- The centerpiece of Punch-a-Bunch is a punchboard which conceals a paper slip with a dollar value in each of its 50 paper-covered holes. To begin the game, the contestant is shown four small prizes, one at a time, each tagged with an incorrect price. They must decide whether the correct price of each prize is higher or lower than the price shown. For each correct decision, the contestant wins that prize and earns one punch at the board.
- After all four prizes are played, the contestant makes the number of punches won, leaving the slips of paper inside the holes. The slip in the first hole punched is removed and shown to the contestant. They must then decide whether to keep the cash amount and quit, or give it back and look in the next hole. The game continues until the contestant accepts the money on a slip or has no more holes to look in, and wins the amount found in the final hole, or if they win the top prize. Since the top prize was increased to $25,000 at the start of Season 37, finding either a $10,000 slip or the $25,000 slip on the last punch will end the game and accompany a big win; other times, finding the $10,000 slip still has the opportunity to go on and find what's in the next hole.
- Up until June 17, 2011 (#5615K, the game's final playing in Season 39), there were four special slips on the board, one each of the lowest four values ($50, $100, $250 and $500), which also had "second chance" written on them. If one of these slips is found in a punched hole, the contestant immediately punches an additional hole. The amount found in this new hole is added to the amount on the second chance slip. If any original holes remain, the contestant may accept the total or return both slips to look in the next of their original holes.
- If a second chance punch reveals another second chance slip, the contestant makes an additional punch which is added to the previous total as well. As a result, the maximum prize available in the Punch-a-Bunch is $25,900, which is won by revealing a second chance slip, punching out each of the three remaining second chance slips in the resulting second chance punches and finally punching out the $25,000 slip on the final second chance punch. Nevertheless, due to the unlikelihood of first revealing a second chance slip and then the $25,000 slip on the second chance punch, the announced top prize for the game is simply $25,000, which is the most that can be won with one slip.
- Wins of greater than $10,000 have occurred during the period in which $10,000 was the largest value on the board (see History below), although no contestant has ever chained more than one second chance slip with the top prize. Thus, the most ever won in Punch-a-Bunch during this period was the $500 second chance slip followed by the $10,000 slip for a total of $10,500; that occurred on January 22, 2003 (#2403K).
- The distribution of prize slips has been altered at various times to adjust the top prize, including for prime time specials.
From September 29, 2008 (#4441K, aired out-of-order on December 1) to June 17, 2011 (#5615K), the distribution of prize slips was this:
- One each of $50, $100, $250 and $500 slips is marked "second chance" as described above.
The distribution of prize slips is currently:
- The "second chance" has been removed.
On April 23, 2013 (#6322K, aired out-of-order on April 22), October 16, 2015 (#7245K, aired out-of-order on October 13, originally rescheduled to air on October 15) and February 22, 2018 (#8224K, aired out-of-order on February 21), for the "Big Money Week," the top prize was increased to $250,000, with the distribution as follows:
- The $100 slips are temporarily removed.
The prize slip distribution for Million Dollar Spectaculars is:
- On the May 7, 2008 (#031SP, aired out-of-order on May 14) special, Punch a Bunch was the Million Dollar Game. For that playing, if the contestant's first punch revealed the $50,000 slip, they would win $1,000,000.
On the Survivor primetime special from May 23, 2016 (#034SP), the frequency was:
On the Season 45's Dream Car Week from May 19, 2017 (#7945K), the frequency was:
- Punch-a-Bunch was the first game to be played for a primary prize consisting only of cash-- originally $10,000. It debuted on September 27, 1978 (#2963D, aired out-of-order on September 26, 1978) with slightly different gameplay which continued for its first 11 playings. Instead of a single punch on the board, the contestant took two punches for each correctly priced prize: One in the 50-hole main board-- as today-- and a second in the top row of the game's original board, which had ten holes spelling "punchboard." The ten "punchboard" holes contained the numbers 1-10 and the 50 main holes contained slips saying "Dollar" (20 slips), "Hundred" (20 slips) or "Thousand" (10 slips). The two slips punched were taken together to form a cash value (for example, punches of "5" and "Hundred" would be a prize of $500. Additionally, the contestant made their punches after each correct small prize guess, instead of after all four; a contestant would choose a prize before showing the wrong price and guessing higher or lower. Thus, if a contestant declined a prize value and did not correctly guess any subsequent small prize(s), they would win nothing.
- On March 3, 1989 (#7175D), during that episode's playing, the contestant punched a hole that was empty. Bob did not know what to do, but one person in the audience suggested Bob give her $10,000. Because he couldn't think of anything more appropriate to do, he did exactly that-- award the contestant $10,000.
- The game's current rules debuted on January 5, 1979 (#3105D), with $10,000 as the highest-valued slip and the announced top prize. However, by virtue of the second chance slips mentioned above, the top prize was actually $10,900.
