Golden Balls

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Filmed at the BBC Television Centre, the British daytime television game show known as “Golden Balls” was first aired on the ITV network in June 2007. It was presented by Jasper Carrott and ran through December 2009. Repeats of the show were broadcast on Challenge, starting in January 2013. In the meantime, Golden Balls Ltd. licensed their name to Endemol for the game show, merchandise and development of online gaming applications.

The game of Golden Balls progresses through three phases: eliminating opponents, selecting Jackpot balls and risking everything on a final “Split or Steal” gamble. The initial game display shows a “Select a Stake” counter for choosing how much to wager, from €0.50 to €50.00.

The prize values increase or decrease automatically with the size of the stake and are shown within the “Balls in Play” window at the bottom of the screen. Among the Balls in Play are six red “Killer” balls, which are to be avoided. The other 12 balls display various prize amounts. Clicking on the “play” button will initiate the game.

The game screen that appears will display four sets of Golden Balls containing four balls each. One set, with all values exposed, is for the player. The other three sets are for the opponents, with two balls exposed for each of them. The player may then click on an opponent to eliminate him/her and the four balls in his/her set. Next a screen will appear with three sets of five balls, and in the same manner the player will eliminate another opponent and his/her balls.

The object at this phase is to take as many of the Killer balls as possible out of play, while retaining the high-value balls. The values of the balls are randomly mixed up between the two elimination rounds.

Next comes the Jackpot ball selection stage called “Bin or Win.” The player will click on five of the eleven remaining Golden Balls to reveal their contents. In order of selection, the values are added up to form the player’s prize amount. However, if a Killer ball is chosen, the accumulated prize value to that point will be reduced by 90%. The object is to chose high-value balls and avoid catching the Killers.

One way to speed the process of Jackpot ball selection is to use the “Quick Pick” button at the lower right corner of the game display. It will automatically choose five of the balls at random.

Lastly, the game enters the “Split or Steal” stage. This time only four Golden Balls appear. The two in the foreground are for the player and they are marked “Split” and “Steal.” After the player chooses one of them, one of the opponent’s balls will be revealed. Choosing Split guarantees that the current accumulated prize total will be won and the game will come to an end. Choosing Steal, however, wins double if the Opponent’s ball shows Split or nothing is it shows Steal.

Note that during the first two stages, opponent elimination and Jackpot ball selection, an additional Killer ball is added into the mix at the start of each new phase. During the “Bin or Win” segment, Killer balls selected at the start have no effect, because 90% of nothing is nothing. The key to big wins is to “bin” the Killer balls early or avoid picking them at all, while amassing a high prize value by choosing Golden Balls with the highest rewards.

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