If you’ve noticed in uptick in coworkers and friends stopping dead in their tracks around 3pm EST to stare intensely at their phones, it’s likely they’ve fallen under the spell of HQ Trivia. The live mobile game show app, developed by the team behind Vine and launched in late August, draws hundreds of thousands of contestants multiple times a day to compete for a pot of actual cash. To win, you just need to answer 12 multiple choice trivia questions correctly within the time limit and a piece of the jackpot -- usually $1,000 per game, but it's been as big as $8,500 -- is yours. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Winning HQ is hard as hell.
You might think it’s smooth sailing while breezing through the first few gimmes, but the overwhelming majority of players get booted around the seventh or eighth question. Outsmarting the game by frantically Googling questions in real time in hopes of settling on the correct answer under 10 seconds is impractical at best (though it hasn't stopped tons of people from trying). However, there are actually ways to improve your chances of winning, besides hardwiring your brain to Wikipedia. Here are some tips, tricks, and hacks that could take you to the leaderboard.