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Daily analysis, September 30 – How to play a late Daily Double

September 30, 2013

Over the weekend, I decided to look a little more, shall we say, professional. New camera, new whiteboard – and I’m not afraid to use them.

Instead of focusing on The Final Wager today, I look at The Penultimate Wager – a Daily Double opportunity for one of our players at the end of Double Jeopardy!. Instead of wagering for the lead or to enter a “wager-to-tie” situation (see Part Two for more on that), she made a really bad play, giving her very little upside against a huge amount of potential downside.

Let’s have a look at what our champion, Sarah, might have done differently.Cover 20130930

The Final Jeopardy! clue for September 30, 2013:

MOUNT RUSHMORE
2 OF THE 4 MEN ON MOUNT RUSHMORE WERE BORN IN VIRGINIA; THESE 2 STATES WERE THE BIRTHPLACES OF THE OTHER 2 MEN

Correct response: What are New York and Kentucky?

From → Daily analysis

2 Comments
  1. Hey Keith, I have been looking through your site and slowly coming to grasp the math involved. But I’m not sure i understand why anyone would intentionally miss the daily double to leave themselves with half of first place. Is the assumption that the leader will bet 0, so if 2nd bets it all and gets it right, they will tie? The person wagering on the daily double is committing to absolutely getting FJ correct, right?

    • Hi JP – glad you’re enjoying the site! The Daily Double strategies I discuss here haven’t been pored over as deeply as Final Jeopardy! wagering, so there is certainly plenty of room for discussion.

      You are correct: if first has exactly double second, the leader should wager zero, knowing he’ll be at worst a co-champion. (I discuss that in Part Two of my tutorial: http://wp.me/p3T8aW-2K)

      The reason the intentional miss is a good strategy here is because it yields the simplest route to coming back the next day: you need to answer only one question right, and it’s all in your control. Let’s consider a couple of alternatives:

      – Sarah wagers 7,000 on the DD: she needs to get the DD right, then needs Fidelito to miss Final.

      – Sarah wagers everything: she needs to get the DD right, then needs to either get Final right or have Fidelito miss.

      You can see that many more stars need to align in these scenarios. And in both cases, she needs to get one question right – but here, it’s the DD.

      A slightly less-rational wager here is $2,050, which would put her at 3/4 of Fidelito’s score. But even then, she’d need to get the DD right to enter that tie situation, and Fidelito would need to recognize it’s a tie scenario, and he’d need to get it wrong … lots of variables.

      Keith

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