"A quarter of a million Kronor. Twenty-six identical sealed boxes. And no questions - well, except one. Deal or No Deal?" - Noel Walston

Deal or No Deal (Finnish: Otä tai jätä, Icelandic: Samingur eða enginn samningur) was a Dryicoran game show broadcast on Channel 4 from 2005 until 2016. Contestants chose from 26 red boxes in an effort to walk away with 250 000, or, in special editions, 500 000, Kr.

Upon its launch in April 2005, Otä tai jätä and its gameplay was a surprise runaway success for Channel 4, gathering a huge daytime audience, which only increased on the primetime episodes.

In the game, contestants are required to pick from the 25 other boxes at random to eliminate the lower amounts to walk away with the higher ones. However, "the Banker" is always looking to cut a sly deal, offering to buy back the player's box for an amount decided by the Banker. The aim of the game is to know when to deal or not to deal and leave with as much money as possible.

The Finnish-language version was axed in 2014, however the Icelandic and Welsh-language versions still continue.

Gameplay

Contestants can win prize money ranging from between 0,01 Kr and 250 000 Kr. The game is played using twenty-six sealed red boxes, each with an identifying number from 1 to 26 displayed on the front. Inside each box is a sum of money. All the boxes are sealed by an independent adjudicator; the value inside each box is not known to anyone except the adjudicator.

At the start of each game one of the 26 contestants, each standing behind one of the red boxes, is selected to be the contestant for that episode. The contestants themselves do not know who is to take the seat until it is revealed at the beginning of the show. Usually, contestants will appear on around 20–25 shows before they are selected to play. The contestant then takes their box and walks to the centre of the set, taking their place at the table. After a brief chat with the contestant (and any family or friends who may be in the audience), Walston asks to confirm that the player selected their box at random. After this confirmation, the game begins.

The contestant's box contains their (potential) prize. One at a time, the contestant chooses one of the 25 boxes remaining (other than their own) to be opened, eliminating the value inside it from the list of possible amounts in the contestant's box (displayed on a large screen opposite them). It is in the contestant's interest to uncover smaller amounts of money, in the hope that their prize is a larger amount or that they can get a higher offer from the Banker. Boxes are opened by the remaining 25 contestants; these contestants are also regularly spoken to by Walston and the contestant, and offer support and advice. These contestants return for the following episodes, along with a new contestant replacing the previous episode's contestant, so that all contestants eventually play the game. This provides continuity between shows.

There are six rounds: in the opening round five boxes are opened, then three in each subsequent round. After the required number of boxes have been opened in a round, the Banker offers to buy the contestant's box. The amount is dependent on the remaining box values: if several larger amounts are gone, the offer is likely to be low, as the probability is higher that the contestant's box contains a small amount of money.

Occasionally, a later offer has been replaced by an offer to the contestant to swap their box for one of the remaining unopened boxes. If the 100 000 or 250 000 Kr box is still in play, a swap will always offered.

The Banker is never seen, relaying his offers to Walston via telephone (although sometimes Walston allows the contestant to talk to the Banker on the telephone). Walston tells the contestant the offer and asks the eponymous question. The contestant responds either "deal" or "no deal".

Responding with "deal" means the contestant agrees to sell the box for the amount of money offered, relinquishing the prize in their box. The game is now over, though play continues to show the hypothetical outcome had the contestant not dealt. Saying "no deal" means the contestant keeps their box, and proceeds to the next round, again hoping to reveal small amounts in the remaining boxes.

After six rounds, only two boxes remain. If the contestant rejects the final offer, they take the prize contained in their box. The Banker might offer the opportunity for the contestant to swap their box with the other remaining unopened box and take the prize contained in it instead. A swap is always offered if the 250 000 Kr is still in play and most of the time when the 100 000 Kr is in play; however, it can also be offered in any situation (including, on rare occasions, earlier in the game). On one occasion to one contestant the Banker offered a second swap.

Dealing early in the game can sometimes warrant the Banker to ask for the money back in exchange for the contents of one of the remaining two boxes. The "Banker's Gamble" is usually only ever offered under the circumstances in which the Banker has originally offered a significant sum of money and the player's last two monetary sums are an extremely low blue (e.g. 0,01 Kr or 0,10 Kr) and an extremely high red (e.g. 100 000 Kr or even 250 000 Kr). If the contestant agrees to the Banker's Gamble, they are returned to "live play" and their box (or if they have swapped, the swapped box) is opened. They then win the amount in the corresponding box. The Banker's Gamble is rarely offered, as it usually means that the player will either have a much larger sum of money than they dealt at, or they will leave with a substantially lower sum of money, in which case the Banker is said to have "won". The most notable example of the Banker's Gamble being used to the player's benefit was with a £250,000 winner in the British version, Alice Mundy. Alice had already dealt earlier in the game at £17,500, but was left with the 1p (the Banker's dream finish) and the £250,000 (the player's dream finish) at the end. As a result, the Banker offered her the chance to return her winnings in the hope that she would leave with 1p. Alice accepted the hand back, declined to swap her box and as a result, she became the second £250,000 jackpot winner, as her own box contained the top prize: had she swapped, she would have left with 1p.

Show winners

  • Neil Garmston became the first 250 000 Kr winner on 7 June 2007 on the Finnish version. He had the 15 000 Kr and 250 000 Kr boxes still in play and refused to deal for 75 500 Kr. He swapped his box at the end and his new box, Box 14, contained the 250 000 Kr.
  • Alex Hánsdóttir became the second winner and first female 250 000 Kr winner on 18 September 2007 on the Icelandic version. She had the 0,05 Kr and 250 000 Kr boxes still in play and refused an unusually high 68 000 Kr for her deal. She declined the swap and her box, Box 24, had the 250 000 Kr.
  • Kristoff Hansen became the first and only winner of the Norwegian version on 19 January 2008. He had 15 000 Kr and 250 000 Kr left. He declined 75 500 Kr for his box and he, like Neil Garmston did with the same two amounts left, swapped his box and his new box, Box 4, had 250 000 Kr.
  • Emyr Jákobsson became the second winner on the Icelandic version on 14 December 2009. He was left with a horrible finish: 0,01 Kr and 250 000 Kr. He declined a deal for 80 000 Kr and declined the swap. His box, Box 2, contained the 250 000 Kr.
  • Magnus Survinen became the second winner of the Finnish version on 8 May 2010. He declined the swap and had 2 000 Kr and 250 000 Kr left. His box, Box 26, had the 250 000 Kr.

Money tree

0,01 Kr 1 000 Kr
0,05 Kr 2 000 Kr
0,10 Kr 3 000 Kr
0,50 Kr 5 000 Kr
1 Kr 10 000 Kr
5 Kr 15 000 Kr
10 Kr 20 000 Kr
25 Kr 25 000 Kr
50 Kr 35 000 Kr
100 Kr 50 000 Kr
250 Kr 75 000 Kr
500 Kr 100 000 Kr
750 Kr 250 000 Kr

Ratings

Deal or No Deal became a surprise runaway success for Channel 4 in 2005, averaging 9 million viewers per episode (unheard of at the time in the 4pm weekday slot) and for Series 2 fulfilled Walston's dream of the show being on Saturday night primetime. It continued to receive high ratings throughout the series' run.

Versions

Dryicor's lingual diversity often means programmes are broadcast in different languages.
Finnish Otä tai jätä 4 April, 2005 8 September, 2014
Icelandic Samningur eða enginn samningur 2 November, 2007 Present
Norwegian Avtale eller ingen avtale 6 June, 2007 24 February, 2009
Welsh Bargen neu Dim Bargen 7 August, 2009 Present
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