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February 6, 2014

Daily analysis, Thursday, February 6 – Battle of the Decades game 4

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I predicted that Frank would be blowing his opposition out of the water. It was a bold claim – did it stand up?The Final Wager - February 6, 2014

Not at all, and I’m embarrassed for underestimating anyone in this tournament. He’s smack in the middle heading into Final.

Phoebe Juel: 17,100
Mark Lowenthal: 10,400
Frank Spangenberg: 14,000

The Final Jeopardy! category: COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD

What a great game – and we have a few possibilities for Final. Let’s start with the basic strategy.

Phoebe should wager 10,901 to take her destiny into her own hands.

Frank should wager between 6,801 (to lock out Mark) and 7,800 (to stay ahead of Phoebe on a triple stumper).

Mark is in good shape on a triple stumper. He should wager between 0 and 3,200 and hope for a tough clue.

Now, you might notice that no player can take advantage of Rule #3 – wagering to cover a zero by the other, particularly Mark against Frank. This should set off some alarms in your head that there might be alternatives available, should you wish to consider them.

Let’s look at some of these alternative wagers, which could provide a risky hedge for our top two players.

If he thinks Mark will wager to win if everyone misses, Frank can consider wagering between 0 and 399. This will keep him above Mark regardless. The risks, of course, are that Mark will Go Big (possible), or that Phoebe will Go Small (unlikely). I had no doubt Frank would take as much as possible into his own hands, and I think Mark did, as well – which is why Mark went for the smaller, proper wager. Mind games!

Phoebe might think Frank a rational player, and wager to cover his maximum “proper” total. 14,000 + 7,800 = 21,800, so to get to 21,801, she’ll need to wager 4,701.

The advantage to this wager is it forces Mark to respond correctly to have a shot. Mark made a good first-order analysis, but digging deeper he might have seen he needed to put up at least 2,000 to cover this secondary possibility. There was no harm in doing so, so I’m dinging him here for a bad wager.

The Final Jeopardy! clue for February 6, 2014 (COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD):


Correct response: What is Qatar?

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