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November 9, 2014

2014 TOC preview: Quarterfinal #1

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Monday’s game pits two players from Season 29 – 8-timer Ben Ingram and 5-timer Rebecca Rider – against the winner of last year’s Teachers Tournament, John Pearson.

Click here to see what happened.

Ben Rebecca John

Let’s take a look at some of their critical wagers.

Ben Ingram

8 wins, $176,534

Ben Ingram Alex Trebek

Ben had locks in Games 1 and 6, and wagered to win by a dollar in all games in which he led heading into Final. He also has the only unblemished record on Final Jeopardy!: a whopping 9 for 9.

(Complete list on J! Archive)

Game 3 (July 3, 2013)

Ben Hunter Linda
10,200 15,800 3,400
1,000 4,600 3,399
11,200 11,200 1

Since he could only win with a correct response, Ben should have wagered everything here. (In fact, had Hunter responded correctly, Ben would be kicking himself to this day.) But as he – er, Barbara Walters – pointed out, he was still in the mindset of a “Jeopardy! scrub,” and that the $2,000 second-place prize would buy a better mattress than the $1,000 third-place prize.

However, …

Game 4 (July 4, 2013)

Ben Hunter Karen
16,000 15,800 6,400
15,601 15,800 1,400
31,601 31,600 5,000

… he was unwilling to offer the tie in return. Ben explained to me that he didn’t want to face such a strong player a third time, and I respect that decision.

Both Ingram-Sandison games demonstrate the benefits of wagering to tie: it might save your bacon on the downside (as it did with Hunter in the first game), and it might encourage your opponent to make an irrational wager (as it did with Hunter in the second game).

Game 9 (July 11, 2013)

Ben Dawn Mark
14,400 21,000 15,600
3,600 0 15,599
18,000 21,000 31,199

Poor Ben was one Miss Havisham away from tying eventual 4-time champ Mark Japinga heading into Final. Will a rematch be in the cards? Stay tuned.

Rebecca Rider

5 wins, $101,600

Rebecca Rider Alex Trebek

Until her sixth game, Rebecca was always in first place, and always wagered for the win. (Complete list on J! Archive)

Game 4 (April 2, 2013)

Rebecca Shawn Lisa
19,400 4,800 15,600
13,000 4,000 15,001
6,400 800 599

Rebecca was on the better end of an overwager by the second-place player, Lisa.

Game 6 (April 4, 2013)

Rebecca Katie Salvo
3,800 17,000 17,600
3,800 4,000 8,500
0 13,000 26,100

Rebecca made the right play here, in my view, giving herself the best shot against a medium-range wager by Katie. It was all for naught, however, given her opponents’ decisions.

John Pearson

Teachers Tournament champ, $100,000

John Pearson Alex Trebek
John won the Teachers Tournament exactly one year ago. He advanced to the semifinals by winning his quarterfinal game, which he had locked up before Final Jeopardy!; he also had his Final match in the bag before the ultimate clue. That really spoiled my excitement for my first two-day analysis.

(Complete list on The Final Wager and J! Archive)

Semifinal (November 18, 2013)

John Timothy Katie
8,700 8,400 4,800
8,200 8,400 4,800
500 0 0

Here, John was the beneficiary of a pair of overwagers. Katie should really be capping hers at 4,199; for Timothy, 1,201 would have sufficed. (It appears John subscribes to the Julia Collins “plus one hundred” school of wagering to win.)

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