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The Best Ways To Beat Carnival Games

Updated July 13, 2021 43.1k votes 13.2k voters 4.4m views23 items

Have you ever wondered how to win carnival games? With these helpful tips, you can win at carnival games and trump ancient carny tricks. Every summer, colorful lights and the smell of fried dough lure you to a state fair or local carnival, where you just might be tempted to play a carnival game, especially if your heart's set on a giant stuffed SpongeBob.

Before you plunk down your hard-earned cash to test your strength or match wits with carnies in the ring toss, know that the odds are never in your favor. It's like The Hunger Games that way. You'll have a better chance at some games than others, and some (like the one with the bowling pin you have to knock over) are just physically impossible.

Did you know that the game where you use a ring on a fishing line to stand up a beer bottle is probably the easiest to win? Or how about the secret to knocking down the cats in the cat rack? We collected pro tips to help you knock down milk jugs, sink baskets, flip coins onto a plate, and many more.

Step right up and read all about it, then vote for your favorite tip that you can use to win big at your next carnival!

  • 5

    This Game Tests Your Accuracy, Not Your Strength

    You don't have to be built like Vin Diesel to win a big teddy bear during one of those test-your-strength games, the ones where you try to ring a bell by hitting a target with a mallet. It's all about accuracy, not strength.

    Hold the mallet as far down the handle as you can, judge how far away you can stand, and hit the target right in the center.

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  • 6

    Shoot Around The Star, Not Right At It

    This is one of the most difficult carnival games. According to numerous sources, the way to beat it is to shoot around the star to make a circle so the paper will fall out with the star.

    Note that the gun barrels are often bent, and their marks are not accurate. It's important to gauge just how far off the mark the gun shoots and adjust your aim accordingly within the first few shots.

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  • 7

    Line Up Your Shot Early In The Water Gun Game

    In the water-gun game, a row of people play and each one gets a water pistol. The object is to be the first one to fill his or her balloon with air that's mounted on top of their clown head, which you do by firing a stream of water into its mouth. The trick to edging out your competition is to line up your shot and squeeze the trigger before the bell even rings.

    If you're already lined up and focused instead of distracted by all the carny nonsense, you'll be that much more likely to win.


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  • 8

    Swinger Is Unbeatable

    The reason why you can't beat the Swinger game is basic physics, according to Artofmanliness.com. In the game, a wooden pin sits on a table. Above it hangs a ball suspended from a rope. The object of the game is to swing the ball past the pin and knock it over as it returns towards you. 

    Basic physics says your ball will return in an arc the same distance from the pin on the return swing, meaning the ball will miss the pin completely on its way back. So just steer clear of this unwinnable game.

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