Welcome to donduk. A refuge for those who enjoy Deal or No Deal, the hit Channel 4 gameshow hosted by Noel Edmonds. The award winning gameshow Deal or No Deal has become a big hit for Channel 4 and marks a sensational return to our screens of Noel Edmonds.

Deal or No Deal is enjoyed my millions of viewers daily, where the contestants battle with The Banker to try and win a jackpot of £250,000. Here at donduk you will find full daily reports of each show, as well Deal or No Deal news and specials. Deal or No Deal although initially appearing very simple in format of just opening a few boxes for the chance to win some big money prizes, actually has some potentially complex decisions to be made at points throughout the show, the contestants occasionally try complex or simple gameplay in an attempt to give them an edge in beating the Banker.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Jennifer's Game - £120,000

Jennifer here - just joined this Blog. Thanks Iain for all your help!

First to correct a misconception – there was no contractual obligation to be part of the Hall of Fame programmes but we all got 5* dinner, B & B for our trouble and the chance to meet up with Noel and the production team again was just great. I wasn’t bored but strangely much more nervous than I had been in the chair. Editing programmes by half produces some weird effects. My facial expressions weren’t nearly that manic!

But this post is about my game, back on the 18th November, 2006.

I haven’t written about it anywhere else.

By the time I got in the chair I had decided that the skill was definitely all in the timing and apart from that, as I couldn’t influence the luck/random element of the game, I was going to relax and have fun with Noel - which I did. I wasn’t nervous at all which really surprised me.

I had a ‘pre-match’ strategy, a form of self hypnosis - to put myself in the right frame of mind I used affirmations in the days leading up to my programme. I trained my unconscious mind with frequent repetitions to find the low/blue numbers etc. I also decided it was important to trust my intuition. It seems to me that extremes of rationalization, or intuition, are doomed to failure in most aspects of life but a combination of both and using the right one in the right measure at the right time will always produce a good result. How good I had no idea and if I had then I would probably have been much more nervous.

I don’t like the idea of a pre-determined system of numbers to choose either. I preferred to wait until everyone had chosen their boxes and I was in the chair before deciding anything at all.

At one point I said: ‘When I feel drawn to a box the problem is whether that is because it is blue so choose it or its red – stay away. I am focussing on the blue side of the board so that will be what I am drawn to.’ The next box was blue! Also when Andy said in my last round: ‘It’s 10p – say it!’ I did and it was. Go figure?!

I had a letter from a viewer asking if Andy knew what was in his box. No way. When the contestants get on to the set the first thing that happens is someone comes along the row with a bag full of numbered ping pong balls for us to choose from. The boxes are already stacked on the floor before we arrive and the independent adjudicator (a solicitor) plus security guys are watching them keenly and have been ever since the boxes were sealed. So it really is foolproof.

Something very strange that didn’t make the final cut was to do with my final choice of box in the 3rd round when I said: ‘I am drawn to 14 & 20 (next to each other) and I don’t know which to choose. No, now something tells me to leave 20 alone.’ I chose 14 and any rising tension melted at that point because I was certain from then on that 20 contained the £250k - which turned out to be the case. Rita whose box it was had been sure of that from the moment it was put in front of her too and was scared that I would pick it. How do you explain that one? I don’t. It gave me the confidence to turn down the £33k though – as long as I left box 20 alone I felt completely safe and my excitement began to grow.

I was the first person ever to write in Noel’s book! Another first was that until my game he had always referred to the ‘right’ and ‘left’ wings. My sweep for advice at the penultimate offer was cut from the final edit, however when Noel asked me ‘Right wing first?’ I told him it was horrible standing over there and being referred to as right-wing when my politics were left of centre and he changed it immediately to East & West. That’s my real claim to fame! :-)

So on to that £52k offer. Until then the highest amount ever won had been £33k. I had written £50k in the book. Why didn’t I take it? With my eyes closed a battle raged within me between commonsense - and something indescribable but so very strong which gave me the feeling I should trust and go one round more. (You should know that I was in poor health, stony broke with considerable debts and for the first time in my life – and the last I sincerely hope – had been on state benefits for almost a year…. SO TAKE IT YOU FOOL!!!) After what seemed an age, I opened my mouth to be sensible and say ‘Deal’. You can imagine how astonished I was at that point to hear ‘No Deal’ come from somewhere but definitely in my voice. I was in shock from that moment on and played the rest of the game in a kind of trance. All the other contestants collapsed over their boxes or turned away in horror. I just sat there completely numb. All I could think is: ‘I’ve given up all control. Now what happens really isn’t up to me at all.’

