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Punch-A-Bunch is the first-ever all cash game to be played on The Price is Right. The name comes from the fact that the contestant can "Punch-a-Bunch,” the "bunch" means winning up to $25,000.

  • The centerpiece of Punch-a-Bunch is a punchboard which conceals a paper slip with a dollar value in each of its 50 paper-covered holes. To begin the game, the contestant is shown four small prizes, one at a time, each tagged with an incorrect price. They must decide whether the correct price of each prize is higher or lower than the price shown. For each correct decision, the contestant wins that prize and earns one punch at the board. If the contestant guesses all four prizes wrong, they do not win any punches at the board and the game is automatically over (an extremely rare occurrence that happened only once throughout the years).
  • Once all four prizes are played, the contestant makes the number of punches won, leaving the slips of paper inside the holes. The slip in the first hole punched is removed and shown to the contestant. They must then decide whether to keep the cash amount and quit, or give it back and look in the next hole. The game continues until the contestant accepts the money on a slip or has no more holes to look in, and wins the amount found in the final hole, or if they win the top prize.

Second Chance[]

  • Up until June 17, 2011 (#5615K, the game's final playing in Season 39), there were four special slips on the board, one each of the lowest four values ($50, $100, $250, and $500), which also had "second chance" written on them. If one of these slips is found in a punched hole, the contestant immediately punches an additional hole. The amount found in this new hole is added to the amount on the second chance slip. If any original holes remain, the contestant may accept the total or return both slips to look in the next of their original holes.
  • If a second chance punch revealed another second chance slip, the contestant made an additional punch to be added to the previous total. As a result, the maximum prize available in Punch-a-Bunch was $25,900 (daytime, Carey Era), which could be won by revealing a second chance slip, punching out each of the three remaining second chance slips in the resulting second chance punches and finally punching out the $25,000 slip on the final second chance punch. Nevertheless, due to the unlikelihood of first revealing a second chance slip and then the $25,000 slip on the second chance punch, the announced top prize for the game is simply $25,000, the most that can be won with one slip.
  • Wins of greater than $10,000 have occurred during the period in which $10,000 was the largest value on the board (see History below), although no contestant has ever chained more than one second-chance slip with the top prize. Thus, the most ever won in Punch-a-Bunch during this period was the $500 second-chance slip followed by the $10,000 slip for a total of $10,500; that occurred on January 22, 2003 (#2403K).
  • The "second chance" slips returned as a "hidden advantage" in The Price Is Right at Night's second Survivor special on October 2, 2023 (#061SP), presented by Jeff Probst as one of his trademark twists. They were not present on the September 29, 2023 (#0305L) or the October 5, 2023 (#0314L) daytime playings, ergo this was most likely a one time thing taking advantage of the theme.

Cash distribution[]

  • The distribution of prize slips has been altered at various times to adjust the top prize, including for primetime specials.

Daytime[]

The distribution of prize slips is currently:

Value Frequency
$25,000 1
$10,000 2
$5,000 4
$2,500 8
$1,000 10
$500 10
$250 10
$100 5
  • The "second chance" has been removed.

From September 29, 2008 (#4441K, aired out-of-order on December 1) to June 17, 2011 (#5615K), the distribution of prize slips was this:

Value Frequency
$25,000 1
$10,000 1
$5,000 3
$1,000 5
$500 10
$250 10
$100 10
$50 10
  • One each of $50, $100, $250, and $500 slips are marked "second chance" as described above.

On April 23, 2013 (#6322K, aired out-of-order on April 22), October 16, 2015 (#7245K, aired out-of-order on October 13, originally rescheduled to air on October 15), February 22, 2018 (#8224K, aired out-of-order on February 21), and October 16, 2019 (#8853K, aired out-of-order on October 15), for the "Big Money Week", the top prize was increased to $250,000, with the distribution as follows (note, October 16th, 2019's playing had a different distribution):

Value Frequency
$250,000 1
$10,000 9
$5,000 15
$2,500 10
$1,000 10
$500 5

October 16, 2019's (#8853K, aired out of order on October 15) distribution

Value Frequency
$250,000 1
$20,000 5
$10,000 9
$5,000 15
$2,500 10
$1,000 10
  • The $100 slips are temporarily removed.

