|Jim Perry (1978–1981)|
Bob Eubanks (1985, 1986–1989, CBS)
Bill Rafferty (1986–1987, syndicated)
Tom Green (1996 Pilot)
Pat Bullard (2000–2001)
Ricki Lake (Gameshow Marathon, 2006)
Joel McHale (2019–Present)
|Janice Baker, Lois Areno, Ann Pennington, and Markie Post (1978–1981)|
Suzanna Williams and Laurie Dureau (1985 Pilot)
Lacey Pemberton and Suzanna Williams (1986–1989)
Deedee Weathers (1996 Pilot)
Daphne Duplaix (2000 Pilot)
Tami Anderson (2001)
Phire Dawson and Rebecca Pribonic (Gameshow Marathon, 2006)
Jerry Wolf & Alexis Gaube (2019–Present)
|Johnny Olson (1978 Pilots)|
Gene Wood (1978–1989)
Bob Hilton (1985 Pilot)
Burton Richardson (2000 Pilot)
Gary Kroeger (2001)
Rich Fields (Gameshow Marathon, 2006)
Donna Jay Fulks (2019–Present)
NBC Daytime: 4/24/1978 – 10/23/1981
Syndication (Daily): 9/8/1986 – 5/29/1987 (reruns aired until 9/1987)Gameshow Marathon): 6/14/2006
|Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (1978–1981)|
Mark Goodson Productions (1986–1989)
All-American Television (1996)
Pearson Television (2000-2001)
(Fremantle)Media North America (2006, 2019-Present)
Start Entertainment (2019–Present)
|Television Program Source (1986–1987)|
Pearson Television (2001)
Card Sharks is the game show where two contestants played high-low (a.k.a. Acey-Deucey) with the cards to win lots of money.
- 1 Gameplay (Original Version)
- 2 Gameplay (2001 Version)
- 3 Gameplay (2019–Present)
- 4 Tournaments
- 5 Pilots
- 6 Gameshow Marathon (2006)
- 7 Poems
- 8 Episode status
- 9 International Versions
- 10 Additional Pages
- 11 Trivia
- 12 References
- 13 Rating
- 14 Music
- 15 Inventors
- 16 Studios
- 17 Links
Gameplay (Original Version)
Two contestants competed against each other on all versions of Card Sharks. Each contestant was assigned a row of five oversized playing cards. Each contestant had a standard 52-card deck; the ace ranked highest and the deuce (two) ranked lowest. The champion played the red cards on top, stood on the red side of the podium and wore a red nametag, while the challenger played the blue cards on the bottom, stood on the blue side of the podium and wore a blue nametag. In case of two new players, a coin toss was used to determine who played red and who played blue.
Control of the board was determined by asking a survey question similar to the surveys done on Family Feud, another Goodson-Todman creation. Questions were posed to 100 people of the same occupation, marital status, or demographic (ex: “We asked 100 policemen, ‘If a naked female ran past you, would you be able to remember her face?’ How many said yes, they would be able to recognize her face?”). The contestant who received the question (with the red-card player, usually the champion, going first) then gave a guess as to how many people gave the answer that the host gave (and usually his/her reasoning, although this was not required). After hearing the guess, the opponent had to choose whether the correct number was higher or lower than that guess. Choosing correctly gave control of the board to the opponent; otherwise, the initial contestant gained control. The initial contestant would also gain control of the board if he/she correctly guessed the survey answer exactly.
Starting in Fall 1980 and continuing through the end of the Eubanks version in 1989, an exact guess won a $500 bonus for the contestant; the contestant keeps it regardless of the game's outcome (by June 1981, until the end of the Perry run, a chyron graphic showing "$500" in a Ferranti-style font would display on the screen). Up to four (three in Game 2 in the early part of the Rafferty version) toss-up questions were played per game.
In addition to the regular 100-person survey questions, some questions on the Eubanks/Rafferty versions used one of the following formats as opposed to the straight 100-person survey.
- 10 Studio Audience Members – Beginning on July 7, 1986 questions were asked about a panel of 10 audience members sharing a common profession or characteristic (mothers-to-be, nurses, students) who taped an entire week of shows (originally, five different poll groups were used per week). An exact guess by the contestant won $100, and the panel members each received $10.
