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This is the episode guide on the CBS version of Card Sharks.

About the ShowEdit

Card Sharks was hosted by Bob Eubanks from January 6, 1986 to March 31, 1989, where it aired on CBS. The show was a remake of the 1978 to 1981 version hosted by Jim Perry on NBC, and was created by Chester Feldman, who also created the popular game show Family Feud.

Ironically, Bob made an appearance on the original Card Sharks in 1979 to promote his then-show All Star Secrets.

Like Family Feud, Card Sharks involved the use of survey questions. A contestant was asked to predict how many people in a group of 100 people who share a specific role or occupation (i.e. bachelors, married women, firefighters, etc.), and the opponent must predict if the answer is higher or lower. Whoever gets the question right wins control of the cards. When adults are playing, questions involve adult-oriented topics (though not explicit), such as sex, marriage, work, family, politics, to name a few. During the Young People's Weeks throughout the series, questions are modified to more family-friendly questions.

The player who wins control of the cards has earned the right to change or play the card. Once the card is changed, the player is required to predict if the next card is higher or lower. If that player makes a mistake, the opponent gets a free play of the cards, but is required to play the base card (he or she cannot change it). If a player gets a card that doesn't appeal (usually between a five and a ten), the player would normally freeze and protect his or her position. If the contestant goes through all five cards (three in the tiebreaker) in the round, he or she wins the round and $100. If both players finish round two winning one round apiece, a tiebreaker game is played. The tiebreaker game has two versions, each with three cards dealt instead of five: Version 1.0 involves a maximum of three questions (later a maximum of two), and Version 2.0, launched in February 1988, involves only one question, played in sudden death mode. In Version 2.0 of the tiebreaker game, the player who wins the question gets to see his or her base card first, then the opponent's base card is revealed. The winner of the question may decide to play or change the card, or force the opponent to play from his or her base card. In the match, if a player wins two rounds, he or she becomes the champion, and plays the Money Cards, and at some point in the run, a brand new car.

Money CardsEdit

The champion is given $200 to start the Money Cards. The player's base card is revealed, and he or she must bet some or all of his or her money higher or lower than the current card. During the first month of the run (January 1986), contestants could change a maximum of three cards anywhere on the board. Contestants may change the card in the same slot twice or even thrice (three times). In the wake of having given away over $90,000 during one week in January 1986, the producers realized that the original change card rules produced too many huge wins; so in an effort to control the prize budget, the change card rules were revised so that the champion can change one card per line only. Upon moving up to the second level, the player is given an additional $400 of betting money. Minimum bets are $50, except on the Big Bet row (which Bob Eubanks never did acknowledge during the series, though Bill Rafferty of the syndicated version did), where the champion must bet no less than half of his or her money. The largest amount of money ever won in the Money Cards in this version of the game show was achieved in late March 1986 with a total of $29,000 (the largest Money Cards win in all versions of Card Sharks combined).

Bonus GamesEdit

Beginning on October 27, 1986, a new add-on bonus game was launched, where the champion would win a new car (or a trip to Hawaii during Young People's Weeks). There were two versions of the bonus game.

Version 1.0: Seven Numbered CardsEdit

From October 27, 1986 until July 1, 1988, the champion was given one joker free of charge to start the Money Cards (two free jokers during the Young People's Weeks). Three more jokers were placed in the deck during the Money Cards during that period (two during Young People's Weeks). Each time a joker is revealed, it gives the champion an extra chance at the bonus prize. After the Money Cards, the contestant takes any jokers he or she has, and is shown seven numbered cards, where one of them says "CAR".  Revealing the "CAR" card wins the car.  The pricing game "Shell Game" on The Price is Right involves the same concept.

Version 2.0: Range BoardEdit

From July 4, 1988 to the end of the series, winning players are now required to answer a poll question featuring ten members of the studio audience, all sharing the same occupation, lifestyle relationship, etc. Bob read a question concerning those people and then the champion went to the range board and placed a diamond on the number s/he thought is the actual number. An exact answer won the car, but if the answer was off by one, s/he still won $500.  This version of the car game was based on the "Judge the Jury" round on the 1979 game show Mindreaders.

During the final playing of the car game on March 31, 1989, the $500 bonus for missing the right answer by one was eliminated, and the final champion could win the car if exactly right, or even off by one.

Young People's WeeksEdit

During some occasions in the series, starting on July 7, 1986, the show would have special weeks where children aged 11 to 14 would participate as contestants on the show for one match only.  During Young People's Week, the survey questions involved more family-friendly material.  Also, winners of less than $2,500 would receive cash, but winners of $2,500 or greater would receive certificates of deposit, which would mature when the young player reached 18 years of age.  In the Money Cards round, the winning contestant's parent would come onstage to give the contestant advice on how much to bet. Whenever the bonus game was being played, the car would be replaced with a trip for four to Hawaii (hence the reason why the "CAR" card was replaced by "HAWAII"), and the winner of the match would be given two jokers for free.

During the last two weeks of 1987, which were both Young People's Weeks, a holiday prize package was offered during the bonus game, which included a VCR, a sailboat, his & hers bicycles, a computer, an electronic keyboard, a bumper pool table, and a trip to Hawaii (Gene Wood mentioned the holiday prize package was worth over $10,000, without mentioning that the actual price of the package was really $10,831).  The "WIN!" card (supposedly with Christmas-themed stickers) was used during Young People's Week by that time.

