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March 4, 2014

Daily analysis, Tuesday, March 4 – Battle of the Decades game 7

Battle of the Decades – preliminary round
1980s 1990s 2000s
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
knockout rounds

Tonight’s wagering situation really has my brain on the Fritz.The Final Wager - March 4, 2014

As I feared, Fritz went for some unorthodox amounts on his Daily Double wagers. He’s in second heading into Final, and I’ve got some math to do.

UPDATE: the three players have an excellent shared recap of the entire game.

Ryan “Fritz” Holznagel: 12,934
Dan Melia: 5,700
Pam Mueller: 17,000

The Final Jeopardy! category: BORDERS

OK, this is going to get a little complicated, so I hope you’ll follow along.

Pam should wager 8,869 if she wants to lock out Fritz.

Fritz can wager between 4,067 and 4,802 to fulfill Rules #3 and #2, respectively, against Pam. If he wants to stay above Dan, however, he should wager no more than 1,533.

Dan needs to get it right to have a shot, so he should wager everything.

Now, for alternative wagers. If Pam thinks Fritz will go small, she should wager at least 737 and no more than 2,532. The mind games continue: if Fritz is scared of this, he can wager everything.

Ay, chihuahua.

Although Pam’s wager could have been slightly better, she picked the chalice without the poison. Nice work!

The Final Jeopardy! clue for March 4, 2014 (BORDERS):


Correct response: What are England and Wales?

  1. Thanks for the analysis — spot on from where I sit (or stood). My default position, and I think Pam’s too, was that the UToC FJs were pretty tough, and that makes you lean more toward a “I might get it wrong” bet. Unless you absolutely love the category, which I didn’t. That made it easy for me to decide that staying above Dan x2 was the best choice. But as you say, Pam was smartly thinking along the same lines. Given the results (neither of us had the answer), we both made the best possible bet, and that’s kind of cool. If you play against a psychology PhD candidate, you’ve got to expect clever bets, right?

    • Thanks for stopping by, Fritz! Loved your three-headed recap.

      One thing I enjoy about reunion tournaments is that everyone’s wagering history is available to those willing to dig into the J! Archive, and knowing what another player might do based on past results adds just another layer atop the already-difficult question: do I not make the lock-out bet?

  2. I just made a comment to that effect on your pre-game analysis, which I missed on my first visit. Knowing past wagering histories didn’t help me, but it might have helped Pam if she remembered me being in this same situation in 1994. This game turned out to be a fascinating one to wager in. I would love to have bet it all, the way Robin did last night, but I gave myself the best shot the way it was.

    Esoteric side note: they gave us a 5×7 card to do calculations, and a fat Sharpie pen to use. I happened to have a ball-point in my pocket, so I used that instead. As much figgerin’ as this one called for, I never would have been able to fit it all in with the Sharpie.

    Love the site, thanks for all the insights!

    • Glad you’re enjoying the site! I’m pleased the first of my UTOC taping-buddies did so well – looking forward to Mark’s game tonight.

      As you probably noticed, I was getting frustrated with the numbers. I can only imagine what was happening on set! (I will admit I did have fun, though.) It’s highly unusual that I find three wagering ranges for the second-place player.

What do you think?