According to CBS, there isn’t a massive box of Plinko chips stashed away backstage. Rather, there are only 10 official game pieces in existence, all of which are secured in a locked box when they’re not being used. The single other exclusive chip is buried in a time capsule, located at CBS Television City. Of course, Plinko is largely a game of luck. Therefore, in order for it to be fair for each contestant, the same chips must be used every time. If any of the chips are swapped out and happen to be slightly heavier or lighter, that could influence how and where they fall.
CBS also revealed that the show’s crew is required to follow strict directions while setting up Plinko. After bringing the massive, colorful game on stage, the equipment is plugged in, its sensors are tested, and a final inspection is completed before it’s played. Another lesser-known tidbit about Plinko chips is that, on occasion, they actually get stuck midway through their descent down the board. In an effort to quickly handle these rare occurrences, Barker started keeping a long stick handy to retrieve the chip and let the player get a retry. Currently, his successor Drew Carey continues this crafty tradition.
Carey may have admitted to CBS 8 San Diego that he doesn’t understand the hype surrounding Plinko “because people don’t win a lot of money,” but after nearly 40 years on the air, the buzz surrounding the game doesn’t seem likely to diminish anytime soon. As for the stringent behind-the-scenes protocols, this only adds to the appeal.