Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

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harrumph
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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by harrumph »

Gotta give the writers credit for these first two games, the clues are at a higher level and the players are showing that they belong in a rarefied tournament.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by TenPoundHammer »

econgator wrote:
El Jefe wrote:The DJ DD required you to take E=MC2 and *solve for M*????!!!
That was almost a TPH moment for me: it can't be that simple, can it?
I know we did "Solve for whatever" type equations in algebra, but I don't ever remember any with squares in them. What exactly are you supposed to do on this one? Is it just divided by C^2? (And why won't this forum let me render superscripts?)
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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by This Is Kirk! »

TenPoundHammer wrote:What exactly are you supposed to do on this one? Is it just divided by C^2? (And why won't this forum let me render superscripts?)
Yes, that's about it. All you want to do is express it as M = something. You start with E=MC^2. To isolate M on one side of the equal sign you just have to divide E by C^2 to get M=E/C^2. If you don't remember this you were truly sleeping through class!

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by TenPoundHammer »

This Is Kirk! wrote:Yes, that's about it. All you want to do is express it as M = something. You start with E=MC^2. To isolate M on one side of the equal sign you just have to divide E by C^2 to get M=E/C^2. If you don't remember this you were truly sleeping through class!
I think I was underthinking it because I had gotten burned by so many math clues last week.
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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by slam »

opusthepenguin wrote:
FireAntsDefense wrote:
Bamaman wrote:
Golf wrote:No surprise Leszek went big on the late DD in a category he was confident in, but still managed to shoot himself in the foot.
How did he shoot himself in the foot? You think he should have bet more?
I think Leszek should have bet more. He didn't bet enough to cover twice Leslie plus the $2,000 left on the board, did he?
Perhaps the kindest thing to say about the wager is that it could have been worse. This was the situation:
  • Leszek: $16000 + his $10000 bet = $26000, minus it would = $6000
    Leslie: $13800
    Andrew: $12400

    Two Clues remaining on board: $800, $1200
If he had lost his $10K bet, he'd have been locked out with less than half Leslie's score. He would have had to get at least the $1200 clue AND have Leslie not get the $800 one OR he could get either remaining clue AND have Leslie ring in on other and miss. Yuck.

He could have made the wager worse by betting, say, $11500. Then on a miss, he'd have to get both remaining clues right AFTER having Leslie miss at least one. And on a get, he STILL wouldn't have a lock against Leslie's current score.

But if he tried to make the bet much worse by betting even more, it would suddenly become a much better wager. Here are his options to consider (and yes, I know he was under a lot of pressure and they don't like you to take your sweet time and all that):

1. Go Small - $199 or less will ensure that he has the lead going into FJ, even if Leslie picks up the remaining $2000. He should do this only if he dislikes the category. If he bets small now, he'll have to bet huge in FJ (and get it right) to win. He needs a good reason to postpone that huge bet rather than getting it over with.

2. Go Big - $15601 will pretty much get it over with then and there. Either he'll have a lock that Leslie can't overcome even if she picks up the $2000 still on the board. Or he'll have a deficit that means he loses unless Andrew makes an insane, but not out of the realm of possibility, over-wager in FJ. There's no point in trying to hedge by making a lower bet that will lock her out unless she gets both remaining clues or something. That still won't leave him with enough on a miss to get back in the game. If Leszek likes the category (and he seems to), he should consider this. Why not end the game here rather than taking his chances on FJ in a category he doesn't even know yet?

3. Split the difference INTELLIGENTLY - There is a via media, but it's not just some random number in the middle. If Leslie enters FJ with less than 2/3 of his score, she can't win on a miss (assuming Leszek doesn't over-wager). He can accomplish this by betting $7701 and getting it right. That will enable him to safely make the shutout bet against Leslie in FJ without falling below her score on an FJ miss. But if he loses that $7701 DD bet, he'll still have $8299. That will leave him still very much in contention going into FJ, with even a long shot at having more than 2/3 of Leslie's score by then (and thus able to win on a miss). This might seem all shrewd and whatnot. But I suspect in most cases he's better off picking one of the first two options and taking his lumps right away.
Opus - I like and agree with your analysis but let's go one step further and put some probability estimates so we can compare the three reasonable choices.

