How to win $100k on a TV show?

Have you ever desired to win $100k in one day on a TV show? For some people, it`s not a question of mere luck. Read Michael Larson story to know why it`s not just luck!

Is it possible to win in TV fortune game? For one guy from nowhere, a question on how to win $100k on a TV show was not a question at all. Michael Brockman, a director of CBS, give an answer on the fantastic case happened 19th of May 1984, when on studio spectators, TV fans and host watched after a regular guy from nowhere getting bonuses from every spin. This guy was just an ice-cream seller Michael Larson who was 35-years old at that time. He managed to win more than $110 000 in one game show (If you try to count on today`s money, it would be around $250 000). That was the sum of money, which nobody could win at that time on any TV show.

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The game

The TV show “Press Your Luck” was created by two experienced TV producers from the CBS channel in 1983. It was named one of the technically perfect TV shows for that time, as it got people attention with their technologies in audio and video parts of television. It also provided jackpots for TV viewers. The rules were simple. There were only three persons in a game and host as the fourth person. The host asked questions, the correct answer to the question would give to a competitor up to four spins. The spins could be used for getting the prizes out of the prize display which consisted of eighteen squares. There were bonuses in the in the squares, and these squares were constantly changing. The bonuses and prizes were money (from few hundreds up to several thousands of dollars), refrigerators, TV, travels, more spins, and Whammies. Whammy was a whimsy demon that stole all money that had been won by a player of the TV show. It`s similar to the game with casino slots; the player just had to stop the Display on a certain square and hope that it wouldn`t be Whammy.

There were fifty-four variants for the display section and nine Whammy demons. Therefore, the chances of getting whammy were one to six. The creators of the game were not idiots, so they managed to create the game where the player could win no more than twenty-five thousand dollars. It worked in the first episodes of the TV show, where the average prize was around fourteen thousand dollars. And then, Larson came into the game ground and “killed” the producers with his massive jackpot!

TV show fan

Michael Larson was originated from the small town in the Ohio State. He always tried to find easy ways to win big money. According to his school teacher memories, Larson always tried to sell chocolates to his classmates at the school. When he grew up, he found a bank which granted five hundred dollars for opening the account. He used false names and opened several accounts in this bank, then got the money from accounts and closed them. There was a time when he registered a company on one of his relatives, hired himself and then fired himself to take the compensation from the government. He only had two real jobs in his life: sale manager and ice-cream seller.

All his free time was dedicated to watching TV programs. According to the memories of his friends, his whole wall was stocked with TVs. The TV heated so hard, then the color from the wall couldn`t take it. He always tried to find a TV show to win $100k. He acknowledged that there was no possibility to cheat in two popular TV shows at that time. Later he found a TV show “Press Your Luck.” He recorded the episodes on video tapes and watched them again for several times. It was taking around eighteen hours per day.

After six months of constant watching the TV show, Larson found what he wanted. The random sections on the game display were not random at all. There was a specific pattern. Moreover, there were options on the game show display, where all variants would be a winning option. He managed to learn these options. He used his little knowledge in mathematics to understand the patterns of the existing winning options. It also took him some time.

Michael Larson recorded the order of the pattern, learned it by heart, wasted some time for training and exercising of pressing the bottom in the winning position. After that, he used his last money to buy a ticket from Ohio to Los-Angeles and went to the CBS studio. The TV producers had hundreds of volunteers to join the competition for the money. Even if Larson was not the first candidate to play in this game, he managed to touch the feelings of the producers by his story about ice-cream seller from the province, and he desired to change his life by winning or participating in the TV show.

Larson and Luck

At the very day of the TV show, Larson came to the studio with a cheap cloth that had been bought for less than one dollar. At the very beginning of the game, he couldn`t manage to answer the simple questions.  At the end of the first round, he managed to win three spins and twenty-five hundred dollars. His competitors had more cash as for Ed Long for $4080 and Jenny for $4608. After that, it was started the game with a huge display for eighteen squares. According to the rules of the game, the player with less sum of money should start first. The first push of the button was unlucky for Larson. He got Whammy demon and lost all his money. However, he used his two spins to win twice from the square 4 with two $1250 each time.

