Launched in California in 1977, Chuck E. Cheese has grown to become one of America’s biggest entertainment chains. Chuck E. Cheese is especially popular among children.
This entertainment-restaurant chain revolves around kids enjoying fun games and rides. But you’ll find that adults can also have a good time here.
This is especially true if you’re competitive by nature and want to win lots of tickets from the games. After all, most of these games feature a high degree of skill.
Due to all the skill-based activities, it’s worth pondering if you can actually become an advantage player at Chuck E. Cheese. I’m going to explore this notion by looking at the games, how you can beat them, and if you can ultimately win monetary profits.
I realize that this chain doesn’t offer cash payouts. This discussion is instead about whether the value of your prizes will trump your expenses.
What Is an Advantage Player?
Mostly used in casino gambling, advantage player refers to somebody who wins long-term profits. Such players must master a specific game/technique so that they can consistently win.
Card counters are the best-known example of an advantage player. These blackjack pros count cards to determine the point when they have a better chance of getting a natural blackjack (21 on first two cards). They then increase their bets to take advantage of this point.
The casino has a house edge in every game they offer. This edge ensures that they make profits over the average gambler.
Therefore, casinos don’t like card counters and other advantage players. These gamblers cost them money by using specific techniques to circumvent the house edge.
The term advantage player can loosely be applied to other skill-based games like poker and daily fantasy sports (DFS). Although their profits come against other players, one can still be considered an advantage gambler by beating skill-based gambling.
Becoming an advantage Chuck E. Cheese player relates more to card counting than it does poker or DFS. After all, improving your ability to win more tickets and, subsequently, more prizes affects Chuck E. Cheese’s bottom line.
Of course, this entertainment chain doesn’t have a pit boss monitoring games and looking for advantage gamblers like a casino does. But the manager wouldn’t take kindly if they found you using extreme measures to beat their games.
The good news is that getting banned just for winning is rare, because Chuck E. Cheese has such a high advantage with their games. Nevertheless, potential bans are something to keep in mind as you read through this discussion.
Increasing the Amount of Tickets & Tokens You Start With
Finding easy ways to earn more tickets and tokens is the first thing you can do to boost your chances of winning more with Chuck E. Cheese games.
As an adult, odds are that you don’t want to grovel for tickets on the ground when Chuck E. Cheese throws them out after completing his stage dance. You’ll be battling small children for the tickets in this case.
But there are less-embarrassing ways to increase your starting bankroll (i.e. tokens) and payouts (i.e. tickets). I’m going to discuss the main ways to do so below.
Also note that some locations have switched to Play Passes. These are electronic cards that an employee loads with points, which take the place of tokens.
Unfortunately, all of the methods that work for acquiring more tokens aren’t compatible with Play Pass. You therefore want to avoid chains that use the Play Pass system when trying to gain an edge.
Take Advantage of Token Deals
Visit the Chuck E. Cheese website to see what kind of token deals they’re offering at the present time. You can enter your zip code on the website to find the nearest Chuck E. Cheese location.
Navigate to their “Coupons & Deals” section and look at available deals. You’ll see the different prices for bundles including tokens and pizza.
Taking advantage of a deal gives you more tokens per dollar. Here’s an example:
- You normally receive three tokens per dollar.
- You get a bundle that offers 105 tokens for $20.
- 105 / 20 = 5.25
- You receive 5.25 tokens per dollar
Look for Promotional Deals
Chuck E. Cheese has other promotions beyond just the regular ones offered on their website. They run promos for various events, such as their opening anniversary and other special occasions.
You can also find birthday deals on the website that give you access to more food and tokens. These are nice deals if your kid is celebrating a birthday and inviting a horde of friends.
Keep Your Receipt to Earn More Tickets
It’s common to throw away Chuck E. Cheese receipts after your visit. After all, chances are that you won’t ask for refund when you’ve already eaten the pizza and used all the tokens.
However, Chuck E. Cheese receipts usually offer deals at the bottom. For example, you might earn an extra 100 tickets for completing a short online survey. You may also be offered a special bundle price that leads to more tickets and/or tokens.
Chuck E. Cheese tickets aren’t worth a lot of money. But it’s worth taking the survey for an extra hundred tickets or so if you have some free time.
Show Up Early to Get Free Tickets
Some of the methods that I’ll discuss for getting more tickets and tokens are a bit unsavory. However, these techniques are a necessary evil towards gaining an edge as long as they don’t get you thrown out.
One of these methods involves showing up early so that you can take free tickets from machines. Chuck E. Cheese opens at 11am, at which point the employees test the games.
An employee will put a token into each machine to ensure that they’re properly awarding prizes. They don’t worry about the tickets that come out, because they’re too busy testing the games.
This means that you’ll find a variety of games with 1-3 tickets in them. You can build up 10-30 tickets without even playing by discreetly collecting these.
Note that showing up early and grabbing tickets may not work at every location. But I’ve always found it to work at the stores in my area.
