As Canadians flock to their nearest Tim Hortons for a quick coffee pick-me-up and a chance to win big in the company’s beloved “Roll Up The Rim to Win” annual contest, a growing number of ambitious YouTubers are increasing their odds (by a lot) in a popular new experiment.

Called the “100 Cups of Coffee” experiment on a number of videos uploaded to YouTube in February, the concept is fairly simple.

Filming the entire process, the YouTube user will ask to buy 100 empty cups from a usually perplexed Tim Hortons’ employee before rolling up the rims to discover the ratio of winning cups to non-winning ones. For anyone unfamiliar with the campaign, the Roll Up the Rim prizes up for grabs range from free coffees, to doughnuts and potato wedges to more elusive prizes such as pre-paid credit cards, TVs and cars.

Despite its simplicity, the experiment isn’t cheap.

Most of the participants spent anywhere from $160 to $200 on empty coffee cups, depending on the cup size they order. It may seem like a steep price to pay for an entertaining video, but it appears to be paying off for aspiring YouTubers eager for views. The half a dozen videos have attracted hundreds of thousands of views and hundreds of comments.

Pete Czerwinski, a popular YouTube star who goes by the handle “Furious Pete,” has been credited with coming up with the 100-cup idea by a couple of other users who said they were inspired by the video he posted on Feb. 11.However, another YouTuber with the handle “ItsYeBoi” posted what appeared to be the first 100-cups video on Feb. 8.

“I’ve been thinking about doing it for years now,” Czerwinski told in a telephone interview on Wednesday from his home in Mississauga, Ont. “In my university days I remember getting Timmies like every single day while I was studying and I would never win. So I was just like ‘I need to win’.”

The YouTuber finally realized his Roll Up The Rim dreams when he paid around $200 for 100 large cups of coffee at his local Tim Hortons. After reassuring the puzzled employees that he only wanted empty cups for the contest, he went home to build a giant pyramid with the cups before he started rolling.

The winning ratio

In the end, Czerwinski ended up with 17 winning cups out of the 100 he bought, 11 of which were free coffees and the rest were food prizes. Even after he returned to the same Tim Hortons later that night to redeem the 11 coffee prizes, he won only another free coffee and a doughnut. All in all, Czerwinski said he came away with 19 winning cups out of 112.

“Obviously, I was hoping for a car or all this other stuff, or just maybe something a little more substantial to make the video a bit more fun,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I was not surprised.”

Even without a big prize, Czerwinski’s experiment was entertaining enough to inspire another YouTuber in Toronto named Savannah, who asked that her last name be withheld.

The 24-year-old woman shared her take on the “100 Cups of Coffee” experiment to her nearly 200,000 followers on Friday.

“I feel like Canadians are kind of obsessed with Roll Up the Rim to Win but we don’t really know how likely you are to win anything,” Savannah explained. “So the concept of opening 100 cups, I thought, was ambitious and fun.”

After a few minutes of negotiations with a couple of Tim Hortons’ employees, Savannah and a friend managed to buy 100 small empty cups for $161.

Savannah’s results were similar to Czerwinski’s with 16 winning cups. She had 11 coffee prizes and the rest were food prizes.

“I guess I’m a little bit disappointed because it was 100 cups,” Savannah said. “I mean obviously you want to win a TV or something like that and I’ve watched other videos and no one has won anything big. We have a sample size of maybe 600 or 700 cups right now and no one has won anything big so it’s kind of very eye-opening.”

Steven Merk, a 20-year-old YouTuber in the Greater Vancouver Area, also credited Czerwinski for motivating him to take part in the experiment. In a video uploaded on Feb. 13, Merk is seen visiting two Tim Hortons’ locations before he is able to convince employees to sell him 100 cups.

Merk said he came away with 17 prizes for coffee and food.

According to the official rules of the Roll Up the Rim contest, the approximate odds for winning the coffee and food prizes are one in six, which means the YouTubers have been proving that claim with their results.

Tim Hortons was not available for comment by the time of publication.

Although the “100 Cups of Coffee” experimenters didn’t win anything more than coffee and food, they did attract some new attention for their entertaining videos.

“I feel like so many people are just purely interested in the possibility of winning a car and they can almost live vicariously through these people doing this challenge online,” Savannah explained.