Catch 21
GSN, July 21, 2008 – July 1, 2011
Run time
30 Minutes
Alfonso Ribeiro
Mikki Padilla
Hollywood Center Studios

Catch 21 was a game show.

Game FormatEdit

Rounds 1 and 2Edit

Three contestants are each given a card to start a blackjack hand from an oversized, but otherwise standard, 52-card deck that was shuffled prior to taping. Ribeiro reads a multiple-choice question and the first contestant to answer correctly earns 100 points. The contestant who answered correctly can freeze their hand, preventing them from receiving additional cards, or reveal the next card from the top of the deck. After revealing the card, the contestant can accept it for themselves or pass it to one of their opponents who has not yet frozen. If the contestant in control keeps a card, he/she is given another chance to freeze. However, once a contestant has frozen, their opponents must freeze at a score higher than that contestant; ties are not permitted. A contestant is eliminated from the round if their hand exceeds 21.

The process is repeated with additional questions and cards until two contestants have frozen or bust. Any contestant whose score reaches 21 exactly instantly wins the round (plus a bonus prize beginning in Season 2 for the first 21, which is given to the contestant regardless of the outcome of the game). If two contestants bust, the remaining contestant automatically wins the round. If only one contestant has not yet frozen or busted, no additional questions are asked; the remaining contestant simply continues drawing cards until either beating the highest frozen hand or busting.

The winner of the round receives 500 points and a Power Chip to use in the bonus round, should he or she make it that far. After two rounds, the contestant with the lowest score is eliminated.

In the event of a tie for second place at the end of the second round, the tied contestants compete in a tiebreaker. Each contestant chooses either the first or second card from a pair of cards; the one with the higher card (aces are always high) advances to the final round. If both contestants have the same point value, another tiebreaker is played.

Round 3Edit

The two remaining contestants play one more round involving the same toss-up question format, but point scores are not kept. The contestant who wins the round receives $1,000 and two additional Power Chips (originally one) then moves on to the bonus round.

Bonus roundEdit

The winner now controls three separate hands, each staked with one card. A new deck of 52-cards that has been shuffled and cut is used. Cards are drawn for the contestant, one at a time, and the contestant then chooses a hand in which to place each card. The contestant can use a Power Chip to dispose of an unwanted card. The contestant can end the round at any time if they fear the next card will cause them to bust on any of the three hands. However, using a Power Chip forces the contestant to place the next card in a hand, or use another chip if one is available; the contestant can only end the round after placing a card.

Getting 21 in one hand wins $1,000; in two hands wins $5,000; and if 21 is scored on all three hands, the contestant wins the grand prize of $25,000. If the contestant busts on any hand, they will lose all money earned in the bonus round, but retain the $1,000 (and bonus prize, if applicable) from the main game won earlier.

On some episodes in Season 2, the top prize was increased to $50,000 with the other payouts remaining the same.

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