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Thursday, March 13, 2014

What is a "Partial Win?"

I get asked this question quite a bit since I began using this term back at the start of the season.  Not always politely, either.  If I could show you my comment-moderation queue sometimes...

But maybe I should plainly spell out just what I mean by this term, and clearly spell out what has to happen in which games in order for a partial win to come into play.

In the first place, I don't like the term "partial win" at all.  I don't think it conveys the appropriate meaning, as you'll soon see.  I only use it, quite frankly, due to the lack of anything better to use.  It's actually an outgrowth of games that have a bailout option, where you're given the chance to stop the game early and take a lesser prize/cash amount if you think you don't have a chance of taking home the main prize.

To me, a loss is a loss.  You don't win anything, or the money/prize you do end up winning is a fiddling small amount.  That said, there are some games where a lesser secondary prize might actually be somewhat desirable in its own right; you wouldn't turn your nose up if it was offered you in Contestant's Row, for example.  Sure, it's not a car or $25,000 cash, but you could realistically call it "not bad for about three minutes' work" if you ended up with it at the end of the game.  And it beats all hell out of a couple of measly bucks in the Piggy Bank or a toaster oven.

That's when I started thinking about all those games, and there are a few of them, where if you don't actually win the major prize you can still walk away with at least one halfway decent prize -- or, of course, you could lose your shirt altogether.  And as it tends to do, my conscience starts nagging at me when I start thinking along those lines... is it really a "loss," for example, if a player ends Any Number by at least filling in the three-digit prize?  Even if it's not the car, it's usually still something nice, like an XBox or a high-end coffee appliance.  And it'd still be more than you'd get if you lost in other games where it's literally all or nothing. 

That's when the idea of the "partial win" was born, though I did once toy with the notion of calling them "semi-wins."  And here's a list of all the games where they apply and their conditions, including games with bailouts:

Any Number: Winning the three-digit prize.
Gas Money: Take the money at any time before revealing the pink slip.
Golden Road: Win the four-digit prize.
Grand Game: Take the $1,000 bailout when it's offered.
½ Off: Win the $1,000 bonus, i.e., play the pricing portion of the game perfectly.
It's In the Bag: Take the money at any time before reaching the last bag.
Let 'em Roll: Take the money when at least $1,500 is showing.
Master Key: Win at least one of the two smaller prizes.
More or Less: Win at least the first two prizes.
Pass the Buck: End the game with at least $3,000, through stopping or otherwise.
Pay the Rent: Take the money at the $5,000 or $10,000 levels.
Plinko: Win at least $2,000.
Punch-a-Bunch: Take the money at any point before the last slip is revealed.
Race Game: Win at least two of the four prizes.
Rat Race: Win at least one race prize.
Spelling Bee: Take the money at any point before the last card is revealed.
Step Up:  Take the money and prize(s) at any point before the last price is revealed.
Temptation: Take the prizes and forget about the car.

Note that Plinko and Punch-a-Bunch also have "Fudge Rules" that affect outright wins as well.  Plinko is considered a "win" if at least one chip lands in the $10,000 slot, while finding and keeping the $10,000 card is good enough for a Punch-a-Bunch win.

It is important to note two things here.  First, with the exception of the two Fudge Rules defined in the preceding paragraph, these are still officially counted as "losses" as far as determing a winning percentage goes.  In other words, a game with a record of 6-5-0 and one with a 6-3-2 record would have the same winning percentage (.545), since only the six wins would count against the other results.  Second, you have to understand that by no means am I any sort of official records person for the show.  What the Price bean counters consider "wins" and "losses" is the only "official" thing there is.  I'm just some schlub on the Internet who likes to write about this stuff.  You don't have to agree with my leniency in these matters, but you do have to respect my right to an opinion on them, just as I'd respect yours if the tables were turned.

There.  Hopefully that clears up any confusion and we won't have to discuss this again.  Enjoy your evening.  8^)

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