Tricks Carnivals Don't Want You To Know About

Carnival games are tons of fun. However, you better think twice when spending on these games. Here are the top ten tricks carnivals wouldn't want you to know!


Carnival games are tons of fun. For just a dollar or two, you can earn yourself a plush toy or premium prizes that you won't get anywhere else. While it's certainly enticing to win these prizes, booth owners often employ several underhanded tricks to make it hard for you to win these prizes.

Better think twice when spending on these games, or you might end up getting played by them. Here are the top ten tricks carnivals wouldn't want you to know!

10. Balloon Tricks

Balloon dart throw is one of the most common games found in carnivals. In this game, you are given a set of darts to pop a balloon. Pretty easy, right? It would be, if it weren't for the fact that the balloons are underinflated, which makes the darts bounce off instead of popping them.


Add to that the fact that the dart tips are made dull, making it even harder for you to pop the balloon. And to make things even worse for the player, the worthwhile prizes are found on the balloons placed on the sides, which are quite hard to hit compared to the ones clumped in the middle.


If you really want to win in this game, you must be able to throw the dart as hard as you can while maintaining your accuracy. Do just that and you'll end up having a stuffed doll in your hands.

9. The Duck Pond Game

Popular among young children, the Duck Pond game is a carnival game that is literally impossible to lose. The objective of this game is simple: retrieve a plastic duck from a pond and you win a prize.


That's just about it, really. The problem is if you're looking to get the jackpot, be ready to shell out tens to hundreds of dollars, because the chances of netting the jackpot prize are astronomically low.

According to Bill L. Howard, author of Carnival Fraud 101, the Duck Pond game is designed to make players want to keep playing the game for a chance to get the jackpot.


Persistent players wanting to win the jackpot will keep on going, not knowing that 99 percent of the ducks contain minor prizes, leading to them unwittingly falling for the carnival's trap. If you're looking to take home better carnival prizes, it's recommended you avoid this game at all costs.

8. Free Throw Games Not Following Standard Setups


If you think your years of playing basketball will help you win at this popular carnival game, think again. At first glance, you may think there's nothing wrong with the setup. But if you take a closer look, you'll see a number of things that seem off.

For one, the rim is smaller and oval-shaped, which makes it harder for you to sink those baskets. Also, the balls used in this game are overinflated, making it bouncier than your common basketball.


And to make things even more complicated, the free throw setup is not on par with standard regulations — the basketball hoop height is measured at 11 feet, a foot higher than the standard regulation of 10 feet, and the distance between the hoop and the player is measured at 28 feet, which is far from the usual 24 feet.

So don't fret if you don't successfully land a successful shot, because even the greatest NBA superstars will have a hard time making those free throws in this game.

7. Tricky Tubs Use Extra Bouncy Balls

Another popular carnival game, the goal of Tricky Tubs is to toss two balls into a tub with them staying there. To convince you that the game is winnable, the booth person will demonstrate how it's done by tossing the first ball inside the tub, and then handing you the second ball for a practice shot.


Oftentimes, you will land it with ease. So this game should be a piece of cake, right? Well not exactly. It's named "tricky" for good reason. The tubs used in the game are made of plastic, which gives the balls an extra bounce, resulting in the balls bouncing off the tub no matter which angle you toss them.

The only reason you were able to land the second ball earlier was that the first ball inside the tub was there to reduce the bounce of the second ball, allowing it to stick inside the tub.


Without it, even the slightest throws will result in your ball bouncing out of the tub. Don't believe me? Just ask Henry Gribbohm, who spent his life savings on this game trying to win an XBOX Kinect. So take my advice: stay away from this game.

6. Bottles in the Bottle Pyramid Game


A common game found in most carnivals, the bottle pyramid attracts carnival attendees due to its relatively simple mechanics — throw a ball and knock over the stack of bottles in one go. This game would be easy, if it weren't for the fact that the bottom bottles contain lead, giving them a weight of up to 10 pounds.


The balls used in this game are also lighter, making it even harder for you to knock down those lead-filled bottles. Fortunately, this game is not impossible to beat, but you need to be able to perform an accurate and powerful throw.