On October 28, 2016 (#7665K) for the "Big Money Week", the top prize was $50,000, with the distribution as follows:

Value Frequency
$50,000 1
$10,000 4
$5,000 15
$2,500 15
$1,000 10
$500 5

On Season 45's Dream Car Week from May 19, 2017 (#7945K), the frequency was:

Value Frequency
CAR 2
$25,000 1
$10,000 2
$5,000 4
$2,500 8
$1,000 10
$500 10
$250 10
$100 3

On the 40th Anniversary of Punch-a-Bunch from September 26, 2018 (#8423K), the frequency was:

Value Frequency
$40,000 1
$10,000 4
$5,000 15
$2,500 15
$1,000 10
$500 5

On the Season 50's premiere week from September 24, 2021 (#9515K, aired out of order on September 17), the frequency was:

Value Frequency
$1,000,000 1
$250,000 2
$50,000 4
$10,000 8
$5,000 15
$2,500 10
$1,000 10

Primetime[]

Million Dollar Spectaculars[]
Value Frequency
$50,000 1
$25,000 3
$5,000 10
$1,000 12
$500 12
$100 12

On the May 7, 2008 (#031SP, aired out-of-order on May 14) special, Punch a Bunch was the Million Dollar Game. For that playing, if the contestant's first punch revealed the $50,000 slip, they would win $1,000,000.

Survivor primetime special (May 23, 2016, #034SP)[]
Value Frequency
$25,000 1
$10,000 4
$5,000 15
$2,500 15
$1,000 10
$500 5
The Price is Right at Night with Adam DeVine (January 6, 2021, #042SP, aired out of order on January 13)[]
Value Frequency
$100,000 1
$25,000 4
$10,000 4
$5,000 8
$2,500 8
$1,000 10
$500 10
$250 5
Second Survivor primetime special on (October 2, 2023, #061SP)[]

The four "Second Chance" slips, presumably using the same rules as before, returned with a distribution as follows:

Value Frequency
$50,000 1
$10,000 4
$5,000 15
$2,500 15
$1,000 10
$500 5
Second Chance (4)

This distribution was also used on the Holiday Heroes primetime special on December 19, 2023 (#069SP), without the Second Chance slips.

Jackpot January Week 8, Show 2 (May 23, 2024, #079SP)[]
Value Frequency
$25,000 5
$10,000 10
$5,000 10
$2,500 10
$1,000 10
Double 5

The Double slip also acted as a Second Chance. If another Double was found, the value would be quadrupled, and so forth, up to a potential 32x multiplier for finding all five Doubles, and a theoretical maximum prize of $800,000. For purposes of statistics, the game would be considered a win as long as the $25,000 was found regardless of any doubles.

History[]

