Joeman
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
• Posts: 2094
February 21st, 2014 at 6:15:13 PM permalink
Several years back, maybe in 2008 or so, the Wheel of Fortune game show added a \$1 million wedge to the wheel. The rules, as I understand them, state that for a contestant to win the \$1 million, he must accomplish all of the following:

1) In the main game, spin the wheel such that the wheel land exactly on the center 1/3 of the wedge (the outer 1/3's are Bankrupt spaces). I read that there are 24 wedges on the big wheel.
2) Call a letter that is found in the puzzle. (The contestant picks up the wedge at this point.)
3) Solve the puzzle for the round in which he obtains the wedge.
4) Be the Big Winner of the main game. (Without hitting a Bankrupt from the point at which he picks up the wedge)
5) Spin the bonus prize wheel such that the the wheel lands on the \$1 million prize. (Which replaces the standard \$100,000 prize on the bonus wheel if #1-4 above have been successfully completed.) I read that there are also 24 spaces on the bonus wheel.
6) Solve the bonus puzzle.

The contestants all seem to go gaga about the \$1 million wedge if they have a chance to get it, and the host seems to encourage this fervor. However, I am skeptical that the addition of this wedge to the wheel increases the contestants' EV at all. In addition to the long odds of wining the \$1 million prize, the addition of the 2 Bankrupt sections makes me think the addition of this wedge (which I believe replaced a dollar amount wedge) is overall bad for the contestants. But I have obviously not done the math.

So my questions are, did the addition of the \$1 million wedge increase the EV for the contestants? If so (or even if not!), if the \$1 million wedge were replaced by a standard money amount wedge, what would that amount be that would offer the same expected value to the contestants?
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"
Mosca
Joined: Dec 14, 2009
• Posts: 3936
February 21st, 2014 at 6:25:14 PM permalink
I don't know the answer, but two people have won the \$1,000,000.
NO KILL I
endermike
Joined: Dec 10, 2013
• Posts: 584
February 21st, 2014 at 6:31:10 PM permalink
Cool question. I will give it a try. One thing we should try to establish up front is are we interested in how it effects an average player, or a "good player." When I say a "good player" I mean one who is above average at the game and more likely to be able to solve these puzzles generally and than their opponents.

Which do you think we should use?
endermike
Joined: Dec 10, 2013
• Posts: 584
February 21st, 2014 at 6:32:33 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

I don't know the answer, but two people have won the \$1,000,000.

This is helpful. Does anyone know how many-ish episodes they have had this feature? Further, does anyone have a good guess how many players get to other stages of the process?
Ibeatyouraces
Joined: Jan 12, 2010
• Posts: 11933
February 21st, 2014 at 6:41:37 PM permalink
deleted
DUHHIIIIIIIII HEARD THAT!
beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
• Posts: 14234
February 21st, 2014 at 6:52:56 PM permalink
Here's a first piece of info:

million

The million dollar wedge premiered on Sept 8, 2008, but

1. it was a full wedge, not a part-bankrupt.
2. it was initially only on the wheel for 1 round.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
• Posts: 14234
February 21st, 2014 at 7:02:59 PM permalink
There is another rule needed in the OP's list, which I found elsewhere;

The person holding the wedge must NEVER land on a bankrupt the rest of the game, even after winning the round for the wedge. I think any carryover (such as the wild card and the 1/2 car) is vulnerable to this rule as well, but I don't know that.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
Ibeatyouraces
Joined: Jan 12, 2010
• Posts: 11933
February 21st, 2014 at 7:05:10 PM permalink
deleted
DUHHIIIIIIIII HEARD THAT!
beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
• Posts: 14234
February 21st, 2014 at 7:28:32 PM permalink
The wedge, in the round it's used, is placed on top of a 500 yellow wedge, which goes back into play if it's won, so there is an extra 2/3 wedge bankrupt on the wheel for all or part of that round only. Also from wiki/wheeloffortunehistory:
Several contestants have been only one or two pegs away from the \$1,000,000 envelope. Two have lost the wedge to a Bankrupt, then lost \$100,000 in the Bonus Round, while one won the \$100,000 after losing the wedge. Also, one team during a Family Week won the \$100,000 after failing to solve the round in which they claimed the wedge.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
Joeman
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
• Posts: 2094
February 21st, 2014 at 8:43:13 PM permalink
Quote: endermike

Cool question. I will give it a try. One thing we should try to establish up front is are we interested in how it effects an average player, or a "good player." When I say a "good player" I mean one who is above average at the game and more likely to be able to solve these puzzles generally and than their opponents.

Which do you think we should use?

Thanks for your interest, endermike. My hypothesis and the reason for my original question is that I think the \$1 million wedge reduces the EV for all contestants. For that reason, I think we should figure it for the "average" contestant. I actually hope I am wrong because I hate to think that WoF would add a feature that actually reduces how much the players win.
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"