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Different strategies for winning at Monopoly Empty
PostSubject: Different strategies for winning at Monopoly   Different strategies for winning at Monopoly EmptySat Feb 09, 2013 4:32 am

Here are some links and excerpts from a few guides that give players tips on how to always come out on top. Some of them give contradicting advice, so I suppose it up to the individual player to see what style of play suits them.


Here's How:

1: Know the odds. For example, most players make a complete lap around the board in five turns; you're likely to roll doubles once in those five turns (doubles happen about 17 percent of the time).

2: Buy smart. Always pick up available properties if: (1) no other player owns one of the same group; (2) the purchase would give you two or three of the same group; or (3) it blocks someone else from completing a set.

3: Remember that Illinois Avenue is the square most often landed on (not including Jail). The B&O Railroad also is among those most landed on; Go rounds out the top three.

4: Railroads are better to own than utilities, but utilities should be purchased if the opportunity arises (especially if you can get both of them). Short Line is the least useful railroad to own, because it is visited least often.

5: Get out of jail quickly early in the game, even if you have to pay the $50. Later on, when moving around the board is more dangerous, stay in jail as long as you can.

6: When you build, get to three houses as quickly as possible. The rent raises significantly between two and three houses. For example, rent on Illinois Avenue jumps from $300 to $750.

7: If you're stuck with low-income properties, build to four houses quickly to create a building shortage, hurting other players' chances to build. 24 of 32 houses (or 6 of 12 hotels) could be tied up on just six properties.

8: Avoid mortgaging properties where you own two or more of the properties. If one property in a group is mortgaged, you cannot build on any of the properties in that group.

9: The second set of properties on all four sides of the board is a better investment. One reason: houses and hotels cost the same to build as for the first set of properties, but the rent is higher.

10: The trio of orange properties is an excellent monopoly to own because of their relationship to Jail. A roll of 6 or 8 (two of the most common rolls) from Jail lands you on an orange.


Show no mercy. If a player is down, eliminate him from the game. Luck plays too big a roll in Monopoly to risk a comeback.

Don't forget that you can buy houses, make trades, etc., on your turn or between the turns of any other players.


1: Push to make Free Parking as lucrative as possible. When you're deciding on the house rules before the game, the key things you want to push are: As much money in Free Parking as possible (at a minimum it should be all taxes/penalties), and $400 for landing exactly on Go.

You want plenty of opportunities to get quick, large windfalls because you'll either get that cash yourself and be able to build quicker... or, because of your hardcore strategy, you'll take that money from other players and then use it to crush them further. There's no such thing as massive inflation in Monopoly, because the housing prices don't go up when you flood the market with cash. Monopoly economics don't equal real world economics. And you can take my word for it because my last name is Greenspan.

2: Buy as much property as you can early on, even Baltic or Mediterranean. Your two goals early are (1) get a Monopoly as quickly as possible and (2) own at least one property from every color group to have full control over every possible Monopoly. Monopoly games, much like cable TV providers, rely on crushing people's souls with monopolies. So if you have a Monopoly and can block every single other Monopoly, your chance of losing quickly approaches zero (unless someone owns railroads and you have horrible, horrible rolling luck).

Even if you have Baltic and Mediterranean, you will very gradually bleed the other person dry... but it will be a long, slow, boring death. Like, if you decided to kill someone by planting a tree in their yard, waiting until it grew taller than their house, then chopping it down so it lands on them. That's victory via Baltic.

3: Do not buy the utilities. Electric Company and Water Works are basically useless and just like setting money on fire early. Like the railroads, they don't lead to a Monopoly; but at least the railroads have a chance to take a few hundred dollars from someone on all four sides of the board. Plus people actually want the railroads in trades and look at them on nearly the same level as real properties -- the utilities are on the same level as throwing in a Get Out of Jail Free card or an offer to be the person who gets up to go to the kitchen.

There are only two utilities, and they only have a one-in-36 chance of bringing you $120 if someone lands there. More likely it will be $70 -- or $28 if you only own one. That amount of money can't win a game; you're better off investing the $300 it would cost to buy them into a real property or a hotel.