  • Punch-a-Bunch was the first game to be played for a primary prize consisting only of cash--originally $10,000. It debuted on September 27, 1978 (#2963D, aired out-of-order on September 26, 1978) with slightly different gameplay which continued for its first 11 playings. Instead of a single punch on the board, the contestant took two punches for each correctly priced prize: One in the 50-hole main board-- as today-- and a second in the top row of the game's original board, which had ten holes spelling "PUNCHBOARD." The ten "PUNCHBOARD" holes contained the numbers 1-10 (two slips of 1-4 each, one 5 slip, and one 10 slip) and the 50 main holes contained slips saying "Dollar" (20 slips), "Hundred" (20 slips), or "Thousand" (10 slips). The two slips punched were taken together to form a cash value (for example, punches of "5" and "Hundred" would be a prize of $500. Additionally, the contestant made their punches after each correct small prize guess, instead of after all four; a contestant would choose a prize before showing the wrong price and guessing higher or lower. Thus, if a contestant declined a prize value and did not correctly guess any subsequent small prize(s), they would win nothing. Furthermore, if the '10' had been picked, but was paired up with a "Dollar" or "Hundred" card, then it became impossible to win the top prize, since the number cards were never re-used.
  • On March 3, 1989 (#7175D), contestant Sandra Smith punched an empty hole. Bob did not know what to do, but one person in the audience suggested Bob give her $10,000. Because he couldn't think of anything more appropriate to do, he did exactly that -- award Sandra $10,000.
  • The game's current rules debuted on January 5, 1979 (#3105D), with $10,000 as the highest-valued slip and the announced top prize. However, under the second chance slips mentioned above, the top prize was $10,900.
  • From January 5, 1979 (#3105D) until July 17, 2008 (#4424K), the distribution was as follows:
Value Frequency
$10,000 2
$5,000 3
$1,000 5
$500 10
$250 10
$100 10
$50 10
  • One each of $50, $100, $250, and $500 slips were marked "second chance" as described above.
  • On January 26, 1996 (#9825D), a contestant named Bryan punched a hole that contained $5,000; upon discovering this, Bob Barker polled the audience on what he should do with the prize, to which they responded in unison: "KEEP IT!!!" However, despite his wife's protests, Bryan decided to defy the odds and give up the $5,000 (with his line "Audience, if you're scared, buy a dog. I'm going for it!"), drawing jeers and protests from the audience and some chiding from Bob. While pulling out the last slip that Bryan had earned and peeking at it, Bob feigned disappointment at how Bryan could give up something that other players would've kept, and agreed with an audience member who shouted "He's a betting man!" Just before revealing the amount printed on the slip, he turned to the staff and asked if they could change the rules of the game; eventually, it was discovered that Bryan "gave that ($5,000) up, and he got $10,000!" This prompted wild cheers from the audience as the clangs and whoops signaled the win, as well as Bob congratulating Bryan for making such a gutsy decision. This clip resurfaced in the Bob Barker tribute show.
  • On October 31, 2013 (#6475K), as a Halloween prank, an unknown hand appeared out of the punched holes along with the cash slips.
  • On May 13, 2016 (#7535K), the game was featured on Let's Make a Deal as part of a mash-up between both shows (the Price episode featured Smash for Ca$h from LMAD).
  • On June 19, 2014 (#6794K), after 121 playings without a contestant punching the hole that contained the $25,000 top prize, Linda Marshall became the first to win $25,000, punching the hole that contained the $25,000 slip on her first punch, during the first Showcase Showdown, host Drew Carey stated that her second punch, which was not shown on the air, contained one of the two $10,000 slips.
  • On the first Survivor Primetime Special on May 23, 2016 (#034SP), the $25,000 was won on the fourth and final punch and the winning graphic used was the same winning graphic from the Showcase Showdown when someone lands on the dollar in the bonus spin.
  • On May 19, 2017 (#7945K), during Season 45's Dream Car Week, two of the $100 slips were replaced with CAR slips for a $34,295 BMW 320i, which was won on the third punch.
  • On February 21, 2020 (#9035K), also during Dream Car Week, Punch-A-Bunch was played for a $33,670 Mercedes-Benz A220 Sedan, using the same rules as when the BMW was in play. The car wasn't won, but contestant Margaret Harris still won $5,000.
  • On the Holiday Heroes primetime special on December 19, 2023 (#069SP), contestant Ryan won $50,000 on the second punch, becoming the third contestant to win Punch-A-Bunch in primetime.

Primetime specials (2002-2007)[]

For the prime time specials aired from Seasons 30-35, Punch-a-Bunch's top prize was $25,000 and no second chance slips were used. The prize distribution was as follows:

Value Frequency
$25,000 2
$5,000 3
$1,000 15
$500 15
$100 15

Presentation changes[]

