In each What’s My Line? game, a contestant would enter the stage and sign in his/her name, by virtue of the host saying, “Will you enter & sign in please?” After that, he/she sat down at a desk next to the host. The game would begin by having the home audience be shown what’s his/her line, and the host afterwards told the panel a clue which is usually “deals in a service” or “self-employed”, something like those. Now the panelists in turn asked yes-or-no questions to the contestant which would hopefully lead to the right line. Each time the panelist in control got a yes answer, his/her turn continued, but if at any time the panelist in control got a no answer, he/she loses his/her turn and control passed to the next panelist in line; the contestant will also receive $5. Upon a no answer, the host would say the famous catchphrase “# down, # to go” (Ex: 2 down, 8 to go). Sometimes a question would have the host make a brief explanation which can lead to either a yes or no answer. A panelist can be allowed to pass his/her turn without penalty; other times the panel can call a conference. If the panel can guess the right line, they won the game, but if they got ten no answers, the contestant stumped the panel and won the game and a maximum total of $50. Often, the host would throw the cards over (end the game) when time was running short or any other reason.
In the syndicated run, the contestant would demonstrate or perform the product or service in question.