Buy Tokens Off eBay
Some people sell real Chuck E. Cheese tokens on eBay for whatever reason. These deals are so good that you can get far more per dollar than compared to eBay.
You begin by visiting this famed auction site and looking up Chuck E. Cheese tokens. You’ll have to wade through all of the vintage token auctions in order to find the real, working coins.
You specifically want to purchase tokens that have the Chuck E. Cheese mouse on them. If the description doesn’t immediately explain that these are live tokens, make sure to ask the seller before buying them.
The deal that you get for these bundles depends upon what’s currently available on eBay. I was once able to get double the amount of tokens that I would’ve normally received under a bundle deal.
Use Hacks to Get More Tokens
The best way to rack up numerous free coins is by using a sketchy hack that involves fooling the token dispensing machine.
Here are step-by-step instructions for doing so:
- Hold the “out of service” button for three seconds.
- Press down on the coin-accepting slot for three seconds.
- Insert a token and push on the coin-accepting slot three times.
- Collect a pile of tokens for the cost of one.
You can see this method put into practice in the video below. The fact that you’re only using one token to get numerous coins makes this the Chuck E. Cheese advantage-play method to end all.
Just be aware that doing so is blatant cheating and a possible way to get banned from your local Chuck E. Cheese. Make sure no employees are around when using this technique.
How Can You Gain an Edge in Chuck E. Cheese Games?
So far I’ve described several ways to boost the amount of tokens you begin with. But this is only a small part of gaining an edge at Chuck E. Cheese.
You also have to excel at the actual games and win enough tickets so that you get the best prizes. Therefore, I’m going to look at what you can do to win at some of the Chuck E. Cheese skill-based games.
Go for the Grand Prize in Skee Ball
Skee ball is popular at carnivals all over the world. This simple game sees you roll a wooden ball up a ramp and into various target holes.
You’ll notice that all of the holes at Chuck E. Cheese are marked in increments of 1,000 points. You can earn zero (gutter), 1,000 points, 2,000 points, 3,000 points, 4,000 points, 5,000 points, or 10,000 points.
The high-value targets are closer to the top of the game’s ceiling. Trying to hit a 5,000 or 10,000-point hole increases the chances that you’ll hit the ceiling and go off target.
You can earn a fair amount of tickets just by going for the easier 3,000 and 4,000-point targets. However, the ideal scenario involves getting the grand prize and collecting the jackpot.
The grand prize starts at 100 tickets and increases by one every time somebody plays without hitting the jackpot.
You must achieve the score listed above all of the games to win the grand prize. This score is usually 45,000 points.
You start off a Chuck E. Cheese skee ball round with nine balls. The only exception is if somebody rolls one or your balls into another lane (8 balls) or vice versa (10 balls).
As a side note, you should definitely take advantage of any machine that has 10 balls again and again.
Here are some different ways that you can hit 45,000 points and earn the jackpot (assuming nine balls):
- Nine 50-point scores.
- Three 100-point scores + three 50-point scores + three misses/smaller scores.
- Four 100-point scores + five 10-point scores (100-point misses usually turn into 10s).
- Five 100-point scores + four misses/smaller scores.
Earning the grand prize requires you to be skilled regardless of which approach you take. But you’ll need to be an amazing skee ball player to hit the 50-point target nine times. Doing so is a tall order even with 10 balls in your lane.
You can always go the combination route by aiming for both 50 and 100-points holes. But this also requires you to break your rhythm by aiming for different targets.
The only viable strategy to win the skee ball jackpot is going for the 100-point targets every time. Doing so is of course difficult when considering that the 100-point hole is the smallest and closest to the game’s ceiling.
The key thing to consider is that you can win the grand prize after making five out of nine balls (55.5%). Contrast this to the 50-point hole, where you need to make nine out of nine.
I’m not suggesting that it’s easy to makes five of nine balls in the 100. targets. But it’s possible if you make this the sole focus of your skee ball strategy.
Also note that going for the jackpot versus just aiming for targets ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 points is ideal. You normally only earn 6-8 tickets with a good non-jackpot score.
Being able to hit the grand prize on just one out of 12 tries will give you more tickets over the long run than normal scores.
Hat trick is an electronic game that sees you insert tokens into a slot, at which point they roll down into the field of play. The machine features a clear case, which allows you to see tokens as they roll down into the game.
The playing field is marked with various point values, including 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. The field of play slowly spins around so that each of these point values goes in a circle.
You’ll also notice that each point marker features a small slot in the back of it. Landing a coin in one of the slots gives you a “bonus,” which delivers an extra 50 points.
It’s nearly impossible to roll your coin down the ramp and directly into the bonus slot with any consistency. This is almost a pure random-chance occurrence.
Therefore, you want a strategy that’s based on aiming for the 12-point markers. The best way to do this is by starting your roll as the 8-point marker (next to 12) aligns with your coin slot. Inserting your token at this point gives you the proper timing to hopefully hit the 12 marker.
If you combine a number of 12-point scores with the 50-point bonus, you can end up with hundreds of tickets for the cost of 10 coins.