  • The original punchboard used until May 29, 1996 (#0013K), had a yellow exterior flanked by blue curved lines. When the game debuted, the Punch-A-Bunch logo originally had a red and green color scheme; it was changed to all yellow beginning on September 15, 1980 (#3781D). The original ten "punchboard" holes remained in place until the current set was unveiled, even though they were not used in the gameplay after the original rules were abandoned. When the regular rules were adopted, a frequency chart was added at the bottom of the board.
  • The introduction of the game originally took place on the turntable (similar to that of Plinko) and featured a model (notably Janice Pennington until her dismissal in December 2000) holding a $10,000 bill with the host's face on it (Kathleen Bradley and Dian Parkinson have also held the $10K bill), then the model proceeds to walk over to the punchboard and stand beside it (around 1991, a stand was placed next to the board so the model could place the $10,000 cheque on it). A green sign reading "$10,000" in a font resembling that of American currency was present on the wall of the turntable behind the model. On the December 11, 1992 (#8615D) episode, however, it was introduced with a $10,000 graphic instead as Dian Parkinson and Kyle Aletter were the only two models present on that episode. Sometime after the set change, the model moved to in front of the punch board, still holding the bill.
  • The original $10,000 bill had a monochrome portrait of host Bob Barker with dark hair on the front. On November 9, 1984 (#5475D), a newer picture of Bob was introduced. On October 15, 1987 (#6614D), Janice Pennington recolored Bob's hair with a white chalk to reflect his change in appearance on that day's episode, and a new bill debuted on the game's next playing. A full-color version of the bill debuted on the 2002 The Price is Right Salutes primetime specials, and carried over to the daytime show on October 18, 2005 (#3372K), albeit a monochrome version. A full-color portrait was re-introduced after Drew Carey took over as host, and since April 6, 2009 (#4701K, aired out-of-order on April 16), a new portrait is used on every playing. A separate $10,000 bill was created for Tom Kennedy's syndicated series of 1985-86. The New Price is Right (1994-95) used a "$10,000" graphic on its video wall in lieu of a bill.
  • The prize slips for the regular rules originally were white with black amounts. They changed to what is displayed today on November 27, 1984 (#5502D).
  • On September 10, 1996 (#0042K), the current punchboard and set debuted and the introduction was permanently changed so that The Giant Price Tag rises to reveal the model holding the check of $10,000/$25,000 while standing in front of the board.
  • For the prize displays, the punchboard holes are used as a backdrop. The punchboard holes themselves have remained mostly unchanged, but from June 4, 2008 (#4363K) until April 26, 2010 (#5141K), they were changed to purple Price down dollar signs.
  • On October 26, 2009 (#4881K), the higher/lower cards were changed into a different, yellow font and the background is green.
  • On October 8, 2010 (#5255K), the small prize backdrop changed to a closeup of the punch board.
  • On at least three occasions, June 14, 2010 (#5211K, aired out-of-order on June 25, 2010), October 14, 2011 (#5665K, aired out-of-order on January 3, 2012) and September 29, 2023 (#0305L), the game was introduced with the mid-90s Plinko harps rather than the Golden Road harps.
  • On the first Survivor primetime special from May 23, 2016 (#034SP), the game was repainted and redesigned for the Survivor theme. On June 3, 2016 (#7565K), the repainted set got carried over to the daytime show. On September 22, 2016 (#7614K), the frequency chart became blue.

Appearances Outside The Price is Right[]

On an episode of the syndicated daytime talk show Ellen (or The Ellen DeGeneres Show) an appearance of Punch-A-Bunch aired on October 11, 2010 (#8021) mainly with a studio audience member as a contestant playing for a prize of their linking featuring current host Drew Carey along with DeGeneres taking the role of announcer/model.

Punch-A-Bunch Ellen

Foreign versions[]

