A Scientific Guide to Not Getting Scammed by Carny Games

Shooting baskets: Good. Ring bottle toss: Huge scam.

By Evan Bleier

 
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26 October 2017

The home of foods on a stick, poorly run rides and your snaggletoothed ex-neighbor who dropped out of middle school, the traveling carnival is a classic piece of the American fabric.

But it's also a crooked one. Yes, we're talking carny games.

Mark Rober, an ex-NASA engineer, recently undertook a research project to figure out if all carnival games are just big scams. According to his on-site experimentation, games fall into three categories: random chance games (rolling dice), skill-based games (shooting baskets) and near-impossible games (bottle ring toss).

As you can see from the video above, while not all of the games — even the near-impossible ones — are complete scams, science bears out that they all certainly verge in that direction.

Rober’s main takeaway other than that? If you really want a huge teddy bear, buy it on Amazon.

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