How To Win At The Funfair Part 4

Lucky Lotto

The lotto, pick tickets, lucky dip, call it what you will is a long established game based purely on luck, or is it?

The principle is easy enough, you pick a number of tickets out of a container, open them and if you have the winning number, (usually any odd number) you win a big prize. A modern variation imported from the continent is the 21 game, where your tickets need to add up to 21 to win, this encourages repeat playing as you can keep your tickets and add to them.

The reality is slightly different, there used to be rogue operators, who never had winning tickets in the pile (very rare nowadays as with social media etc they are quickly marked out as being impossible to win on), but how it works now is that the tickets are stacked into bundles, with a pre selected number of bundles containing the winning tickets, these are then carefully fed to the players to regulate the number of winners and to try and keep the crowd interested by having enough winners come out on a regular basis to look like its easy to win. Once the stall becomes really busy then its a self perpetuating thing, that many tickets are being sold that winners are appearing every couple of minutes. The operator can keep the fever pitch going by surreptitiously slipping winners into the bundles they are starting to hand out.

Even operated this way it is a game purely of luck so there isn’t that much you can do to increase your chances of winning.

If a lotto stall has a large crowd viewing it but few players, then the operator will at some point seed a winning ticket out to try and draw the crowd in, so you probably have a higher chance of winning then, or when the stall is really busy, winners will be coming out more often due to the higher throughput of tickets, so that will slightly increase your chances.

The easiest way to gauge your chances of winning on any funfair stall, is simply to look at the value of the prize, if a prize is worth say £25, then common sense should tell you that the operator has to have more money come in from the players than the prize is worth, otherwise he goes out of business. The old come on of a super sized teddy bear with a sign saying me if you lose should tell you that the game is almost impossible to lose on (It would be illegal to be impossible, so it is made merely “Almost” impossible) and so therefore you are virtually guaranteed to win, trouble is the prize for winning will be a little tiny version of the Teddy bear worth much less.

How To Win At The Funfair Part 3

Winning On The Hoopla Stall

Another old time game that is still a staple of the modern funfair. Basically you need to throw a ring over a block (traditionally wood, but plastic tends to be used nowadays), if you manage to do it successfully you win whatever is on the block.

Now the first problem that crops up is, even after all these years, people don’t know the rules of the game, basically the ring needs to go over the block and lay flat on the table. Unfortunately many people still seem to think that all you need to do is throw a ring over the prize to win, something Stevie Wonder could manage to do with a little help.

In fact I once jumped into a hoopla stall to let a friend nip to the toilet and had an almighty row with a woman whose kid had managed to drop the ring over an Xbox or something similar and thought they had won it, even though the stall at the time had numerous signs indicating the rules, luckily my friend came back pretty quickly and he bore the brunt of her wrath

There are a couple of things you can do to improve your chances of winning, some of the blocks will have lower value prizes on, these tend to be ever so slightly smaller than the other blocks and consequently you have a slightly better chance of winning.

The only real advantage you can give yourself if playing for the more expensive prizes is to throw the rings like a Frisbee, imparting plenty of spin to them, sometimes they go over the prizes and spin their way down the block, but other than that it is pretty much a game of chance.

Winning At The Funfair Darts

Winning On Funfair Darts Stalls

There is a plethora of darts games on any decent sized fairground, from 3 separate whites to win, through bust a balloon and stick 3 separate cards.

Usually these are pretty straight games, and can be won by someone who is a good darts player (which most people are not), indeed some operators will happily let you use your own darts.

However there are a couple of things to watch out for. The bust a balloon game seems to easy to be true, well, guess what, it is too easy to be true. The fact is the darts are not competition sharp, the balloons are only partly inflated so they tend to give rather than bust. You can win on the game, just not as easily as you think.

The stick 3 separate cards is another one that can be slightly modified, again the darts tend not to be the sharpest, the cards are mounted on wooden panels so the darts need throwing quite hard to make them stick which affects your accuracy, again you can win but it isn’t as easy as it looks.

