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September 30, 2013

Analysis – week of September 30, 2013

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Monday, September 30
Tuesday, October 1
Wednesday, October 2
Thursday, October 3
Friday, October 4


Monday, September 30

Over the weekend, I decided to look a little more, shall we say, professional. New camera, new whiteboard – and I’m not afraid to use them.

Instead of focusing on The Final Wager today, I look at The Penultimate Wager – a Daily Double opportunity for one of our players at the end of Double Jeopardy!. Instead of wagering for the lead or to enter a “wager-to-tie” situation (see Part Two for more on that), she made a really bad play, giving her very little upside against a huge amount of potential downside.

Let’s have a look at what our champion, Sarah, might have done differently.Cover 20130930

The Final Jeopardy! clue for September 30, 2013:

MOUNT RUSHMORE
2 OF THE 4 MEN ON MOUNT RUSHMORE WERE BORN IN VIRGINIA; THESE 2 STATES WERE THE BIRTHPLACES OF THE OTHER 2 MEN

Correct response: What are New York and Kentucky?

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Tuesday, October 1

Bummed you can’t visit a National Park? Spend that time with me instead!Cover 20131001

The challengers are close to each other. How should they play this?

Fidelito Cortes: 24,000
Rich Hansen: 6,400
Elisabeth Houlik: 4,000

Our new champion, Fidelito, shows off his brash side on today’s episode. But he’s ready to back up his swagger, betting $3,800 on two Daily Doubles and locking up his second win.

Here’s the Final Jeopardy! clue for October 1, 2013:

THE ACADEMY AWARDS
WITH 3 EACH, “ON THE WATERFRONT” IS TIED WITH THIS FILM & ITS SEQUEL FOR MOST BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINATIONS

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Wednesday, October 2

Part Three is almost here! Before it arrives, try out your chops with today’s scenario.

Fidelito has a large total again, but it’s dwarfed by Damian’s. He’s still got a shot going into Final.

Here’s the Final Jeopardy! clue for October 2, 2013:

INVENTORS
LAST NAME OF THE MAN WHOSE 1934 PATENT APPLICATION FOR A TOOL IS SEEN HERE

Final Jeopardy 20131002

(Photo courtesy user jeff6286 on JBoard.tv)

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Thursday, October 3

Today I ran on the treadmill while watching J!, trying to kill two birds with one stone. So why did I almost get asked to leave the gym?

Come on, guys. Don’t do this to me.


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Thursday, October 4

Friday’s show gave us a chance to end the week with a dose of sanity. Did we?

 

For the second game in a row, we closed out the DJ! round with a Daily Double. Some wagers are straightforward, but this one took a bit of thinking. How can the third place person both (1) take the lead if correct and (2) optimize his chances of winning if incorrect?

Damian found the Daily Double. The scores were:

Damian: 8,800
A.C.: 9,000
Cori: 10,200

What would you do? Damian kept himself in third with a wager of $100. Here are my thoughts.

He should have wagered 2,800! It would have put him in the lead if he had been right, and forced A.C. into a bet-to-tie, two-thirds scenario had he been wrong. (In that case, Cori’s going big no matter what, and she’ll win if she’s right no matter what.)

The Final Jeopardy! clue for October 4, 2013:

COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD
BY POPULATION, IT’S THE LARGEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WITHOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS

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4 Comments
  1. Hey Keith, I have been looking through your site and slowly coming to grasp the math involved. But I’m not sure i understand why anyone would intentionally miss the daily double to leave themselves with half of first place. Is the assumption that the leader will bet 0, so if 2nd bets it all and gets it right, they will tie? The person wagering on the daily double is committing to absolutely getting FJ correct, right?

    • Hi JP – glad you’re enjoying the site! The Daily Double strategies I discuss here haven’t been pored over as deeply as Final Jeopardy! wagering, so there is certainly plenty of room for discussion.

      You are correct: if first has exactly double second, the leader should wager zero, knowing he’ll be at worst a co-champion. (I discuss that in Part Two of my tutorial: http://wp.me/p3T8aW-2K)

      The reason the intentional miss is a good strategy here is because it yields the simplest route to coming back the next day: you need to answer only one question right, and it’s all in your control. Let’s consider a couple of alternatives:

      – Sarah wagers 7,000 on the DD: she needs to get the DD right, then needs Fidelito to miss Final.

      – Sarah wagers everything: she needs to get the DD right, then needs to either get Final right or have Fidelito miss.

      You can see that many more stars need to align in these scenarios. And in both cases, she needs to get one question right – but here, it’s the DD.

      A slightly less-rational wager here is $2,050, which would put her at 3/4 of Fidelito’s score. But even then, she’d need to get the DD right to enter that tie situation, and Fidelito would need to recognize it’s a tie scenario, and he’d need to get it wrong … lots of variables.

      Keith

What do you think?