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This is a supplement to the excellent glossary at J! Archive.

Fearful wager – a wager by the leader that fails to comply with Rule #1 (i.e., allows the trailer to overtake him) without offering any reasonable potential upside. Often takes the form of an unsafe wager. (Note that this is different from the J! Archive usage.)

Penultimate Wager – a Daily Double on the last clue of the Double Jeopardy! round. It allows the player in command of the board the ability to set himself up in an optimal wagering scenario going into Final Jeopardy!.

Safe wager – a wager under Rule #3 (covering a zero wager by the other) that falls within the range calculated by Rules #1 and #2.

Unsafe wager – a wager under Rule #3 that falls outside the range calculated by Rules #1 and #2. Often used as a hypothetical situation to restrict a trailer’s wagering range (if the trailer has at least 4/5 of the leader’s score).

Wagering rules

My process is based on a simple set of rules governing proper wagering. All but Rule #5 should be considered key to basic strategy.

See the Tutorial for more-detailed instructions.

Rule #0: The goal is to come back the next day

Rule #1: The leader always wagers to win

Rule #2: The trailer positions himself to win if the leader gets it wrong

Rule #3: If safe, each player covers a zero wager by the other

— If safe, that player also covers an “unsafe” wager by the other

Rule #4: If your opponent is forced into a specific wager, hone yours

Rule #5: If your opponent makes the “right” wager, there might be other options

Color key

Here’s the palette of colors I use when “grading” wagers.

Green The player made the best optimal wager (could be part of a range).
Orange The player made an “alternative” optimal wager.
Yellow The player was close to making an optimal wager, but could have done better (e.g., added an extra dollar when it could have cost him the game).
Pink The player made a “bad” wager.
Red The player made an excessively risky wager – e.g., one that gives a “locked-out” opponent a chance to win.
Black The player doesn’t even give himself a chance to win. What a waste!
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