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About The Final Wager

This project was born when my college friend Megan, slated to tape her appearance in a few weeks, called on me for advice. She recognized the importance of wagering in Final Jeopardy!, she said, but confided that the math scared her. Could I do something to help?

There’s plenty of head-spinning, high-level thinking out there, but until now, a guide for calculating wagers did not exist. Wagering 101, if you will. So I set out to fill that void.

It helped that I was already sick of bad strategy.

I added a second challenge: making it accessible to people who want to use no more than addition and subtraction. It took a lot of thinking and a lot of paper, but I finally got it. The result was a four-part written tutorial. Now, here, it’s a video series.

Whether you’re a passionate fan, a future contestant, a game-theory buff, or just looking for a way to kill time, I hope you find it useful – and enjoyable.


P.S. For those of you wondering how Megan did, she made the correct wager (plus a dollar) – which Alex then derided as “interesting”.

About Keith

Keith Williams 1999 Vermont Geography BeeI’m Keith Williams, the 2003 Jeopardy! College Champion, representing Middlebury College. I’ve been a fan of the show since I was old enough to talk. Probably the biggest disappointment of finishing 3rd in the Vermont Geography Bee in 8th grade was the loss of my chance to meet Alex.

I’m particularly fascinated by the way Final Jeopardy! wagering can make or break a player. Hence, this project, in an attempt to help people who need it (read more on the backstory).

I live in Brooklyn. In addition to breaking down Jeopardy! wagers, I direct an Ethiopian non-profit that builds families from orphans and vulnerable women; I write a blog on Brooklyn neighborhoods; and I run competitively (right now I’m training for the 2013 ING New York City Marathon).

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