Card Sharks (TV Series 1978–1989) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Hosted by Jim Perry, were contestants are asked questions about how 100 people answered a poll question then played a card game where they tried to guess whether the next card drawn from a deck in a sequence would be higher or lower.

  • In 1978 NBC debuted "Card Sharks" and it features two(2) contestants, one(1) a champion competed. The host read a question asked of 100 people in a certain group (e.g., mothers-to-be, homecoming queens & Congressmen). The questions could be serious, funny, cute ... but were always interesting. The 1st contestant had to predict how many of those 100 people answered a certain way, while his or her opponent had to guess whether the actual figure was higher or lower. The contestant who was correct played a card game based on Acey-Deucey; he or she was shown their base card (they could play it or change it) and had to guess whether the next card was higher or lower than the previous one(1) card. {The Playing Cards ranked from Ace(High) to 2(Low)}. Any incorrect judgment (miscall or mistake) or a duplicate card had the overturned cards except the base card discarded and allowed the opponent a chance at his/her row of cards (no change of the base card allowed); players could "freeze" at any point to keep their opponent away from their cards or to gain an advantageous position. Up to four questions were played per game, with the 4th and final question called "sudden death." One game to complete all 5 cards calling Higher or Lower wins $100 and be the first(1st) player to win two(2) games collects $200 played the Big Money Cards; if a third (3rd) game was required, a "Sudden Death" round with 3 cards and a maximum of 3 questions was played. In the Big Money Cards, the champion used an initial purse of $200 to bet on a series of seven cards (positioned on a three(3) row board, with an extra $200 ($400 in 1986-1989) given after play of the third card); originally, the base card on only the first row could be changed, but this was later changed to changing the base card on each row; correct guesses earned the player their bet, while wrong guesses or a duplicate card lost the bet. Starting in October 1980, the contestant did not lose money if the exact card came up. The final card, if they didn't "BUST" (i.e. lost everything) on the second row was the "Big Bet," where the contestant had to bet at least half(1/2) of his/her cash. Up to $28,800 was possible. Champions continued until defeated or until winning seven(7) games. The Game Play was largely similar in the 1986 CBS/syndicated revival with the following changes: 1. Questions could also involve "educated guesses" or general knowledge questions with numerical answers and a special 10-member polling group seated in the audience who played for the entire week. 2. In 1988, the tiebreaker game was changed to one sudden death question. 3. One card on each row in the Big Money Cards could be changed. 4. In October 1986, after the Big Money Cards (for a chance up to $32,000), players could use any jokers found in the deck to help them win a new car with the help of 7 numbered cards (1 "CAR" & 6 "No" Cards); In July 1988, this was changed to a question read about the 10-member polling group, with a player winning the car for guessing the number exactly by moving a blue diamond shaped marker to place the number from 0 to 10. The player could win an extra $500 if they were one away from the correct number. The Show changed from 7 wins to 5 wins on CBS-TV & Syndicated.


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