Wheel of Fortune is the longest-running television game show in the United States. After its premiere on the 6th of January, 1975, on NBC, the game show has aired about 6,000 episodes. Hosted by Pat Sajak & Vanna White, the game features contestants solving word puzzles and winning cash prizes in dollars, largely determined by the result of a spun wheel.
How to Play Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune is quite an easy game to play and win. A contestant plays the game based on a selected number of rounds. At each round, the contestant is presented with a blank word puzzle and is expected to guess each letter of the answer.
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The wheel has twenty-four spaces that are labeled with dollar amounts. The least amount is usually $500 while the highest is $900. However, there are specific additional amounts available in each category. For example, $2500 in round one, $3500 in round two and so on. On the wheel, there are also spaces allocated to “Bankrupt” and “Lose a Turn.” If a contestant’s spin stops in any of these two spaces, that contestant gets to miss a turn of play. In addition to that, there are spaces allocated to “wild card,” “gift tags” “1/2 Car”. These largely depend on the number of rounds that the contestant has played, and each has its benefits for the player.
All a contestant needs to do is first to spin the wheel, and if the spin stops on a cash value, the contestant will be required to guess a consonant letter that would likely fill up the blank puzzle. If the contestant guesses the consonant right, the person has already won the cash value and wins more cash if the guessed consonant appears more than once in the puzzle. The cash is doubled per the number of times the consonant appears. The contestant is further required to buy vowels for $250 each to complete the rest of the puzzle when all the consonants have been completed. As long as the contestant keeps getting the consonants right, the person maintains the turn spinning the wheel however when the person gets the consonant wrong or repeats an already called letter the next contestant takes over the wheel.
In the final round, the television host(s) spin the wheel and $1000 is added to the value that the win stops on. Here, the contestant does not have to buy vowels. The contestant calls any letter. If the letter appears in the puzzle, the contestant has three seconds to solve it. If he misses, the next contestant appears, and this goes on until the puzzle is solved. It’s often called a “speed-up” round. After this is finished, the contestant earnings are compared, and the one with the highest amount is advanced to a bonus round. If there is a tie, the contestant gets to play a “Toss-up.”
Special Play/Additional Features
Free Play Wedge- here the contestant wins $500 per consonant, has the opportunity to get free vowels or is not given any penalty for an incorrect letter.
Toss-up Puzzles: The puzzle displays one random letter at a time, and a cash reward is given to the contestant who guesses the right answer first.
Mystery Wedge: Occurs in round 2. Here the contestant either wins a cash value of $1000 for every correct letter or flips to the other side of the wedge to either win a $10,000 cash prize or “bankrupt.”
Prize Puzzle: Occurs in round 3. The contestant wins a particular prize, for example, a trip, for solving the puzzle.
It is added to the wheel in Round 3. When a contestant’s spin stops on third, and he guesses a correct consonant, he receives $1000 for each number of time the consonant appears.
Often played at the end, the winning contestant gets to spin a smaller version of the wheel which has 24 envelopes. The contestant is required to guess a certain number of consonants and vowels within ten seconds to solve the puzzle. Whether the puzzle is solved or not, the host opens an envelope to reveal the prize at stake. Prizes range from $34000 to $50000 and a vehicle. The contestant might also win either a top prize of $100,000 or $1,000,000 (usually given in installments or as a lump sum)
The game often features either of the following:
Three individual contestants
Three two-contestant teams
How to Enter
The game is open to anyone within the age of 18 and above except employees and family members of CBS, Sony and other affiliations. The prospective contestants usually go through an open audition at public venues across the USA where they are given entry forms which are drawn randomly. Any individual whose name is drawn appears on stage and is interviewed, alongside four others, by a host, Marty Lublin. Marty usually travels across the cities in a “Wheel Mobile” and is also referred to as the traveling host.
The five individuals then go on to play a mock version of the speed-up round, win prizes and five new names are selected after a puzzle is solved. The auditions usually last for two days, and the “most promising” candidates are invited to participate in a second audition where they play more mock games within five minutes. Winning candidates go on to play more and are given more interviews.
The game show is one of the most interesting in the world, and it continues to grow regarding popularity.