Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Three-Way Tie for Last

Saw an item this morning regarding last night’s episode of Jeopardy! Hear about this?

Heading into “Final Jeopardy” -- that game-ending last clue when players are allowed to wager whatever they like from their total on their response -- two players were tied for first with $13,800 apiece while the third had $6,000.

Players are told what the category for the final item is but not the clue itself before having to write down the amount they are willing to wager. I’m not sure what the category was, but the clue turned out to be a not-so-easy one: “A 1957 event led to the creation of a national historic site in this city, signed into law by a president whose library is now there too.”

Here, you can look at how it went:

That’s right -- three incorrect answers, and all three contestants went all in with their wagers, meaning a three-way tie for last. Or first. Or whatever. Each did get a consolation prize -- $2,000 each for the two players tied for first heading into “Final Jeopardy,” and $1,000 for the other player. But none gets to come back tonight.

Seems to me that when it came to calculating that final wager, the third-place player chose the only amount that was unequivocally incorrect here -- namely, to bet all $6,000. Disregarding results, anything from $0 to $5,999 would have been better, and probably equally as good. Meanwhile the decision for each of the two players tied for first was less cut-and-dry.

Remember, you only have to win by one dollar in order to take home whatever your final total turns out to be (and to come back the next night), and those finishing second and third don’t get any of the money they’ve accumulated in the show, only the consolation prizes for appearing.

Okay all you poker players (and ICM-smarties) -- what would you have recommended here for these three players when placing their wagers for “Final Jeopardy”?

Image: 3-Way Tie (For Last) (1990), The Minutemen.

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Blogger Rakewell said...

There's a daily blog focused on just Final Jeopardy wagering strategy. As you might imagine, he had a lot to say about this result:


BTW, "State capitals" was the category, which would have helped narrow it down some.

1/19/2016 2:08 PM  

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