How Monopoly’s magic number can give you an edge

How to gain early control and a lasting edge in Monopoly (part 4)

Ken Palmer
6 min readJun 28, 2021


Wait, Monopoly has a magic number?

Why, yes!

$200 is the magic number that appears all over Monopoly.

  • You earn $200 for passing GO.
  • You pay $200 for landing on Income Tax.
  • Railroads cost $200. Four railroads earn $200 rent.
  • Houses on green and dark blue properties cost $200.
  • Boardwalk with one house rents for $200.

See what I mean? $200 is everywhere. Since $200 is the standard Monopoly income, meet The $200 Rule.

The $200 Rule: Payments of $200 are significant.

Pretty simple, huh? Don’t underestimate this insight. You can use it to guide your decisions.

$200 Income

How many turns will a player take before passing GO to earn $200?

Typically it takes five turns.

“Wait,” the math guy says. “Seven is an average die roll. With 40 Monopoly spaces, it will take five or six turns.” That is true. But rolling doubles and drawing Chance cards give you an extra push. Five turns.

All those turns culminate in a $200 reward.

With each turn, a player spends money on property, rent, taxes, and fees. By the time a player reaches GO, that $200 income is needed.

Take $200 from a player, and you’ve struck a significant blow. You’ve taken that player’s GO income!

Sure, $200 isn’t flashy. But it’s better to have six properties on the board that can earn $200 income, than three properties that earn twice that amount.


The law of averages. And Monopoly is about leveraging probability.

Increase the odds that opponents will pay you. The best way to do this is to spread out your investments. Offer more squares for opponents to land on which reap $200 in rent.

The $200 Rule tells us that a $200 payment stings.

Income Tax

On older versions of Monopoly, the Income Tax square charged a $200 fee or 10% of a player’s total assets. To speed the game, newer versions of Monopoly assess a flat $200 fee.



Ken Palmer

Creative storyteller, engineer, and Dad.