Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SOME GUY IN NORMANDY:  Okay, so we need to discuss the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament conclusion from last night. If you haven't seen the video yet, watch here, and then check the J-Archive for the game so you can confirm something which I'll place below the fold:

As one of the Uproxx commenters notes:
Leonard started Final Jeopardy with $37,000. He had $3,000 from the previous evening. Therefore, wagering nothing, the most he could accumulate was obviously $40K. Nilai entered Final Jeopardy with $14,400. He ended the previous night with $19K. IF NILAI HAD WAGERED IT ALL (or even a majority) AND GOTTEN IT RIGHT, HE WOULD HAVE WON AND LEONARD WOULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE A HUGE DINGUS!
(edited for clarity). He's right, isn't he? Is there some higher-level Jeopardy! math I'm missing?


  1. I had the exact same thought. The most charitable interpretation I came up with is that Leonard, after seeing Nilai look puzzled and uncertain and then cross out his initial answer, made the calculated assumption that Nilai was unlikely to have the correct response. Of course, he's still have looked terrible if that assumption proved incorrect.

  2. No, the commenter's right. Leonard was probably still chuffed from his risky but completely necessary Daily Double a few minutes earlier.

    The other thing we need to talk about is what happened in Final Jeopardy in the second semi-final. All three contestants got it wrong, and ALL THREE contestants risked everything. And it's not like they were all tied - one kid had a $4,400 lead and under no circumstances did he need bet it all. I know they're just teenagers, but that was probably the stupidest decision I've ever seen on Jeopardy.

  3. Video here:

  4. Marsha12:05 PM

    He's absolutely right. I had the same thought watching it. Still, I kind of love that sort of bravado (and it amuses me that he is the only one not wearing a suit).

  5. It's always about the betting math. I mean, knowing the answer is important too, but the betting math is just as or nearly just as important. I always tell anyone who asks that practicing your betting math is the best thing to do to prepare for Jeopardy! It's nearly impossible to practice the timing because of the way the buzz-in system works. And you're not going to suddenly gain an encyclopedia of knowledge between when you get the call and when you tape. But you CAN do a few math problems until you feel reasonably confident that on a stage, in 30 seconds, under tremendous amounts of pressure, you can do the math correctly again.

    Because I did my betting practice, I went from 3rd to 2nd after Final Jeopardy! That was worth $1,000. That's the most I've ever gotten paid for having done math homework.

  6. Joseph Finn12:34 PM

    Thanks for this; we missed the Monday show so had no idea that Leonard was taking a risk on that!

  7. Lou W3:04 PM

    Holy cow, that was inexplicable. They all screwed up, but especially the kids in first and third positions. Wow, I can't believe that (well, I guessed Dublin too, I just mean the math). You are right, that's the worst set of decisions I've ever seen.

  8. Fred App4:10 PM

    Am I the only person who saw this answer and thought: "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?"

  9. Nilai wagered enough to win it all if he had gotten it right. Leonard must have inferred by Nilai's behavior or scribbling or in audible groaning or cursing that he was going to win. Or he misunderstood the rules and didn't realize that the totals didn't already include yesterday's scores.