Pool Table, Karaoke Machine, 17-Foot Camper: $23,743
Sometimes it's not so good to get things exactly right. The problem for Terry Kniess of Las Vegas was this dollar amount:
That was the combined retail price of a pool table, a karaoke machine, and a 17-foot camper on “The Price Is Right.”
Terry got the dollar exactly right, to the penny, on September 22, 2008.
The problem was that it raised all sorts of suspicions. Did he cheat? Was the game somehow rigged?
Eight years later, Las Vegas resident Terry Kniess joins us in the Nevada Public Radio studios to tell us the story of his win. How did he do it?
“I figured $1,000 for the karaoke machine, $3,000 for the pool table and I thought Rich Fields said a 19-foot camper. So I’m figuring 19 – 20, $3,000 for the pool table – that’s $23,000,“ he said.
As for the '743,' Kniess said it was a combination of he and his wife's anniversary and his wife's birthday month. He said it was a number he and his wife had used for everything from luggage locks to passwords.
So, after calculating $23,000, he added 743 on for good measure.
“Little did I know at the time it was going to be direct hit," he said.
It was more of an educated guess than anything, Kniess said. In the months before he and his wife decided to go on the show, they decided to tape and rewatch the show.
“Within a couple of weeks, the first thing we noticed is they were repeating prizes,” he said.
He had seen the same Big Green Egg grill that he won in earlier rounds before, and he had seen the karaoke machine that was in his showcase.
Despite all that he was still not confident that he had won, Kniess figured he overbid. The other contestant was also very close, but with a perfect bid he won his showcase and hers.
Following the show, people accused Kniess of cheating. There were rumors that a former producer on the show had given him information or that announcer Rich Fields, who is a former meteorologist, had passed information to Kniess who also worked as meteorologist in Las Vegas in the 80s.
Kniess laughed off all of those accusations. Like card counters in casinos, Kniess doesn't see memorizing the prices of items used on the show as cheating. He points out that if the producers thought he was cheating they wouldn't have aired the show. If the show doesn't air, for whatever reason, no one on the show gets his or her prizes.
Kniess and his wife rarely watch the show now.
“It’s like when you’ve climbed to the top of Mt. Everest what do you do for an encore?” he quipped.
However, his story gets even more coincidental. His niece went on the show, one month to the day after he did. She even sat in the same seat he did. She was also called up and made it all the way to the Showcase Showdown, where she won with a bid of $1, because the other contestant had overbid.
“Think of all the stars aligning perfectly and that’s what this was,” he said.
Terry Kniess holds the sign used by the show to call contestants to 'come on down!
(Editor's Note: This interview originally aired September 2016)
Terry Kniess, "The Price is Right" contestant, and Las Vegas resident