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January 15, 2014

Daily analysis, Wednesday, January 15

Tuesday’s wagering was a head-slapper. Let’s see how we do today.

The Final Wager - January 15, 2014

Sarah’s got the lead once again heading into Final. I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that yesterday’s wager was just a miscalculation.

Sarah McNitt: 16,600
Emily Goodlander: 7,000
Danny Jacobs: 13,900

The Final Jeopardy! category: 16th CENTURY PEOPLE

Let’s take a look at our rational wagers.

Sarah should go for 11,200 to lock out Danny.

Danny will need to wager 100 to cover Emily. If he’s concerned about Sarah wagering small, he can go for at least 2,700 and up to 6,900 (so as not to fall below a zero wager by Emily).

Emily should take matters into her own hands as much as possible. That requires at least 6,800, preferably everything.

I’m not sure what to say about these wagers. Does Sarah have a rule that says she has to wager 4,000 every time? Will someone take advantage tomorrow?

There are two things wrong with the 4,000 wager. For one, it’s a small wager that allows Emily into contention. Second, look at what would have happened had Danny wagered the maximum feasible (6,900) and both had gotten it right:

You can’t allow this to happen!

The Final Jeopardy! clue for January 15, 2014 (16th CENTURY PEOPLE):


Correct response: Who was Martin Luther?

  1. Kelly permalink

    This is a scenario that your advice (which I agree more with here) for Emily is different than what the J-Archive’s wagering calculator suggests. The calculator suggests that she wager no more than 1,600 so as to not fall below where Sarah would fall with a cover bet and a miss, ignoring the fact that Danny can wager rationally to cover both Emily and a zero wager from Sarah while still making it impossible for Emily to win with that wager. (In fact for that reason I’d trim off 1,600 from Danny’s maximum recommended wager.)

    In the e-mail I sent you a few days ago I hinted in the attachment about this kind of dilemma that a player in third would be in whenever the relationship between second and third is a crush, and third’s score going into Final is above where the leader would fall with a cover-and-miss but is less than half of the leader’s score (with the special scenario where third has exactly half of the leader’s total being the breakpoint, with the same other conditions, between third being in this dilemma and not). Essentially third has to decide whether to hope for an overall tough Final with a second-place contestant wagering too much, or hope for a sole get (like you said unless you feel hopeless with the category I’d rather bet on the latter).

    • Keith Williams permalink

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for the analysis! I don’t think I can accept someone wagering in the hopes another will goof up, though. After all, if the category is tough for one player, it might be tough for another, and that other person will wager small.

      It’s an unfortunate situation, being in third in a game like this. But what’s done is done, and you have to look to maximize your chances of winning given the current scores.


What do you think?