Skip to content
March 3, 2014

Daily analysis, Monday, March 3 – Battle of the Decades game 6

We kick off the 1990s Week with three Million Dollar Masters participants: Rachael Schwartz, Babu Srinivasan, and Eddie Timanus.The Final Wager - March 3, 2014

Click for my preview. I was way off.

Rachael Schwartz: 10,500
Babu Srinivasan: 2,000
Eddie Timanus: 14,400

The Final Jeopardy! category: PRESIDENTS

We’ve got some mind games in effect.

Eddie can wager 6,601 to lock Rachael out.

Rachael, in response, can wager up to 2,700. But notice that this doesn’t get her above Eddie’s score, so …

Eddie could wager up to 1,199 and guarantee a victory if Rachael does so.

Rachael, if she’s afraid of this, should wager everything.

And around and around we go. But both players made the “expected” wagers, and since both missed, Rachael moves on.

The Final Jeopardy! clue for March 3, 2014 (PRESIDENTS):


Correct response: Who is James Monroe?

  1. Maybe this episode can be used as the standard for how Nash equilibriums can be used when “mind games” set in (at least in tournaments when the leader will go the extra dollar)? I calculated a Nash equilibrium of Eddie=92% Big Bet and Rachel=69% Small Bet if they are both 75% to get the Final correct. But, if they are both only 25% to get it right, then it is Eddie=69% Small Bet and Rachel=92% Big Bet. Given the category, it is no surprise they likely felt they both had a chance to get it right.

  2. Yep, I see the same numbers. Of course, looking at Rachael’s wagering history, she’s tended toward the conservative wager, so had Eddie known that … it’s an interesting situation.

  3. But, do you dare stray from your Nash equilibrium in order to take advantage of what you think is a weakness in your opponent’s strategy? Or do you stick with your Nash equilibrium because it protects you against the possibility that you have misread your opponent? I can’t claim to have one, but if I did, this problem would blow my “Beautiful Mind”.

    • The mixed strategy assumes you don’t know what your opponent is going to do. If you have reason to believe your opponent will do X, you should reconsider your strategy.

  4. Rachael Schwartz permalink

    I think Eddie probably did know, even without looking back at my history, that I tend to bet conservatively. In this game, I only wagered $1000 on the DD’s in DJ, and less in the first round. I even made a comment during one of those bets about how hard the board was. But it is really, really hard not to go for the “win by $1” (or $100) when you are in first place going into FJ. And we didn’t know how difficult the FJ was going to be, since this was the first game we had seen.

    Eddie played an amazing game; like everyone else, I stand in awe of his abilities. And I think Babu was just suffering from a bad case of jet lag; he had recently returned from a trip to India.

    Keith, thanks for your excellent web site, which I just discovered while studying for this tournament!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Rachael! My brother texted me after the game, as a joke: “Rachael watches The Final Wager.” Maybe he knew something I didn’t! :)

      I agree that it’s really hard to not “bet on yourself” with the lead in Final, and without the ability to judge the caliber of the FJ clues, the default is to take your destiny by the horns. This assumption hurt a lot of players in the UTOC.

What do you think?