4: Get out of jail as quickly as possible until a Monopoly has been made. You don't have time to be in jail when everyone's making the initial land rush. It's fine to be in jail after you've built some houses through a flurry of questionable mortgages and ill-gotten tax gains. (Officially, you can still collect money while you're in jail.)

5: If you must buy railroads (I do not), plan to use them as trade bait. I don't really like the railroads. Early on, I hate dumping $200 each on them. Other people disagree and look at them as a way to grab a decent amount of money early in the game. Either way, they become far less significant once there are Monopolies with houses/hotels collecting much, much bigger sums. That's the point where you can use them as trade bait -- or, to put it another way, as a sack of magic beans. A lot of people are suckers for railroads -- maybe you can trade the railroads straight up for a property that gives you a Monopoly.

6: Never make a trade until one player has a Monopoly (and never make a trade that gives someone a Monopoly without you getting one in return). There are two phases of the game: Before someone has a Monopoly and after the first Monopoly is made. Don't make a trade in the first phase unless someone is giving you a Monopoly without you giving them one back in return. Your goal is to be the first and only person on the board with a Monopoly. And then to taunt people about it. Don't forget the taunting.

7: If you must trade look to get two Monopolies for one in a trade. If a few players have Monopolies and you must make a trade, try to figure out a way to get two Monopolies by offering one. Example: If you can get two lesser Monopolies for one of the Greens or Boardwalk/Park Place, do it. Especially if you're playing with a finite number of houses and hotels, since it'll be cheaper for you to hoard them on your less-expensive land. Of course, like many of the other trading strategies on this list, this will only work until your opponents figure out your strategy and stop trading with you. Unless you're playing with little kids -- you can keep on crushing them for years before they figure out how to stop you.

8: Once you have a Monopoly, mortgage EVERYTHING. Now that you have a Monopoly, you win the game by punishing people for landing on it. And as people in real life will tell you, mortgages are awesome. So mortgage everything you've got (except the two or three properties in your Monopoly) and build as many houses/hotels as possible as quickly as possible. Your mortgaged properties are still blocking other people from getting Monopolies, meanwhile you're using the cash from them to build on your good properties. And, really, there's no reason to ever unmortgage them -- collecting anywhere from $4 to $50 isn't going to make a difference when the properties in your Monopoly are collecting hundreds or thousands.

9: Do keep a few hundred bucks on hand though. It's disappointing when you're fully mortgaged, have houses on all your properties... then you get elected Chairman of the Board or you land on, like, Marvin Gardens and you have to sell back a house. Try to keep your bank supply around $300 or so, which is enough to weather anything except someone else's housed-up Monopoly. Not being able to come up with $45 in Monopoly money is arguably more embarrassing and shows less financial acumen than not being able to come up with $45 in real life.

10: Get to three houses per property as quickly as possible. If you look at the pay schedule on any property, you see that one house doesn't get you that much money. Two houses is a decent bump, but still not a killer. But once you make the jump to three houses there's a massive price difference. Your goal for every Monopoly is to get three houses on your two or three properties because that's the best value for your money. No reason to make that push to four houses or a hotel right away; as long as you're at three, you're doing fine. Then once people land on them a few times you'll have enough to buy hotels.

11: Know when to concede or to convince your opponent to concede. You're looking to win (or, less frequently, lose) very quickly. So, if one person has any Monopoly and blocks on every other Monopoly, concede. Even if one person has a weak Monopoly and blocks on every other Monopoly, concede. If you're playing with multiple people and there's no way to make any trades where everyone's happy, call it a game. And if you have a Monopoly and a full board of blocks, convince your opponent or opponents to concede.

Yes, if one person concedes their properties go back in the mix. And the other players could buy those and keep the game going. But that's no fun as a group. So concede collectively and start again. With this style you can play two or three games in the time it would normally take to play one.
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PostSubject: Re: Different strategies for winning at Monopoly   Different strategies for winning at Monopoly EmptySat Feb 09, 2013 6:57 pm

Here are some tips by Phil Orbanes, Chief Judge of the Monopoly World Championships.

There must be something special about a near-octogenarian board game that still makes headlines. This week's big Monopoly news: Facebook FB -0.37% fans voted to replace the playing piece shaped like an old-fashioned iron with one in the form of a cat.

