The player chooses one of 26 numbered briefcases at the start of the game. These cases each hold a different cash amount from $0.01 to $1,000,000. The player’s chosen case is highlighted in blue.
In the first round, the player chooses six cases to eliminate from play, one at a time. Each case is opened as it is chosen, and the amount inside is removed from the board. After the sixth pick, a cordless telephone on the podium rings and the host answers it to speak with “The Banker” – a male figure, visible only as a dimly lit silhouette, who sits in a skybox overlooking the studio. The Banker’s face is never seen, and his voice is never heard; after the call ends, the host relays the Banker’s offer to buy the player’s case. The player can accept the offer and end the game by saying “deal”, or reject it by saying “no deal”.
Each time the player rejects an offer, he/she must play another round, eliminating progressively fewer cases: five in the second round, four in the third, three in the fourth, two in the fifth. Beyond the fifth round, the player eliminates one case at a time, receiving a new offer from the Banker after each. The ninth and final offer comes when there are only two cases left in play, the one originally chosen by the player and one other. If the player rejects this final offer, he/she may either keep the chosen case or trade it for the other one, and receives the amount in the case he/she decides to take.
If a player accepts one of the Banker’s offers, and if time permits, the host encourages him/her to play through additional rounds to see what would have happened. If time runs short or the highest remaining value is eliminated, all of the remaining cases are opened at once.