  • On the 80's UK version, the prizes were £25, £50, £75, £100 and £250 (one on each row), and there were also five (three in earlier series) 0's on the board which automatically ended the game; whereas Italy's OK offered a new car (later changed to L.5,000,000 [€2,582.28]).
  • On Germany's Der Preis ist heiß, all prizes offered in this game were non-monetary.
  • On Mexico's Atínale al Precio, the game was played under the name "4 Rounds" (meaning "4 Punches"). MX$10,000 was the top prize.
  • On Canada's Price Is Right: À vous de jouer, the top prize was non-monetary, and contestants kept all cash found win or lose.
  • On the Australian version in 2012, the Wonder Wall contained six each of $50, $100, and $250, three $500 slips and one each of $1,000, $2,000, and $5,000. Two of the slips also included second chances.
  • On Vietnam's Hãy Chọn Giá Đúng, the game was played under the name "Bàn Tay Vàng" (Golden Hand). The design of the game board was similar to the 1978-1999 version. VND 10,000,000 (later VND 15,000,000) was the top prize. The distribution is as such:
Value Frequency
VND 15,000,000 2
VND 5,000,000 3
VND 1,000,000 5
VND 500,000 10
VND 250,000 10
VND 100,000 10
VND 50,000 10
Second Chances (Thêm Lượt), in Vietnam these slips are distinct from the cash slips. 2
  • On the Netherlands' Cash en Carlo, the distribution is as such:
Value Frequency
€5,000 1
€3,000 2
€2,000 2
€1,000 10
€500 10
€250 10
€10 10
€0 2
Second Chances 3

Trivia[]

  • The most number of times this game was played in any season was 32 (season 7), while the least number of times this game was played in any season was 13 (seasons 36 and 48).
  • The average amount of cash currently on a punchboard slip is $2,060.

Gallery[]

To view the gallery, click here.

Video Clips[]

A Punchboard TKO (1985)
Bryan's Bold Move Pays Off!
$10,000 won (January 4, 1999, #0961K)
Over $10,000 won (January 22, 2003, #2403K)
$25,000 won on Primetime TV (February 12, 2003, #008SP, aired out of order on February 5)
First Punch-A-bunch daytime $25,000 winner from Drew Carey era (June 19, 2014, #6794K)
$25,000 won on Survivor special (May 23, 2016, #034SP)
$50,000 Primetime (December 19, 2023, aired out of order on December 8)

1970s Pricing Games
Any Number | Bonus Game | Double Prices | Grocery Game | Bullseye (1) | Clock Game | Double Bullseye | Five Price Tags | Most Expensive | Money Game | Give or Keep | Range Game | Hi Lo | Double Digits | Lucky $even | Temptation | Mystery Price | Shell Game | Card Game | Race Game | Ten Chances | Golden Road | Poker Game | One Right Price | Danger Price | 3 Strikes | Hurdles | Cliff Hangers | Safe Crackers | Dice Game | Bullseye (2) | Switcheroo | Hole in One (or Two) | Squeeze Play | Secret 'X' | Professor Price | Finish Line | Take Two | Shower Game | It's Optional | Punch-A-Bunch | Telephone Game | Penny Ante
Active Pricing Games
Any Number | Bonus Game | Double Prices | Grocery Game | Clock Game | Five Price Tags | Most Expensive | Money Game | Range Game | Hi Lo | Lucky $even | Temptation | Shell Game | Card Game | Race Game | Ten Chances | Golden Road | One Right Price | Danger Price | 3 Strikes | Cliff Hangers | Safe Crackers | Dice Game | Bullseye (2) | Switcheroo | Hole in One (or Two) | Squeeze Play | Secret 'X' | Take Two | Punch-A-Bunch | Bargain Game | Grand Game | Now....or Then | Check Game | Check-Out | Pick-A-Pair | Plinko | Master Key | One Away | Pathfinder | Spelling Bee | Make Your Move | 2 for the Price of 1 | Swap Meet | Pick-A-Number | Switch? | Cover Up | Side by Side | Freeze Frame | Shopping Spree | Eazy as 1-2-3 | It's in the Bag | Line 'Em Up | One Wrong Price | Push Over | Let 'Em Roll | Flip Flop | Triple Play | That's Too Much! | Bonkers | Pass the Buck | Coming or Going | ½ Off | Pocket ¢hange | Balance Game (2) | Stack the Deck | More or Less | Gas Money | Rat Race | Pay the Rent | Double Cross | Do The Math | Time is Money (2) | Vend-O-Price | Hot Seat | Gridlock! | Back to '74 | To The Penny
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