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December 29, 2014

The Final Wager – Mon 29 Dec 2014

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Join me for a trip down memory lane in my childhood bedroom.The Final Wager – December 29, 2014

This was a wild game, with all three players in the red during the first round and an Antepenultimate Wager that Ramona botched. She nabbed the $2,000 penultimate clue to correct her mistake and jump into the lead.

Vaughn Winchell Thomas Todd Ramona Bartos
11,800 8,800 12,600

Tonight’s Final Jeopardy! category is:


Now let’s see what each player should do. Remember, we save the dollar changes until the end.

First-order calculations

Second doubles up

If Vaughn doubles his score, he’ll have 23,600. To cover this all-in wager, Ramona will need to wager 11,000.

An incorrect response with that wager will leave Ramona with 1,600. To stay above her total, Vaughn can wager up to 10,200, and Thomas can wager up to 7,200.

Third doubles up

A successful doubling will put Thomas at 17,600. To cover this, Vaughn should wager at least 5,800.

(Ramona would need to wager at least 5,000, but we’ll ignore that going forward.)

Second-order calculations

Second’s max vs. first

If Vaughn makes the rational maximum wager of 10,200, Ramona will need to wager 9,400 to cover him.

If she’s wrong with that wager, she’ll be left with 3,200. To stay above her, Vaughn can wager up to 8,600. Thomas may risk up to 5,600.

We can ignore most of the other possibilities.

Zero wagers

The only zero-cover wagers belong to Thomas on his alternative range, and Ramona on her “please let this be a triple stumper” range.

Then we add and subtract the single dollars as appropriate.

What actually happened

I don’t have too much of a problem with Ramona’s outsize wager; odds are good one or both of her opponents will keep plenty of money.

And while I’m compelled to place this GIF here…


…Thomas made a perfectly acceptable wager. (You can see why it’s in his alternative range, based on what Vaughn did.)

Vaughn looks to break our five-week 3-game drought tonight. Will he do it?

The Final Jeopardy! clue



Correct response: Show


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One Comment
  1. Pat Russell permalink

    See my 12/23 comment for details. In the last 10 games (counting tonight) we have the following result: In 2 cases all three got it right = easy. 5 cases of 1 right + 2 cases of 2 right = 7 ok and 1 case of 0 right = hard. So that’s a “final jeopardy degree of difficulty = just right” score of 70%.

What do you think?