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June 5, 2019

Monday, June 3, 2019 (James Holzhauer #33)

Welcome to a very, very special edition of The Final Wager, in which a couple of friends join me to discuss James Holzhauer’s strategy from second place.


It’s been a while since I’ve used my wagering calculator, so it might take me a bit to dust it off and remember how it works. I’ll get to that soon. In the meantime, check out the video to see why Emma and James both made optimal wagers.

James Jay Emma
23,400 11,000 26,600
1,399 6,000 20,201
24,799 17,000 46,801
min max min max min max
1,400 4,600 20,200
5,000 7,800 1,800

In fact, if anyone deserves criticism, it’s Jay, who would have fallen below Emma had they both missed:

James Jay Emma
23,400 11,000 26,600
6,000 20,201
5,000 6,399
min max min max min max
1,400 4,600 20,200
5,000 7,800 1,800

Check out these pages to see how James stacks up against the all-time greats:

The biggest one-day totals in Jeopardy! history

The sortable all-time Jeopardy! leaderboard

  1. Sandy permalink

    I think you all don’t know what you’re talkin about. He’s smart enough intelligent enough quick enough good enough to make it so he losses and it doesn’t look so obvious for some reason he wanted to quit are you people laughing on this post are pathetic I don’t care what the scores are of course the scores are that way that’s the way he

  2. Well fucking done Emma my dear. Tres bien for winning three games.

  3. Linda permalink

    I think he was exhausted and just wanted to end it, plus he just knows how much will be going to taxes.

  4. Ronin permalink

    Most people aren’t as competent as they think they are at judging others’ motives. And many people are quick to commit to whatever idea they first buy into (“He threw the game” “He was tired” “He missed his family” “All game shows are rigged” “The sponsors wanted him to go” etc.). That means that many people simply won’t believe anything except that James threw the game, no matter what.

    However, some people are capable of changing their minds, if given a persuasive argument as to why they’re wrong. Those are the people this video ought to be aimed at– not the folks who either won’t change their minds no matter what, or those who already understand Jeopardy and James’ final wager. But for an argument to be persuasive, you have to present it both _clearly_ and _concisely_. Otherwise people aren’t going to comprehend your argument, or aren’t going to stick with it long enough to follow it.

    All of that to say: I wish you guys had presented that brief, clear argument that the target audience needs if they’re going to have their minds changed. Because there are a lot of less-than-intelligent people who didn’t find your video persuasive, as we can see from the comments. That’s not all on you guys– some of them couldn’t be persuaded no matter what, because they’re both unintelligent and unaware of their incompetence (Dunning–Kruger effect). But for those who might be persuaded had you presented this video at their level (that is to say, clearly and concisely), I’m disappointed.

    I think you covered many/most of the points you needed to, but I don’t think you presented it in a clear and concise manner that the target audience could grasp. So to the extent that this video was meant to explain/persuade folks away from these conspiracy theories, I don’t think it succeeded.

    But you clearly had fun, and you gave it a good effort, so thanks for the video! Please don’t hate me for my constructive criticism!

  5. Tony permalink

    He did it for his daughter. Those of you who watched Monday, will know what I am talking about.

    • John Emery permalink

      Tony, I watched Monday’s show and your comment makes no sense if you understood Jeopardy’s shooting schedule. The card from his daughter to Alex was a clue that it was the first episode back after almost 2 weeks off, and there were 4 more episodes shot that same day (they shoot 5 shows a day for two days, then again two weeks later, etc). If he was going to give up, it would have made more sense on a “Friday” show.

  6. Betty Mcgee permalink

    I agree with Linda, I think James was exhausted. I could have watched him spit out those answers for another 32 days

  7. Linda permalink

    I think he was tired and ready to be home again. I was really upset that before hand the news had announced he lost. I could have watched him for ever. He was so calm and never seemed to get upset about anything. Loved and will really miss him on the show

  8. bladerunner permalink

    I will never understand why some people found James so entertaining to watch. His games were the most boring Jeop games I’ve ever seen. I like a good rousing competition, not watching one person dominate. James couldn’t be tired; he’s a replicant!

  9. Jerome y. V. permalink

    Only taped 5 games in old days
    My record high was 4th game, Thursday
    2nd highest was Monday when I was challenger

  10. Penny Tucker Trauth permalink

    Agree with Linda; he’s scary smart; I almost prophesized this move. The moment of ‘too much interference in my life’ moved him to stop. Such a joy in my life. Loved him & wish him well.

What do you think?