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January 15, 2015

The Final Wager – Thu 15 Jan 2015

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John Schultz goes for the mega-champ title tonight! Will he get it?The Final Wager – January 15, 2015

I almost made a comment last night warning John not to eat too much at lunch – perhaps he did, because he was a bit sluggish in this game. He might need some help in Final.

John Schultz Patricia Kelvin Amanda Boitano
5,600 15,200 17,800

Tonight’s Final Jeopardy! category is:


That’s not to say, of course, that Amanda and Patricia didn’t play great games – they did. And they’ve given me the gift of a complicated situation – my first in a while.

First-order calculations

Second doubles up

If Patricia doubles her score, she’ll have 30,400. To cover this all-in wager, Amanda will need to wager 12,600.

An incorrect response with that wager will leave Amanda with 5,200.

To stay above her total, Patricia can wager up to 10,000, and John can wager up to 400.

Third doubles up

A successful doubling will put John at 11,200. To stay above him, Patricia can wager at most 4,000.

Amanda could wager at most 6,600, but we’ll probably end up ignoring that.

You’ll notice that Patricia can cover a zero wager by Amanda (2,601) while staying above John. This means we have a Shore’s Conjecture situation. This is the Strong Form.

Second-order calculations

Shoretegic wagers

If Patricia chooses to stay above a double-up by John, she will have at most 19,200. Amanda can cover that with a wager of 1,400.

An incorrect response will leave Amanda with 16,400. Patricia will need to wager at least 1,200 to account for this.

Third’s max vs. first

Patricia might take that possible 400 wager by John into account, and cap her downside at 6,000. That means a maximum wager of 9,200.

Zero wagers

Only Patricia and Amanda can take zero wagers by the other into account. They are separated by 2,600.

Patricia can also wager 5,200 on her larger alternative range to cover an “unsafe” wager by Amanda.

Then we add a dollar to the minimum wagers, and subtract a dollar from the maximum wagers.

What actually happened

Are ties back in play?! Patricia put herself at risk of a tiebreaker with that wager; $1 less would have been just fine.

Congrats to Amanda on a great game – and to John on a fantastic run. We’ll see him, too, in the TOC.

Will Amanda keep up our carousel of streaks?

Verbal judo

In my video tonight, I mention a technique called verbal judo, which I often use to disarm difficult situations. If you’re interested in learning more, pick up Feeling Good by David Burns, or check out this short summary (pdf).

Don’t worry – I thought it sounded like bunk at first, too.

The Final Jeopardy! clue



Correct response: Show


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  1. Pat Russell permalink

    In the last 10 regular games (counting tonight) in which we had three players in Final Jeopardy we have the following result: In 2 cases all three got it right = easy. 3 cases of 1 right + 4 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%. The “average degree of difficulty” score (higher is harder) is 1.30.

    The “no triple stumper on FJ” streak now stands at 3 days.

  2. Aaron Fisher permalink

    I really preferred the 1400-2599 wager for Amanda. At worst, she’s betting on Patricia getting it wrong rather than herself getting it right (both of which are about equally likely). However, a lot of the time the smaller range will let her win if either of those two things happen.

  3. aaaa permalink

    Cyberial cigar uno for Amanda for winning her first game. Well done my dear(lights Amanda’s Portofino)

  4. aaaa permalink

    I was never known for being charming, sometimes by attempts at being charming falls flat.

What do you think?