First, I think it's clear that betting big dominates betting small as a strategy basically for the reason you state here. Figuring out which strategy is better is simply a case of figuring out whether he's more likely to get the DD or FJ right. I've tracked my personal data for a number of years and have found that on average I'm better on DDs than on FJs. I'm guessing that is true for most people. But even if it's not for Leszek, it seems very likely that he's better on a DD in a category that he's comfortable with (as seemed clear to me as well as to you) than on an FJ in an unknown category (you made this point also). Also, the DD was in the 3rd row (I think, but can't confirm right now) rather than the bottom row which tends to make it a little easier.

Now, let's compare the big strategy with the intermediate strategy. Leszek wins with the intermediate strategy in several situations. If he gets the DD right, he then either needs to get FJ or have FJ be a triple stumper. If he gets the DD wrong, it gets a little complicated depending on how the last few clues go. I could go into a full analysis of these possibilities but they won't change the final results by that much because they only occur if he misses the DD (which will have a low probability). But after a DD miss, he will still win at least as a sole FJ get plus some other residual chances.

Let's put some numbers on these. Let's say his chances of getting the DD are 90% and the FJ are 80%. And let's say that his opponents are also 80% on the FJ. We'll try a few other numbers in a moment.
So, he wins on .9*(.8 +.2*.2*.2) + .1*(.8*.2*.2) = .9*(.808)+.1*(.032) = .7304. Even if we change the .032 to .1 to account for increased chances for winning from 3rd place if Leszek scrambles closer we only get to .7372. So with these assumptions, betting big with it's 90% chance of winning is the clear winner.

Let's try some other probabilities, like making Leszek 80% on the DD and 75% on FJ with the others only 70% on FJ. Then we have .8*(.75+.25*.3*.3)+.2*(.75*.3*.3)=.8*(.7725)+.2*(.0675)=.6315, clearly less than the 80% for the DD. Even if we bump up the .0675 to .15 we still only get up to .6418.

As long as we assume that Leszek is better on the DD than on FJ, it looks like betting big is his best strategy. Admittedly, I didn't try lots of scenarios, but I don't see how this conclusion will change under reasonable assumptions for Leszek's DD and FJ chances.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by slam »

harrumph wrote:Gotta give the writers credit for these first two games, the clues are at a higher level and the players are showing that they belong in a rarefied tournament.
The writers should always get a lot of credit.Think about the number of boards a year they put out of consistently well-written clues (sure there are a few bad ones, but only a very few). And then they pump up the difficulty for events like this one and the TOC. And then they modify material appropriately for the Teen and College tournaments. And they even do the best they can for Celebrity tournaments. And let's not forget the consistency present in the audition test. Although we sometimes complain that one particular test was "easy" or "hard" compared to others, the difficulty usually doesn't vary that much.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by opusthepenguin »

Rex Kramer wrote:Like several other posters here, I knew the answer to FJ instantly. Does that say something about our dark, cynical view of humanity?
We prefer to think of it as "realism" .:|

I got there pretty quickly, though I don't think instantly. When I did, I burst out laughing. I assumed I was right. But I didn't know; so I kept thinking. The more I thought, the more my initial idea just seemed too perfect not to be true. By the time the correct response was revealed, I'd have been very surprised to be wrong.

I also did something else I've been trying to train myself to do. I looked for the "this" in the clue to make sure I was actually giving the information they wanted. I knew both Shirley Jackson and "The Lottery." I wanted to make doubly sure I "wrote" (in my head) the correct one. I've been burned on way too many FJs. Mrs. Penguin, who rarely makes that mistake, didn't double check. So her guess of "Teddy Bears' Picnic" was at least two different kinds of embarrassing. After I finished laughing at her, I promised I wouldn't tell anyone.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by georgespelvin »

Lying to your wife? Never a good thing. :o

I always am amazed at the folks that can dissect a DD wager so succinctly. As Leszek noted, it's hard to do it under time pressure with Alex staring at you. I wonder how many contestants who have been on the show actually have been able to instantly calculate like the armchair quarterbacks do retroactively. (NOTE: I realize it is different for FJ when you have more time to think).

