I was walking the boards in Seaside Heights last week and met a gentleman who seemed to win every game he played.  He had big stuffed animals, a giant stuffed banana and many smaller prizes.  I never win that stuff.

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So, I was inspired to do some research and see if there was a secret to winning these games.  There may not be any sure ways to win, but there are ways to improve your chances.  Part of your success is dependent on understanding how the games work.

Let's start with the basketball toss.  That's the game with a basketball net, with long netting hanging from the basket.  Simple enough, take a shot from the foul line, get two balls in and win a prize.

Mark Rober via YouTube
Mark Rober via YouTube
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I've watched as guys who are well-practiced at shooting hoops, unable to sink the rock.  How can that be?  It's subtle, but the typical foul shot is made from 24 feet to a basket that's 10 feet high.

However, when you shoot at the carnival, you are 28 feet away from an 11-foot net.  They say the trick to improving your chance of winning is to aim for the box on the backboard, and add some backspin to the ball, and go for the bank shot.

The Milk Bottle game is another favorite boardwalk game.  It appears to be easy, but why is it so difficult to win?  I've observed macho guys wailing the ball with everything they have, and they usually hit the top bottle or the middle two.

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Many times, the bottles are weighted and heavier on the bottom.  They say the trick to winning isn't based on how hard you throw the balls, but rather where you throw them. To improve your chances, they say you should aim for the middle bottle on the third row.

Another game that plays off the macho egos is the game where you use a sledgehammer to ring the bell.  The advice here is to get a good grip on the handle and aim for the center of the pad.

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Games to stay away from include the dart toss, that's where you try to pop a balloon.  The darts are typically dull, and balloons underinflated.  Another game to stay away from, is the one where you need to shoot the star out of a target.  It's nearly impossible for even the best shots.

I found a great video that explains how to win these games as well as the science behind the games.  It's a must-watch before you play any other games.

Mark Rober via YouTube
Mark Rober via YouTube
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