During the next and final round this volcanic energy began to rise inside me with each selection as £500, 10p and then £100k were revealed. That left the £750 and the quarter of a million on the board. I just knew it wasn’t in my box although many times I had said to Noel (for the banker’s benefit) that I was sure it was. Each of those remarks hit the cutting room floor too. At that moment the volcano erupted in such a huge blast of excitement mixed with overwhelming joy and shock.

It was weeks before I felt the last effects of that pleasurable shock leave me. The next day I left the hotel and immediately checked into another one in Bristol. I knew that I would be unsafe to drive until I felt a bit more ‘normal’ so I spent the day in bed sleeping, watching TV and enjoying room service.

If I could have been certain of getting the swop I just might have gone further and been the first to win the biggy. At that time the swop wasn’t always being offered though so I didnt dare risk it and I am so glad. Why? Well £120,000 was a marvellous amount to win: I am debt free, off benefits and financially secure. I’ve a new car (Fiesta) and have booked a holiday next winter to the Maldives. I am working part time from home again which I really enjoy. I had the best possible outcome for me and my privacy was preserved.

Apart from the friends and relatives I had told to watch I have only ever been recognised once from the programme. The 1p-ers have had much more local fame than I have! I had just one letter forwarded to me from a lady wanting to know where to swim with dolphins J If I try and explain it all – including the protection of my anonymity– I know some of you may laugh when I say that my guardian angel must have been at work. Cynics will say there is no such thing but I can (and do) only wonder.

I still watch every game hoping that someone will knock me off my perch soon. It isnt as lonely at the top since Gaz/Gary opened his box to reveal £100k. Perhaps we can hire a neighbouring phone box for our AGM too? :-)


gaz99er said...

Hi Jennifer - Great to read your run down of your show. It was interesting to read that you had problems with the words coming out of your mouth when asked to deal or no deal. I too really wasn't sure what I going to say at the 35k offer - fortunately No deal came out. It was good seeing your highlights on The Hall of Fame along with the others and it made me realise that there are so many other shows that I have missed and would like to see all the way through - maybe Endemol should release a DVD but then which shows would they put on it? Take care Gaz.

bairy said...

Hi Jennifer, welcome to the blog!

I was the guy who wrote that you looked bored and perhaps it was a contractual obligation to be there. Just to clear up, I meant no offence by it. The shot was only for a few seconds and it's difficult to put an accurate description on that.
I based my semi-assumption on this: Though it's evident that the team look after you from start to end and are generous with their givings, it's also fairly clear that Endemol likes to stay in control, as shown by some of the demands made on people in the Big Brother house (such as you will pose for the papers, you will have an interview with Davina etc). As a result I thought they may have a similar request written into DOND contestant contracts.
However, I stand corrected and I apologise if I caused offence.

I didn't actually see your game as unfortunately I didn't know about DOND until January - I've watched it ever since. I should imagine that it carried an excitement level on a par with Morris's and Gary's games.

According to Noel, your win will be beaten sometime soon -- perhaps, we're not sure if he was being serious or not.

Well done for such a huge win and having the courage to go on, even if you didn't mean to.

Steve said...

Welcome along Jennifer... we need more ex-contestants as members!!

I can usually see only the More 4 repeat so I didn't see your game either, but it looked like a cracker. I am so glad it has had such a positive impact on your life and given you the opportunity to follow your dreams.

Chris S said...

I did watch the game, and it was the one that made me the insane DOND fan I am today. It was perhaps the first ever example of exactly how to play the game.

It's a testament to how well you played the game that, although your show was very near the beginning of the series, it still hasn't been beaten.

dolphin dreamer said...

Thanks for the kind comments from you all (so far?)No Bairy -no offence taken at all. Just wanted to set the record straight. Endemol West were simply terrific and took great care of us all. I was wary too at first but was soon reassured. They couldnt have been nicer. Quite different from the Big Brother bunch I guess.

Gillean said...

And I would like to add my welcome (officially) to everyone else's - and I think your first post is really excellent, a tremendous insight into being in that chair. To me what makes DOND so different is that we get into the heads of the players to an extent, and knowing how much they (you in this case) need the money and keep going is what makes this program such compelling viewing.

Anonymous said...