As a longtime judge of Monopoly championships, I've figured out a prime reason for the game's staying power. For most of us, it provides one of life's first opportunities to handle money and practice the art of negotiation. Monopoly puts you through a financial wringer without real-world loss. Once you get the hang of how to win it, you can apply the game's "secrets of success" to real life—sometimes quite literally, always in principle.

Here are five of the most important:

1. Diversification : Monopoly makes a time-honored point about the importance of spreading your investments across several classes of property and not slavishly following the "smart money." The game's best investments are the orange properties (not the dark-blue ones, Park Place and Boardwalk, about which more in a moment). But the long-term value of the oranges isn't always clear: Entire games can be played in which they don't pay off, or at least not in time to stave off bankruptcy. To assure success, you need to have not only a powerful color group but also two or three railroads to generate income and a few key properties to block the formation of game-busting groups against you. This blend reduces risk and improves the odds of winning.

2. Cash Management: The game drills home this lesson: You can't win if you sit on cash, just as you can't hope to rapidly grow real-world assets if you settle for the rates of return that the banks offer. You need to take on risk. In the game, that means converting cash to deeds and buildings while retaining just enough of those colorful bills to pay for bad luck (penalties, taxes, small rents).

3. Return on Investment: Every property in Monopoly has a different likelihood of earning a return (based on how frequently players land on it, its initial cost and cost of development, and its return per level of development). The green properties, for example, are awful; the oranges and reds are superior.

The railroads, because there are four of them, are the most visited set in the game, but they can't be developed, so they aren't enough alone for a win. They can provide you with cash, however, and that's what you need to develop a killer color group—just as high-earning investments like utility funds can give you money to augment your growth-oriented holdings.

One crucial point: There's a huge difference in rent between the two- and three-house level on any property. This is the game's investment "sweet spot"—something I look for in life as well.

4. Complacency: Beware of it. In the 2009 world championship, a young Norwegian player paved the way to victory at precisely the moment when defeat stared him in the face. His opponents had concluded a three-way trade that provided each with a powerful color group. While each contemplated how many houses to buy, Norway offered his lone red property to Russia in return for the third light blue.

The trade looked lopsided; Russia already had the greens and eagerly accepted. Complacent, he hadn't noticed Norway's pile of cash—or the fact that all the shiny metal tokens were approaching the light blues. Norway rapidly developed them, and all the other players landed on his group. Paying the rents denied his rivals the chance to invest in their own pricey properties. In a few rounds, all were vanquished.

Just as once-spurned asset classes can suddenly enter the limelight in real life, so too can every group of Monopoly properties. Norway was able to use the lowly light blues to win the 2009 title, and I saw the so-so purples prevail in 2004.

Even Park Place and Boardwalk have won, in the 1979 U.S. championship—but that's a rarity. There are only two of them, and they cost a lot to develop. The three-property orange group, by contrast, gets landed on more than any other color group (because players who go to jail must pass through or over them upon exiting), and it can be developed at a reasonable price.

5. Negotiations: Knowledge of the game's financial numbers is only half the story in Monopoly success; being a master of negotiations is the other part.

In the 2009 championship, the youthful player from Norway had one other advantage besides the inventiveness to turn his chances around. Respectful, pleasant and artfully assertive, he was the kind of player the others didn't mind losing to.

In real life, I've seen more people succeed with this sort of conduct than with noisy aggressiveness. Competence in human relations affects your career, your personal life, your options and thus your net worth—yet another great lesson taught by Monopoly.

—Mr. Orbanes's latest book is "Monopoly, Money, and You." He is the chief judge at the U.S. and World Monopoly championships.
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PostSubject: Re: Different strategies for winning at Monopoly   Different strategies for winning at Monopoly EmptySat Feb 09, 2013 8:33 pm

Written by Irvin R. Hentzel, PhD, Iowa State University.

The Math Professor's Secrets of Winning At Monopoly Every Time

People would be better Monopoly players if they knew more about the probabilities involved.

While winning any one game requires some luck — since moves are dictated by the dice — there are ways to tilt the odds dramatically in your favor...

One key to winning is to put your money where it will earn the highest return. But the choice is not always obvious. The money you can expect to earn from a property depends not only on its rent but also on how often players land on it.

