Thursday, January 30, 2014

WHAT IS "THE PRISONER'S DILEMMA," ALEX? As you might have seen earlier this week on Jeopardy!, a player wagered for a tie rather than the win, claiming that doing so is the optimal game theory strategy.  I'm sure folks have thoughts on that.


  1. Jordan11:04 AM

    Aaaaand I thought the headline on the article had something to do with his tie and unbuttoned collar. Weekend starts now.

  2. Just the night before, my husband was saying that he thought the winner (same guy) should have bet in order to tie. (We didn't realize that he had, but no one else got the answer right.) I didn't understand the reasoning behind it until this post. Thanks!

  3. The Pathetic Earthling7:13 PM

    I think good manners say you ought not bet to win by $1. Betting conservatively because you don't like the category and you'd rather have $10,000 than $8,001, or something, that's fine.

    This sets aside the optimization of it (which I think is right). But it's just so rude.

  4. Adam B.9:12 PM

    Is it rude to do so on Contestants' Row on The Price Is Right?

  5. Jordan10:12 PM

    I once saw someone mess it up and bid $1, but as the third contestant. The final contestant looked surprised, bid $2 and won.

  6. I also think it makes sense from the standpoint of you guaranteeing a particular opponent the next night -- if it's someone whose playing style you now know and think you can beat -- rather than the risk of someone new.

  7. Genevieve1:26 PM

    The general consensus on the Jeopardy board has been that betting to tie is riskier, because there's a real advantage in being the only player the next night with experience on the buzzer.

    Betting to win by $1 is not rude, it's good betting strategy. I mean, you could increase it to bet to win by $600 or something, but the point of betting to win by $1 is that you are betting to win. Doing it by $1 just keeps the math calculations simple - you have to bet at least that much for your best chance to win.