I watched it last night and kind of found it interesting, although it’s pure gambling and there’s no skill involved, merely playing the odds. Here’s the deal:

The contestant chooses one of the many briefcases and it gets set aside, but he can’t open it. That briefcase can have an amount of money in it ranging from $1 to $1,000,000. There are only X number of cases for him to choose from. This is money he can potentially win.

Now, he chooses a case from among the ones that are left. The amount in that case is now eliminated – on the big board they have all the possible amounts listed, and they now unhighlight that amount. So for instance, if the case he eliminated has, say, $200,000, he, the audience, and the banker now know that the case he initially chose does not contain $200,000. He then chooses another case. Let’s say it has $50. Now we know that the case he chose and set aside does not have $50 in it.

Every time he eliminates a few cases, we – him, the audience, and the banker – know the odds of there being some large amount in the first case he chose. So for instance, if he picks a case to eliminate and they open it and see that it had the $1,000,000 in it, he knows that he cannot win $1,000,000 because it’s not in the case he chose, since that amount has been eliminated from the remaining cases. So the hope for the contestant is that he initially chose a case – randomly – with a large amount of money in it.

Now, here’s where the banker comes in. Every few cases the banker will call down and offer the contestant money for walking away from the game. For instance, if the contestant has chosen 10 cases to eliminate and they’ve all been the low dollar amounts, then there’s a high chance that his set-aside case has a big-ticket dollar amount in it. So the banker might offer him, say, $100,000 to walk away from the game. So, he looks at the odds and decides if he wants to continue trying to eliminate cases or just take the deal. If he eliminates more cases and they all turn out to be the high dollar ones, the banker now knows that the case he chose will have a low dollar amount in it and he can offer the contestant significantly lower money to walk away from the game, and the contestant will also realize that he probably should have taken the deal. But if the next few cases that he eliminates contain the lower dollar amounts, he knows with more certainty that his case may have a high dollar amount, and the banker will up the amount of money in the next deal to walk away.

There’s no skill involved, and the banker generally just offers money that matches the odds – i.e., if there’s a 1 in 3 chance that the case the guy chose contains, say, $200,000, the banker will offer $67,000 to walk away from the game (since he’s got a 67% chance of winning $200,000 instead).