Example: The many players who consider Boardwalk and Park Place to be the best positions are mistaken. They are actually the fourth-best positions.

Where players land most often: Illinois Avenue...followed by Go...B&O Railroad...Free Parking... Tennessee Avenue...New York Avenue...Reading Railroad...St. James Place...Water Works...and Pennsylvania Railroad.

The frequency of landing on a square is affected by the odds of throwing doubles, landing in Jail and being forced to move according to the whims of Chance and Community Chest.

All squares of the Orange monopoly (Tennessee, New York and St. James) are on the hot list. So — is the Orange monopoly the best in the game? Yes — AND no. When you own a monopoly, your expected return is easy to calculate. It rises for each monopoly as you go around the board, with one exception. Boardwalk/Park Place ranks between Orange and Red monopolies.

More important: Your return for each dollar invested. On that basis, the Orange monopoly beats all others, with a return of 4.5 cents per turn per dollar invested.

How ideal this location is depends on how much money you have. Examples...

*If you have more than $2,500, the Green monopoly offers you the largest pure return.

*If you have $800 to $2,000, the Orange monopoly offers you the largest pure return.

*If you have less than $500, the railroads offer the most bang for the buck.


A few rounds into the game, get a sense of whether you have more money than your opponents.

If you have only $800 to $2,000 and doubt whether you'll have enough money to make an expensive monopoly pay off, adopt my Peasant Strategy. Instead of waiting to land on and buy an expensive monopoly, choose one that pays off moderately well early in the game.

This will help prevent opponents from acquiring enough capital to improve their property by adding houses.

Best Peasant Strategy properties to own: The Orange monopoly followed by Boardwalk/Park Place, the Yellow and the Red monopolies.

You have limited power in "choosing" monopolies. But the strategy applies, too, when you trade properties with opponents. If you don't have enough to execute any strategy of your choosing, trade some nonessential properties for cash.

Example: You opponent has $1,500 in cash, and you have little. You have the Green monopoly, and he/she has the Light Blue. Offer to trade the Green for the Light Blue and $1,000.

Why give away the best property in the game? Because your opponent will have a great property but little cash to develop it, while you can immediately put three hotels on the Light Blue monopoly for just $1,050.

If you have no cash: Trade a monopoly for four railroads. You'll accumulate cash as your opponent lands on railroads (the probability is high) and pays you $200 each time.

Eventually, he may be willing to trade back a monopoly for the railroads. It will probably be a cheap one, such as the Maroon monopoly (St. Charles Place, States Avenue and Virginia Avenue). With cash from railroad rents, you should be able to improve the property quickly.

To win with the Peasant Strategy, you have to win early.

Reason: Otherwise, an opponent's Green or Yellow monopoly will ruin you.

Strategy: Once you have a monopoly, do all you can to raise cash so you can build. Sell or mortgage properties, and sell "Get Out of Jail Free" cards. As long as you properties are significantly better developed than your opponents' properties, you are likely to win. So don't be cautious.


If you have more than $2,000 in cash, do not build by adding houses to your properties until you have acquired enough capital for at least three houses on each property of the monopoly. At that time, the Tycoon should build.

Meanwhile, do what you can to discourage opponents from developing their properties.

Strategies: Use psychological warfare. Talk about the joys of cash. Emphasize that the game is too young for building. Be patient until the opponent has built three houses on one property. At that time, the opponent is using the Peasant Strategy and psychology won't work anymore...so try building as much as you can.

If you start with my Peasant Strategy and then accumulate wealth, switch to the Tycoon Strategy.


*Building houses. Game rules state that houses and hotels must be built up evenly across like-colored monopolies.

So where should add-on houses go? Build up properties around the board counterclockwise — in the reverse order from the direction of play.

Exception: The second extra house on the Maroon property should go on St. Charles, not States, because players land there more often.

*First few trips around the board. But everything you land on. This strategy gives you more options, especially is you are a skillful trader of properties.

*When you own two monopolies, build up one exclusively. It's usually wise to mortgage the other monopoly in order to raise cash to invest in houses and hotels on the other one.

*Jail. When you need properties, pay $50 to get out of Jail. Otherwise, don't pay a dime to get out.

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