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Unless you’re small enough to climb inside, grabbing a prize out a claw machine could be pretty tough. But Daily Beast entertainment reporter Jen Yamato and film critic Kim Morgan are incredibly, great at it: thunder dragon fish game machine estimates that she’s nabbed 100 toys from the prize pits of claw machines, which she’s deposited in their car as well as her house, as well as at some time, Morgan says, she had “two large garbage bags overflowing with stuffed animals from just one single year. I donated them.”

Morgan has always been interested in claw machines, but got really hooked in 2008: “Must function as the dumb kid in me that spies an enormous box of stuffed toys,” she says. “A claw? It’s almost something out of your Brothers Grimm … Once I clawed six animals in a row. There seemed to be a crowd around me! It absolutely was so silly.” Yamato’s obsession with claw games began in the adult life. “I only realized I was good at it because I kept winning stuff and i also was monitoring it on Instagram,” she says. “I’m an experienced person usually, and it’s among the only things that I am going to let myself be completely competitive about. … You get to bask inside the glory of holding your bounty high above your head and saying, ‘Yes, I snatched this prize using this machine! I beat it!’”

It may look like fun and games-and, of course, it can be. But there’s real skill involved, too. Listed below are the techniques Morgan and Yamato use to nab a prize.

One thing you should think about when contemplating playing thunder dragon fishing machine is the prize pit-specifically, how tightly the prizes are packed. “An easy tell is when every one of the stuffed animals have been front faced and they’re packed in like sardines,” Yamato says. “That means nobody has jiggled anything loose yet, or possibly a member of staff just stuffed them in super tight.” A tightly-packed prize pit will make your career a lot harder: “I’m not likely to bother playing a machine that is certainly clearly stuffed too tight,” Yamato says. “I won’t have the ability to reel anything in.”

Morgan agrees. “If the toys are stuffed so tightly that grabbing is impossible, don’t waste your time and efforts,” she says. “I think it’s easier to find those weird lone claw machines in places where seem more abandoned-they don’t get stuffed just as much. Those are the only places you can win because there’s more room to drag an animal.”

“Don’t necessarily watch the way they play, but watch the way the machine reacts once they play-that information can help you whenever you are looking at become your turn,” Yamato says. “I will see if the claw grip is too loose, or if it’s built to let go or give a jiggle after it grasps something, then I won’t play because I am aware the odds are definitely against me … unless it’s an incredibly, really sweet toy i want. Then I’ll spend a little extra time.”

Yamato and Morgan go once the prize that looks probably the most attainable. “Sometimes, by far the most desirable prizes would be the hardest ones to get,” Yamato says. “Being realistic about what you are able win in any given machine will help you win much more.”

“If the pretty pony inside the far end, stuffed tightly next to the cute teddy bear, is surely an impossible option, you’re going to need to settle together with the ugly duck/monster thing with red shoes plus a cape or whatever the hell it is and deal with it,” Morgan says.

The optimal prize is “sticking out a bit, isn’t being blocked or obstructed by every other prizes, and isn’t too close to the side,” Yamato says. (In case a prize is leaning from the glass, the claw track won’t enable the claw to get close enough to nab it.) Morgan also advises staying on prizes that are near the chute: “Don’t drag something from the very end of the machine,” she says. “That rarely works.”

Yamato also avoids round or rotund objects. “Those take time and effort because the vast majority of time there’s absolutely nothing to grab onto,” she says. Instead, target a prize containing some type of appendage-a head, or even an arm or a leg-sticking out: “Something you will get one of the claw prongs under is the best choice, if the angle’s right.”

After Yamato has picked her prize, she’ll play once, “to test the tensile grip of the claw to see how easily it will hold after it closes,” she says. “A lot of them will jiggle open immediately after they close, so even when you’ve caught something, it’ll screw you over by opening up the claws somewhat.” If it happens, Yamato says she won’t play again … “probably.”

Generally, it’s simpler to play machines which have a 3-pronged claw rather than a two-pronged claw: “It’s everything about the grip-if the claw carries a weak grip, forget it,” Morgan says. “The two-pronged claws seem weaker in my opinion.”

“One technique is bumping another animal taken care of to get another,” Morgan says. She also advises grabbing and dragging a prize even closer the chute to make it easier to grab on your own second try.

Most claw machines drop and grab with one push of a button; some need two pushes-anyone to drop the claw, another to close it-but that’s rare. In any case, “Most machines present you with lots of time to position your claw, and a lot of them allows you to move it forward and backward after which sideways,” Yamato says. “I usually try to spend most of the time from the clock running down to make certain that I’m exactly above where I want the claw to decrease.” Once you’re within the very best position, drop it.

Most machines cost 50 cents to try out, so Yamato will invest a dollar. “Maybe half some time I become a prize on my small first dollar,” she says. “I’ll usually play a couple of dollars at the most before I know that I would move on. It’s like gamb-ling-for no monetary gain!”

Morgan says grabbing a prize normally takes her a few tries “on good machines,” she says. “On bad machines-and they also seem worse now-it will require me about five or ten times or never. I am going to not go past ten. That creates me think that a junkie.”

A couple weeks ago, Vox posted a post that explained how kids indoor amusement game owners can rig them-but Yamato doesn’t think that’s true for each game. “People might play less since they think every claw machine is rigged to screw them over, however, not all claw machines are rigged,” she says. “I always think that every claw is winnable-it’s only a matter of exactly how much I wish to stand there and keep playing generally if i know already this particular machine is type of stuck.” But people should stay away from the machines that have money wrapped around the prizes: “In my experience,” Yamato says, “those tend to be those that 14dexcpky rigged.”

Morgan, on the flip side, does assume that many of the machines are rigged-which is the reason she prefers to play machines in places off the beaten path, as with California’s Yucca Valley. “Are they less rigged within the desert? I believe so,” she says. “I have incredible luck available. Normally i play in the desert.”

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