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June 24, 2014

The Penultimate Wager, Tuesday, June 24

As promised in our game thread, we’ve got some serious discussion to go through on Tuesday’s Penultimate Wager.The Penultimate Wager - June 24, 2014

The Daily Double on the game’s 60th clue belongs to Chris, who’s in a distant third.

Alison Meermans: 12,700
Chris Gullo: 7,800
Jennifer Blanton: 15,200

The Daily Double: CLASSICAL MUSIC for 2,000

All right. We’ve got several considerations here. Let’s run all of the possibilities before determining which are the best.

Jeopardy Penultimate Wager scenario June 24, 2014

Remaining mathematically in contention

How does third know whether he’s mathematically viable? Simple: take the difference between first and second.

Here, the difference between Jennifer and Alison is 2,500. That means Chris will need to have at least that amount. That leads to a maximum wager of 5,300.

Taking the lead

Chris trails Jennifer by 7,400. If he’s wrong, he’ll be out of contention, so he might as well wager everything if he wants to go for the lead (feel free to save a dollar to stick around for Final).

Two-player scenarios

Chris cannot enter any of the two-player scenarios outlined in Part Two of my tutorial. Being at 1/2, 2/3, or 3/4 of the leader’s score only works if the trailing player is in second.

For what it’s worth, Alison has just over 5/6 of Jennifer’s total, so Chris can’t even reach that threshold! (Be sure to check out my discussion of break points.)

Three-player scenarios

Finally, we’ll look at the three-player scenarios I outline in Part Four of my tutorial.

Evenly-spaced scores

Chris can get into an evenly-spaced third place with a wager of 2,400.

He can enter the scenario in second by wagering 6,150.

He can’t reach the required total for first (17,700).

First = second + third

This one’s simple. It’s the first number we calculated: 5,300.

Other considerations

We’ve seen that Alison is savvy when it comes to wagering. Out of third on Monday, she wagered enough to tie the leader had he wagered zero — an amount small enough that she still would have won had she missed.

Therefore, maybe she’ll do something similar here out of second: wager 2,500 to tie Jennifer’s zero wager. In that case, perhaps Chris wants to get to half of that amount.

That would require him to be at 7,600 — a wager of 200 (and perhaps an intentional miss).

Breaking it down

We have five available wagers. Let’s look at each.

Jeopardy Penultimate Wager possibilities June 24, 2014

With the middle three wagers, if he’s incorrect, Chris’s chances will be subject to Alison’s wager in Final — if he’s even in contention at all. At least he retains control of his destiny with the 200 wager, as he does to an even greater extent with the 7,799 wager (or at least 7,400).

What actually happened

Jeopardy Penultimate Wager results June 24, 2014

I rarely fault players for a bad Penultimate Wager, but this one was really bad. He’s out of contention with an incorrect response, and even with a correct answer, he still needs to hope Jennifer will miss in Final.

To see what happened next, check out the daily recap.

  1. Kelly permalink

    Question about Alison betting to tie the leader’s zero wager – here wouldn’t that leave her with 10,200 if wrong? If so, then the 200 amount you suggested for Chris wouldn’t have the benefits you suggested. (You also got the names wrong – in this game it’s Jennifer, not Michele.)

    • Correct — Chris can’t reach 10,200 without responding correctly. This is an alternative hoping that Alison will wager for the tie (alongside covering Jennifer’s zero). In any event I would try to stay at or above 6,350 because Alison will in all likelihood stay small.

What do you think?