- Educated Guess – Introduced on October 6, 1986, and the only time non-survey questions were ever used on the program. Each question was general knowledge with a numerical answer ("In miles per hour, how fast is the fastest snake?", "How old is Bill Rafferty?"). Originally answers only ranged 0-99 (the range of the readouts on the contestant podium). This changed in 1987 to questions with various ranges. To accommodate the change, values would be superimposed with on-screen graphics or written on cards by the contestants. An exact guess on this kind of question also won a $500 bonus.
The numerical answers usually appeared in a SportsType display, but in the Gameshow Marathon show, the answers appeared in an egg crate display.
Playing the cards
Above each contestant's row of cards was a moving bracket bearing the contestant's name which would mark one of the cards as the "base card". Each contestant's base card was the first card in the row of five. The winner of the question could choose to either play and keeping his/her base card, or have it replaced with another card from the top of the deck. The contestant then guessed whether the next (face-down) card in the row was "higher" or "lower"; if correct, he or she could continue to guess the next card after that and so on (if both cards were the same, the guess counted as incorrect).
On an incorrect guess, the contestant loses his/her progress and returns to the base card with the other revealed cards being discarded and replaced by new face-down cards before the next question in the round. In this event, the opponent received a free chance to play his/her row of cards but could not change the base card.
Contestants could also choose to "freeze", thus making the last revealed card the new base card and preventing the opponent from receiving a free chance. In the 1978-1981 run, the player's bracket or freeze bar connected to his/her name electronically moved by itself. Sometimes, the freeze bar was broken and when that happened, a handheld freeze bar was placed on the new base card. In the 1986–1989 run, as well as Gameshow Marathon, manual freeze bars were used.
If neither contestant guessed all the cards on his or her row correctly, another toss-up question was asked, with the guessing positions switched and the same procedures were followed until someone revealed all the cards in the row or the fourth question in the round was asked. In the final months of the NBC run, a $500 bonus was awarded for guessing correctly on all four cards in a single turn without freezing.
$100 was awarded for each game won (except in the 1985 pilots), with two games winning the match and the right to play the Money Cards bonus game.
During most of the Rafferty version several "prize cards" were shuffled into the deck consisting of trips (up to $6,000), furniture, appliances, and cash ($250, $500, $1,000, and $5,000; every amount except $500 was later removed). If one of those turned up during a player's turn, the name of the prize was placed on that player's side of the board adjacent to his/her row of cards and another card would be dealt with which he/she had to call. Only the contestant who won the match claimed the prizes found. Because of this, $100 was no longer awarded for a game won, even if a player who won the match did not uncover any prize cards.
The fourth question (third in the tiebreaker round) in each round was a "sudden death" question in which someone would win the game on the next turn of the cards. Whoever won control of the board had the opportunity to play the cards (and could change the base card if desired) or pass them to the opponent (who could not change the base card and had to successfully clear the remainder of the row). Players could not freeze. If either contestant guessed incorrectly, the opponent automatically won the game.
If the match was tied after two games, a tiebreaker game was played to determine the winner. Contestants played rows of three cards instead of five, and three questions were asked instead of four (two during one point in the '80s syndicated version), with the third being sudden death.
Beginning on February 29, 1988, the tiebreaker was changed to one sudden-death question; this also determined the winner of the match on the finale of the Rafferty version, as well as the final match of that version's Young People's Week. In the one-question tiebreaker game, both base cards were revealed so the player could make an easier decision as to play his/her cards and change the base card or pass to the opponent, who was not able to change the base card. As before, players could not freeze, and if either contestant guessed incorrectly, the opponent automatically won the match.
The winner of the main game played the Money Cards bonus game for a chance to win additional money. The Money Cards board consisted of seven cards on three rows; three cards were dealt on the bottom two rows, and one card was dealt on the top row. On the NBC version, the winner's first base card to begin the bonus game was dealt from the deck after the seven cards were placed. In the pilot, Jim took the top card himself, while in the series, the dealer gave it to Jim. On the CBS version, however, the first four cards were dealt on the bottom row, with the first card as the base card, followed by three on the middle row, and one on the top row, plus three reserve cards. (So, in reality, this version dealt 11 cards out at the start instead of 7 on the NBC version.)
