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November 17, 2014

The Final Wager – 2014 TOC SF #1

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We’re back to classic Jeopardy! – with no wild cards, it’s win or go home. Which of Terry O’Shea, Jared Hall, and Julia Collins will be back on Thursday for $250,000?

Be sure to check out my preview of this match.The Final Wager – November 17, 2014

Julia, once again, has the lead – and a straightforward wagering situation.

Terry O’Shea: 8,200
Jared Hall: 7,600
Julia Collins: 12,000

The Final Jeopardy! category: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE

Or so it seems. Let’s take a look.

Basic strategy – first vs. second

Julia should wager 4,401 to cover Terry.

If she’s wrong, she’ll be left with 7,599. Terry can wager up to 600 to stay above Julia if they’re both wrong.

But Jared can just stand pat and beat Julia by a single dollar with a zero wager.

Ruh roh. Maybe it’s time to review my video on when to wager for the tie in a tournament.

Basic strategy – second vs. third

Under the assumption Jared could wager nothing, Terry might want to cap her wager at 599 so as not to fall into a tie.

Jared might also wager everything, of course, so Terry could wager 7,001 to cover him.

That wager would cause Terry to fall below Julia if they both miss, so Terry should wager everything if she goes large.

What does Julia do?

Julia’s got a bit of a guessing game here. Terry and Jared each have two options: everything or nothing (let’s disregard Terry’s lower range for now).

Here are the possible combinations:

Terry LARGE, Jared LARGE

Julia should wager to lock them both out, and will win if she’s right or if everyone’s wrong.

Terry large Jared large Julia plus one right Terry large Jared large Julia plus one wrong

Terry LARGE, Jared small

At 4,401, Julia will win if she’s right, and lose if she’s wrong.

Terry large Jared small plus one right Terry large Jared small plus one wrong

At 4,400, she’ll win if she’s right and Terry misses, enter a tiebreaker (a) with Terry if they both get it right, or (b) with Jared if both she and Terry miss.

Terry large Jared small tie right Terry large Jared small tie wrong

Terry small, Jared small

Julia can win with a zero wager.

Terry small Jared small

Terry small, Jared LARGE

Julia can cover Jared with a wager of 3,201 while staying above a zero wager by Terry. For her, this is even better than the zero wager.

Terry small Jared large Terry small Jared small Julia 3201

If she misses with that 3,201 wager, she’ll have exactly 599 more than Terry – so Terry should wager 599 and no less if she goes small! (600 is also a possibility, if she wants to win outright if she really thinks Julia will make this move, but there’s a risk of her falling into a tie with Jared – and maybe even with Julia!)

Terry 599 Jared large Julia 3201

Do you guys see why I find wagering so fascinating?

Duly noted. :)

What actually happened

Julia took 15 minutes to calculate this wager; technically, you get an unlimited amount of time (here’s my video on the basics of Final Jeopardy!), but I guess Alex was getting a bit restless, so Julia finally put down her go-for-the-win wager.

Beef Wellington

You can see clips from Julia’s debate in this video (skip to 2:40):

Anyway, she’s back on Thursday. Arthur Chu plays tomorrow – will he join her? Be sure to have a look at my preview of that contest, in which he faces Mark Japinga and Rebecca Rider.

2014 TOC match-ups SF1

The Final Jeopardy! clue



Correct response: Show


  1. Greg permalink

    That was CLUTCH! Loved it.

  2. I thought Terry’s wager here was excellent, no? Knowing that Jared would be likely to wager $0, she wagered appropriately ($0-$599) to win on the Triple Stumper. Not sure why she doesn’t get a green/yellow wager here.

What do you think?