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November 4, 2014

The Final Wager – Tuesday, November 4, 2014

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The Tournament of Champions is less than a week away, and the contestant photos are starting to pop up…The Final Wager – November 4, 2014

…including that of John Pearson, the Teachers Tournament Champion, who got Alex to don shades. (To discover whether Agent Trebek handed over a neuralyzer to help John erase his opponents’ memories, tune in on Monday!)

Oh, right – we still have a regular game tonight. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Casey LaPlante: 8,000
Jason Newell: 10,800
Caitlin Malcuit: 4,500

The Final Jeopardy! category: THE SUPREME COURT

Now let’s see what each player should do.

Basic strategy – first vs. second

Jason should wager 5,200 to cover Casey.

Casey can wager up to 2,400 to stay above Jason if they’re both wrong.

Caitlin is still alive, but must get it right, so all-in is the right play.

Basic strategy – second vs. third

Since we expect Caitlin to wager everything, Casey should wager 1,000 to cover Caitlin.

Hold on there…

When we returned from commercial, Alex announced Caitlin would get back 1,600 she lost from a disputed clue. Our new scores are:

Casey: 8,000
Jason: 10,800
Caitlin: 6,100

OK, now let’s get it on.

Basic strategy – first vs. second

Jason should still wager 5,200 to cover Casey.

Casey can still wager up to 2,400 to stay above Jason if they’re both wrong.

Caitlin can now wager up to 500 to win on the triple-stumper. This is an important difference!

Basic strategy – second vs. third

Casey should wager 4,200 to cover Caitlin.

That wager would cause Casey to fall below Jason if they both miss, so Casey should wager everything if she wants to go big.

Basic strategy – Rule #3

Casey would need to wager at least 2,800 to cover a zero wager by Jason, which is too much. All-in, again.

Mind games – first vs. second

If Casey wagers 2,400, her total will be 10,400. In response, Jason might wager up to 400. The problem with this is he risks getting passed by both opponents, so it’s not a viable option.

Mind games – second vs. third

If Caitlin gets it right, she will have 6,600, so Casey might consider capping her wager at 1,400 to cover that possibility.

In response, Caitlin could wager at least 3,300 – or, preferably, everything.

What actually happened

I sympathize with Jason here – he had the right response, went back, misread the clue, didn’t pick up on the (very short) FDR, and cost himself the victory, despite his under-bet.

(Note: because of my own faulty note-taking, I originally said Jason had wagered 5,200, when in fact, he did not cover Casey’s doubled total. The video contains this error.)

Casey went for 3,800, which is what she would have had with the 4,200 wager. This is why it’s easier to go for everything – and, in this case, it would have given her a tie had she and Jason both nailed Final.

The Final Jeopardy! clue



Correct response: Show


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    • Sorry about that – I didn’t realize my server failed to change with DST, and it kicked my post forward to November 5 (I posted after 11 p.m. standard time). After I realized, I fixed the date, as I always do, but the RSS damage was done…

  1. The link in the calendar for this game also gives the 404 error.

What do you think?