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May 5, 2014

Daily analysis, Monday, May 5 – Battle of the Decades, QF #1

Battle of the Decades – knockout rounds
Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1 2
preliminary round

We’re off and running on the final two weeks of The Battle of the Decades! Check out my preview of this match, and of the quarterfinals as a whole.The Final Wager - May 5, 2014

Is there any player cooler and more collected than Roger Craig? He seems so at ease on stage. Thanks to a few solid Daily Double wagers, he’s got the lead heading into Final.

Leszek Pawlowicz: 15,000
Robin Carroll: 5,200
Roger Craig: 21,000

The Final Jeopardy! category: WORD ORIGINS

With the wild cards in play, it’s not necessary to win. As I shared in my quarterfinals preview, I predict the cut-off will be 14,600, but each of these players will have a different total that makes them feel comfortable.

The nice thing about the quarterfinals is we don’t need to follow the usual rules, or order of processing.

Robin will probably not make a wild card with 5,200; that’s only been good in 8% of tournaments. I’d wager everything were I her, perhaps sparing a dollar or two to prevent a redux of the 2003 TOC.

Leszek has a solid total, but is it enough? That’s all up to him; 15,000 is a passing score about 2/3 of the time. He has the luxury of wagering zero if he doesn’t like the category, but can put up to 4,599 at risk to stay above Robin no matter what and potentially increase his score.

Roger probably has enough to move on regardless; only once has the cut-off been higher than 21,000. I’d wager at most 1,400 (or 1,399) to stay above Leszek.

All three players wagered wisely, with Roger the only one to nail a difficult clue. We’ll see him next week, but will we see Leszek as well? Stay tuned!

Each day I’ll update the standings with my estimated chances of advancing for the wild-card candidates. These are based on past data compiled for my tutorial.

Quarterfinal winners:

Roger Craig

Wild-card standings, with estimated probability of advancing in parentheses:

Leszek Pawlowicz:  15,000 (71%)
Robin Carroll:  0 (~0%)

The Final Jeopardy! clue for May 5, 2014 (WORD ORIGINS):


Correct response: What is a milquetoast?

  1. Kelly permalink

    Actually the maximum amount for Leszek to ensure he’ll get a wildcard over Robin would be a dollar more at 4,600 since a tie for a wildcard goes to whoever had the higher score going into Final (and that amount would be below where Roger would fall even if he were to make the traditional cover bet and miss, so an automatic win wouldn’t be possible there unless Roger does something really bad – and thus from Robin’s perspective playing for the wildcard was really the best she could do). Another possibility from Leszek’s position if he feels that 18,000 is high enough is to bet the maximum that he could to beat Roger’s cover wager (which like you hinted at I wouldn’t make from his position given his high score already) if they both miss – 3,000.

    • Good points, Kelly! That’s the fun/frustrating thing about QFs – there are so many different tacks you can take.

  2. Leszek Pawlowicz permalink

    Before the final BOTD, I had looked at all the totals going into FJ and guesstimated that a total of around $16K would likely be the minimum required to move on. When I had $15K at the end of this match, I had to think long and hard about what to wager. Word Origins wasn’t a terrible category for me, but it wasn’t necessarily a great one, either. Finally decided that betting big to try and catch Roger was not an optimal strategy, since if I got it right, he’d likely get it right as well; and if I got it wrong with a big bet, I’d likely be screwed for a wild-card. So I bet nothing, and hoped to squeak in as a wild card. Turned out to be the right decision, but could easily have gone the other way if there had been some correct FJ responses in later games.

    • Thanks for the analysis, Leszek! I’m glad it worked out – often players will live or die by Final in the quarters.

      Looking forward to your showdown with Brad and Tom!

What do you think?