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December 25, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015

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It’s the return of Cory Williams! …and his latest facial hair.

We talk about the game a little bit but I want to touch on the Antepenultimate Wager here.








14,400 9,200 9,600
one clue remaining: $400

We were really short on time, and I was almost certain that with a proper amount of time spent… thinking, à la Alex Jacob, Markus could run out the clock without seeing that final clue. He wagered 5,000, got it right, and sat at 19,400, just a hair over twice Dee’s score.

But we did see that $400 clue, and Markus, likely primed for countries south of the equator, went for Brazil as the largest country outside of Asia.

In this Daily Double situation it wouldn’t have hurt Markus to assume Dee would get the last clue and wager to cover that total (10,000); a wager of 5,601 would have sealed it for him. Alas – I know that is tough to do under the lights, and Markus deserves props for making a big wager.

Now we’ve got these scores:




19,000 8,800 10,000

And regardless of the category these wagers are more or less forced.

First-order calculations

Emily is just out of contention; she should just stand pat.

19,000 8,800 10,000
min max min max min max
1,001 1,400 8,000

What actually happened

Markus Emily Dee
19,000 8,800 10,000
1,001 8,799 9,001
17,999 1 19,001
min max
1,002 1,399 10,000

I feel really bad for Markus. He was a fun player and a good one, too – he did what he had to do on all three Daily Doubles, and clawed his way back to a near-lock position.

If anything, this game shows why it’s important to put the game away early if you can, because letting it all ride on a single clue doesn’t always work out.

The Final Jeopardy! clue


Correct response: Show

The Final Wager – December 25, 2015
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  1. Thanks for the kind words, gentlemen! And yes, my thought process on the Canada miss was exactly as you described — I hotly debated Brazil and Australia on that DD, and afterwards, was so strongly primed for Brazil that I blurted it out. But it’s especially shameful because *I’m from Canada*! Like all Canadians, I’ve known that Canada is the world’s second-largest country since I was six years old. (Specifically: ) My friends are understandably ribbing me about that (and I lost a fair amount of sleep over it).

    But when you say “I know that is tough to do under the lights” — that’s an understatement. I was so fried by the end of this game, and feeling the pressure of that “less than a minute to go” so acutely, that I couldn’t even do the mental math to be sure I HAD the runaway! I’m serious: I asked my brain “please multiply 9600 x 2” and it responded with fart noises, both before and after the Daily Double. It might as well have been multivariate calculus. My wager of $5000 was an arbitrary round number that seemed like probably enough to cover, without putting me in third if I lost; the fact that it worked out correctly was either subconscious intuition or luck. (Accounting for the final $400 clue never even occurred to me.) And either way, the effort was so great that my warm jell-o brain flopped over on the last clue anyway, but I honestly didn’t know I had ever *had( the runaway until Alex informed the audience that I’d lost it.

    Still, none of it would have mattered if Dee hadn’t played a strong game, taken full advantage of my mistakes, then come up with an excellent answer on a hard FJ, so all credit to her. And as Chandreyi — who was probably the strongest player of the week, and also a super nice person — pointed out to me in the cab back to the hotel afterward, I couldn’t have won my first game if she hadn’t fumbled a few key questions, giving me access to all those profitable Daily Doubles. That’s just how the game works.

    Thanks for all your hard work on these analyses and building a community around Jeopardy strategy, btw — it was very helpful to me in preparing, and has done a lot for the show and its fanbase. Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks for coming by, Markus! Glad you enjoyed the video and our takes on your run. I had a good laugh thinking about the farting noises – that’s about as good a description as I’ve ever heard.

      I hope you’ll stick around!


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