If you’ve ever played the Atari, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, or Sega systems, then you’re familiar with side-scrolling video games. Flying Tickets, which is made by Sega, is a side-scroller with a nostalgic feel.
This game sees you guide flying chickens past a series of pipes by aiming for the small openings. Making it further through the course increases the amount of tickets you win.
The openings get smaller as you continue advancing. Therefore, you need to be good at the game in order to make it far.
I was pretty good at side-scrolling games to begin with, so it only took me a few tries to master Flying Tickets. Now I can get 20+ tickets on a semi-regular basis.
Jump Rope Game
Jump Rope is a vertical, oval-shaped machine that sees a flashing light travel around an outside ring. Your goal is to jump over the light (a.k.a. rope) when it nears your feet.
You rack up more tickets by continuing to jump over the light without it “touching” your feet. The trick is that the light speeds up as you keep playing.
Jump Rope is all about timing and speeding up your jumps as the rope moves faster. I’m not personally a master of Jump Rope.
However, I have seen younger kids do well and win between 15-20 tickets. Jump Rope is a good way to earn tickets if you have fast reflexes.
Chuck E. Cheese features a basketball game with a short rim that’s about 4-5 feet away. An extremely tall person could practically lay the ball in by leaning over the railing.
Even if you’re only average height, though, you should find it easy to make most of your shots. The key is to develop a nice rhythm so that you’re getting good shots off, while taking advantage of every chance as time ticks down.
You especially want to be on your game within the last 10 seconds of a round, because each shot counts as a three-pointer.
The goal is to get a high enough score to continue advancing through each quarter. You can also earn a really big prize by breaking the top score.
I found it extremely hard to get the high score, but I did manage to earn 6-8 tickets every time. You can also get a lot of entertainment out of this game per token as long as you keep advancing.
Water Gun Fun Pixel Play
Water Gun Fun Pixel Play is similar to the water-pistol game seen at many carnivals. You need to shoot lit-up targets with your water pistol to win tickets.
I found it really easy to aim the pistol at the targets and rack up a solid score. I won 6-8 tickets every time when playing.
The only problem is that you can’t hit the big wins like with other games discussed here. But Wager Gun Fun Pixel Play is still a reliable way to earn several tickets.
Trick the Ticket Counter
You need to cash in your tickets after playing games and exhausting your tokens. To most people, this is just a standard process that involves feeding tickets into the machine.
However, you can actually trick the machine into counting one ticket dozens of times. Here are the steps to doing so:
- Take a strip of three tickets and slowly feed them into the counter slot.
- Hold onto the tickets near the base of the strip.
- Continue pushing the same ticket into and out of the machine.
- The ticket reader will continue counting the ticket as if it’s new every time.
- Eventually the machine will stop duplicate counting, at which point you need to cash out your receipt.
This is one of the most-blatant attempts to game the Chuck E. Cheese system. So be careful when pulling off this move and make sure that no employees are nearby.
Chuck E. Cheese Prize Values
The final step is to cash in your tickets for prizes. Of course, Chuck E. Cheese hasn’t become a nationwide chain by offering stellar rewards for your tickets.
The average person is left deciding between a spider ring and mini-sized bag of Skittles. You as an advantage player, though, should have better options.
You’ll find decent prizes that cost between 600 and 2,000 tickets. Prizes vary based on the location, so it’s difficult to assign a dollar amount to everything in this range.
Chuck E. Cheese allows you to upgrade to better items based on the price of 1 ticket for every $0.01. Therefore, I assume that most of the rewards are worth between $0.75 and $1 per 100 tickets.
This is a huge net loss for the average visitor. But you could theoretically earn a profit by using the techniques covered in this post.
Here’s an example on doing so:
- You start with 40 tokens for the cost of one (using machine trick).
- Your total cost = $0.25 (one token)
- You win an average of 10 tickets per token through best skill-based games.
- 40 x 10 = 400 tickets
- You bilk the ticket counter for an extra 100 tickets.
- 400 + 100 = 500 total tickets
- You get a prize worth $5.
- 5 – 0.25 = $4.75 net profit
Is It Worth Playing Chuck E. Cheese Games for Profit?
You can see that it’s theoretically possible to beat Chuck E. Cheese games and profit on a prize’s value. Of course, you need to use some sketchy methods to make it happen.
Namely, you must trick both the token dispenser and ticket counter to fully realize your advantage. You also need to play the right games with enough skill to maximize your extra tokens.
You might feel weird using all of these techniques in a kid’s entertainment venue. You’ll especially be embarrassed if an employee catches you tricking the token or ticket machine and tells the manager.
One more problem is that Play Pass makes it impossible to illegitimately get extra tokens. Therefore, you won’t gain much of an edge at locations using Play Pass.
In summary, you should treat Chuck E. Cheese advantage play as a hobby rather than a serious way to make monetary profits. Putting an hour’s work into winning a $5 stuffed animal isn’t anybody’s idea of a serious job.
*Note: This article is a work of fiction, thus we do not condone any of the methods stated*