When Young People's Week was featured during the Range Board era, the $500 bonus was eliminated, and the contestant could win the trip if s/he is exactly right or even if off by one.

Notes/TriviaEdit

  • The CBS series ran for 826 episodes.
  • During the CBS series, over 6,000 questions were asked, including roughly over 1,500 audience polling questions, roughly over 600 educated guess questions, and over 4,000 questions asked of 100 individuals.  Some of the questions were recycled in later episodes, but educated guess questions were very rarely recycled.
  • It is known that the most expensive car offered in the series was an (insert car name) valued at $1#,###, which was offered by April 1988.
  • Two contestants went double all the way, racking up $16,000 on the Big Bet row, but had to bet on a middle card.  Both contestants won $24,000 in the end.  These events occurred on January ##, 1986 and on January 19 1988.  Interestingly enough, both those contestants were female with four-letter names starting with "L". 
  • By May 20, 1987, the car game was played a total of 139 times, and among those playings, 26 cars were given away.
  • There were at least 12 Young People's Weeks in this series.
  • During Young People's Weeks, the seven numbered cards game was played a total of 20 times, and among those playings, the trip to Hawaii was won a total of eight times as of February 1987.
  • The holiday prize package was only offered for nine Young People's Week episodes during the 1987 Christmas season.  All that is known, thanks to episodes that used to exist on YouTube, is that the holiday gift package was won at least two times.
  • By May 13, 1987, a total of $###,### were given away: $###,### in cash, $###,### in cars, and $##,### in trips to Hawaii.
  • The highest known educated guess answer was believed to be 64 billion (a question about how many people living on Earth in the world's history) - this aired in either October or November 1988.
  • At least one educated guess question did have an answer of zero - it happened on the May 15, 1987 episode.
  • 99 was the answer to a 100 people survey question # time(s) by May 13, 1987.
  • By May 13, 1987, a total of ## exact guess bonuses were awarded: ## for 100 people questions, ## for audience polling questions, and # for educated guess questions.
  • By May 13, 1987, $#,### in exact guess bonus money was given away in total.
  • Only five known episodes had no car game and no Money Cards played during a full episode due to a lengthy match that took up the whole show - they originally aired in 1987 on April 13, July 10, August 4; and August 31, and in 1988 on March 1.
  • During the first ten months on CBS, Bob Eubanks would ask on average no more than eight questions per show.  Jim Perry, who hosted the NBC version, would ask as many as ten, maybe eleven questions.  It may be inferred that the reason for fewer questions on the CBS version is because of Bob and the contestants consuming unnecessary time for interaction.
  • The fewest questions asked during an entire show was three - this occurred on June 3, 1987.
  • CBS's winnings limit was apparently raised to $75,000 in 1986, as a contestant had won more than $50,000 in just two trips to the Money Cards, and did not retire undefeated immediately afterwards.
  • It is believed that nobody had ever reached the $75,000 winnings limit during the Eubanks' run, though several contestants had retired undefeated as five-time champions.
  • Nobody had ever won the maximum $32,000 prize in the Money Cards, though the closest anyone got to $32,000 was on March 24, 1986 when Faith won a record-breaking $29,000, overshadowing Norma Brown's $28,800 win in 1978. Oddly enough, despite Faith's amazing feat, she is not among the top ten winners of the Bob Eubanks era, though she may most likely be in the top 20.

Top Ten Winners of the Bob Eubanks EraEdit

List will be updated if needed.

Rank Name Date Winnings Notes
1 Sheri 7/1/1987 $59,000+
  • First known contestant to win three cars.
  • Retired as an undefeated five-time champion.
2 Chris 1/1986 $50,800
  • First player in the series to surpass $50,000.
  • Had second biggest Money Cards win in this series.
  • Surpassed $50,000 in just two trips to the Money Cards.
  • Biggest winner during the non-car game era.
3 Sonya 7/29/1986 $47,000
4 Debbie 3/1988 $41,709 First five-time champion of 1988 to retire undefeated.
5 Lori 1/27/1986 $37,100 In one of her Money Cards, she went double all the way until the Big Bet row.
6 Michael 1/31/1986 $36,000
7 Cindy 4/27/1987 $31,750
  • Won two cars during her run.
  • Retired undefeated as a five-time champion.
8 Mickey 3/17/1986 $31,000 Retired undefeated a five-time champion.
9 Ho 2/19/1988 $30,200
  • First big winner of 1988.
  • Biggest car game era winner to not win a car.
10 Bill 8/19/1986 $29,600

Possible or Confirmed Pre-emption Dates:Edit

Card Sharks was pre-empted a total of 19 times during its entire 826-episode run. There are believed to be eight episodes pre-empted due to Iran-Contra Affair-related news through the summer of 1987.  Here is a list of possible and/or confirmed pre-emption dates:

  • 7/4/1986: Statue of Liberty's 100th anniversary coverage
  • 11/27/1986 and 11/28/1986: Thanksgiving Weekend
  • 1/1/1987: Tournament of Roses Parade
  • 7/7/1987-7/15/1987: Possible pre-emptions due to coverage of the Oliver North testimony.
  • 11/26/1987 & 11/27/1987: Thanksgiving Weekend
  • 1/1/1988: Tournament of Roses Parade
  • 11/24/1988 & 11/25/1988: Thanksgiving Weekend
  • 1/2/1989: Tournament of Roses Parade (because January 1 was a Sunday that year)
  • 1/20/1989: President George H.W. Bush's inauguration coverage

Episode GuidesEdit

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