In addition to guessing whether a card was higher or lower, the contestant had to wager money on that prediction. The contestant was given $200 to bet with and had to wager at least $50 (and in multiples of $50) on each card on the first two rows. The contestant won money for each correct guess and lost money on each incorrect guess.
After completing the first row, or if the contestant "busted" (lost everything on that wager), the last card was moved onto the second row and the contestant was given an additional $200 (raised to $400 in 1986, but still $200 on the 1985 pilot). The contestant had to play three more cards before reaching the last card on the top row, known as the "Big Bet". If a contestant busted before reaching the Big Bet, the game ended. Upon reaching the Big Bet, the contestant was required to wager at least half of their earnings; there was an occasional "25" or "75" at the end if a contestant had, at minimum, $50 or $150.
The most a contestant could win on the NBC version was $28,800, which was done once in the entire show's run by contestant Norma Brown (it was also done on the 1978 version's second pilot). Contestants could win up to $32,000 on the Eubanks/Rafferty versions but were never won. The highest win on that version (and the overall record) was $29,000. The 1985 pilots for the Eubanks/Rafferty versions kept the top prize at $28,800.
The maximum payoff was increased to $144,000 for a contestant at home during Gameshow Marathon.
Originally, only the first card on the bottom row could be changed. In mid-1978 the rule was changed so that the first card on every row could be changed. In the Eubanks/Rafferty versions, the contestant was given three opportunities to change a card by choosing one of three pre-dealt cards. Originally, a player could change more than one card on a row, and could even change more than once on the same card; this was later modified to allow the contestant to change only one card per line. The second syndicated run used the NBC change rules.
Duplicate cards (for example, two 8s in a row) originally counted as an incorrect wager. About two months after an incident in which all four 3s in the deck came up in a row, as well as a separate incident involving all four Jacks in the deck, this was changed on October 20, 1980, so that the contestant neither won nor lost money if a duplicate was revealed (referred to as a "push" by Eubanks and Rafferty, and a "double" by Perry). From then on, hosts encouraged the contestant to wager everything on an Ace or deuce since there was no way the contestant could lose with either card. The Pat Bullard era initially treated a push as neither a win nor a loss; however, it was later changed back to a loss. The pre-1980 rule was carried over to the ABC version in 2019 for the first season only. The push rule was reinstated for that version second season.
On the Gameshow Marathon version, the best-known rules to the Money Cards were brought back. A player started with $1,000 in betting money for the first two rows and had to wager at least half the money on the Big Bet. Minimum bets were still $50, and players could change one card per line by using one of the three pre-dealt cards in the numbered slots. The "push" rule was also brought back but was not needed.
Sequences of Top Prizes
Starting on September 29, 1986, on the syndicated version and on October 27, 1986, on the daytime version, a second bonus round following the Money Cards was added to give players a chance to win a new car. Originally, the round was played using Jokers; the contestant earned one for winning the match and could win more if any of three additional Jokers that were in the Money Cards deck came up, which were set aside and replaced with the next card off the top of the deck. The contestant then placed the Joker(s) in a rack of seven numbered cards; if any of the chosen cards revealed "CAR" after it was turned over (the other cards read "NO" in much smaller lettering and enclosed in a circle), the contestant won the car. The Jokers had to be placed face up; should the contestant place them face down, either the host would remind the contestant or turn the card over himself (sometimes with dealer assistance).
In the last episode of the Rafferty version, all four Jokers were given to the final champion at the outset.
The Car Game returned during the Gameshow Marathon episode. This time, the contestant was asked one final audience poll question, and had to determine if the actual answer was higher or lower than five (represented by a card displayed beside one of the dealers). A correct guess won the car.
During the special weeks when children played, the top prize was usually a trip to Hawaii or a prize package featuring a boat (with either "WIN" or "HAWAII" displayed on one of the cards). The children received two Jokers to start; this meant there were two more in the Money Cards deck, which were set aside and replaced with the next card off the top of the deck.
Beginning on July 4, 1988, the car game was changed to use the audience-poll group. The question was played the same way it normally would during regular gameplay, with the contestant predicting how many of the poll group gave a certain answer. For this bonus round, a prop with a dial was used, and the contestant moved the dial to lock in his/her guess. A correct guess won the car, and missing by one either way won $500 (except during "Young People's Week" and the final episode when being one away also won the car). All other incorrect guesses won nothing more.
