- Dealer's Choice (game show)
Dealer's Choice Format Game Show Created by Ed Fishman
Presented by Bob Hastings
with Jane Nelson
Narrated by Jim Thompson Country of origin United States Production Running time 30 Minutes Broadcast Original channel Syndicated Original run January 21, 1974 – December 12, 1975
Dealer' s Choice was an American game show that aired from January 21, 1974 to December 12, 1975 in syndication for a total of 210 episodes. Bob Hastings was the host for only the first few weeks and was later replaced by Jack Clark. They were assisted by hostess Jane Nelson and by announcer Jim Thompson. The show was taped at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, but later moved to Los Angeles after its first season.
Three contestants were chosen from the studio audience, where their names were revealed behind a slot machine symbol. Later in the run, Jack would pick a person from the audience to have them pick four symbols, earning $25 for each name, and a bonus prize for all three. During the first season, the contestant podiums each contained a side of a single die (One, Two, and Three). During the second season the podiums contained picture cards to represent the contestants' gender (queens for ladies, kings for men). The panel would either be three queens, two queens and a king or two kings and a queen (never three kings).
The contestants were each given 100 chips to wager in various casino-type games. Some games played were "Blackjack", "Any Pair Loses", "In-Between" "Ace Is Out", "Combination", "Hi-Lo", "10 Pin", "Double or Nothing", "Wheel of Chance", "Dealer's Derby", "Jacks or Better", "Bingo", "Baseball" which was not played often & retired after season 1, "Keno" which only appeared once, "Tropicana 500", "8 Ball" which was played only during season 2, "One Wheel Bandit" which is similar to Wheel of Chance", "Speculation" which is similar to Dealer's Derby and "Tropicana Open" which is similar to Tropicana 500. On the first game, contestants can bet 5 or 10 chips on games that can double your winnings up to 160 chips (if you go all the way). The second had a 25 chip max & third game, always "Blackjack", had a 50 chip max.
Wheel of Chance used card suits and One Wheel Bandit used slot machine symbols. Spade/cherry paid even money (1:1) made up 12 of the 24 spaces on the wheel, hearts/bell paid 3:1 made up 6 spaces, clubs/orange paid 5:1 made up 4 spaces, and diamonds/bar (only two spaces) paid 11:1. There was a third wheel with 3 different choices: Field paid 1:1 (12 spaces), 7-11 paid 3:1 (7 spaces), and Craps paid 5:1 (5 spaces).
Dealer's Derby and Tropicana 500 were played using a lottery machine with various balls in the machine agitating as they come out. It can be played either as horse racing (Dealer's Derby) or auto racing (Tropicana 500). The balls marked "1" represented the horse/car that paid even money while balls marked "2" paying 3:1 and the balls marked "3" paid 5:1. The lottery machine was also used representing for other games such as "8 Ball" where pool balls were used. 3 solid balls paid even money while 5 striped balls paid 3:1 & the lone black ball (8-ball) paid 8:1.
Blackjack; A member of the studio audience was chosen to act as the dealer. If the contestants lost, the dealer would win a prize. If the dealer had blackjack, that contestant wins a big prize. Win or lose, the dealer also earns $1 times the number of chips lost by the players.
The day's fourth and final game was always designated the "Last Chance Round" game, in which players could bet any amount of chips instead of the usual maximums. During the Bob Hastings era, the game was called "Last Chance", where 5 cards were revealed and totaled. This game is in the home version, "Place Your Bets", as "Total Up". At the end of the game, each player picked a prize from one of three levels (1-100/101-300/301 & over) based on their total. Finishing with more than 500 chips was also worth a bonus prize. The highest-scoring player played the bonus round.
The winning player rolled special dice whose faces represented sums of money from $50 to $200. One face on one of the dice had a spade on it, and if the contestant rolled the spade all bonus round winnings were lost. The contestant continued to roll until they hit the spade, quit with the money already won or reached $1,000, in which case they also won a bonus prize.
When the show moved to the Burbank studios, the "Tropicana" name was dropped from the games and replaced by "Mint" and "Sahara" representing those hotels in Las Vegas.
The series' existence has not been confirmed, but possibly destroyed. One episode with Hastings and two with Clark are known to exist. One of the Clark episodes has been added to YouTube recently. (See EXTERNAL LINKS below.)
A home edition of the game was produced by Gamut Of Games under the name PLACE YOUR BETS. (This was because Parker Brothers had produced another board game called "Dealer's Choice"--based on used car dealerships—at about the same time.) Host Jack Clark and hostess Jane Nelson were pictured on the cover, and it featured many of the same games from the series. Due to the name change and the little-known company producing it (their only other "game show home game" was for The Diamond Head Game), it is one of the rarer home games to find, often commanding $100+ prices on the secondary market.
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