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Deal or No Deal – Download and Play the Popular TV Game Show in Excel



Deal or No Deal Logo - Popular TV Show Excel SimulationEver since we moved to Seattle we have been watching TV game show – Deal or No Deal (for lack of better things to do in the hotel) The game provides an interesting look at human nature and risk taking abilities. People who wouldn’t risk their retirement savings or jobs would go to these game shows and take risks to win all or nothing. It is fascinating to see how one makes judgment to accept an offer and take money or continue to play hoping to win even more.

Out of curiosity and my passion for simulating games, I have made a small excel file using which you can play the deal or no deal game. It is a reasonably good simulation of the game on the TV.

Download and play Deal or No Deal Game in Excel
(the file has no VBA or anything, so go ahead and be curious)

How to Play the Excel Deal or No Deal Game?

  • excel-deal-or-no-deal-game-simulationWhen you open the downloaded excel you will something like this.The green cells are editable and everything else is locked. Start the game by setting “accept offer?” to “No” and “Play game?” to “Yes”.

    If you would like to randomize the suitcase – value assignments, just set “Play game?” to “No” and excel shuffles the values for you. (How to shuffle a list of values in excel using formulas?)

  • Start selecting your suitcases one by one. After each pick, the latest offer is shown in the orange color box at the bottom. You can also see that picked suitcases and values already picked getting de-highlighted. See the below illustration:deal-or-no-deal-excel-games-how-to-play
  • Finally, when you like an offer, just say “accept offer” to see how much your suitcase had. Of course excel cannot pay you the money for the accepted offer. So just have a big smile and enjoy. 🙂
  • When you want to play again, just select the your suitcase picks (the green tabular area) and hit delete. Go back to first step.

Download the Excel Deal or No Deal Game

How the Excel simulation of Deal or No Deal game works?

  • Please note that I have protected the workbook so that you wont accidentally delete any formulas. Just unprotect the sheet (Menu > Tools > Protection > Unprotect Sheet) so that you can understand how the simulation works.
  • When you enter “Play Game” value as “No” the values assigned to suitcases are shuffled. How? The shuffling goes on whenever you press F9 or make some changes to the sheet until you change the “play game” to “yes”. The random shuffling formulas use circular reference, something like this: g10 = if(playgame="no", shuffled-suitcase-value,g10)
  • Whenever you pick a suitcase, the formulas check 2 things: (1) whether you have already picked that suitcase (2) whether your pick is same as the case assigned to you. If both conditions fail, then the formula would display the value assigned to that suitcase.
  • How the latest offer calculation works: As a game player our objective is to take an offer when the value is as close as possible to the expected value (total amounts remaining / total no. of suitcases remaining) at any point. In the TV show the latest offer is derived from expected value of your suitcase . I have used deal or no deal formula from here. This formula takes a random percentage between 20% and 95% of the expected value based on number of suitcases already picked.
  • Finally I have used conditional formatting to make the presentation better.

More posts on games & excel that you may enjoy:
Simulating Dice throws in Excel
Generate and Print Bingo / Housie tickets using this excel
Understanding Monopoly Board Game


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8 Responses to “Deal or No Deal – Download and Play the Popular TV Game Show in Excel”

  1. [...] game is created by Chandoo – The Pointy Haired Dilbert who is a excel expert, and runs a blog where you can get tons of nice tips about improving your [...]

  2. [...] Download and play Deal or No Deal in Excel [03 October] [...]

  3. Russ Dennis says:

    I was wondering if you could update the excel file to the American Game Show which has 25 squares. I have made a powerpoint game that simulates the show but do not have the formula to give accurate bank offers. This would be a huge help to me. Thanks for all the info you give on the site.

    Russ Dennis

  4. Mean Olz says:

    I get a "cirkular reference" error in $p$22

  5. Chandoo says:

    @Mean: You need to enable iterative calculation mode. Go to excel options > formulas and enable iterative calculations.

  6. paul says:

    Hey Chandoo,

    This is an awesome spread sheet. Im trying to adapt it to use across our network of 65 day spas as a staff incentive. Im trying to implement the below dollar amounts. I changed column T Values to the new amounts and also adjust the cases chart to reflect the changes. This way we can use real money as im prepared t part with as much as $1000 for the winning staff member.
    Ive encountered 2 problems. 1st one is the bank offer seems to be very low in comparrison to what cases are left. Even when knockking the 10 lowest amount, i was getting an offer of $140 or so. How and where do i edit this?

    second and most difficult problem is that when i enter a number in the picks, it works fine, however when I enter a second number, it changes the amount in the first case. this continues to happen every time i enter a case. It also changes my case.

    Id be more than happy to pay a fee to have you adjust it for me. if thats an option.



  7. Zazzle.Com says:

    If you shop, depart the youngsters at home.

  8. Kyle says:

    Hi Chandoo

    I’m trying to write a formula based on the game Strike it Lucky - so there’s 30 squares (10 questions, 10 fails, 10 advances) and they’re randomly scattered across a board which people move across over 10 moves. Is it shuffle I need to do that and assign the values?

    Thank you.

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