On the original series, contestants could return until losing a match or winning seven consecutive matches, with a maximum potential payout of $203,000. There technically was no winnings limit since NBC games, with few exceptions, did not have the cash limits that CBS and ABC did.
On the Eubanks version, the maximum was either five matches or passing the CBS winnings limit of $75,000. The same rules applied for the Rafferty version, including a winnings limit (never specified, but believed to be $60,000); Brian Hunt was the only contestant to exceed this limit, winning $63,105 (including two cars) on the Rafferty version.
In addition to the above, a rule concerning car wins was in place on the Rafferty version and adjusted twice during its run:
- For the first few weeks after the car game was introduced, a player retired immediately after winning a car. During this period General Motors supplied high-end luxury and sports car models worth over $30,000.
- When GM started supplying mid-range priced sports cars worth over $15,000 the limit was adjusted again, with a contestant being allowed to win three cars before retiring.
- Halfway through the run (and staying through the remainder of it) the show began offering base models from American Motors through its Jeep and Renault brands (worth over $10,000) and adjusted the limit again to two cars.
Gameplay (2001 Version)
The gameplay was drastically different from the successful incarnations on the 1970s and 1980s. Four players competed, two at a time, in a best-of-three match. Each round used a single row of seven cards.
Perhaps the most jarring difference was the lack of survey, educated guess, and "10 audience members" questions used on the previous versions. Instead, one player started the game in control of the cards and kept control as long as they kept guessing correctly. An incorrect guess passed control over to the other player unless it was on the last card of the row when it meant an automatic loss for the player who guessed it wrong.
All four players were given two "Clip Chip" tokens to start the game, and if one of them wanted to change the card in play they would place the token in a slot on their podium. A video clip would play, with one of three possible options:
- A situation (a la Candid Camera or Street Smarts) which was stopped before its resolution.
- Someone introduces himself/herself and then asks which of two others he/she is associated with.
- Someone trying to list answers related to a topic within 10 seconds, or sing the correct lyrics to an obscure song (a la The Singing Bee or Don't Forget the Lyrics!).
Correctly predicting the outcome of the clip allowed the contestant to change the card, while an incorrect answer did not.
Each game was worth $500. As before, two games were needed to win the match. The loser received an Argus digital camera as a consolation prize in addition to the $500 if they won a game.
The third game, if necessary, was played similar to the tiebreaker on the original Card Sharks with three cards. The difference, other than the fact that there was only one row of cards used, was that no Clip Chips could be used.
The two match-winners then squared off in the Big Deal, one final row of seven cards. Clip Chips, if the players had any left, were still in play. Whoever won this showdown won an additional $1,100 and advanced to the Money Cards. The loser of the Big Deal won a consolation trip to Las Vegas in addition to their previous $1,000.
This version's Money Cards differed from the original three versions.
The Money Cards board was pyramid-shaped. Three rows of cards (three cards on the bottom row, two cards in the middle and one card on the top) were dealt, with the last card on the top row called the "Major Wager" (an updated version of the "Big Bet" seen in earlier versions).
The day's champion's $2,100 were equally divided among each of the three rows ($700 per row).
Just as in the original NBC version, the winning contestant could change the base card on each row.
The contestant began with $700 on the bottom row. The top card from the deck was placed at the start of the row and shown to the contestant, who then made a wager based on whether he/she thought the next card was higher or lower, with a minimum wager of $100. Wagering continued until the contestant played the three cards on the bottom row or busted.
The last card on the bottom row was moved to the left of the middle row and the contestant received an additional $700. The contestant then played the next two cards as he/she did on the first row, wagering as he/she went along.
The last card in the middle row was placed next to the card on the top row for the final bet, the "Major Wager", and the contestant received an additional $700. The minimum bet on this card was at least half of the contestant's current total. The maximum total possible was $51,800.
Contestants could only change the base card on each row. A push originally returned the amount wagered to the contestant; however, it was later changed back to a loss. If a contestant busted on the final card, he/she received $700 as a consolation prize. The most money ever won on this version was $27,450.
Unlike the earlier versions, the games were self-contained, starting with the semifinals and ending with the Money Cards. Also, there were no returning champions and no car games.
