How to Stop Cheating at your Next Pub Quiz

Cheating in quizzes is nothing new, but it can be extremely annoying. No matter what you do, there’s no way you can completely guarantee that there will be no cheating, even with a simple pub quiz.

However, if you follow the guidelines below, you should be able to make it as hard as possible to cheat, as well as detering the cheater themselves. 


How do people cheat at pub quizzes?

People cheat at pub quizzes in a variety of different ways. One of the most common ways people cheat is by using their phone to quickly search for the answers. Most quiz questions can very easily be answered through a quick Google, which people may do on the sly either under the table or as they go to the toilet. 

Other ways people cheat include walking past other peoples tables and taking a quick look at their answer sheet, as well as listening to other teams discuss their answers, just in case they’re right. 


Why do people cheat at quizzes?

The main reason people cheat at quizzes is to win the prize. When quizzes are held at venues like bars and pubs, the most common prize is either a bar tab or the total sum of the entries. These prizes are highly attractive for many which is what gives them a motive to cheat. 

Other reasons people cheat may include:

  • There is pride in winning
  • To avoid any feelings of embarrassment in case they lose 
  • They are to lazy to think of the answer
  • They want to participate for the sake of their friends

How can you stop people cheating in a pub quiz?

There are several preventative techniques, as well as general principles that you can implement to reduce or eliminate cheating. 


Give phone warnings 

Although this is usually a given, many quiz masters may simply forget to say anything. Before the quiz starts, make sure you have firm instructions about phones. Make sure to remind contestants to keep their phones either turned off or placed away in bags for the duration of the quiz. 

If you see someone using their phone during the quiz, be quick to act on it. If you deem it necessary, it’s okay to publicly call out the perpetrator and if they are repeat offenders, you can kick them out of the quiz and even stop them from joining future quizzes. 


Set boundaries 

If the prize is large, such as a bar tab, money or of some other value, you can explain if anyone tries to win the prize through cheating that it would be a fraudulent win. 

If contestants can’t trust themselves not to cheat, you can collect phones off them through a ticketed system or you could ask the bar staff to place the phones behind the bar. This may seem extreme but some contestants really can’t help themselves from cheating. 


Pick your questions carefully 

If the questions you choose are too hard, the likelihood of cheating will increase. Generally, you can expect to have a range of different participants, and they will all likely have their own different interests and expert areas. 

Having quiz rounds that have a variety of different questions will appeal to numerous people. At Quiz on Demand, we have weekly quizzes available, which have a variety of different topics included to test your participants knowledge. 


Score answers after the second round 

Stating before the quiz starts that answers will be marked after the second round can get people to get in the habit of answering the questions using their own knowledge, especially if the questions are quick paced and relatively easy to answer. 

After the second round, get your teams to swap their answer sheets with other teams so there’s no chance of answers being changed or altered. 


Ask some cheat proof questions 

Using lateral thinking questions or connection questions is a great way to prevent cheating, as they are questions that cannot be Googled. 

Table Top quizzes are a perfect way to completely eliminate cheating, as they work in a similar way to board games and as the name suggests, they are played on a table top. 


How to confront cheaters at your pub quiz

If you do catch someone cheating, it usually only takes one conversation to put it to an end. 

A simple way to do it is by approaching the team in a way which doesn’t put judgement on them. Simply say something like “I just want to remind you that you can’t look up answers during the quiz”. 

If you see someone is a repeat offender, you could make a wider statement to all the teams kindly reminding them not to cheat or use their phones. If the cheating is still going on, you may have to kindly ask the team to leave the quiz. 


The funniest ways people have been caught cheating on quizzes

From obvious cheating in small pub quizzes to national scandals, these are some of the funniest and worst ways people have been caught cheating on quizzes!


Prop phone 

A pub in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire was forced to put their foot down after players had reportedly been caught using their phones during quizzes. 

The landlord of The Mall, Trevorn Glenn, went to extreme lengths to prevent the cheating by banning phones from the quiz altogether. However, one of the teams handed in a prop phone so they could continue to use their phone in the quiz. They apparently also kept a list of chart topping songs to hand to help them in the music round. 



One of the most infamous cases of someone being caught for cheating was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. 

Major Charles Ingram, alongside his wife Diana and fellow accomplice Tecwen Whittock, were accused of cheating their way to the cash prize through cough tactics. According to the show’s producers and the courts, the trio was ultimately found guilty of “procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception”. 

The scheme involved Charles reading the four possible answers out loud, with Diana coughing after the correct answer was spoken. Producers caught onto the act, stripping the trio of their prize fund and leading to prosecution. 


Radio 2 scandal 

After the much beloved Ken Bruce left the station, Gary Davies took over his spot and introduced a new music quiz called Ten to the Top.

Shelia, who was the first contestant to ever win the game show with a perfect score of 65, appeared to raise eyebrows after showcasing blatant and obvious cheating. 

Suspicions were high as Sheila paused for four seconds before correctly answering each question. The BBC insisted Sheila won the quiz fairly, but many listeners are convinced the four seconds it took Sheila to answer were because she was Googling the answers.

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