Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SEND OUT THE TREBEK-SIGNAL:  Our good friend Rafael will be appearing on Jeopardy! soon. Given the number of veterans we've got here, any tips?


  1. Marsha12:18 PM

    No tips, but please be sure to let us know when you'll be on, Rafael - can't wait to watch!

  2. The three biggest tips I can give (three-day champ here):

    - Get used to playing for REAL at home. Watch episodes and "buzz in" only when Trebek is done speaking; get used to his rhythms, because that's the only way to start anticipating the timing of the buzzer (which is half the game).

    - Along those lines, DON'T BUZZ on a blind guess. Train yourself to remember that this isn't the home game anymore. There are very few ways in life you can guarantee costing yourself $200-$2,000 with a tiny flick of your thumb; bad guesses on Jeopardy are one of 'em.

    - Finally, the best hour you can spend studying for Jeopardy is knowing optimal betting strategy for Final Jeopardy. Seriously, it only takes an hour to memorize and so many games are lost by people who neglect it. There's plenty of crap I spent an hour studying that didn't come up across 40 categories of play, but you KNOW you're going to have to make a solid bet when the game is about to end.

  3. As an addendum to 2: educated guesses, based on a clue-in-the-clue (or better yet, ones when a bad opponent's guess has eliminated a possibility) are fine - but consider your strategy going in. Know how certain you want to be to guess - know what situations you'd never guess in (for example, a lead late in Double when it could cost you 1st place or a lock game).

    Oh, and go read Prisoner of Trebekistan, by Bob Harris. (Even if you're not going on Jeopardy! It's a great book.)

  4. Maggie1:43 PM

    Second place to an evertual 8-game winner who had the opportunity to set the single game record in my game), so take my tips with a grain of salt...
    Don't get psyched out by thinking that the obvious answer is too obvious. More often than not it is the right answer.
    Get comfortable that there are frequent categories that aren't your thing and that you probably aren't going to be able to study those enough to gain much - for me it was military history, opera, and old timey baseball facts. As MDT said - betting strategy probably gets your further in the end - it seems like recent episodes have had quite a few people undone by not handling the wagering right in Final Jeopardy.
    Enjoy every single second of it - even without big winnings, it was such a fun experience and is still a great fun fact for all of those ice breakers and corporate events. Every person involved with the show was so completely invested in making it a great experience for the contestants.

  5. Lou W4:27 PM

    Best advice anyone gave my wife before her match in 2003 (lost to a 5-time champion). "To any hockey question pre-1980, 'Montreal Canadiens', post-1980 'Edmonton Oliers'.

    It's Double Jeopardy, $1200, she's losing anyway and the Answer's about some hockey coach in the 60s, so she goes for it. "Canadiens", correct! You could tell Trebek was impressed. :)

    My other advice would be to try to keep your expectations reasonable (which is hard I know). There is a lot of luck in the categories and the difficulty of the Final Jeopardy answer. She was in the last of the five matches that day so I saw them all, and of those five, there was one where she would almost certainly have won due to the categories and contestants, two that would have been competitive, and two that weren't good fits. Sadly, her match was one of the latter two.

    Great job making it on the show! Have a super time and enjoy the whole experience.

  6. The Pathetic Earthling7:09 PM

    When you are in the situation, do you bet to tie on Final Jeopardy, or bet to win by a buck? Always seems boot-to-the-face-to-the-grindstone to beat a guy by a buck

  7. Kelley10:10 PM

    Was a contestant in 2007 on a show with a constitutional lawyer who happened to get... a constitutional law category! What are the odds?
    I will second the advice of playing at home with a buzzer like device. You cannot ring in before Alex stops speaking. Looking back, I'd brush upon geography. I totally enjoyed the experience, even though I wish I had done better. Good luck to your friend.

  8. Genevieve11:25 PM

    They got rid of the rule allowing ties this year.

  9. The Pathetic Earthling12:52 AM

    Oh. What happens if they do tie? Or are you prohibited from betting in a way that would allow one?

  10. Raf Noboa y Rivera1:15 AM

    Hi, it's me. You have a sudden-death, winner-takes-all question. If, somehow, it's still tied after that, you do it all over again.

  11. Raf Noboa y Rivera1:17 AM

    Hi! I appreciate all the great tips -- and more generally, your well-wishes. Feel free to keep them coming here!

  12. victoria1:19 PM

    Yes, yes, yes to FJ betting strategy! (One-time champion here.) Also spend some time thinking about Daily Double betting strategy, which is a little less cut-and-dried. (Interesting article here -- http://www.twoplustwo.com/magazine/issue116/devin-shelly-optimal-daily-double-jeopardy.php). I always find myself wanting to smack people when they make a big bet late in DJ that'll leave themselves something like $1,500 if they miss with no good strategic reason for doing so; bet it all if you think you need to go big in that circumstance.

    I'm a big fan of spaced repetition for stuff you're trying to memorize. Anki is a particularly user-friendly program.

  13. Back when they were allowed, the producers discouraged betting for ties. Strategically, I think it rarely made sense to. One of the biggest edges a champion has coming back into a game is that their buzzer timing is locked in while two challengers are coming in fresh (episodes tape back to back).

  14. Genevieve12:06 AM

    Best of luck, Rafael!! And definitely tell us when you'll be on.

    1-day champ here. Agree to everything said above about practicing the buzzer and studying betting strategy.

    It's worth looking at the Jeopardy! Pavlovs (i.e. Finnish composer = Sibelius), but the link I have is to a very long list, so I'd say it's worth reviewing it but not trying to memorize them (or just memorizing a subset). The list is here: http://jboard.tv/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=343

    For brushing up on things I once learned but didn't remember well, I liked the book An Incomplete Education. The humor helped make the facts stick in my memory better.