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How can I Win on Family Feud?

Lindsay D.
Lindsay D.

Winning on Family Feud isn’t usually something that can be condensed into a science or formula, though there are a number of tips that can help teams get better results. The most important thing is to understand the basics of play. In this vein, it’s often a good idea to watch a number of back episodes, both the familiarize yourself with the format and to give you and your team some opportunities to practice answering questions. Family Feud has been a staple of American game show television for over thirty years, and the format hasn’t changed much in that time. One of the most important tips experts give is to think like an “average” American, which means that studying up or drilling facts isn’t likely to help; the answers that get the most points on the show are those that are the most popular, which isn’t necessarily the same as the best or the most correct. Focusing on the pivotal fourth round can also help your team have a better chance of winning, but again this isn’t a foolproof strategy. It can be tempting to think that things like ringing first or seizing every opportunity to steal can be surefire ways to get an edge, but the evidence isn’t really there to support these ideas. In most cases the best way to win on Family Feud is to work as a team and to not get intimidated by the experience of appearing on camera.

Understand the Basics of Play

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Having a sense of what to expect before you arrive is one of the best strategies embraced by winning teams. Watching prior shows and reviewing the format can help you know what to expect. This isn’t in and of itself a strategy to win on Family Feud as much as it is a reminder to come prepared, but you’re less likely to perform at your best if you’re caught off guard. Having a sense of what’s coming can put you at ease and give you the confidence you need to think easily on your feet.

The game is based on a team’s ability to correctly guess the top “survey answers” to questions posed to the general public. Teams are traditionally families, but sometimes also are friends or work groups. Play begins with a face-off and then proceeds through four rounds, ending with an opportunity for an additional round known as “Fast Money” for the winning team. Play begins with the team that guessed the highest-ranking answer during the face-off, and stays until that team hits three “strikes,” or answers not on the list of top responses. At this point the opponents have the opportunity to steal the points earned.

Think Like an Average American

Correct or intelligent answers are not necessarily the best answers within the context of the game show. The survey on which questions are based is uncensored, excepting that an answer needs to be given at least twice in order to make it on the board. Because of this, answers that represent common mistakes or misunderstandings often make it into the game. It’s often a good idea to remember that people probably didn’t take much time to rethink their answers, so thinking about the “best” answer isn’t always going to work. It’s often a better idea to think about what other people were likely to answer.

It’s also important to pay attention to any demographic information that’s given. Questions framed as “100 single women were surveyed...” or “We surveyed 100 teenagers...” will give two very different results. Putting yourself in the frame of mind of the person surveyed is often an effective strategy.

Focus on the Fourth Round

In general, the first two rounds are straight one-point-per-survey-answer scores, so the total available is 100 points. The third round is doubled, and the fourth round is tripled. Since the goal to get to play Fast Money is 300 points, any team that wins the fourth round is usually going to win, regardless of their performance earlier on. As such, focusing your team’s energy here is a good bet.

Don’t Focus on Ringing First

It’s commonly assumed that ringing the buzzer first in the face-off before each round can boost your team’s chances of success, but this isn’t usually true — particularly if you’re so eager to hit the buzzer that you cut the question off mid-stream and aren’t able to accurately understand it. According to statistical compilations of play, winning the face-off by ringing in first only increases your chance of winning that specific round by about 2%, which is not much to base a strategy on. A better idea is to buzz when you have an answer in mind, and if you don’t get the first shot, use the time while your opponent is answering to come up with your best guess.

Don’t Bank Too Much on Stealing

One of the more exciting elements of Family Feud is the opportunity to steal. Essentially, the team not in the spotlight guessing must wait for the other team to either strike out or fill the board. If they strike out, the opposing team has a brief moment for a huddle and then must present their top answer; if it is on the board, they can steal the points earned by the other team. Teams can also choose to defer if they win the face-off in hopes of a chance to steal later on.

Filling the survey board is challenging, and an estimated 86% of all survey rounds end with a steal attempt. Only about 40% of these attempts are successful, though. If your team is in a position to steal it’s usually a good idea to spend time thinking about answers as the other group guesses in order to come up with the best possible answer, but actually playing the round generally has a better chance of success.

Discussion Comments


Also when they ask "On a scale of 1 to 10..." questions the no. 1 answer is always five!


I was watching FF at the gym the other day and was wondering about a particular strategy that I don't see mentioned above. When a new round starts, the survey can have anywhere from 5 to 8 answers that need to be guessed in order to win the round. Intuitively, it seems like it would be more difficult to guess all the answers if there are more of them than if there are fewer.

So, what I was wondering is, if you win the face-off, would it be advantageous to pass on the surveys with a larger number of answers and play surveys with a smaller number of answers? Or in other words, does a team's success rate vary depending on the number of answers in the survey?


The reason the fourth round winner always had enough points to play fast money is because if a specific round does not generate enough points for one team to get to 300, they scrap the question and start over. I know, I was on the show yesterday with my family and that is exactly what happened.

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