Archive for the ‘Jeopardy’ Category

Why did the (former) Jeopardy champion end his streak with a meager $1,399 wager?

June 4, 2019

Answer: Pure game theory … perfectly executed..


Well, it finally ended.

James Holzhauer– the 34-year-old professional sports gambler — was dethroned by librarian Emma Boettcher.


Boettcher was quick on the buzzer (and James seemed uncharacteristically late-triggered), she answered all of her questions correctly and she she had some luck — hitting both Daily Doubles in the double Jeopardy round.

Bottom line: she deserved to win.

A major conversation piece from the game was Holzhauer’s measly $1,399 wager in Final Jeopardy.

I can explain that…


Jeopardy is taking a financial drubbing … or is it?

May 24, 2019

Let’s look at he economics of the current champ’s winning streak.


Jeopardy wunderkind James Holzhauer extended his winning streak to 26 games and upped his total haul to $1,991,135.

Note: Last night, Holzhauer was off his game, but won in a nail-biter.  He was slow with the buzzer (despite a relatively easy set of questions) and faced a formidable competitor who would have mopped-up  ‘normal’  competitors..


Today, let’s take another angle: Financially speaking, is Holzhauer’s winning streak good or bad for the Jeopardy show?


Jeopardy Math: What’s the most money that the a contestant can win on one show?

May 23, 2019

Here’s the solution to yesterday’s question.


Note: Refer back to yesterdays post if you need a refresher on the question and the Jeopardy game essentials

See Jeopardy Math: What’s the most money that a contestant can win on one show?


OK, let’s get started with the Jeopardy round’s gameboard:


For starters, assume that our contestant first-buzzes and correctly answers all of the gameboard’s questions.

Each category has questions totaling $3,000 … and there are 6 categories … so the gameboard has an “displayed total value” of $18,000.

That’s not the most that a contestant can win in that round because it doesn’t consider the impact of the hidden Daily Double square.


Jeopardy Math: What’s the most money that a contestant can win on one show?

May 22, 2019

You don’t need to be a Jeopardy fan to solve this math problem.  Try it!


Current Jeopardy champ James Holzhauer – a professional gambler – has now won 24 consecutive games and amassed over $1,867,142 in winnings

See our prior post How a “professional sports gambler” is disrupting Jeopardy for a recap of his strategy


I was chatting with a friend who is a Jeopardy fan and former insurance industry exec.  The question on the table was whether Jeopardy has an insurance policy to cover a runaway winner like Holzhauer.  If yes, what’s the insurance risk?

Analytically, that led to today’s math problem: What’s the most that a contestant can win on one show?

For reference, Holzhauer has won more than $100,000 five times (so far) … his best day ($131,127) is an all time Jeopardy record. A typical Jeopardy winner hauls in about $25,000 per show.

Today, I’ll set-up the problem.  Again, you don’t have to be a Jeopardy fan or know the rules.  I’ll tell you all that you need to know to solve the problem.


How a “professional sports gambler” is disrupting Jeopardy…

May 6, 2019

Current champ is smart and calculating. Is that cheating?

Though I’m not particularly strong at trivia, I enjoy watching Jeopardy

In part as a daily test of whether I can hang in there with the contestants (Answer: not in most categories) … and, largely because – in my stint as a teacher – I became a student f how people think … how they store, combine, and retrieve information. Think: connect the dots.

The current Jeopardy champ — James Holzhauer– is a professional sports bettor … and, he’s  setting records.


Holzhauer has won 22 straight games … that’s the 2nd most on the all-time list … the record is 74 by a “normal” guy named Ken Jennings … the average Jeopardy champ only wins 2 or 3 games..

Most impressive is that Holzhauer has already won over $1.6 million about 2/3s of the way towards Jenning’s haul of $2.5 million. Working the arithmetic, Holzhauer has been winning about $75,000 per day … which is more than double Jenning’s daily take.

How Holzhauer is doing it is raising eye-brows in the Jeopardy community. Part astonishment and part calls of “foul”.

So how exactly is Holzhauer doing it?