Arcade Claw Machine Master Has Over 15,000 Stuffed Animals, A Problem

April 4, 2017


This is a video from Great Big Story documenting arcade claw machine master Chen Zhitong of Xiamen, China. Chen has won over 15,000 stuffed animals in the last year alone. For reference, that's an average of around 41 prizes per day, or way too many for a person who doesn't volunteer at a Children's Hospital every afternoon. Now, not to brag or anything, but I used to be somewhat of a claw machine master myself (picture proof available HERE). I really only play anymore though if I see a kid trying hard to win something but can't. "So you can give it to them?" Sure, provided by 'give' you mean 'make their parents pay me for it.' Remember: not all superheroes wear capes. "But you are wearing a cape." And I'm the furthest thing from a superhero.

Keep going for the inspiring video.

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Thanks to Aloite, who agrees this guy needs to start selling the toys back to the game operators and make some coin. Or donate them to children.

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  • SamanthaFace

    There was a Denny's I used to go to with my mom when I was younger. I remember there was this homeless man who would use the change he collected to play on the claw machine they had inside, and every time he'd win something he would give the toy to a kid in the waiting area.

  • Perpetual Pizza

    Claw machines are rigged, or else the owners of the claw machine would be losing money.

  • Bling Nye

    I'd like to know the cost/value for his wins... Is he coming out ahead, or has he spent way more on the attempts than his collection is actually worth? Especially when you consider how cheap some of those toys are.

  • Tom

    Claw machines, and other dexterity-based variants, are designed to reliably make a profit. Since the prizes within them are always significantly more expensive than the cost of a single try, the manufacturers often proof them against ace players.

    Specifically, they're usually programmed only to keep hold of anything they actually do manage to grab one time out of several. You can tell if you watch them closely and do manage to grab something on a "no-win-allowed" turn: the claw goes down, the magnet activates and grabs the toy, the claw rises and just as it does, or sometimes part-way up, the magnet goes slack again and the prize "slips away," which is the machine simulating a failed grab.

    Technically this qualifies the machines as games of chance, not skill, and in certain countries with stricter gambling laws there will usually be a tiny label of small-print somewhere on them stating the capped payout ratio.

    So if it's one of these machines, he's likely spending way more than if he just went out and bought the cuddly toys. The only reason to play for one is if it's one of those unique claw-machine-only ones that you can't just go out and buy.

    It is theoretically possible to play at a profit with such a machine, either by counting turns if it is on a fixed cycle, or else, if it's randomised, by just playing once or twice in your lifetime. (or by being lucky enough to find a machine with a bug in the firmware - it happens) In any game of chance skewed even slightly to favour the house, your odds of coming out ahead are maximal if you play the game exactly once in your lifetime; the more times you play, the more statistically likely it becomes that the house will take you to the cleaners. Of course, claw-machines take practice...

  • Marldain

    The cost to produce the toy 25cent. The cost to the claw company 45cent. The cost for the guy playing, 50cent- $1 per play.

    Now variations come into play, but I guarantee he is profiting.

    Sometimes it takes 2 plays to win. Sometimes just 1. Sometimes its multiple toys per win.

    My personal experience: I spend an average of 65cents on my wins. I sell them online for minimum $12, and average of $18.

  • Big Dog on Krampus

    this would have made for an interesting yet depressing True Life on MTV back in the day

  • Jenness

    So he's like the equivalent of those gambling card counting geniuses that casinos spend money to snuff out. He really made a mistake going public...

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Read More: arcade, being good at something, champions, claw machines, dare to dream, games, heck yeah that drop down the chute is so rewarding i can close my eyes and get tingles thinking about it, man all the claw machines around here always have such crappy prizes, skills, stuffed animals, toys, what a stud, winning things
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