High Rollers

NBC (ended 1976)
Rate Show
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 1 : Ep 5

    Season 74-75: Episode 5

    Aired 7/5/74

  • S 1 : Ep 4

    Season 74-75: Episode 4

    Aired 7/4/74

  • S 1 : Ep 3

    Season 74-75: Episode 3

    Aired 7/3/74

  • S 1 : Ep 2

    Season 74-75: Episode 2

    Aired 7/2/74

  • S 1 : Ep 1

    Season 74-75: Episode 1

    Aired 7/1/74

  • Cast & Crew
  • Ruta Lee

    Hostess (1974-1976)

  • Alex Trebek

    Host (1974-76/1978-80)

  • Linda Henning


  • Wink Martindale

    Host (1987-

  • Kenny Williams (II)

    Announcer (1974-1980)

  • show Description
  • In 1972, Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley helped revive the CBS daytime game show lineup with Gambit, a general knowledge quiz tied to Blackjack. The show's success inspired the duo to create a second quiz tied to another Vegas-style game - craps. The result? Another successful game show called High Rollers. This durable dice game went through three distinct formats during each of its runs - an original NBC run from 1974-1976 (with a concurrent syndicated version in 1975); a second NBC run from 1978-1980; and in five-a-week syndication from 1987-1988. But a number of things were identical to all three versions of High Rollers. The host (Alex Trebek in the 1970s, Wink Martindale in the 1980s) asks a toss-up question - usually multiple choice or true/false, often worded to trick the players into ringing before the host could read the entire question. A correct guess allowed that contestant to control a pair of large dice - either roll them himself/herself or force his/her opponent to do so (though in the 1974-1976 version, the hostess, usually Ruta Lee, rolled the dice for the contestants). If the contestant was wrong or failed to answer in time, the decision to roll was the opponent's call. In each version, the idea was to remove the numbers 1 through 9 from a game board, depending on what he/she had rolled. For instance, if an 8 was rolled, he/she can remove the 8; 1 and 7; 1, 2 and 5; etc. Once a number is removed from the board, it is not available for subsequent rolls. The game ended in one of the following ways: * He/she lost by rolling a combination that did not allow him/her to knock off any of the available numbers (e.g., rolling a 3 and 1, 2 and 3 were already removed). The opponent won the game. The exception: If a player rolled doubles, he/she was given an insurance marker, which was turned in if a bad throw was made in exchange for (what they hoped) was a better roll. During the 1974 run, the insurance markers were only used in the Big Numbers bonus game. * Removing the final number by exact count. This was the far rarer result. The winner won whatever prizes he/she had in their possession when the game ended; the loser losing theirs. If the winner didn't have anything (that's what happened quite often, since players often did not want to roll the dice out of fear of losing), they earned $100 (later $250). The numbers gameboard and how the prizes were won depended on the version: * 1974-1976 - The numbers were scattered on a standard board, in two rows. Seven of the numbers had a prize attached to them, with two others having a larger prize - usually a trip, boat, a room of furniture or fur - divided between them (and the player had to claim both halves to gain rights to that prize. At one point in the series, the gameboard hid the face of a famous celebrity, whose identity could be guessed for a $500 bonus. * 1978-1980 - The numbers are scattered randomly on a 3-by-3 gameboard, each in different fonts and colors. Each column had a prize package attached to them, and was claimed only by a player clearing the last number in that column (and of course, winning the game). One column (sometimes two) was dubbed the "hot" column(s), whose numbers added up to 12 or less and could be cleared with a single roll of the dice. Each new prize package was worth about $2,000, and new items were added for each game the package went unwon, meaning a prize package could be worth $10,000 or more & only 5 prizes per column, so a full board would be 15 prizes. In addition to the standard game show prizes (furniture, appliances, trips, furs, jewelry, televisions and stereos, etc.), many of the prizes were quite unique - musical dolls; full-sized aquariums, complete with tropical fish and accessories; African masks; a trip to the Kentucky Derby with $100 bets on each horse; and a fully-catered dinner for 20 people were just some of the examples. * 1987-1988 - The 1978-1980 rules for the most part, except that prize packages now had a maximum of three items (and the "unique" prizes dropped). Also, several of the columns also hid a number of no-lose mini-games, played with a single die for bonus prizes (such as a car or trip). In all three versions of High Rollers, the player winning a best-of-three match was champion advanced to the Big Numbers bonus round. Here, the player faced a gameboard with the numbers 1 through 9. As before, the idea was to remove all nine numbers without making a bad roll, and insurance markers were given out for rolling doubles. Each number was worth $100, but removing all nine numbers won $10,000. Players competed for up to five matches (seven on the 1978 version), at which point they retired undefeated with a new car.moreless

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