Top Prize Sequence
During the show's brief run, a special week of shows called "America's Heroes" was taped after the September 11, 2001 attacks and featured Los Angeles-area firefighters and police officers playing for charities.
The essence of the format is the same as the pre-2001 versions. To determine control of the first question, both players cut their decks before the show, with the higher card winning control; the dealers then deal out the cards based on the cuts. However, the players must call seven cards instead of five, with five survey questions asked. There is no bonus if a player gets the number exactly right. The player who completes their row first wins the game and goes on to the Money Cards.
The Money Cards have been modified; it's now one seven-card row similar to the 2001 main game but with golden cards, which the player also cuts before the show. The player is staked with $10,000 and uses chips to place bets. They can change one card at their discretion, and minimum bets are $1,000. If they make it to the final card, they can cash in (leave) with their earnings or play on with the minimum bet of half their earnings. Pushes use the post-1980 rule (meaning no win, no loss).The top amount possible is $640,000. Unfortunately, unlike previous versions, there is the possibility that the champion can leave the show empty-handed, like their opponent (by busting at any time).
First Season Rules
- Each player had a row of ten cards.
- In both the main game and Money Cards, the players cut their decks on camera.
- Also in the Money Cards and as mentioned earlier, pushes use the pre-1980 rule (meaning a loss).
Second Season Rules
- Each player had a row of seven cards.
- While in season 1, the players have cut their cards on camera. In season 2, the show went traditionally by having the players cut their cards before the show.
- Pushes (cards that match each other in rank) no longer count as incorrect guesses (in the case, using the post-1980 rule) and therefore there's no loss or gain for that turn.
NOTE: Originally, the second season was going to be aired as part of the "Fun & Games" block in the summer but beause of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, the second season had to be pushed back until its premier on October 18, 2020 where it was paired up with the second season of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and a remake of the 90s cult classic game show Supermarket Sweep hosted by actress/comedienne Leslie Jones.
Card Sharks held many special tournament weeks over the years, including a three-week tournament that pitted eight-game show hosts against each other. The participants of this tournament were Allen Ludden, Gene Rayburn, Bill Cullen, Wink Martindale, Tom Kennedy, Alex Trebek, Jack Clark, and Jim Lange. In the final week, the top four winners (Rayburn, Cullen, Trebek, and Clark) faced each other with a $25,000 bonus (won by Trebek) going to the winner's chosen charity. Another tournament featured celebrities who were from television and comedians like Avery Schreiber, Greg Mullavey, Marcia Wallace, Mary Ann Mobley, Ross Martin, Vicki Lawrence, Bill Daily and Meredith MacRae.
Other tournaments held included "Kids' Week", "College Week", and "Celebrity Card Sharks" (in which celebrities would play against each other for their favorite charities). During "Kids' Week", parents played the Money Cards with their children. Future actresses Kelly Packard and Kellie Martin were contestants during one such week. Competitors on Kids' Week during the Eubanks/Rafferty versions were only given up to $2,500 of their winnings in cash, with the rest of their monetary winnings put into savings bonds. All competitors kept their prizes.
Card Sharks recorded two pilots on March 17, 1978; other than several noticeable set changes, Johnny Olson announcing, the tiebreaker called "Play Off" using four cards instead of three, and host Jim Perry not using a microphone, the show was the same. Lawyer (and frequent game show pilot contestant) Jack Campion played on Pilot #1, while a contestant named Johnny "broke the bank" and won $28,800 (similar to Norma Brown) in Pilot #2.
The series used the same opening as the pilots - this is most evident by the horizontal Money Cards sign visible on the right-hand side and the Play-Off Sign visible on the left-hand side before the camera zooming in onto the logo.
An unsold pilot was taped at Tribune Studios in 1996 with sportscaster and former host of Sports on Tap Tom Green (not to be confused with the late-1990s MTV comedy show host of the same name) hosting and Deedee Weathers announcing/assisting.
This incarnation, produced by All-American Television (later Pearson Television, then FremantleMedia [North America] and now Fremantle), completely scrapped both the traditional main game and Money Cards formats; instead, the main game had both players answer a 10-person poll question (more specifically Rock Video Supergirls) for the right to try and make it to the end of a single 10-card pyramid (similar to the 2001 revival). Doing so won $250 (doubled to $500 for guessing all ten cards in a single turn if the champion won in this situation, the challenger was invited back for another game) and a chance for $5,000 in a bonus round similar to Shell Game from The Price is Right.
