Play Your Cards Right Slots
Fremantle Media brings the 1980s game show Play Your Cards Right to the world of video slots. Bruce Forsythe was the legendary host of the show, tall with a saucy quick wit. He chatted up the contestants, joked with the audience, and kept the gaming moving right along.
Play Your Cards Right is a 5-reel, 3-row video slot game with 15 pay lines. The game has two bonus rounds, one of which uses progressive jackpots. When spinning the slots, all prizes are paid for winning combinations from left to right, except the Scatter prizes. There are five special symbols in the game.
The maximum Return to Player is estimated to be 95.16% but there is some strategy involved in the bonus games.
Play Your Cards Right Gameshow
There were two parts to the basic game in this show. First, contestants would be asked to guess what percentage of 100 respondents to a survey question would have given a specific answer. After the first contestant made their guess the other contestant would guess if the correct answer was higher or lower. Whichever contestant's guess was closest to the actual number got to play the second part of the game.
Both contestants had a row of five of these oversized playing cards turned face down. The first card would be turned face up and the contestant could ask for a new card. Then they had to guess if the next card in the sequence was higher or lower than the first card. When a contestant got to a tough spot they could freeze the game at that card and another question would be asked.
If the contestant guessed wrong control of the game passed to the other contestant. If both contestants failed to guess correctly on their last cards a Sudden Death round kicked in, always starting with the survey question.
Fremantle Media dispensed with the survey questions and unfortunately Bruce's slightly naughty jokes are missing from the soundtrack, but the video slots game's bonus rounds are played similarly to the show's format. The basic slot game just consists of spinning the reels, looking for high-paying prizes and the Scatter bonus game combinations.
Game Symbols & Controls
Most of the game's symbols are based on playing cards. The Wild symbol is a Joker. It substitutes for all the regular symbols.
There are two Cashpot symbols, Red and Blue, that appear randomly. Each time these symbols show up they add a little bit of credit to their corresponding Double Chance Bonus jackpots. You may see one Cashpot symbol or more on any spin, and they can be the same color or of both colors. Both Cashpots are empty and their values transferred to the progressive prizes. The amount of the Cashpot prizes depends on your Total Stake.
The Scatter symbol is the Grand Final. When three or more of the Grand Final symbols appear the first bonus game is triggered. You may win up to 1000 times your Total Stake for 5 of these Scatters.
The final special symbol is the Double Chance Bonus. Three or more of these must appear adjacent to each other on a valid pay line to trigger the Double Chance Bonus, which is described later.
The remaining symbols are taken from typical playing card images. The King, Queen, and Jack are all represented by portraits. These are actually the high value symbols in the game.
- The King
Pays 45 times bet per line for 3 of a kind, 200 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, and 400 times bet per line for 5 of a kind.
- The Queen
Pays 40 times bet per line for 3 symbols, 150 times bet per line for 4 symbols, and 300 times bet per line for 5 symbols.
- The Jack
Pays 35 times bet per line for 3 symbols, 120 times bet per line for 4 symbols, and 250 times bet per line for 5 symbols.
The four suits are the remaining symbols in the game. Diamonds are worth the most, followed by Hearts, followed by Spades, and Clubs is last. Their maximum prizes for 5 of a kind are 200, 150, 120, and 100 respectively. Their prizes for 4 of a kind are 90, 80, 70, and 50 respectively. Their prizes for 3 of a kind are 30, 24, 20, and 18 respectively.
The background image is inspired by the game show's stage setting. Two informational widgets sit atop the 5 reels. The widget on the left displays various tips or the amount of your last total win. The widget on the right contains the two progressive cashpots, which tally up the money that is contributed to both prizes by the special random Cashpot symbols.
The fifteen pay lines are denoted by numbered circles on either side of the playing reels. Clicking on any number activates all the pay lines up to that number and deactivates all the pay lines above it. The game draws a colored line across the reels to show you when a prize is paid for a given pay line.
A status line running across the bottom of the reels displays tips, information about the game, and what you last won.
The control panel across the bottom of the screen holds seven widgets.
- The Bet / Line widget
Sets how much money you wager per active pay line. You use the up and down arrows to scroll from 0.05 to 50.00 currency units (most if not all games will play in British pounds). At 50 units per pay line your Total Stake is €750 so be absolutely certain about what you want to bet on the next spin. The default value is €1.
- The Lines widget
Uses its up and down arrows to allow you to scroll through the 15 pay lines but it's probably easier to just click on the number you want. The game defaults to 15 active pay lines (the maximum).
- The Stake widget
Computes your Total Stake (Bet / Line times Lines).
- The Spin button
Initiates a single game at the current Stake.
- The Total Paid window
Shows you the total amount you won on the last spin or bonus game.
- The Auto Spjn button
Allows you to choose from 5, 10, or 25 spins.
- Pay Table button
Located on the far right, this brings up the single page help screen that shows you the symbols and their prizes as well as the pay lines the game uses.
The Bonus Rounds
This is the one that will be triggered most often. This is where you get to play like the game show contestants.
You are taken to a screen where a hostess (animated character) stands to the left of three rows of playing cards. She turns over the first card on the bottom row and asks if you want to replace it. This is where strategy comes into play. The idea is to guess whether the next card will be higher or lower than the card you are looking at. If you have a middle value card (6, 7, 8, or 9) you may be better off asking to replace the card.
On the television show contestants could do this each time they came back to the line of cards but you only get to do this once per line of cards in a bonus game.
The objective of the Final Chance Bonus game is to multiply the prize you were awarded by the Scatter. That prize is 10 times your Total Stake for 3 symbols, 50 times your Stake for 4 symbols, and 1000 times your Stake for 5 symbols.
You have to guess correctly on all the cards in each row. The bottom row awards you a 2X multiplier. The middle row awards you a 5X multiplier. And the top row awards you a 10X multiplier. The middle and top rows are shorter than the first.
You end the bonus game as soon as you guess wrong.
This uses two rows of cards. The red cards are the tpp row and you play this row first. You have a Freeze option in this game, where if you are in doubt you can switch to the other row.
The game ends if you guess wrong or if you win one of the prizes. You can only win one progressive jackpot. The Cashpots are reset after this bonus round ends.
Play Your Cards Right is really two separate games bundled together. The basic game is just a standard spin-the-slots game. You are paid prizes for winning combinations and there is nothing really special about it. When the playing card symbols form winning combinations they turn around as if game show hostesses were turning them on a playing board.
The soundtrack uses real music from the show but it alternates between two themes. Even if you use Auto Spin the game switches back and forth and it can be a little disconcerting when you are playing a fast game. It's better to give yourself a little break between spins, or else turn the sound off on your computer.
It's a bit of a coin toss deciding which bonus game is better. You want the Double Chance to wait as long as possible to run up the money without it being so long that you give up playing the game. Fortunately, the Grand Final bonus seems to come up more often. Most players should not have to wait too long before getting a chance to guess higher or lower.
It was never really an issue on the game show, but if you were playing with a full deck of cards then card counting would be a definite advantage with a Higher / Lower game. It does not appear that the slot game is working with a full deck; rather, it is just randomly generating a few unique cards for each bonus game. You'll never play with more than 13 cards, so strategy is very limited.
Nonetheless, Play The Right Card is one of the very slot machine games where you can use a strategy for at least the bonus rounds, and that is a major cool factor.