I provided commentary on your game for another site that covers DoND, namely Bother's Bar, and was plainly astonished at the £52,000 decision. At the time I thought you'd made a mistake to rival that of another contestant that week who has now requested anonymity, shamed by the consequences of turning down an offer above the mean...

...but it's a heck of a lot easier to say that when you're treating the game as purely mathematical, and you have a spreadsheet in front of you showing that the mean of the remaining values was just over £70,000 and that my attempt to value the board accounting for how £250,000 is not 25 times as useful as £10,000 - taking the mean of the square roots of the remaining values and squaring this figure - valued the board at less than £35,000. (This valuation remains in use at Bother's Bar and is referred to as the 'Fair Deal' or usually just 'FD' value.)

I cannot see anyone winning more than £120,000 and less than £250,000. Not on current Banker behaviour; don't forget that Kirsty was only offered £5,000 more than you with a safety net two orders of magnitude higher. I can't see any offer above £120,000 with even £50,000 as a safety net; paradoxically, of course, this means that any time a meaningful safety net exists, the player will go for the £250,000, which is precisely what Endemol intend. (Personally I think the first £250,000 win, especially if obtained courtesy of six joke offers as is most likely, will kill the show; however, French and Australian versions provide strong counter-examples.)

Speaking of joke offers: these days the offers are very different to how they were in November. Tom, in a very similar situation to you (£100k, £250k and three blues), was offered £33,000 - £19,000 lower than your offer in that situation and coincidentally what you were offered the previous round. Offers with a blue against £250,000 are plunging, though we haven't seen the situation in active play since Germaine was offered £75,000 with £1 in the other box.

I admit your opinion will be biased by your game, but do you feel the show is better or worse off as a result of the change in Banker strategy exhibited in more recent shows?

Great to see your comments here. I had heard a rumour that you meant to Deal at £52,000 but thought you sounded moderately confident in rejecting the offer when seeing the Hall of Fame clip, good to hear the story from the horse's mouth. Also very reassuring to hear about the Hall of Fame bit - I'm usually one of the first to criticise Endemol and have been convinced (certainly after 1p Trevor's game) that the game is not entirely fair, very reassuring to hear positive comments about the production team! (I'll save my vitriol for Endemol's other massive Channel 4 hit...)

[statistician/commentator at Bother's Bar]

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a really informative post Jennifer. I'm so pleased that your win made such a positive difference to you. Money isn't everything but money at the right time can help a lot.

bal said...

Hi Jennifer, nice to have another ex contestant on the blog. Your post was very informative and i hope i can leave with a similar amount when i go on........

dolphin dreamer said...

Thanks for your comments all. You make me feel right at home :-)
KP I must take a look at Bothers Bar. Can I have the url please? Very interested by your post.
I have noticed the difference in offers. Ever since my game there have been quite wild fluctuations of last offers when the player has already dealt. I noticed a variation from £75 - £140k for a blue + £250k. I think it may be to give the game more spice. It would be boring if it was too predicatable.
Commenting live on my game did you notice there were no personal remarks at all and no derisory offers from the banker? I have absolutely no idea why that was. It was a bit dissappointing as I had some choice put downs ready. Still it left me free to focus on the job in hand.
I really dont know if the changes have improved the game or not. I am still riveted but I am delighted that that he was offering more when I was in the chair!
I was gutted for Debbie though. I felt in my bones that it was in her box and she seemed to be so confident herself.
BAL I am guessing you are still there on the show and so I hope my posting is timely and helps in some way. Best of Luck. Which one are you?

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, the URL for Bother's Bar is http://www.bothersbar.co.uk -- it's a site dedicated to all gameshows, not just Deal or No Deal. Be warned though, we do far too much DoND statistical analysis for our own good over there.

The commentary for your game is here: http://www.haloscan.com/comments/brigbother/deal18112005/

bal said...

lol hi jennifer i've not been so lucky as to get on the show. Unfortunately by the time i discovered this addictive show they had stopped looking for contestants but i believe strongly that my chance will come. So sorry to mislead you in any way x

dolphin dreamer said...

Hi Bal,
Keep watching the website and the prog for when they announce they are taking more contestants. If its meant to be you'll be on there one day. Good Luck!
Been to Bother's Bar and bookmarked it. Fascinating reading!
Just seen Wayne's game. What a shame he was a great guy & from Lancashire like me.

bal said...

he didn't come across very well to alot of people. he was deemed to be arrogant, whether he is or not i don't know. i do feel bad for him though and feel he deserved more.