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What is Drinko Plinko? DYI Game Overview

Have you heard of “Drinko Plinko”?

It’s become a popular DIY game for bars, parties and man caves. 

The first time I saw it, I assumed it was just an elaborate bottle opener with a funny name created to amuse guests.

But there is a little more to it.

What is Drinko Plinko?

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First, the word “drinko” suggests that this is a drinking game, and a welcome addition to the ever growing catalog of bar games featured on this website.

And, if you’re a fan of The Price is Right, the word “plinko” might sound familiar too. 

Let’s Play Plinko!

If the game sounds familiar, that’s because the game of Plinko was first featured on the popular game show The Price is Right, which many of us grew up watching.

The game premiered on the show back in 1983 and was named Plinko by its host, Bob Barker, because of the sound the chips would make as they were dropped into the game board and bounced among the pegs: “plink, plink, plink”.

On the show, contestants play Plinko by walking up a short flight of stairs to the top of the board. Then they drop one chip at a time into the board, laying them flat and hoping they line up the chips so they travel through the maze of pegs and land in a money slot at the bottom of the board.

There are nine slots marked at the following values: $100, $500, $1,000, $0, $10,000, $0, $1000, $500, $100.

Plinko is one of the most popular game show games on television. And the Price is Right doled out some serious cash over the years on the old plinko board.

For example, in 2018, on the 35th anniversary of the game, higher slot values delivered a record breaking $39,200 in cash winnings for a contestant.

So now we know where the plinko portion of the game comes from. Adapting a classic game to our modern bar or game room needs is one of the best ways to create a new bar game.

This is what Drinko Plinko is all about.

Adding Drinko to Plinko

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If you look at the original version of plinko, it’s easy to see how this could become the perfect DIY type of bar game. 

Instead of prize money you assign a drinking or social action to each slot.

At the top of the board, you mount a bottle opener. Some versions use multiple bottle openers to make you think a little more.

For example, if you want to avoid taking a shot or buying a round, maybe you open your bottle on the opposite side of the board to reduce your chances of landing in one of these slots. Yet most boards are designed to make this pretty difficult.

When the bottle is opened, the cap enters the maze of pegs and makes its way into one of the slots. Each slot is labeled with a different action.

For example, common drinko plinko “prizes” include: take a shot; kill that drink; give someone a hug; buys a drink or buy a round; yell cheers to everyone, and so on.

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules to making a board or playing this game. You can design the board any way you want. And you can get really creative with the slot labels at the bottom of the board. 

Be Creative with Your Drinko Plinko

As mentioned, drinko plinko is wide open for interpretation.

For instance, some board designers choose different configurations of pegs, which are usually just a series of nails or screws.

You may have 5 or 6 even rows, or alternating rows of 4 and 6 pegs, or even a completely random formation. The boards can be different shapes and sizes and customized with your bar’s logo or your favorite team. Or you can always just go for the rustic natural wood look.

Many boards also include a piece of plexiglass installed over the pegs to keep the cap from falling out.

You can hang the board on the wall or just place it on a stand right on the bar.

Either way, your patrons or invited guests will love this fun version of a bottle opener. And, as the host, this is also an easy way to collect and recycle those bottle caps.

Of course, the DIY version of Plinko does not need to involve drinking alcohol. In fact there are many creative versions out there that make this a fun game for any age range.

For example, one popular version of the game uses a soda bottle. And the slots are labeled with different flavors. Each flavor has its own syrup that is added to the soda when the cap lands in the associated slot.

Bottom line – this is a fun game that’s also a great way to show off your woodworking and design skills.

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