Instead of aiming for the middle of the three bottles, try aiming at the middle of the two bottom bottles. Knocking down those lead-filled bottles will guarantee you a prize, so throw as hard as you can while maintaining your accuracy.


5. Baseball Toss Radars Measure Lower Speeds


If you want to test out your ability to throw high-speed pitches, the baseball toss game might help you determine if you are ready for the big leagues. Or not. The baseball radars used in this game are tweaked, resulting in them measuring lower speeds.

And as the game requires you to guess your pitching speed, the odds are basically stacked against you since you're competing with a "faulty" baseball radar. However, there is a way to beat this game.

Throw a slow ball on your first try, followed by a speedy pitch on your second, and then throw a slightly faster pitch on your last try. Doing this will let you gauge your pitching speed, allowing you to guess your last pitch's speed a bit more accurately.


4. Ring Toss Games

If you're looking for a carnival game that nets you the best prizes, look no further than the ring toss game. Giant stuffed bears and other prizes can be won in this game if you manage to land a ring in one of the hundred bottles.


While it may sound simple, it's actually almost impossible to beat. There are two things that make this game harder than it should be: one, the rings are made of plastic, and two, the rings are only slightly larger than the bottles' necks.


So even if you try your best to make an accurate throw, it will most likely end up bouncing off the bottles. This game is so hard, that it can only be beaten through sheer luck. If you wish to try out your luck, go ahead. Just try not to overspend trying to win that giant stuffed bear for yourself!

3. Shoot the Star Vs Newton's Third Law

If accuracy games are your thing, then 'Shoot the Star' is the game for you. Unlike other carnival games in this article, Shoot the Star is a totally fair game, with no underhanded tricks to stop you from getting those prizes.


Unfortunately, even with no tricks involved, this game can be infuriatingly hard. That's because you're faced with Newton's third Law of Motion: "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".

Once you are able to tear down the surrounding area of the star, you're left with a small piece of paper that is hard to tear down with your BB gun because there's not enough resistance from the paper to counteract the bullets' force.


Fortunately, there is a way to win this game — form a small circle around the star and use the last few bullets to try to push out the entire target. It may be hard to accomplish, but it's the only way to beat this game.


2. The Rope Ladder is Designed to Make You Lose

Another popular skill-based game is the rope ladder climb, in which you are tasked to reach the top of the ladder and ring the bell to win the prize. It may seem easy, but once you try your hand at this game, you'll find yourself falling into the mattress over and over again.

Why? Because the rope ladder is supported by one point in the wall instead of two.


This greatly affects your ability to balance yourself as it essentially turns the rope ladder into a tightrope, making it hard for you to climb properly without falling off. The ladder rungs are also designed to confuse players, as holding onto these will result in the rope ladder tilting, making you lose your balance entirely.

However, with enough practice and a really good sense of balance, it is possible to accomplish this game every time. It will just take you a lot of practice to tune your fine motor skills. In fact, you can rack up tons of prizes in this game alone.


That is, until the booth owner decides to kick you out for winning too many prizes. And that's what will happen because this is one of the few games that have restrictions on the amount of prizes you can win per month, per person.

They know some people can clear them out of prizes, so this ensures the only people who play are the ones who most likely can't win.

1. Carnival Prizes are Cheaper When Bought Online

Suppose you win that giant stuffed bear on your first try in any of these carnival games. Lucky for you, right? Apparently not. That's because the entry fee for most of these games costs more than the prize you just won.

That plush toy you just won? Probably worth less than a dollar. That giant stuffed bear you won after several tries? Probably 10 dollars at most.


Don't believe me? Google the words "carnival prizes" and you'll see several websites selling these carnival prizes for cheap. Basically, if you feel that you've won something worthwhile in a carnival game, chances are that you lost more money paying to win it compared to buying it online.

If you want to get that giant stuffed toy for a friend or a loved one, it's best you buy it from online merchants. You'll end up spending less money that way.

Regardless of whether you win carnival prizes or not, the important thing is to just have fun, so always remember that. Thanks for reading!

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