In the bonus round, a special deck consisting only of numbered cards was used. The top four cards were taken from the deck and the Ace of Spades was shuffled in with them. The player would choose four of the five cards to keep, hoping one of them was the Ace. After the four cards were chosen, the player would be shown videos, each featuring one of three celebrities (David Hasselhoff, Cynthia Garrett, and Doug Davidson) all of whom were asked the same questions (similar to the "dilemmas" used in the 2001 version). Green would read an answer given by one of the celebrities. A correct choice kept all the cards, an incorrect choice meant they had to give up a card, hopefully not the Ace, and would have to try again with the other two celebrities, again losing one of their cards for an incorrect guess.
After two questions were played, the contestant won $100 times the value of each number card that they still had; however, if they kept the Ace, they won $5,000.
Another pilot was shot in Studio 9 at the NBC Studios in Burbank, California on November 17, 2000, which was later retooled and became the format for the 2001 version. The pilotjust like in the 2001 version, was hosted by Pat Bullard, but was announced by Burton Richardson and the dealer was Daphne Duplaix. While many elements of the eventually aired series came from this pilot, this pilot also contained elements that were not used in the subsequent series.
All rounds used the "Hidden Camera" format that would become prevalent in the aired series.
Round 1 was played like Blackjack. Each time a player earned control they gained a card and like Blackjack could stand if their hand totaled 12 or more. Once a player stood, the opponent continued to draw cards until they beat their opponent's hand or busted. The player who won this round received $200.
In Round 2, three cards were dealt and a question was played. The winner of the question was shown the first card and either chose to play the cards or pass the option to the opponent. Whoever played the cards had to correctly predict whether the following cards were higher or lower than the previous card. If the player was successful, he/she won $300; otherwise, the opponent won the money. After the first set of three cards was played, another question and four cards were dealt, played in the same fashion for $400. Following this, a final question and five cards were dealt with, with the winner receiving $500.
In Round 3, each player was dealt five cards from the same deck. Questions were played as before and whoever earned control played their cards with the options and rules from the 1978–1989 main game. The player who won the round received $1,000, with the first to reach $1,500 winning the game. Both players kept any money earned.
The Money Cards were played similarly to the 2001–2002 version; however, instead of $700 on each line, the money won in the main game was divided evenly among the three tiers and added to the contestant's total as the contestant progressed through the round.
NOTE: Daphne Duplaix would later host Show Us Your Wits on Playboy TV in 2009.
Gameshow Marathon (2006)
On June 15, 2006, Card Sharks was the fifth of seven classic game shows featured in CBS' month-long Gameshow Marathon series hosted by Ricki Lake and announced by Rich Fields with Todd Newton (a.k.a. prize deliverer) as one of the "Semi-Final" rounds in the tournament. The celebrity contestants were Brande Roderick and Paige Davis. The show was modeled after the NBC version despite CBS having a version and featured footage from both NBC and CBS/Syn versions including the original 1978 pilot.
The main game borrowed from both Perry and Eubanks versions with surveys of 100 people as well as a survey with 10 people in the audience, as well as change cards in the Money Cards.
- Roderick won the main round.
Money Cards Sequence
- Roderick won only $6,000 in the Money Cards.
On the Gameshow Marathon episode, the game was changed where the 10 people polled (more specifically cheerleaders in this episode) were called up for another poll question (in this case, "We asked these cheerleaders, 'Have you ever dated someone from a rival school?' How many of these 10 cheerleaders said they have dated someone from a rival school?"). This time, the rules were fixed and made easier with the contestant simply having to say whether the number of people who did do what they were asked was a number higher or lower than 5. A card from the blue deck was shown lying face down and was brought out with the numerical value of the people who said yes. The card was then revealed after the player's guess was made and if the numerical value matched the player's guess, the car was won.
- Roderick won $10,000 & a BMW Roadster (worth $40,445) for a grand total of $50,455 for the home viewer.
Home Viewer Question
For the 1979-80 NBC daytime version, announcer Gene Wood read a poem during the opening sequence, The first one used for the first few weeks was this:
- Ace is high, deuce is low
- Call it right and win the dough.
- Ooooon Card Sharks!
