances of a ringer even slimmer. Move on to a winnable game, eh.

Patty O'Furniture
03-26-2000, 01:19 AM
All this for a big stuffed panda or pink panther. It's the "prizes" that keep me from being tempted to play these games.

03-26-2000, 01:31 AM
If they have a low enough ceiling, it isn't specifically prohibited in the posted rules and/or no one is looking, try to toss the ring until it hits the ceiling. This will slow the momentum and help the ring to drop straight down giving it a better chance at landing on the bottle. I have several very large stuffed animals I won at ring toss games!

I always try to do things in chronological order.

03-26-2000, 10:10 AM
I won a huge freakin' bear at 6-flags by throwing a quarter or dime (can't remember which) on to a plate. Pure luck. The coin hit the plate and started spinning. Several seconds later the coin settled down onto the plate...the 'carnie' had kinda a shocked look on his face.

03-26-2000, 11:30 AM
Put some ear wax on the coin next time GasDr. It won't bounce :-)

03-26-2000, 11:51 AM
What does one do, handy.. save it up or just not clean yer ears for a year?

03-26-2000, 04:35 PM
My sister and I won a carnival game simply by being pretty and with two other guys!! The carnies were a young guy and an older guy, and their booth was in an area that wasn't being frequented much since the fair just started.

We were with my sis' boyfriend and his friend and the carnies made them play by the rules, so they didn't win. They let my sis and I cheat a little though. The game consisted of using a pole with a string attached that had a ring on the end of the string. You had to use that ring to lift a coke bottle into an upright position on an inclined ramp. We cheated by leaning over the counter as we lifted. Easy as pie!! And we won two huge (classy) warner brother's stuffed animals. (Wile E. Coyote and Marvin the Martian).

So my advice? Be flirty and cute! (just kidding!)

"I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I assume you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you." --Whitman

03-26-2000, 05:02 PM

Nasal mucous ought to work just as well.

Fear Itself
03-26-2000, 07:31 PM
Ditto for Fomunda Cheese.


"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
--James Thurber

03-26-2000, 07:50 PM
Nickrz, I read a book on how people cheat at those games & they said the ear wax thing. Or candle wax. Whichever you prefer.

ring tosses use very small rings. Basketball throws use very small basketball rings, too.

Max Torque
03-27-2000, 11:07 AM
They also use highly-inflated basketballs, which makes them much much bouncier. Thus, the odds of a shot other than a 'swish' going in are greatly reduced.

Most of those carnival games are grifts, much shadier and much worse odds than anything you'll find in Vegas. You wanna play a game with crappy odds, just buy lottery tickets.

03-27-2000, 02:28 PM
Not only that, but the basketball hoop is elliptical rather than circular. You can't tell because of the perspective. The hoop is twice as wide as the ball, but only a little longer than the ball. Look at the hoop from the side and you'll see what I mean.

If Cecil Adams did not exist, we would be obliged to create Him.

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