McMurphy's bet with the patients is one he knows he's sure to lose, but by losing he will win their trust that he's not always motivated by self-interest. By taking the bet, he displays to the patients that it is better to try something and fail rather than not try at all.
What bet does McMurphy make with the ward in Chapter 5?
So McMurphy makes a bet with the men that he can get under Nurse Ratched's skin. He says he's not crazy and he's smart, two qualities that she won't be expecting. So they line up and bet him.
What bet does McMurphy make with the other patients?
McMurphy asks Bromden if he can move the control panel, as a way of testing how big Bromden has grown. Bromden is able to move it half a foot. McMurphy makes a rigged bet with the other patients that someone could lift the control panel, knowing, of course, that Bromden has already lifted it.
What bet does McMurphy make at breakfast?
McMurphy further entertains the Acutes during breakfast by taking bets that he can shoot butter patties at the mess hall clock. Later in the morning, McMurphy asks Nurse Ratched if she can turn down the music in the ward.
How does McMurphy win the bet?
When he turns on the TV, Ratched cuts its power, but McMurphy does not budge from the armchair. The Acutes follow suit and sit in front of the blank TV. She screams and rants at them for breaking the schedule, and McMurphy wins his bet that he could make her lose her composure.
How does McMurphy annoy Nurse Ratched?
Nurse Ratched refuses to allow this, so McMurphy protests by refusing to do his chores and sitting in front of the blank screen on the television. Other men join him, and Nurse Ratched loses her temper and engages in a screaming match with McMurphy and the other residents.