If you're ever around kids or friends you know how appealing claw games to win stuffed animals or other prizes can be. As in most games that involve trading money for a chance to win a prize, the odds are firmly stacked in the favour of the house but there are ways you can maximise your chances to win.
British Television show Brainiac revealed in the above video clip how most claw machines have a control box that regulates how often the user should win the item and also how hard the claw should grip the toy.
You can game the system by staking out a machine and seeing how many tries it takes someone to win an item and then playing yourself after that number of tries has been reached again. For example, if the machine is set to let the seventh person win, after someone wins I'd ideally wait out six more tries before giving it a go myself.
Also keep in mind the second setting for the claw's grip strength. Even if you're due to win if you try for a prize that is partially covered by other prizes or tightly packed the strength of the claw may not guarantee a win. Also keep in mind that a toy perched on top of other toys may be a trap as sometimes the machine's owner may intentionally tuck a stuffed animal's leg under another toy making it difficult to lift.
Brainiac -- Claw Game [YouTube via Reddit]