The Best Ways to Beat Carnival Games

Before you plunk down your hard-earned cash toĀ test your strengthĀ or match wits with carnies in the ring toss, know that the odds are never in your favor. It’s likeĀ The Hunger GamesĀ that way. You’ll have a better chance at some games than others, and some (like the one with the bowling pin you have to knock over) are just physically impossible.

Did you know that the game where you use a ring on a fishing line to stand up a beer bottle is probably the easiest to win? Or how about the secret to knocking down the cats in the cat rack? We collected pro tips to help you knock down milk jugs,Ā sink baskets,Ā flip coins onto a plate, and many more.

Step right up and read all about it, then vote for your favorite tip that you can use to win big at your next carnival!

Throw Hard When You Play Balloon Darts

If you want to pop a balloon and win your boo a prize by playing balloon darts, you need to remember a few things. The balloons are underinflated and the dart tips are dull, so throw the dart as hard as you can.

Additionally, the best prizes are almost always behind the balloons on the edges, since most people tend to aim at the middle.

Aim At The Bottom In The Milk Bottle Toss
For the milk bottle toss, know that the bottles are weighted down and extra heavy. In order to knock them down, aim between the two bottles at the bottom, not the intersection of all the bottles.
Shoot Around The Star, Not Right At It
This is one of the most difficult carnival games. According to numerous sources, the way to beat it is to shoot around the star to make a circle so the paper will fall out with the star. NĀ ote that the gun barrels are often bent, and their marks are not accurate. It’s important to gauge just how far off the mark the gun shoots and adjust your aim accordinglyĀ within the first few shots.
Ignore The Rungs To Beat The Rope Ladder

The trick to climbing carnival rope ladders, according toĀ Blifaloo.com, is to ignore the rungs and only use the outside ropes to climb on.Ā While applying equal pressure with your right foot and left arm, move your left foot and right arm at the same time. Then do the same thing with the opposite limbs, shimmying yourself up the ladder.

Do not move both hands or both feet at the same time because you’ll lose your balance.

This Game Tests Your Accuracy, Not Your Strength
You don’t have to be built like Vin Diesel to win a big teddy bear during one of those test-your-strength games, the ones where you try to ring a bell by hitting a target with a mallet. It’s all about accuracy, not strength. Hold the mallet as far down the handle as you can, judge how far away you can stand,Ā and hit the target dead center.
Line Up Your Shot Early In The Water Gun Game

In the water-gun game, a row of people play and each one gets a water pistol. The object is to be the first one to fill his or her balloon with air that’s mounted on top of their clown head, which you do by firing a stream of water into its mouth. The trick to edging out your competition is to line up your shot and squeeze the trigger before the bell even rings.

If you’re already lined up and focused instead of distracted by all the carny nonsense, you’ll be that much more likely to win.

 

Ask To Guess Your Birth Month, Not Age Or Weight

Unless you are significantly overweight or really don’t look your age, it’s best to have a carnival operator guess your birth month. However, according toĀ Blifaloo.com, you should say that your birthday is in October even if it’s not. Here’s why:Ā If the carny uses this trick (not all do) they will scribble down something like the image above. Does it say Jun, Jul, or Jan? The guesser could claim it’s whichever is closest to your birth month.

That wide spread allows the carny to be within two months of any month except one: October.

Swinger Is Unbeatable

The reason why you can’t beat the Swinger game is basic physics, according toĀ Artofmanliness.com. In the game, aĀ wooden pin sits on a table. Above it hangs a ball suspended from a rope. The object of the game is to swing the ball past the pin and knock it over as it returns towards you.Ā 

Basic physics says your ball will return in an arc the same distance from the pin on the return swing, meaning the ball will miss the pin completely on its way back. So just steer clear of this unwinnable game.

Tricky Tubs Of Fun
This game is like the basket toss, except the baskets have been replaced by plastic buckets for extra bounce. And it’s usually rigged.Ā Ā “From inside the booth, the carny tosses a softball and from his vantage point, it stays inside the tub,”Ā investigator Bill L. Howard explains.Ā “Then he gives you the second softball for a practice throw – and it stays in for a win.” Why? The carny’s first ball remains inside the tub to deaden it and prevent your toss from bouncing out. But once you hand over your money, he removes both balls and hands them to you. Without a deadening ball, guess what? Your first toss bounces out.”You might as well throw your second ball across the midway because no way it will stay inside the tub, either,” says Howard.

Use Gentle Backspin For The Basket Toss
The basket toss seems deceptively easy, but it’s not. You should lĀ ean over to get as close to the basket as you are allowed. Toss the ball gently using some backspin. Aim for the inside upper lip of the basket.
Aim For The Back Of The Milk Can And Use Backspin
Before you try to sink a softball into one of those 10 gallon milk cans, be aware that a piece of steel is welded to the rim of the can, making the opening just one-sixteenth of an inch larger than a softball. The key to winning is to use backspin: toss the ball underhand but grip the ball on the top and aim for the back of the rim.
Keep Your Arm Low For Whac-A-Mole
To win at Whac-A-Mole, you want to minimize the distance between your mallet and those pesky critters that keep popping up for a beat down. We know you think it looks manly to hit with authority, but you’ll hit a whole lot more if you keep the arc of your swing as small as possible.
Aim For The Noses In The Cat Rack Game
To knock down those resilient little kittens in the cat-rack game, use a gentle dart motion and aim for the noses. It’s about angles and targeting, not brute force.
It’s All In The Wrist For The Ring-Toss Game
If you want to beat the ring-toss game, it’s all in the wrist. You want to snap your wrist when you throw in order to achieve the greatest possible spin. This stabilizes the ring and makes it easier to land on the target
Graze The Board To Win Flukey Ball
In Flukey Ball, contestants must bank a wiffle ball off a slanted board and into a basket below. It sounds easy, but it’s actually tricky. According toĀ artofmanliness.com, the keys to winning this game are to 1) ask if you can lean over, 2) make sure you use the same ball as the carny, 3) toss the ball as lightly as possible to just graze the board.
A Little Spit Could Help You Win A Coin Toss

The object is to toss a coin onto a plate without the coin bouncing off. There are a few tricks fromĀ Blifaloo.comĀ that can help increase the odds of winning this game:

1. Use a very high arc with as little spin as possible when tossing the coin. You can even try tossing the coin right up into the hanging stuffed animals above.

2. Covertly cover the coin with spit before tossing it.

3. Some people recommend purposely bouncing the coin off one plate in order to make a second bounce land on a plate safely.

 

Even If You Win, The Goldfish Loses

One of the easiest games at any carnival is the goldfish game, the one where you toss a ping pong ball into a bowl to win that live pet you never wanted. Even if you win, though, the fish probably costs less than what you paid to play the game. And you’re stuck carrying the little guy around the carnival in a little plastic bag.

What goldfish doesn’t want to hang out in a sandwich bag while you stuff your face with cotton candy and play games?

Throw Softly In The Baseball Radar Game
When playing the baseball radar game, you have to guess the speed of your throw. You usually get two warm-up shots and then one that counts, so instead of throwing as hard as you can, throw slow on the first pitch. On the second throw, go slightly faster and guess your speed. Then throw slightly faster for your final throw.
The Odds Are Not In Your Favor At The Duck Pond
The goal of the duck pond is to use a fishing pole to retrieve a plastic duck from a makeshift pond. You’re supposed to keep playing in the hope of getting a better prize, but 99% are marked for a “slum prize,” which is carny jargon for junk. It’s like the lottery: somebody can hit the jackpot, but it’s unlikely to be you.

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