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November 14, 2014

The Final Wager – 2014 TOC QF #5

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Three slots left in the semifinals. Which of Friday’s players will lay claim to one?

Click here for my preview.The Final Wager – November 14, 2014

Mark showed why so many players were afraid of him. He’s got the lead; little do our contestants know that they can each just wager zero and advance!

Jared Hall: 9,800
Sandie Baker: 9,000
Mark Japinga: 13,900

The Final Jeopardy! category: OPERA CHARACTERS

Let’s break this down, because were this a “real” game, it’d be quite interesting.

Basic strategy – first vs. second

Mark should wager 5,701 to cover Jared.

Jared can wager up to 1,600 to stay above Mark if they’re both wrong, and Sandie can wager up to 800.

Basic strategy – second vs. third

Jared could wager 8,201 to cover Sandie.

Sandie should cap her wager in response at 7,400 to ensure she finished ahead of Jared for the wild card.

Basic strategy – Rule #3

Jared should wager at least 4,100 to cover a zero wager by Mark.

Sandie should wager 4,900 to cover a zero wager by Mark and 800 to cover a zero wager by Jared.

The thing about Sandie’s position is that were this a do-or-die game she should wager 800 exactly – enough to tie a zero wager by Jared while staying above a lockout wager by Mark.

Mark, therefore, has the option of wagering for the tie just in case. Jared could wager zero or everything. Too bad we don’t get fun situations like this too often!

Mind games – first vs. second

If Jared wagers 1,600, his total will be 11,400. In response, Mark might cap his wager at 2,499.

What actually happened

Final Jeopardy wagering November 14, 2014

Poor Mark had to wait all of 30 seconds to discover that, yes, his $15,003 was sufficient to claim a wild-card berth.

Unfortunately for them, Rani Peffer and Jim Coury are knocked off. They are the only two players to respond correctly to a Final and fail to advance; Julia Collins was the only one to miss Final and still make it.

Here are the match-ups for the semifinals. I think this is the first time I’ve seen where all of the winners’ scores were higher than the wild cards’ scores.

2014 TOC semifinal matchups

*note I previously had the Monday and Tuesday games flipped – sorry about that! Thanks to Julia for setting me straight.

The Final Jeopardy! clue



Correct response: Show


  1. Doug permalink

    Keith, do you know how they would break a tie between 2 wild card players, particularly if players from 2 different matches ended up tied for 9th? Is that already on the site somewhere? Sorry for asking if it is.

    • Kelly permalink

      Whoever had the higher pre-Final score in their game gets the spot. (If also tied there, then whoever had the higher score at the end of the first round. Beyond that I’m not aware how they’d handle that.)

    • Kelly permalink

      P.S. The first tiebreaker rule (higher pre-Final score) has been applied twice: In the 1996 Teen Tournament (tie at 9,000 pre-doubled) and the 2003 ToC (two players with a zero score got wildcards). The second tiebreaker rule (higher first-round score) has never had to be applied yet.

      • Kelly permalink

        What I said assumes that it didn’t happen in any of the early tournaments that aren’t archived and which I don’t have sufficient data for.

    • Kelly’s got it – I touched on it briefly in my video on tournament structure.

What do you think?