Image of claw machines in Pleasanton, CA

September 14, 2018 12 min to read

Claw Report: Claw Machines in Pleasanton, CA

Category : Blog, Claw Report

Claw Report: Claw Machines in Pleasanton, CA

Welcome to the first edition of Claw Report.  In this series, we will be creating a guide on all claw machines within various cities.  Starting with claw machines in Pleasanton, CA, and expanding from there we hope to cover everywhere we can and give you a quick look into what the machines are like out there.

The more familiar you are with a specific claw machine the better you can do winning items from them. In these reports, we will go over the type of machines that are available, what type of prizes they tend to stock, and do a $5 challenge at each location to show you that yes, you can indeed will at the claw machine.  It just takes a little bit of knowledge and skill along with a machine that isn’t totally rigged.

Can You Actually Win At The Claw Machines in Pleasanton, CA?

pleasanton claw machine grabbing a plush robotA common misconception I hear when people watch us play claw machines is that you’re never going to win, it’s rigged, don’t waste your money, and our favorite here at Games N Cranes “I can’t believe you actually won!”  The more you play the machines and start to win more often one thing you’ll notice is you can attract a crowd.  Many times they are excited and interested kids that like to see anyone win at the machine but we had crowds of all ages and types watch.

There’s just something about the excitement and thrill of not just playing these machines but actually winning items from them that even the crowd of spectators can get a bit of fun and pleasure from watching.  Let’s take a look at the claw machines in Pleasanton options that are currently available and see if we can give you any tips to have a better experience playing at these locations.

Pleasanton Safeway Santa Rita Rd Location exterior

Location #1 – Safeway 1701 Santa Rita Rd, Pleasanton, CA – 1 Claw Machine

Image of a claw machine in pleasanton at safewayThe first claw machine in Pleasanton that we checked out is at the Safeway that is close to downtown.  It has just one machine but on this trip, it did have some higher end licensed plush in the machine.  They weren’t exactly in easy locations to be winnable but just by having them in the machine means this location is a good one to stop by from time to time and see if any get moved around into a more winnable position.

view of available plushes in an arcade crane machine

The licensed plush items are more in demand as they are normally from cartoons, tv shows, sports team related or movies that many will recognize compared to generic bear and animal plushies.  Also if you are a serial claw machine player you will need funds to continue to keep playing machines and if you become good enough you can flip the items you’ve won but don’t want to keep online on eBay or the Facebook marketplace and earn some extra cash for your next trip to the claw machine.

This machine will take a little bit to get the feel of.  The claw did feel a little weak at the time that we played.  The first thing we grabbed the blue robot that was near the prize shoot.  Then with the remaining four dollars, we tried a couple other items and the claw would just not grab them with enough grip to pull anything up.  The claw might get stronger after a certain amount of drops but to be safe you should approach this one with a strategy of easy wins.  So the item you choose to go after needs to be fully on top on any other item so it’ll be easy for the weaker claw to move it.  Ideally, you’ll want to get a claw on three different lift points.  That could mean under an arm and leg plus the side or head of an item.  It will all just depend on the size and shape of what you are going after.

image of available prizes in the arcade claw machine at the pleasanton safewayFrom the plays we did I don’t think this claw has enough power to lift something just by grabbing the head while some of the body is under other items.  That claw power might change after a number of plays so keep that in mind if you try out this machine.

Overall, this machine is worth a look because it does have some higher end prizes in it, but you’ll want to wait until those prizes are already in easier to win positions instead of trying to move them around to make the winnable.


Pleasanton Safeway Bernal Location exterior

Location #2 – Safeway 6790 Bernal Ave, Pleasanton, CA – 1 Claw Machine

Pleasanton safeway claw machine on bernal rd

This Safeway location also just has one machine located at the front of the store after the checkout lanes.  It looks to be a pretty new machine and has lights on the edges of the machine and light up multi-colored prize drop sign in the machine which is a neat touch.  I was a little disappointed with the prizes that were currently available.  Being that is a new Safeway and seems to be a new machine I was hoping there would be more licensed items, but there wasn’t much besides some older minions items.

available prizes in a crane machine in pleasanton

For the $5 dollar challenge for this didn’t fully work out.  The first drop we tried for the black teddy bear in the middle of claw grabbing a cat plush at safeway the machine and tried to grab its head and pull it up, it did grab it and started to lift the bear but then dropped it back in the same position.  After that, we went after the white cat on the left side of the machine near the drop zone.  When items are close to the drop zone and are not packed in or under other items they are typically pretty easy to win.

The claw was strong enough to grab the cat and lift it up for a sure win in the drop zone.  However, once the claw stopped moving and opened up to drop the item, it didn’t fully open up and the cat was stuck in the claw.  This is something that can happen from time to time if the overall size of the is too small for the size or shape of the prizes.  The cat plush isn’t an abnormal size it seems pretty standard for most machine prizes.  In the case, I don’t know if the claw fully opened up or has some issues fully opening once it has a prize.

To get the prize I had to use another play and I tried to shake it free, but as time ticked down it did not budge at all.  When the timer gets to zero it automatically drops so I let it go down the drop zone and then tried to knock the prize free by pushing the prize door up so the blocker would hit the item.  It shook it some but still did not let go of the cat plush.  If you’ve ever been in the situation you know just how frustrating this can be.  After a few more tries I was able to get it to shake free and fall down the win chute.  After that happened there wasn’t enough time left to get the claw in another good position to try for another prize.  I should have won that cat on the first try but it ended up taking three tries to get it out.  Experiences like this don’t help with the stigma that these machines are just totally rigged but I promise this issue doesn’t normally happen, even though I ran into a similar issue at another location in town, which we’ll get to in a bit.

stuck plush cat prize in arcade claw machineWith the last play, we tried again for the bear but had similar results with it starting to grab it but then dropping it.  Overall this looks like a great machine to play on but with a lack of good licensed items and the stuck prize issues, I wouldn’t make this machine a priority stop if you are only able to go to one location in Pleasanton.  It’s very likely the stuck prize was just a fluke because the claw looked more than big enough for the items in the machine.  Just play at your own risk and plan ahead in case your win does get stuck.