This was soon changed to Wood reading a different poem for each episode; initially, these were written by the show's staff, but eventually began to be viewer-submitted poems. At the beginning of each show, Perry would acknowledge the viewer whose poem was read, along with their hometown and the call letters of its NBC affiliate. Here are several examples:
Ace is high, deuce is low, let's make some money and go go go.
Ace is high, deuce is low call ‘em wrong, and away you go.
Play it cozy, play it cute, play it right and win the loot.
Forget the color, forget the suit, high or low and win the loot.
Play the cards, don't be shy, call ‘em low, call ‘em high.
Shuffle, cut, deal and play, someone is going to win today.
Bet it big, bet it bold, your cards can win a pot of gold.
Aces are big, deuces are small, call it right and win it all.
High card, low card, make your call, if it's right you'll win it all.
You can win trips, you can win thirds, with lots of cash can be yours.
Call the 3s, call the jacks, win the loot and pay the tax.
Aces twinkle, deuces flash, any card can win the cash.
The cards come up one by one, play it right and win a ton.
Aces and deuces are the best in the deck, play it wrong they're a pain in a neck.
Three is good and so is the queen, don't mess with Mr. in between.
Aces sparkle, deuces glow, stick with them and you'll get the dough.
Ace is adorable, deuce is cute, tickle them right and you'll win the loot.
Deuce is a saint, 8 is a sinner, if luck is a lady you'll go home a winner.
Call the cards, make the bet, if you win you'll be out of debt.
Aces are lust, deuces you'll trust, call them wrong and you'll bust.
Give them a shuffle, give them a cut, get set for a deal then try your luck.
The current 2019 ABC primetime version with Joel McHale revives the opening poems but with Donna Jay Fulks reading them instead.
The second King of the Hill pilot, both 1978 pilots, and the 1996 pilot are known to exist; clips from both 1978 pilots were shown during the Card Sharks episode of Gameshow Marathon.
On October 1 and November 22, 2018; the 2000 and 1996 pilots respectively were posted on Wink Martindale's official YouTube page as part of his ongoing Wink's Vault series.
Beginning on October 9, 2019, GameTVin Canada started airing reruns of the 2019 version with Joel McHale which recently wrapped up its first season.
The following are a list of countries that did their versions of Card Sharks (NOTE: The Brazilian, Greek, Portuguese and U.S. versions only use the "single contestants" format while most other versions used "married couples" as contestants instead):
- Belgium (Dutch language only)
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
The title of the show is a play on the term "Card Sharp" which means a person who is skilled at card games.
The original 1978 version of Card Sharks was the first Goodson-Todman game show to bow on NBC daytime in nine years since the end of the original version of The Match Game in September 1969.
Even though there were two short-lived syndicated versions of the franchise in the 1980s and 2000s, the original 1978–1981 version never had a syndicated version on its own, though Firestone syndicated reruns in 1982.
The Card Sharks bonus round "Money Cards" was inspired by the bonus round from an unsold pilot called King of the Hill (not to be confused with the former FOX Primetime animated sitcom airing from 1997 until 2010 of the same name) produced by Chester Feldman and was hosted by Robert Earle in 1975.
For the 1986 version, the idea of having an in-studio jury was used twice in two other G-T series, the first was an unsold pilot called It's Predictable hosted by Gene Rayburn in 1970 while the second was the short-lived 1979 NBC daytime game show Mindreaders hosted by Dick Martin of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In fame.
The losing horns from The Price is Right were used in the event of a final bust in the Money Cards (and later, in a Car Game loss); abbreviated in the 1978 version, and in their entirety in the 1986 version.
When the 1986 show was in development, auditions were held for people to host the show. For daytime, Bruce Forsyth (who was hosting the short-lived ABC Daytime show Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak at the time) was originally considered to host the show but the job went to Bob Eubanks instead. Patrick Wayne who would later host Tic Tac Dough in 1990 was also considered. For nighttime, Rich Fields (who later went on to become the announcer for The Price is Right from 2004 to 2010) was originally considered for the hosting position but was turned down in favor of Bill Rafferty instead. He announced the Gameshow Marathon equivalent in 2006. Also, Sir Bruce Forsyth hosted the British version of the show under the name Play Your Cards Right (a.k.a. Bruce Forsyth's Play Your Cards Right) on ITV from 1980 until 1987, then from 1994 until 1999 and from 2002 until 2003; Forsyth died in 2017.
