Pay Cards!

Pay Cards! was an American syndicated game show that first aired from 1968-69. A Canadian version of Pay Cards! ran in 1973 and a revival, called Super Pay Cards!, ran in 1981-82. The U.S. version was taped in both New York and Cincinnati, while both Canadian versions were taped in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Art James hosted the U.S. version of Pay Cards! and the Super Pay Cards! revival. Paul Hanover hosted the 1973 Canadian version of Pay Cards!. It was created and produced by Nick Nicholson and E. Roger Muir.

Original Format

Five Card Draw

Three players, one of whom was a celebrity playing for a studio audience member, faced a board of 20 hidden cards and attempted to build a high poker hand.

In the first round, the first player would call out 3 cards to reveal. If a pair or three of a kind came up, the player must keep those cards. If not, the player may either keep the cards or turn them back. If the cards were kept, that player called out a fourth card. If the cards were refused, control passed to the next player in turn. If a player kept a card, that player may then turn over another card and either keep it or refuse it. After two players have each completed a five-card hand, the remaining player must complete his or hand by keeping whichever cards he or she revealed.

At the end of each round, the players were paid as follows:The player with the highest hand at the end of each round earned a $50 bonus.

Strategy Round

The four corner cards were revealed. On their first two turns, each player called out two more cards and selected two cards for his or her hand from the six which were showing. After a player collected four cards, that player would select one last card to complete his or her hand.

Wild Card Round

This final round was played similarly to round one, but with a few "wild cards" hidden on the board. These cards allowed for a player to make Five of a Kind and thereby earn $150. The player with the most money at the end of this round played the bonus round.

Jackpot Game

The player would attempt to memorize 12 cards and their positions for 12 seconds. The player would then spin a wheel which determined which card the player must locate on the board. If the player could recall where that particular card was located on the board, he or she would win a bonus prize.

uper Pay Cards!

Art's co-host was Mary Lou Basaraba.

Two contestants (male vs. female) competed.

The players faced a board of 16 playing cards and tried to build their best hand out of them.

Five Card Draw

The players were shown four cards at the start of the round and where they were located. After they were hidden again, the player in control called out 3 of the cards and tried to build the best possible five card hand with them. If a pair or three of a kind was revealed, the player automatically kept it and tried to build on the hand.

After each card was revealed, the player could either keep the card and control, or refuse it and pass control. This continued until one of the players completed their five card hand, with the opponent having to make do with whatever cards they had called.

At the end of the round (and each subsequent round), players were paid off depending on what they had in their hand. Here are the payouts:$50 was also awarded to the best hand in the round.

Round Two

Round two was played one of four ways:

*One variant was called "Four of a Kind", with four sets of 4 of a kind on the board.
*Another variant that was rarely used was "Seven Card Stud" where Mary Lou gave each player a choice of two sets of two cards to use and see for themselves and place in front of their podium. The players used their own two cards with the five additional cards they want to keep. The two cards are not revealed to their opponent until they keep all five cards.
*A third was "2,3,4,5", where one set of cards had a fifth duplicate, in addition to two sets of pairs, a three of a kind set and a four of a kind set. Finding the five of a kind set is paid off with $300.
*The fourth was called "Strategy" and was played with three cards being revealed at the start of the hand. The players would take two turns calling off cards (2 each) and would pick two cards from the cards showing as to what they wanted in the hand. Each player on their third turn would call off one card and pick one card from the four displayed cards.

Wild Card Hand

The third round, called "Wild Card Hand," was played similar to round one, but with jokers shuffled into the cards to make five of a kind possible (once again, with a $300 payoff).

At the end of this round, the player with the most money won the game and advanced to the bonus round for a chance at $5,000. The losing player left with a copy of the Super Pay Cards! game in addition to whatever money they had earned.

Bonus Round

In the first phase of the bonus round, a player was given four cards to memorize and four seconds to do it with. They would then pick a card from the assistant and try to find where it was on the board. Doing so won $50.

The second phase involved eight cards and eight seconds of memorization time. Success here increased the player's winnings to $500.

If a player got to the third and final phase, they faced a 12 card board. After having twelve seconds to memorize the cards, they'd make one final choice of card. Correctly recalling its location won the contestant the top prize of $5,000.

If the player made a mistake during one of the first two levels, the player loses the chance to win the $5,000, but could play that stage again. A wrong guess on the third level meant that the contestant lost the chance at $5,000, but kept the $500 for success on the first two levels.

Audience Game

Because "Super Pay Cards" was taped in Canada, an audience game was required because of Canadian broadcasting rules requiring at least one Canadian personality (or someone with Canadian connections) to appear on camera. Co-host Mary Lou Basaraba asked a member of the studio audience to study eight cards on the board for eight seconds, then pick one of those eight cards from her hand, and then call a number to see if it matches. If the hand-picked card matches the one called for on the board, that member wins a small prize. Played just like the end game, the audience game was not seen in U.S. syndication.

Home Games

Whitman Publishing produced a home game edition of the original "Pay Cards" in 1969. Gameplay was modified in that all three opening rounds were played in "Five Card Draw" format (although with a little tweaking, the game could be played to the TV rules), and all players participated in the Jackpot Round to try and find the chosen card.

No American release of a home game was made for "Super Pay Cards", although a home game was promoted (and, presumably, given to the losing players). Odds on, this home game was made and released only in Canada. However, no current evidence exists that the game was actually produced.

External links

* [ "Super Pay Cards" at the Illustrious Game Show Page]
* [ Super Pay Cards Rule Page]

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