Betting On Jeopardy!

If you are an avid Jeopardy fan, you probably know that when it comes to final Jeopardy, the player in the lead often bets just enough to win by one dollar.

Recently, the scores were something like: $18, 200 (1st place), $10,800 (2nd place) and whatever was the score for 3rd place. In this situation, 1st place bets $3401, so a correct answer results in a score of $21,601, winning by a margin of $1. Reasoning that 2nd place is betting it all, if that score is doubled, the result is $21,600. Considering what would have happened if 2nd place got the answer wrong, with the end result being a score of $0, a bet to lose the minimum it seems to make sense. This is without regard for the possibility that 3rd place may have enough money to double up and win, if both 1st and 2nd place cannot come up with the correct answer.

My contention is that it makes more sense to bet on yourself answering correctly. So, instead of betting on the outcome of a wrong answer, you would bet to simply maximize your gain, without losing enouoogh money to allow 2nd place to win if he or she bet zero. In this case, a bet of $7400 makes sense. If you are wrong with your answer and 2nd place has bet anything at all and also answered incorrectly, you will win. If 2nd place bets it all and gets the answer right, then any amount you bet makes you a loser. Your score, with a correct answer, would be $25,600 -  a nice little bump up from the $21,601 total you get by hedging. 

  • Over time, you'll also note how rarely the final betting strategy is the determines the winner. 
  • Watch the show for any length of time and you'll see it almost always makes sense for 2nd place to risk it all to double up. 
  • There are times when third place can bet strategically to win the game if the other two players cannot provide the correct response.
  • Do the math at the end and see if you agree, the margin of the lead 1st place has is worth risking in Final Jeopardy! (A greater reward for winning the game.)
  • Note, also, that betting on yourself to have the correct answer (in the form of a question, of course, for Jeopardy!) is a winning strategy in any game.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A Few Things Matrix

I'm not sure I've ever posted one of my speeches, but I don't doubt that I've used blog content as part of speeches I've given. Here, then, is the barely modified text of my last speech.

This is one of those times where everything is changing very quickly.

Not that it hadn’t been changing all along, it is simply more obvious to me, now.

Clarity can do that to you.

Or, perhaps, should I say, "Clarity can do that FOR you?"

Fellow Toastmasters, etc.

It seems prudent at this juncture to tell you a few things about a few things. So, that’s three times three, or nine things, by the time I’m done. This may require a slight acceleration as we near the end, so you’ll have to listen more quickly as we hasten to the close. It may surprise you to learn that I took out several words already in this speech, then burned up all that free time with this sentence.

Here’s thing one:
Sometimes the good news and the bad news are the same news.

1.      Like, it’s all coming back to me now and my memories are like a rush of melancholy and joyous things – little stuff, like falling in love and my first heartbreak.

2.      Another bit of news might be, “Hey, you are going to get a new computer.” I’ll allow you to process that news for a moment.

3.      Or if someone were to say to you, “Wow. You look fantastic… for your age!”

Thing two goes like this:
You cannot know exactly how much you don’t know.

4.      If you’ve heard of infinity and have a solid grasp of that concept, then you already know that how much you don’t know is really a big thing!

5.      But, have you ever stopped to consider the idea that on your journey if you only go half way to your destination with every step, you’ll never arrive? Even if you could move just a little closer, until you were moving only one angstrom (a unit of length equal to one hundred-millionth of a centimeter, 10–10 meter, used mainly to express wavelengths and interatomic distances), then half an angstrom, etc., you’ll be thinking in terms of subatomic distances, right down at that little tiny place where Ph.D. physics majors sometimes find God.

6.      Can you know how many stars there are in the universe? Do you need to have a number to express such a thing? Or, can you be comfortable with leaving such things to a higher power? And, if you like the idea of higher powers, simply square or cube this sentence and be happy, right?

That brings us right up to thing three, doesn’t it?
Here are a few reasons we like three.

7.      It’s because we like having choices to make, but two things to choose from is just not enough and four starts to cause anxiety. Seriously, look at websites and you’ll see what I mean.

8.      When you were a kid, wasn’t it always, “Ready, set, go!” We love this stuff, like Pavlov’s dog, we are conditioned to be happy with three.

9.      In religion, you have the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Columbus had the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. J.R.R. Tolkien (who needed three initials) wrote one of the bestselling novels as a trilogy, and if you are going to Trilogy in La Quinta, you’ll find three palm trees at the corner of Madison and Avenue 60. Oops, that was four examples!

Are you confused, now?

If yes, then we go together. Which is something like a bumper sticker I once saw,

it said, “Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost, Too!”

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