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Pull Tab Games

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Pull Tab Games

When it comes to instant win style games, few offer faster results than the simple pull tab. While these games may look similar to scratch off games, they actually feature their own set of rules of quirks that make them a unique offering, one that is not particularly well-known worldwide, but which has a few pockets of high popularity, particularly in the United States.

Like the instant win games often sold by state-run lotteries, these pull tabs offer a quick and inexpensive way to quickly make a bet, and offer some reasonable prizes in return. However, there are some differences that can make these cards particularly alluring. For instance, this is one of the few games where the odds change in ways that gamblers can sometimes be aware of, giving them opportunities to potentially know that the remaining tickets are very valuable and certainly worth purchasing. Today, these games also exist online, though usually in a slightly different form than their land-based cousins.

Rip and Tear

Pull tabs are a style of gaming that is particularly popular in the United States, with about 20 different states offering them for various purposes. Players are asked to pay a set price – usually no more than a few dollars at most – for each ticket they wish to buy. On the back of each game, players can see the winning combinations and the prizes that are associated with them. On the front, there will be a number of perforated tabs that gamblers need to pull off to reveal the rows of symbols below. If any of these rows match the combinations on the back, then the player can collect the associated prize.

That’s essentially all there is to this game. In general, the top prizes on such games are fairly modest, with even the top jackpots typically only being worth a few thousand dollars at most. It is common for those who play to buy many inexpensive tickets at once, and cash prizes can be instantly claimed from the venues that sell them, which often include clubs, charities, or other authorized sellers.

Free to Play Pull Tabs

Playing the Percentages

So far, these pull tabs might sound very similar to other instant win games. However, there are a few features that set them apart from other gambling options, some of which make them quite attractive to people. First, it’s worth noting that unlike a state lottery scratch off game, all cards are not drawn from one large, central pool that may have millions of individual tickets. Instead, a set of pull tabs will come from a “deal” made up of thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands, of cards, which is guaranteed to have a certain number of winners at every given prize level.

The number of winners at each level is printed along with the other relevant prize information on the back of each ticket. As games are sold, players will be redeeming their winners, and the booth that sells the tickets keeps track of how many of the top prizes have been claimed. This allows potential buyers to know how many possible big wins are still available. Furthermore, it is common that the remaining lot will be kept in a transparent container, so you will also be able to estimate how many cards remain unsold.

By putting these facts together, players can get a pretty good idea of their chances at winning a major payout. When it is obvious that there aren’t many cards left and many high-paying winners are still available, you might see people rushing to buy up the remaining chances. Of course, that creates another problem: what happens when there are still tickets left, but no major prizes to be won? In that case, the organization selling the lot usually retires that deal, and starts a fresh new one on which players can take their chances.

Pulling Online

In some states, particularly in Minnesota, electronic pull tabs are also popular. These work exactly the same way as the paper game, except that there’s no actual tearing involved. Given the success of these products, it probably comes as little surprise that some companies have created their own pull-tab games for online casinos as well, bringing this same quick fire action to the iGaming industry.

Not surprisingly, these titles tend to be just a bit different than the traditional versions. The big change is that your tickets will no longer be coming from a deal, but (at least in most cases) are randomly generated each time you buy one. The disadvantage here is that you’ll never get that informational advantage you might in a live situation. However, this is more than made up for by the much better return to player offered on these virtual versions, which often pays back about 95% compared to returns of 80% or less, which are common in the live games designed to raise money for organizations (after all, how did you think they could afford to simply remove unsold tickets once all the winners had been bought?).

A Tear and a Prayer

Whether you play at your local club or at your favorite online casino, it’s clear that pull tabs are a fast-paced game of chance. You’ll have no control over the results of any individual ticket (though you can get some information in many live versions of this game that can help you play when the odds are more favorable), and all results are predetermined as soon as you buy a card. Still, this can be a fun and interesting way to spend a few dollars for the shot at winning a bit payday, which is why these games will continue to be popular – at least in those areas where they are sold – for a long time to come.

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