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March 2, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

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After a drought, we had a three-time champ last week; we might be minting another tonight.The Final Wager – March 2, 2015

Looking for #3, Jose lost his lead on the very last clue of Double Jeopardy!.

Jose

Garriga

Thomas

Phillips

Leslie

Gordon

12,800 13,000 9,700

Finally, a complex situation! Some big scores to play with this category:

LITERARY FIRST LINES

Thomas took the lead on a $400 clue. It’s been unusual as of late to see a low-value clue go last; few players have embraced the Forrest Bounce, but it (barely) led to a lead for Thomas this evening.

First-order calculations

Second doubles up

If Jose doubles his score, he’ll have 25,600.

To cover this all-in wager, Thomas will need to wager 12,600.

Jose Thomas Leslie
12,800 13,000 9,700
12,800 12,600
25,600 25,600

An incorrect response with that wager will leave Thomas with 400.

To stay above his total, Jose can wager up to 12,400.

Leslie can wager up to 9,300.

Jose Thomas Leslie
12,800 13,000 9,700
12,400 12,600 9,300
400 400 400

Third doubles up

A successful doubling will put Leslie at 19,400.

To cover this, Jose should wager at least 6,600.

(Thomas would need to wager at least 6,400, but this is somewhat questionable.)

Jose Thomas Leslie
12,800 13,000 9,700
6,600 6,400 9,700
19,400 19,400 19,400

If Jose is wrong with that wager, Leslie could beat him by capping hers at 3,500.

Jose Thomas Leslie
12,800 13,000 9,700
6,600 3,500
6,200 6,200

Here’s where things stand after the first order:

Second-order calculations

Jose and Thomas are so close that there are really no mind-game considerations between them. Were Leslie not a factor, Thomas could choose between (1) covering Jose’s double and (2) wagering 199 to force Jose to respond correctly – a Colbyesque wager (and, in fact, the same amount).

But since Leslie can overtake Thomas, Thomas has almost no choice but to go for broke.

Zero wagers

Jose can bet just 400 to cover both (1) that Colbyesque wager out of Thomas and (2) the rational 3,500 maximum from Leslie. Leslie does have a higher range, too, but is much riskier against Jose.

What actually happened

This was the first time in 33 games that all three players responded correctly on Final. I write about that streak in this week’s By the Numbers entry.

Color me confused by Jose’s wager: did he think Thomas would go for 10,000 even? I’d be somewhat confident that a player bouncing around like Arthur Chu knows how to wager properly.

I don’t ding players for failing to take others’ zero-cover wagers into account, but notice what would have happened had Leslie made the maximum alternative wager and everyone missed:

Jose Thomas Leslie
12,800 13,000 9,700
10,201 12,601 6,601
2,599 399 3,099

Leslie made a calculation error. Thomas and Jose are separated by 200, but if Thomas goes for the lockout wager and misses, he’ll have twice that – 400 – remaining (399 if he adds the dollar).

Thomas looks like a promising player. We’ll see what he does tomorrow!

The Final Jeopardy! clue

LITERARY FIRST LINES
HE WROTE THE 1971 OPENER “WE WERE SOMEWHERE AROUND BARSTOW ON THE EDGE OF THE DESERT WHEN THE DRUGS BEGAN TO TAKE HOLD”
Correct response: Show
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