The one that does need an explanation though relies not on trickery, but peoples greed blinding their common sense. You walk up to a stall and spot a giant soft toy, probably something with a retail value of £40-£50. Around its neck hangs a sign proclaiming “Me If You Lose”. Wow you think, I am going to hand my £1.50 over and am guaranteed to walk away with at least that giant toy. Dream on, economics dictate that the operator would be bankrupt pretty quick if that were true. The game is usually something like score over 6 with 3 separate numbers to win. Now if you look at it the only way to lose is to stick 1,2 and 3. Darts outside the board tend to count as 6 as does sticking the same number twice, so you play and are almost guaranteed to win, when you do you receive a small toy which obviously has cost less wholesale than the price you paid. “AH but” you complain, why have I only get this little teddy for winning when you get that great big giant toy for losing? Because that’s the game!  Really all the operator has done is interchange the terms winning and losing.


Winning On The Cork Guns

The Cork Gun Shooting Range

With the insidious march of the health and safety Gestapo, in many cases pellet guns are being replaced with cork guns. unfortunately these don’t lend themselves to accurate shooting, its nothing to do with the actual guns, rather its the ammunition. Guns usually fire bullets which are shaped aerodynamically to ensure that they slip through the air in a straight line (well due to the effects of gravity its not actually straight but we aren’t looking to give an in depth physics lesson on the terminal ballistics of bullet trajectories).

Corks on the other hand are, well, cork shaped, so they have a tendency to either tumble in flight, or fly off in a random direction or both. See the video below….

You would be better off not using the sights and using the gun like a shotgun, basically try and line the barrel up with the target. Also check the cork is in the end of the gun straight, if it is at a slight angle it tends to exacerbate the tumbling effect, some operators will load the gun for you and deliberately push the cork in at an angle.

There are a number of targets used with cork guns, some like packets of sweets, empty coke cans, ping pong balls basically are straight games, if you hit them they fall down, move or whatever needs to be done to win.

One of the games which isn’t straight is the ring over the bottle neck, this is usually a small plastic ring of about 5 inches diameter, balanced on the top of a bottle, you hit the ring and if it falls over the neck of the bottle you win. However what people are unaware of is the small groove filed across the top of the bottle neck, what happens is that when you hit the ring, it flicks up and jumps clear of the bottle neck. If there is a large pitch (crowd of onlookers) the attendant will sometimes balance the ring off the groove so someone hitting it will win, and hopefully persuade people to play the game.



How To Win On A Funfair Shooting Gallery

Winning On The Rifle Range

First up is the perennial favourite, the shooting range. Its a popular myth that the barrel is bent, this just isn’t true, a gun with a bent barrel doesn’t fire round corners, it just doesn’t fire at all.There are 2 main problems with using funfair rifles, first up most people don’t actually know how to use the open sights on a rifle. The left hand side of the picture shows exactly how the front and rear sights should be lined up, both with each other and with the actual target.

Second, with the amount of people handling the guns and the general knocking about they get, the sights tend not to be zeroed in. A military sniper wouldn’t pick up a rifle and just start firing it expecting to hit something, they spend time zeroing the sights for a given range. Unfortunately as you are tending to have to pay to use a gun on the fairground you don’t really have the luxury of firing dozens of rounds to do this (well you could but it would probably be expensive).

There is however a simple technique you can use called aiming off. What you do is take your first shot aimed at the bullseye (Picture 1). Then look at where the pellet actually hits. Lets imagine it hits about an inch high and an inch to the right (Picture 2). To fire on target you need to aim the same distance “off”. So for the next shot you would aim an inch low and an inch to the left (Picture 3)

This should enable you to use the rifle with a reasonable amount of accuracy

using sights correctly to win at a funfair rifle range
How To Use The Sights On A Gun