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Top 10 Biggest Game Show Cheaters Ever
Top 10 Biggest Game Show Cheaters Ever

Top 10 Biggest Game Show Cheaters Ever

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild
These folks did not deserve to come on down. For this list, we'll be looking at contestants on game shows who gamed the system to win big - or just outright cheated. Our countdown includes game shows "The Price is Right", "Millionaire Hot Seat", "Twenty-One" and more!

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Game Show Cheaters of All Time. For this list, we’ll be looking at contestants on game shows who gamed the system to win big - or just outright cheated. Did you happen to see any of these live? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Ted Slauson


For many, “The Price Is Right” brings back memories of staying home from school and perusing the cozy channels of daytime TV. For Ted Slauson, “The Price Is Right” was a way of life. Slauson loved the show and memorized the exact prices of its prizes, which were often featured more than once. When he started showing up in the studio for tapings, Slauson would yell out the correct prices to contestants thereby helping them win. This famously came to a head in 2008 when contestant Terry Kniess correctly guessed the exact amount of the final double-showcase. The event was quite famous, and it forced the producers to acknowledge their complacency and diversify the pricing system. Slauson’s story was later told in the documentary “Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much.”

#9: The Flip Flop Cheater

In “The Price Is Right’s” game of Flip Flop, contestants must alter the first two numbers, the last two numbers, or all four numbers to correctly guess the price. A man named Breton is told how to play the game, and he even gestures to the crowd to help him out. But, rather than flipping or flopping, Breton presses the button that reveals the correct answer. To be honest, we don’t know if this is cheating or just an honest mistake. Either way, it resulted in one heck of a payout! In an incredible act of charity, Barker gives Breton the prize in the end. Still, Bob Barker panic-yelling “No!” and walking off the stage has to be one of the funniest moments on the show.

#8: Khaled El-Katateny


We don’t know if Khaled El-Katateny plays poker but, if he doesn’t, then he totally should! This 19-year-old man appeared on the game show “Millionaire Hot Seat,” which is essentially the Australian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” El-Katateny made for a very entertaining guest, often playing dumb and constantly plugging his own Instagram account. Regardless, he walked away with the top prize of $100,000. And how did he do it? By apparently reading the body language of host and question-asker Eddie McGuire. He observed McGuire’s subtle tell whenever the correct answer was read aloud and went with it. As he later told the media, “I didn’t play the game - I played the man.”

#7: Rick Rockwell

This is a different kind of cheater. On February 15, 2000, Fox aired a two-hour special called “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?” The show saw fifty women competing to marry a mysterious millionaire. Over twenty million people tuned in to watch winner Darva Conger marry who was eventually revealed to be Rick Rockwell. But, as it turned out, Rockwell had, shall we say, embellished his image for the show. He lied about his work as a motivational speaker and had previously been the target of a restraining order filed by his previous partner. He also lived in a modest house, and many people questioned his status as a multi-millionaire. Winner Darva Conger claimed that she was duped by Rockwell and quickly had their marriage annulled.

#6: Lauren & Frank Cleri


“The Moment of Truth” was a short-lived game show that aired on Fox between 2008 and 2009. The procedure was as follows: contestants are given a polygraph test prior to the game, and they are then re-asked the same personal questions in the studio in front of friends and family. If they can openly admit embarrassing truths about themselves, they are awarded money. One episode aired in which Lauren Cleri seemingly ended her marriage on national TV. In a later interview, however, the couple claimed that they had spoken about the answers before the show started and that they were only concerned about the money. Turns out, these weren’t dramatic secrets that Cleri was revealing for the first time - they were well known, despite her husband’s theatrical acting.

#5: Michael Larson


This man from Ohio made game show history in 1984 by winning over $110,000 on the CBS program “Press Your Luck.” Larson was a big fan of the show, and like “The Price Is Right’s” Ted Slauson, he meticulously studied the gameplay. Larson had taped episodes and used the recordings to memorize the pattern of the game board. He then flew to Los Angeles and appeared on the show. Larson’s intimate knowledge of the game board allowed him to go on a tear, and he ended up with historic winnings. CBS accused Larson of cheating and initially denied him the prize money. But, because memorizing the board wasn’t technically against the rules, the $110,000 was grudgingly handed over.

#4: Herb Stempel


Here’s a scandal that’s actually in-house. Between ‘56 and ‘58, NBC aired a game show called “Twenty-One,” which saw two contestants duking it out in general knowledge trivia. Following a disastrous first episode, producer Dan Enright decided to rig the show and hired contestant Herb Stempel to act as an underdog champion. Stempel was provided with both the questions and answers beforehand and racked up quote-unquote “winnings” of nearly $70,000. He was eventually quote-unquote “defeated” by a man named Charles Van Doren. It’s been reported that these weren’t the only two contestants to be cast in a similar fashion to actors, and “Twenty-One” became highly choreographed after its first broadcast.

#3: Adriana Abenia

Should cheating be taken as seriously if it’s a celebrity contestant? That’s the question at hand when it comes to Armani and Prada model Adriana Abenia. Spain has a popular game show called “Pasapalabra,” which itself is a remake of the British panel show “The Alphabet Game.” While appearing as a celebrity guest, Abenia secretly held her iPhone under the table and attempted to use the music-identifying app Shazam to cheat her way through a segment. However, she received a text at an inopportune time, and this was noticed by the host. He called her out, and Abenia playfully acknowledged that yes, that was her phone, and yes, she was indeed cheating!

#2: Charles Van Doren


We return to the scandal of “Twenty-One” with Charles Van Doren, the man who finally dethroned rigged champion Herb Stempel in front of fifteen million viewers. Van Doren’s reign on “Twenty-One” made him a national celebrity, and he even appeared on the cover of Time. Well, as you probably won’t be very shocked to learn, Van Doren was in on the whole scam, too. Following his dive, Herb Stempel became a whistleblower and exposed the fraudulent nature of not only “Twenty-One,” but many other game shows of the time. The case went all the way to Congress, and former rivals Stempel and Van Doren teamed up to expose the deception. Congress subsequently made a law expressly prohibiting producer intervention and predetermined game show winners.

#1: Charles Ingram


British Army major Charles Ingram appeared on the British “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in 2001 and became just the third person to win the top prize. However, producers were suspicious of Ingram’s performance, as he played erratically, didn’t seem confident, and often doubled back on incorrect answers. As a result, they withheld his earnings and launched an investigation. After studying the tape, they concluded that Ingram had been cheating with the help of a man named Tecwen Whittock and his own wife, Diana. They were both in the audience and reportedly coughed when the correct answer was read. All three were convicted of deception and given suspended prison sentences. The Ingrams were also forced to pay £115,000 in fines and defense costs.
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I agreed with this list. I love watching GSN & I am a big fan of it.
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