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May 16, 2014

Daily analysis, Friday, May 16 – Battle of the Decades, Finals, Day Two

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

Someone’s going to make it RAIN tonight (and it’s not this guy).The Final Wager - May 16, 2014

There’s nothing better than watching three brilliant, entertaining guys having fun while competing for one million dollars.

Poor Roger – he made all the right moves, but just didn’t get the right clues at the right time.

Brad Rutter (10,000 yesterday): 11,800
Ken Jennings (7,000): 13,600
Roger Craig (0): 2,000

The Final Jeopardy! category: SECRETARIES OF STATE

As I explain in my primer on two-day wagering, we need to figure out who’s actually in the lead. To do this, we calculate each player’s maximum score.

Brad: 11,800 + 11,800 + 10,000 = 33,600
Ken: 13,600 + 13,600 + 7,000 = 34,200
Roger: 2,000 + 2,000 + 0 = 4,000

Ken is barely in the lead. Remember that Brad held back 600 on his last Daily Double; had he made it True, he’d be in the lead, since he could have had 1,200 more!

Basic strategy

Ken should wager 13,001 to lock out Brad.

Assuming Ken does this, Brad can wager anything he wants, since Ken would have 7,599, less than Brad’s first-day total of 10,000.

Roger can’t match either the Day One totals of either of his opponents, so he’ll finish in third regardless.

Mind games

If both Brad and Ken wager zero, Brad will win by 1,200. Therefore, Brad should cap his wager at 1,199.

Ken might respond by wagering 2,400 – looking to cover this small range by Brad. (Note, here it’s not really an “unsafe” wager, since Brad is not risking anything by going small. That’s a strange facet of two-day matches.)

The million is on the line, and it goes to … Brad Rutter, who has still never lost a match to a human.

Congrats, Brad! Stay tuned for One Shining Moment.

We’re back with Julia Collins on Monday, when she attempts to tie Arthur Chu for third all-time in regular victories.

The Final Jeopardy! clue for May 16, 2014 (SECRETARIES OF STATE):


Correct response: Who are James Buchanan and Condoleezza Rice?

  1. Kelly permalink

    This is a similar situation to what happened in the two-day final you once used in a practice example (the 2008 College Championship) – one player has the cumulative lead but another has the maximum possible total. This creates the unique-to-the-multi-day-format situation where the one with the higher CT (Brad here) should bet small* to force the one with the higher MPT (Ken here) to have no choice but to get it right to win (in which case the standard cover bet is usually the only rational choice for the MPT leader).

    *This didn’t apply here, but an exception could be if a higher bet is needed to cover the third player.

  2. Kelly permalink

    I also did some playing around, and it appears that whenever this situation occurs is when the MPT leader’s cover bet will take him/her below the CT’s first-day score (the special case is when there is a CT tie – as what happened in the 1993 ToC; another case which AFAIK hasn’t happened before is a tie for the MPT).

  3. The 1st time that I saw this, I was not very happy with the ending because I wanted to see Brad Rutter lose to a human, but I realized 2 things. 1. This is the 1st time ever that Roger Craig has not lead going into Final Jeopardy! 2. In 2007, Brad Rutter lost to a human on another game show called “Grand Slam” which only lasted 8 episodes and Ken Jennings actually won the Grand Slam championship, and no Brad did not lose to Ken, Brad lost to Ogi Ogas, a $500,000 winner on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Ogi does know that he would have won the $1,000,000 had he stuck with his hunch, went for it, and not walked away. Oh, and Ogi was the man that lost to Ken in the finals.

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