Card Sharks

1976-1981: Jim Perry, Gene Wood
1986: Bob Eubanks, Gene Wood

Premise: Two players endeavor to win a whole lotta money by correctly guessing whether the next card is higher or lower than the last.

The Toss-up Question
A hi/lo toss-up is read to the champion. Questions ask 100 people whether they agree with a statement. ("We asked 100 house-husbands, do you follow any daytime soap operas?") The champion guesses how many agreed with that statement. ("Well, Jim, I think that the number will be low, so I'll say only 21 do.") The challenger then guessed whether the actual number was higher or lower. If the challenger was right, he or she played the cards first; otherwise, the champion played. If the champion was exactly right, the champion won automatically. In 1980 or so, $500 was awarded for giving an exact answer to a survey question.

The Cards
The players each have the first five cards dealt from their decks. The champion plays the red cards on top, the challenger plays the bottom blue cards. Whoever won the question looks at their base card, and may change it if they wish. After that, the player must call the next card higher or lower. If correct, the player moves to the next card, otherwise the opponent may play, but without the option of changing the base card. If the next card is a duplicate of the last card, it counts as wrong. Starting in 1981, contestants could win a $500 bonus for getting from the base card to the end of the row in one turn without freezing.

Freezing protected the players' current position in the game, and prevented the opponent from playing. After freezing, the next question was asked, you gave up on the cards for that turn.

The player on the cards won the game by successfully turning over all five cards (and being right on the last.) If this didn't happen, the players switched roles on the question, and continued.

Sudden Death
If by the fourth question, neither player has won, the fourth question is sudden death. Whoever wins the question may play the cards, or force the opponent to play. The reason for this is that any mistake on the cards gave the round to the opponent.

Whoever won two games won and moved up to the bonus. If the players split the first two games, the third game is played with three cards and three questions as the tie-breaker.

The Money Cards
The contestant was given $200 and three rows of cards. The bottom row had four cards, the next row had three, and the top row one. The base card was turned and the player had the opportunity to change it if desired. Later, the contestant could change the base card of each level. The play was the same, but the player bet on the cards, with even odds on each turn. Minimum bets were $50, and the player won an additional $200 upon moving up to the next level. On the top level, the player had to bet at least half of their money.

Contestants retired after winning seven matches, and Norma Brown was the only contestant to win $29,000 in one match. During Young Players' Week, two contestants played two matches, and had an adult come up to help them with the Money Cards. In the first Young Players Week, all contestants won at least $100, along with a random Christmas gift.

The Game Show Hosts Tournament
For three weeks in 1980, Alex Trebek, Bill Cullen, Tom Kennedy, Gene Rayburn, Wink Martindale, Jack Clark, Jim Lange, and Allen Ludden played the game, raising money for charities. Four hosts would play in each heat in a round robin format. The two hosts who won the most money would move on to the third week, where they would do it again. The two winners of the semi-final matches played in the finals, where Alex Trebek defeated Bill Cullen to win $25,000 more. Bill was given the chance to play the Money Cards in the last act, and increased his total to over $20,000.

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