The 2001–2002 set of Card Sharks including the podium was recycled and reused for GSN's Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck (or Whammy!) in 2002.
The "WOOSH!" sound effect from the syndicated 2001–2002 revival has been carried over to the current syndicated version of Family Feud since then.
The 2001 version was the only new show produced after 1995 (besides The Price is Right until June of 2007) to use the name, logo, and announcement of a "Mark Goodson Television Production" said by Kroeger; concurrent shows Family Feud (1999-02) & To Tell the Truth (2000-02) had the logo but no spiel. Additionally, Match Game (1998-99) also had the "Mark Goodson Television Production" logo. However, it used an alternate version of the announcement said by Boland with the spiel "This has been a Mark Goodson Television Production for..." followed by the appearance of a Pearson Television logo.
In 2019 it was announced that Card Sharks was coming back this year on ABC along with Press Your Luck. On April 8, 2019; a new host has been selected for the new show, and he is actor/comedian Joel McHale
The executive producers of the ABC incarnation of Card Sharks are Scott "The Snot" St. John, who had previously resurrected Match Game and Win, Lose or Draw as Disney's Win, Lose or Draw from the 1970s and 1980s respectively (although in the case of DWLOD was not as successful for its resurrection in 2014), and Fremantle chief executive officer Jennifer Mullin, whose U.K.-headquartered company launched a new global signature logo and brand identity posted below and uploaded by YouTube (global English-language closing credits and logo variant only) to the U.S. Game Shows Wiki.
- Money Cards clip showing four "3" cards being revealed in a row (Episode #580)
- Clip of the Money Cards round from Pilot #2
- Card Sharks: The 1996 Pilot
- Card Sharks (1996)
- Card Sharks 1996 Pilot
- Card Sharks 2001
- Card Sharks 2000 Pilot
- Card Sharks (2019) on GameTV site
- Card Sharks Next in Line Reboot; Now Casting
- CARD SHARKS SUBMISSIONS FORM
- Casting Call for the Game Show Card Sharks
- Vulture: No Whammy! ABC Is Bringing Back Press Your Luck and Card Sharks
- Press Your Luck and Card Sharks Are Coming to ABC!
- ‘Card Sharks’ Deals Joel McHale As Host Of Revived Game Show
1978–1981, 2006 – by Edd Kalehoff for Score Productions (Previously used on Double Dare in 1976.)
1986–1989, 2019-present - by Edd Kalehoff
Prize Cue – "Big Banana" by Score Productions
The main theme from Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour was also used as a prize cue.
The "Bust" cue in the Money Cards of the 1978 and 1986 versions was the infamous Price is Right losing horns. It was abridged during the 1978-1981 run.
2001 – Main by Alan Ett
others by Killer Tracks
Big Deal – "Percussive #1" by Al Capps
NBC Studios 3 & 4, Burbank, CA (NBC Series)
CBS Television City, Los Angeles, CA (1980s CBS & Syndicated Series, 2019 Version)
Tribune Studios, Hollywood, CA (1996 Pilot, 2001 Series)
- NBC Card Sharks Fan Page
- Another NBC Card Sharks Fan Page
- Bill Rafferty Card Sharks Info
- Card Sharks (2001) @ Game Show Garbage
- Card Sharks (1996 Pilot) @ Game Show Garbage
- David's Card Sharks Fan Page
- Card Sharks @ The Game Show Temple
- Packaging for Card Sharks for the Apple II
- VirtualApple.org: Card Sharks for the Apple II
- Flash game of the 1986 Money Cards
- Crossbearer Software Money Cards download
- A blog about the 80's version of "Sharks"
- Official Pearson Television site for Card Sharks and Play Your Cards Right via Internet Archive
- Official FremantleMedia site for Card Sharks via Internet Archive
- Official Site (ABC Version)
- "ACE IS HIGH, DEUCE IS LOW, PLAY THE CARDS, WIN THE DOUGH" Endless Games Adds Card Sharks to Its Line of Retro Games
- Rules of the Card Sharks Home Game
- Information on the Card Sharks Home Game
- David's Card Sharks Home Game Page
- Card Sharks @ boardgamegeek.com