Pay Cards!

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Pay Cards!
Premiere September 9, 1968
Finale September 5, 1969
Creator Nick Nicholson,
Roger Muir
Network/Provider First-run syndication
Style 30-minute game show
Company Nicholson-Muir Productions
Distributor Metromedia Producers Corporation (1968–1986)
20th Century Fox Television (1986–1989)
20th Television (1989–2020)
Disney-ABC Television (2020– )
Seasons 1
Episodes 260
Origin USA

Pay Cards! was a syndicated game show touted as TV's first card-based game show.

The first round is Five Card Draw. Two contestants and a celebrity playing for audience members faced a game board of 20 face-down cards. In turn, each player selects three cards in an attempt to make pairs or three-of-a-kind. Players making a pair or three-of-a-kind were required to keep those cards. If those hands did not come up, they had the option to keep or refuse the cards. If a pair or three-of-a-kind show up, the player may call a fourth card and if possible a fifth. If no cards to create better hands show up, the cards may be refused and control passes to the next player. Pairs pay $10, Three of a kind $30, Full house $50, Four of a kind $100, and Five of a kind $150.

The second round is the Strategy round. The four corner cards are turned up. Players called out two more cards to add to one of the corner cards in order to create their hands.

The third round employed Wild Cards in order to create the hands. The high scoring player participated in the Jackpot round, in which 12 cards were exposed and the player had to study for 12 seconds. A spinning wheel determined which card the player had to remember which spot it was located to win a bonus prize.

A Canadian version of the show, hosted by Paul Hanover, was taped in Montreal and aired on CTV from 1973 to 1975. The show returned in 1981 in another Canada-based series and retitled Super Pay Cards!


Person Role Duration
Main Cast
Art James Host 1
Fred Collins Announcer 1
Glenn Ryle
Jerry Collins


DVD Releases