From January 5, 1979 (#3105D) until July 17, 2008 (#4424K), the distribution was as follows:
- One each of $50, $100, $250 and $500 slips was marked "second chance" as described above.
- On October 31, 2013 (#6475K), an unknown hand appeared out of the punched holes along with the cash slips.
- On May 13, 2016 (#7535K), the game was featured on Let's Make a Deal as part of a mash-up between both shows (the Price episode featured Smash for Ca$h from LMAD).
- On June 19, 2014 (#6794K), after 121 playings without a contestant punching the hole that contained the $25,000 top prize, Linda Marshall became the first to win $25,000, punching the hole that contained the $25,000 slip on her first punch; during the first Showcase Showdown, host Drew Carey stated that her second punch, which was not shown on the air, contained one of the two $10,000 slips.
- On the May 23, 2016 (#034SP) Survivor Primetime Special, the $25,000 was won on the fourth and final punch and the winning graphic used was the same winning graphic from the Showcase Showdown when someone lands on the dollar in the bonus spin.
- On the May 19, 2017 (#7945K) episode during Season 45's Dream Car Week, two of the $100 slips were replaced with CAR slips (a $34,295 BMW 320i); as a result, the BMW was won on third punch.
- On the October 31, 2017 (#8072K) episode, the $25,000 was won on the third punch.
- The game is currently in a losing streak, with the most recent win happening on October 31, 2017 (#8072K).
Primetime specials (2002-2007)Edit
For the prime time specials aired from Season 30-35, Punch-a-Bunch's top prize was $25,000 and no second chance slips were used. The prize distribution was as follows:
- The original punchboard, used until May 29, 1996 (#0013K), had a yellow exterior flanked by blue curved lines. When the game debuted, the Punch-A-Bunch sign had a red and green color scheme; it was changed to yellow on September 15, 1980 (#3781D). The original ten "punchboard" holes remained in place until the current set was unveiled, even though they were not used in the gameplay after the original rules were abandoned. When the regular rules were adopted, a frequency chart was added at the bottom of the board.
- The introduction of the game initially took place on the turntable (similar to that of Plinko and featured a model (usually Janice Pennington until she was fired in 2000) holding a $10,000 bill with the host's face on it; then the model would move to stand beside the punchboard. A green sign reading "$10,000" in a font resembling that of American currency was present on the wall of the turntable behind the model. On the December 11, 1992 (#8615D) episode, however, it was introduced with a $10,000 graphic instead, since Dian Parkinson and Kyle Aletter were the only two models on that episode.
- The prize slips for the regular rules originally were originally white with black amounts. They changed to what is displayed today by February 1, 1985 (#5581D).
- On September 10, 1996 (#0042K), the current punchboard and set debuted and the introduction was permanently changed so that The Giant Price Tag rises to reveal the model holding the $10,000/$25,000 bill while standing in front of the board.
- For the prize displays, the punchboard holes are used as a backdrop. The punchboard holes themselves have remained mostly unchanged, but from June 4, 2008 (#4363K) until April 26, 2010 (#5141K), they were changed to purple Pricedown dollar signs.
- On October 8, 2010 (#5255K), the small prize backdrop changed to a closeup of the punch board, while the higher/lower cards were changed into a different, yellow font and the background is green.
- On the Survivor primetime special from May 23, 2016 (#034SP), the game was repainted and redesigned for the Survivor theme. On June 3, 2016 (#7563K), the repainted set got carried over to the daytime show. On September 22, 2016 (#7614K), the frequency chart becomes blue.
- On the 80's UK version, the prizes ranged from £25 to £250, and there were five £0's on the board which automatically ended the game, while Italy's OK offered a new car.
- On Mexico's Atínale al Precio, the game was played under the name "4 Rounds" (literally meaning "4 Punches"). MX$10,000 was the top prize.
- On the Australian version in 2012, the Wonder Wall contained six each each of $50, $100, and $250, three $500 slips and one each of $1,000, $2,000, and $5,000. Two of the slips also included second chances.
On the Netherlands Cash en Carlo, the distribution is as such:
First Daytime $25,000 WinnerEdit
Blue/orange/yellow color scheme debutsEdit
Punch-A-Bunch for $50,000 (Daytime)Edit
Punch-A-Bunch for a BMW 320iEdit
Punch-A-Bunch for $250,000Edit
- The most number of times this game was played in any season was 32.
An Early playing of Punch-A-Bunch 1.0
$10,000 won (January 4, 1999, #0961K)
Over $10,000 won (January 22, 2003, #2403K)
$25,000 won on Primetime TV (February 12, 2003, #008SP, aired out of order on February 5)
First Punch-A-bunch daytime $25,000 winner from Drew Carey era (June 19, 2014, #6794K)
$25,000 won on Survivor special (May 23, 2016, #034SP)