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March 13, 2014

Daily analysis, Thursday, March 13

I’ve traded in my whiteboard for some white scenery.The Final Wager - March 13, 2014

Our Chuslayer, Diana, struggled this game – and is looking up from third place heading into Final.

We do have a few things to discuss – Diana’s abdication of the Forrest Bounce, her failure to snag the Daily Double at the end of Double Jeopardy!, and Matt’s Penultimate Wager opportunity:

After Matt failed to make the proper Penultimate Wager, we have the following scores:

Diana Peloquin: 5,700
Matt Kish: 13,000
Jessica Rebel: 11,600

The Final Jeopardy! category: WORLD CAPITALS

It’s a complicated situation here. Let’s break it down.

Matt will wager 10,200 to guarantee a tie or win if he’s right.

Jessica can wager up to 8,800 against Matt, and should wager at least 2,800 to cover an “unsafe” wager. Against Diana, Jessica can wager up to 200 to guarantee finishing about Diana, and should restrict her maximum wager to 3,000 (explained in the video).

Diana should wager everything, since Jessica can rationally wager something around 3,000, forcing Diana to answer correctly.

Jessica’s dual options results in some mind games for Matt, who can wager up to 1,200 if he thinks Jessica will go small.

Interesting move leaving 3 dollars, but it results in a $1,000 boost in Diana’s takeaway. There’s no excuse for Jessica’s wager.

The Final Jeopardy! clue for March 13, 2014 (WORLD CAPITALS):


Correct response: What are Moscow (Russia) and Pyongyang (North Korea)?

  1. Ahir Bhairav permalink

    You should do some more videos outdoors, Keith! Great background and good job appeasing Babu Srinivasan. Did you memorize those wagers and the doubling, or are you training to become the next Arthur Benjamin?

    • Thanks, Ahir! I can usually do the wagers on the fly but I had to cut to figure out one of them. :)

      (I’m blanking on the Babu reference – could you explain?)

      • Ahir Bhairav permalink

        Check his Decades game interview. That cat lover.

  2. Thank you for this explanation. I’ve finally wrapped my head around it. I do think there’s another element, which is whether you think the other players are thinking this deeply about it. As Diana, I would have figured that the chance that Jessica did what she did was greater than the chance that she would anticipate a rare minimum bid by Matt and bet the subtle 3k in response (opening the door to losing to you, and counting on an passive move by Matt), which is the only way betting all 5700 helps. People seem to push all-in when they’re not quite sure what to do under the impression it’s covering all their bases (like if Matt has a brain seizure and bets 5k?!?). So if there’s a decent chance of both opponents betting large and getting it wrong (which almost happened), you must save at least 2,800 to beat Matt’s almost certain 10,200 bid. May as well bet nothing. If Jessica bets 0-200, it’s all over anyway.

    I know this isn’t technically correct, but I’m a poker player and sometimes you have to adapt to people doing dumb things, or else paradoxically you will lose to them. There seem to be so many blunders on Jeopardy I would consider making a move that relies on the reasonable chance the second player plays non-optimally even though if people play 100% correctly it gives me no chance of winning. If:

    Betting all you win when: Everyone gets it wrong, and Jessica bets 3k AND you get it right.
    Betting nothing you win when: Everyone gets it wrong and Jessica does a bozo move — in which case it doesn’t matter at all if you answer correctly.

    Is the chance that Jessica goes bozo THAT much less than she bets 3k (when 200 is also an option)? Because you have to modify the odds by the probability that you get the question wrong as well if you go that route. Guess it depends on your confidence in the category as well.

    • Hi Jon,

      Thanks for the very good thoughts. I completely agree on the poker aspect, which is part of why I find wagering strategy so fascinating. I often give “alternative” ranges for wagering to reflect the uncertainty of what other players will do.

      As you mentioned, Diana’s all-in wager is predicated on the assumption that she thinks Jessica knows what she’s doing – and that adds an entirely new level to the decision-making process. Fun to think about in theory, but not so much fun when you’re making the choice on stage!


What do you think?