McDonalds Monopoly Game

Several years ago, to my shame, I got hooked on the McDonald's Monopoly Game. My friends and I were eating there daily to share tokens and hopefully bag that big prize. But the chances of winning were non-existent (certainly on the big prizes anyway) because the whole thing was rigged. However, now that it's all above board, could you actually win the big $1 million, or even some of the smaller prizes? Well, yes. But your chances of winning are all based on the odds of finding one particular piece from each set. (See also: 6 Ways to Win Free Stuff From Blog Giveaways)
What are those pieces?
Like any professionally organized, mass-market game, the odds of winning the big prizes are never in your favor. There is no randomness here; it's not like McDonald's just printed up a whole bunch of pieces and let them loose on the community. There are very few of some pieces and literally millions of others. When you get a yellow piece, for instance, it will almost never be Ventnor Avenue. That's one of those pieces that is controlled. The table below outlines the piece from each set that is in demand, the prize for getting it and the number of pieces available in the game.

So, what does this mean? Well, if you scour eBay right now, or your local Craigslist, you will see dozens of people either looking for the pieces above, or selling large collections of pieces that contain none of the above. Either way, you should stay away. If you have one of the pieces above, you have technically won, as getting the other pieces in the set is very easy. But if you're looking to buy pieces, unless someone has stumbled on one of the rare pieces without knowing it, you're just buying worthless tokens.
With this in mind, print the table above and keep it on you if you're playing the Monopoly game. When you get a piece, check it against the list; if it's there, you're a winner. If it's Boardwalk, please, feel free to share your winnings with the humble writer of this story.

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