Pleasanton Walmart Supercenter location exterior

Location #3 – Walmart 4501 Rosewood Dr, Pleasanton, CA – 2 Claw Machines

The big Walmart in town is the only claw machines in Pleasanton location with more than one machine to play.  It has one regular plush filled machine and one battle claw machine.

two claw machines at the walmart in pleasanton

The regular machine typically has a good mix of low and high end items.  On this visit, there were some Popeye and

view of play field for arcade claw machine at pleasanton walmartBetty Boop characters, 90’s Nicktoons, a MLB hat and more.  It’s the regular Gamergreen type machine that you can find at most Walmart locations.

There many options to go after and quite that looked to be in good positions to win if the claw is strong enough.  I’ve won some of the Popeye items from another location in the past and they have beads at the bottom of them that add some weight so I decided to go for the sloth with an ice cream cone in the back and try to see how well the claw can lift items by aiming for the head of any plushes that are standing up.

The claw had a tight grip on the sloth and lifted it easily, it looked like it might be an easy win.  Once the claw

claw grab on sloth plush

started moving towards the prize chute the bottom legs of the sloth were hanging low enough that they dragged across the top of the other plushes and eventually that cause the sloth to slip out and horizontally on its face.  Normally this is a good thing as you can then reposition the claw on your second play to grab three different points of contact and it will raise the item up higher over everything else

However, on the next try, I had what I considered a good drop with three points it could lift and it just barely budged and didn’t pick up the item. 

There are a couple possible reasons and it could be that the claw is set to have a stronger grip every certain number of drops so now it’s reset back to a softer grip.  Or the item is heavier than it looks and it’s harder for the claw to get a good grip in this position.


trying to win a sloth at the walmart arcadeI ended up breaking one of our main rules for playing the claw machine and used too many attempts trying to get this item once it started giving me trouble and I used up the rest of the $5 and only managed to slightly move it closer to the drop zone.  Aiming for the head and chest or the main body grabbing between its legs shoulders both did not lift it. If you ever find yourself going after a prize that you think you should be able to easily get and you are getting good drops and grabs but it won’t lift then you should cut your losses and go for something else.  It’s rare you can win them all more often than not you’ll just end up out of money with no prize like we ended up here.  

I think this machine is worth playing but be mindful that strength might change on a whim so don’t get too attached to any particular potential prize in this one.



battle claw machine signage

The other machine available at this location is a Battle Claw machine.  This another offering from Gamergreen, instead of plush prizes with scratch-off codes you win generic boxes that contain a superhero card with a code that you can redeem for G’s on the Gamergreen website.  You can then exchange them for a prize of your choice once you have enough points.  Along with the card, you also get some sort of superhero small toys like a ring or tattoo.  Check our other posts if you want to learn more about Gamergreen.

battle claw prize boxesThese machines are cheaper to play at 50 cents per drop and are somewhat easy to win once you play for a little bit.  If you stick with it and learn the machine and the boxes you can do pretty well at these machines.  One thing I wish they had were some different values of G’s on the cards.  Currently, they are all worth 1,000 G’s and it would be nice if there were rare ones that were worth more.  That element of surprise for what you get is what’s missing with this one. Mystery box toys are more popular than ever these days so its surprising they aren’t doing something similar with these boxes.

I started out doing the $5 challenge on this machine but I quickly realized it

stuck battle claw prize box

was not going to be a good idea at this location.  My second box grab got stuck in the claw.  The boxes are similar to Chinese takeout boxes and they are wider on one end than the other.  The claw they have in the machine is too small to be able to open up enough after you win to drop the boxes if you grab the box with the wider part on the bottom.  This really frustrating as I’ve played this game at many locations and have never run into this issue.

Because of this, we recommend you avoid this machine until they put in a larger claw.  There are many other battle claw locations and you will have a better time playing at those instead of this one.  You’ll end up overspending here to be able to grab and box then have to burn a drop or two to shake it loose.  If you are really unlucky you’ll shake it loose and it’ll miss the prize chute and you’ll have to start all over again.  Play at your own risk on this one.

too small claw on this machine at pleasanton walmart

Pleasanton Walmart Neighborhood Market location exterior

Location #4 – Walmart Neighboorhood Market 3112 Santa Rita Rd, Pleasanton, CA – 1 Claw Machine

pleasanton walmart neighborhood market claw machine

The last stop in town is the smaller Walmart.  It has a great mix of items but it takes some experience to do well on this machine.  It had been a while since we last played there so we were pretty rusty at it.  The issue at this one is it tends to raise the claw some after it drops before the claw closes.  So when the machine is fully stocked it’s hard to get a good grip as it starts to close the arms higher up than it should from the bottom of the drop.  If you keep an eye out for this and adjust your playstyle for it, or ever just want until there are fewer items in this machine you’ll be okay.

arcade prize machine playfieldIt’s a good one to check and depending on what is available it’s worth some time and money to play it.  We didn’t get anything out of it on this trip, but we are better prepared for our next visit and should be able to win an item or two.

Thanks for reading our report on the claw machines in Pleasanton.  Keep an eye on our blog as we update with more reports in new cities.  Have you played the machines in Pleasanton?  If so, let us know what your experience was like in the comments.  Happy winning!


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