Gambit is a game show that took the concept of blackjack and turned it into a rather watchable, and sometimes enjoyable, show to watch.
Lifespan: September 1972 - December 1976, September 1980 - October 1981 (Known during this period as "Las Vegas Gambit")
Host: Wink Martindale
Announcer: Kenny Williams
Hostesses: Elaine Stewart, Beverly Malden, Lee Menning
Produced by: Merrill Heater - Bob Quigley Productions
Two married couples compete. To start the game off, Wink would ask a question for control of the cards. (All questions were either multiple-choice or true/false.) The first couple to buzz in with the correct answer got to choose whether to take the card shown before the question, or give it to the other player. (All cards after the first were kept secret until control was established.) If a couple answered incorrectly, the other couple got control of the card.
The object of the game was, essentially, Blackjack. Get as close to 21 as you can without going over. As in the gambling game, Aces were worth either 1 or 11, and face cards were worth 10. At any time in the game, a couple could freeze their hand and not accept any more cards.
There were four ways to win the game:
- Your opponents go over 21 (Accomplished by giving them a card that will set them over)
- Freeze your hand, then your opponents miss a question
- If your opponents froze, and you topped their score (ties don't count)
- Reaching 21 exactly (which won a jackpot that started at $500 and went up by $500 for each round that it wasn't won.)
Each win won $100, and two games earned the right to go to...
The Bonus Round
The winner was shown a board with 21 numbers on it (During Las Vegas Gambit, there were 18 numbers.) The couple takes turns picking numbers off of the board, recieving the prize that each number guarded. After each number was picked, the couple recieved a card. The couple could keep picking prizes as long as their hand did not go over 21. If the couple hit 21 exactly, they won a cash jackpot and a car (Except in Las Vegas Gambit. No car.) In Las Vegas Gambit, the couple couldn't stop until their hand totalled 17 or higher.
During LVG, the bonus round was changed around to mimic the show High Rollers (also produced by Heatter-Quigley.) The couple rolled a pair of dice, and then eliminated the numbers 1 through 10 based on the total they rolled. For instance, if the couple rolled a 7, they could eliminate the 6 and 1; the 5 and 2; the 1, 2, and 4; or any other combination that added to 7. Each number they knocked off won money, while not being able to knock off a number with the total they rolled stopped the game. Knocking off all 9 numbers (1-9) won the couple a larger cash prize.
Source: All information on gameplay, announcers, etc. was gathered from http://loogslair.com/gameshow/rules/gambit.html .