'Wheel of Fortune' Has Featured a Few Ties, but It Doesn't Happen Very Often

'Wheel of Fortune' is usually a show with one winner, but some fans want to know if there has ever been a tie, and what tiebreaker the show uses.


Apr. 20 2021, Published 2:15 p.m. ET

When you tune in to Wheel of Fortune, you basically know what to expect. Three contestants are going to spin a giant wheel, and they're going to slowly reveal words or phrases, letter by letter. It's hangman, but with much higher stakes. That formula repeats every night, and there's usually a single winner who advances to a bonus round where they guess a word all by themselves. Occasionally, though, something crazy happens. 

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Has there ever been a tie on 'Wheel of Fortune'?

Although it's exceedingly rare, there are occasionally ties on Wheel of Fortune. The most recent one happened in 2016, when two contestants, LaToya Williams and Danielle Gilseth, earned an equal amount headed into the bonus round. Each contestant had $24,000, and the show had to invoke the rare rules that it uses to break a tie when one occurs. 

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What is the tiebreaker on 'Wheel of Fortune'?

When LaToya and Danielle were tied, Pat Sajak quickly segued into a tiebreaker tossup to determine which one of them would be headed to the bonus round. The tossup round is the same mechanism that the show typically uses to kick the show off and determine who will have the first spin at the wheel. In the round, a phrase is slowly filled in, letter by letter, and the first person to name the phrase correctly wins the round. 

In the competition between Danielle and LaToya, a winner emerged almost immediately. Given the fact that both women had wracked up $24,000 during the course of the regular game show, it only made sense that both of them would be ready to solve a bonus tossup as quickly as possible. The tiebreaker may have been over quickly, but it was still a thrilling change from the usual course of business on Wheel of Fortune. 

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There have only been three ties in the history of 'Wheel of Fortune'.

Before the 2016 tie, there had only been two other ties in the history of the show. The first happened in 2003, and the second in 2006. It's been more than five years since the show featured a tie, which suggests that the formula the show has established leads to a single winner in almost every case. It doesn't work every time, but there's only a handful of exceptions. 

Source: YouTube
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Pat Sajak recently revealed an answer accidentally.

Although ties are fairly rare, they aren't the only way that the formula for Wheel of Fortune can change. More recently, Pat Sajak accidentally gave away the answer to the bonus round question. When only six of the puzzle's 12 letters were revealed, Pat said "Yikes. Well, I'd rather be standing here than there, quite frankly." 

As it turns out, "quite frankly" was the answer to the puzzle, but the contestant failed to realize it in time and therefore lost the bonus round. Although Pat accidentally gave him the answer, this time, it didn't change the outcome. At the end of the show, Pat pointed out his error but wondered how many people at home caught the mistake he'd made. 

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