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November 23, 2013

Daily analysis, November 22 – Teachers Tournament Finals, Day Two

2013 Teachers Tournament
Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1 2

It’s Day Two of the Finals, which means there’s a good possibility the math will be brain-numbing. Fingers are crossed!

The Final Wager November 22, 2013

Heading into final, our standings remain the same from Thursday’s game, so we don’t need to calculate who’s in what position.

Mary Beth Hammerstrom: 10,800 (Game One: 11,000)
Becky Giardina: 8,000 (Game One: 0)
John Pearson: 18,200 (Game One: 15,200)

Much to my chagrin, this Final Jeopardy! is moot. Here’s why:

Mary Beth, in second, can’t catch the leader, John. So John might as well wager zero.

Final Jeopardy wagering 2013 Teachers Tournament Finals Slide2

And similarly, Becky can’t catch Mary Beth if the latter stands pat. So Mary Beth should just wager zero, too.

Final Jeopardy wagering 2013 Teachers Tournament Finals Slide3

Becky needs to get it right and wager at least 3,001 to have a chance at anyone in case someone screws up. All in!

No player can improve on his guarantee ($100k for first, $50k for second, $25k for third). This whole process turns out to be a needless exercise. And I put in all of that work to make an awesome video!


Final Jeopardy wagering 2013 Teachers Tournament Finals Slide6

Mary Beth, you get the black deep red for needlessly casting into doubt the $25,000 bonus for second place. There was no way in hell John was going to risk his victory!

Although, I do have Mary Beth to thank for pointing out something that was missing in my two-day tutorial. I touched on how to calculate whether you’re ahead of someone, but not to know whether you have another person (or are yourself) locked out. I’ll create an addendum at some point, but for now, I’ll give a brief explanation.

John had 4,200 more than Mary Beth after Game One. Add that difference to his score in Game Two. Mary Beth needs to have at least half of that total going into Final.

18,200 + 4,200 = 22,400; hence, Mary Beth needed 11,200.

She was 400 short. Had she known this, she might have (1) wagered more on her final Daily Double, or (2) taken a wild guess on the last clue. No harm, no foul.

Final Jeopardy wagering 2013 Teachers Tournament Finals Slide5

Did John know the final clue? We might never know. The title could have changed hands with just 400 more points for Mary Beth.

The Final Jeopardy! clue for November 22, 2013:


Correct response: What is Pakistan?

  1. Kelly permalink

    Using your color scheme, I thought Mary Beth should get the red – not the black – since she did not completely throw away any chance at 2nd place (but rather needlessly risked a guarantee at such). (I assumed Black was reserved for whenever someone’s wager gave them no chance at winning assuming a proper wager from the other players – or in this case 2nd place since the win was out of reach. In the game at the link below, would Cliff’s wager get him a red or black using your grading?)

    Also, in your “alternate universe” scenario, if it was a “lock-tie” tournament, John might have well decided to bet a dollar (no need to go any higher) to avert a tiebreaker. On that subject, if in a non-wildcard tournament setting one finds themselves leading in a lock-tie, betting a dollar and putting your win on the Final clue rather than a tiebreaker may be the better option unless you dislike the category and want to hope for a better tiebreaker if necessary. The reason for that is although your odds appear to be 3 out of 4 cases either way (a Rx or WW Final outcome with a dollar bet vs. a Wx or Rx+right-on-tiebreaker with a zero bet) the benefit with the dollar bet is both of the more likely Final outcomes (RR and WW) are wins for you thus putting your odds a bit higher than the alternative. Note that the player in 2nd should bet everything regardless of what route 1st may take here, so he/she has no dilemma (anything else would presumably result in a Black grade from you).

    • Keith Williams permalink

      Hi Kelly,

      You are right – for some reason I had forgotten I have the “deep red” grade in between the “pink” and “black” colors. Mary Beth technically earns the lighter color, since she was, in theory, giving herself the best chance to win should John have done something stupid. :)

      As for the alternate universe, yes, there are many reasons John would not wager zero. I will discuss this topic soon in a separate, more-general installment.


  2. Kelly permalink

    A simple way to determine if you have a lock is if your cumulative total (your score before the determining Final Jeopardy!) is greater than either of your opponents’ maximum possible totals (what they’d had if they wagered everything and got that Final clue right). If your opponents can’t even catch up to your total from the first day then you have what seaborgium/Stefan Goodreau from the message board calls a “superlock” – a lock that you’d still have even if you bet everything (and would mean that those trailing would have absolutely no chance of winning).

    (In future discussions I may abbreviate the relevant totals as FDT, CT, and MPT respectively, if okay with you.)

    • Kelly permalink

      I guess this comment is moot now, since I posted it just a few hours before you put up the tutorial on lock tournaments!

      • Keith Williams permalink

        Hi Kelly,

        For some reason I haven’t been getting notifications about your comments. I need to see why they are getting caught by the spam filter.

        I think this is the time to come up with catchy names for FDT, CT, and MPT, à la “superlock”! (I love the term, but I might only use it in passing here.)


What do you think?