Gambit was a blackjack-based game show that aired on CBS.
The game pitted two couples answering questions and accepting or giving away oversized playing cards (dealt by dealer Elaine Stewart) coming as close to 21 without going over.
An "up" card is shown on the first game and a question is posed. Whoever rings in first answers and if correct may take the card or pass it to the other couple. Questions are asked and as they are answered, the couple correctly answering accepts or passes ensuing face-down cards. If a couple believes that they may go over 21 with the next card, they may freeze. The other couple must now answer questions correctly and try to beat the other couple's hand. A couple wins by hitting 21 exactly, besting the other's frozen score or if the other couple goes over 21.
21 in any combination during the regular game wins a bonus of $500. It goes up $500 each match it is not won.
A couple winning two games wins the match and championship and goes to the Gambit board. This is a board of 21 card-shaped placards, each containing prizes. The couple selects any number and racks up the prize hidden within, then a playing card is shown. The couple selects numbers for more prizes (the lower the card values, the more prizes can be racked up). The couple must take a card (or "hit") up to 16 but can freeze from 17 on, giving them the prizes no matter what happens. They lose the prizes if they go over 21. They win the 21 jackpot and a new car if they hit 21 exactly. A couple is retired after passing the $25,000 ceiling (imposed by CBS in 1972 upon returning to the giveaway show genre).
In the summer of 1975, a special element was used: any couple hitting a two-card 21 at any time won a bonus of $10,000.
Nearly four years after being canceled by CBS, Gambit returned as Las Vegas Gambit and aired on NBC in 1980. In the summer of 1978, Rhodes Syndication distributed repeats of the CBS show to selected markets. In 2008, Merrill Heatter would bring blackjack back to TV on the GSN show Catch-21.