In the second round, Larson started to feel the situation and won seven more spins. Nevertheless, he still was the player with the minimum amount of money. Therefore, he got his chance to play first. And that how started the nightmare of producers. The first and second spins for the ice-cream seller were the lucky ones with four and five thousand dollars. After that, he also managed to win for ten spins in a row, where his jackpot was $29 351. And there was no Whammy demon near to him. The audience was pleased, and producers were shocked. The competitors of Larson gave him the applauses for his tremendous luck. Michael was childishly happy for winning so much amount of money. He tried to aim for the squares` number four and eight but sometimes managed to get other squares where he won a trip to Hawaii, seven hundred and one more spins, twenty-three hundred dollars and a boat. When our protagonist was left with four spins, he managed to create a miracle. Thirty-one times he managed to get the square four or eight, every time he won a sum more than one thousand dollars.

Every time Larson pressed the button, the smile of Peter Tomarken (who was famous for having one of the prettiest smiles in Los-Angeles) was transforming to a grim face. Peter Tomarken managed to work through the life, through the options of joking, neglecting, disgusting and treating, like: “You are pressing your Luck here, Michael! Wait for the call from producers at the end of the TV Show!”. When the Larson`s jackpot extended the sum over one hundred thousand dollars, he lost his concentration and relaxed for some time. He gifted his three spins to Long.

Nevertheless, it was not the end of the TV show. The two competitors of Larson managed to get Whammy after spins. Michael again started his winning tour. He spent his last three spins of five thousand dollars and a trip to the Bahamas. Totally, the ice-cream seller from Ohio managed to win around $110 000, where his competitors won only twelve hundred dollars.  Totally, Larson managed to push the button for forty-seven times in the row where he did not lose even a dollar. You should understand that the chance of losing was about one to six. Therefore, if Larson played fairly, the chance getting this sum of money would be 0.03%.

The producers of the TV show were in shock and panic. They tried to find at least some chances of obvious cheating from the Larson`s side. Nevertheless, everything was in vain. They started the investigation about the case on the 19th of May. It was obvious that the victory was not fair, but there was no formal cheating. CBS did not manage to find any mistake. The CBS producers just acknowledged that Larson managed to outwit the TV producers. The company had to pay the jackpot. A few months later, the players started to win up to seventy-five thousand dollars. The TV company had to limit the jackpot up to fifty thousand dollars. They also changed patterns and algorithms of the main display.

The Champion`s path

 He lied to the company producers and TV viewers that the jackpot would change his lifestyle. He managed to get up to ninety thousands of dollars after taxpaying. In no time after the TV show, he tried to win more money by taking part in Radio station event. The Radio Station promised thirty thousand dollars to a person who would give them a banknote with specific numbers. Larson changed up to fifty thousand dollars to the one-dollar banknote. Nevertheless, there were no numbers matched to his banknotes. Therefore, he stored this much cash under his bed. One time after New Year Party, the Champion returned to the home and found his door broken and all his cash stolen. Still, he did not desire to surrender to the obstacles of the fate.

A few months later he opened a company in Florida under the name “Pleasure Time Incorporated.” Nevertheless, this company was a complete fraud or in other words – the financial pyramid. Larson was selling the stock of the unreal Indo-American company. It was like a lottery for stupid persons, just invest 100$ and you would have a possibility to gain one thousand. More investments, more chances to get a great pile of money. Therefore, he managed to fraud more than twenty thousand people and get more than three millions of dollars from them. Although, FBI and IRS tried to locate him several times, but he still managed to leave their site unnoticed. For his criminal activity, he was not punished for all his live. It`s known that he died in Florida from the malignant tumor of the throat.


You desire to know how to win $100k on a TV show? Then Michael Larson story may teach you something. He might have been a fraud, but he managed to invent for himself how to think out of the box. It should also be mentioned his tremendous luck in everything. To lie and fraud just regular people from streets is one thing, but to successfully hide from the FBI agents for all his life is completely other. Maybe the Larson`s story will teach some people how to win, even if you are not so lucky in winning. How to earn and win so much money without getting too much force on the subject. Nevertheless, the path of Michael Larson was a little bit unfair.

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