Reading the New Yorker article on "The Lottery" that shmuel posted it made me think about that experiment where people were told to send electric shocks to someone. It wasn't real, but the test subject did not know that. Most of them kept turning up the juice even when the actor on the other end screamed in pain.
I used to be AWSOP but wanted to be more theatrical.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by opusthepenguin »

slam wrote:As long as we assume that Leszek is better on the DD than on FJ, it looks like betting big is his best strategy. Admittedly, I didn't try lots of scenarios, but I don't see how this conclusion will change under reasonable assumptions for Leszek's DD and FJ chances.
Nice analysis. I'm with you. The DD was actually in Row 4. It was the $1600 clue. But I don't think that changes your point. It's interesting to see that even a slightly greater probability of getting the DD than the FJ means he should adopt the Big strategy rather than futzing around with bet hedging.

I am really disappointed in the wagering for these two games. Didn't any of them realize that learning a little wagering savvy would increase their chances more than, oh, 50 hours with the flash cards? I hope Bob Harris realized this. He styles himself the B+ underdog who sneaks into his wins with hard study (pretty sneaky there, Bob) and some canny assessments. I'd love to see him win from third because of foolish wagers by opponent(s) with twice his Coryat.

So far, I'm not getting these kinds of wishes granted.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by slam »

georgespelvin wrote:Lying to your wife? Never a good thing. :o

I always am amazed at the folks that can dissect a DD wager so succinctly. As Leszek noted, it's hard to do it under time pressure with Alex staring at you. I wonder how many contestants who have been on the show actually have been able to instantly calculate like the armchair quarterbacks do retroactively. (NOTE: I realize it is different for FJ when you have more time to think).
Of course you're right. And nobody (at least I don't) expect a contestant to go into a really detailed analysis with Alex staring them in the face. But it does get easier with practice. I think Leszek could realistically have analyzed the difference between the big and small scenarios on the spot, though. He could have seen what Leslie's maximum score would be if she got all the remaining clues and that he could bet enough to top double that right now on his DD. Or he could bet small enough to guarantee the lead going into FJ. Then all he has to think about is whether he's more likely to get this DD right or the upcoming FJ right. I think a contestant of Leszek's obvious analytical skills is capable of that as long as he's thought about such situations in advance.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by opusthepenguin »

georgespelvin wrote:Lying to your wife? Never a good thing. :o
You're not going to tell on me, are you?
I always am amazed at the folks that can dissect a DD wager so succinctly. As Leszek noted, it's hard to do it under time pressure with Alex staring at you. I wonder how many contestants who have been on the show actually have been able to instantly calculate like the armchair quarterbacks do retroactively.
Almost none. I don't really fault Leszek since he was under pressure. I do think with a little more wagering study, he might have seen the folly of the nice round number he picked.

Roger Craig would be one example of good DD calculating under pressure. But it wasn't instant. Alex prodded him more than once. I think that was the final DD in this game.

But my absolute all time favorite was Dave Leach's wager on the 29th clue in this game. He made his bet and then ... deliberately gave a wrong response! (Well, semi-deliberately. He told us that in all the excitement he sort of forgot what his strategy was.) Result? He came back the following day as a co-champion, won that game and two more, and went to the TOC. Without that wager AND the miss, he would've gone home a respectable three-game winner.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by Vanya »

alietr wrote:I can't be the only one who could come up with the name of the story, but clueless on the author, could I?
Nope. Suspected it was The Lottery, but never knew the name of the author.

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Mark B
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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by Mark B »

Another really great board that fully challenged the players. Clearly, the writers are going for difficulty, which is awesome. They're treating these past players as the champions they are. I can only imagine that the quarter, semi, and finals boards will get even harder. Yowza!

Thought all three players did great. I always felt Leszek was one of the strongest champs J! has had, so nice to see him (you!) win. A step of speed is lost with time, for sure, but the knowledge base is great.

Picked up some Lach trash, but again was often nodding my head in admiration as these three handled clues I couldn't.
Got FJ right away again, though I wasn't absolutely positive.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by Robert K S »

I liked that this Battle of the '80s game included a category on John Hughes--the quintessential '80s filmmaker.

I also liked that the writers tried to build an entire category around a SpongeBob SquarePants factoid.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by Bob78164 »

leszekp wrote:
Golf wrote:No surprise Leszek went big on the late DD in a category he was confident in, but still managed to shoot himself in the foot.
Wouldn't say "shoot himself in the foot", but not an optimal wager. Wanted to bet enough that I would be in control of my destiny in FJ, but 10K was too high. Should have bet either 7.5K, or gone whole hog with a true Daily Double. But you try doing the math with Alex Trebek staring at you waiting for a response. And it was a good category for me, so it worked out.
Not quite whole hog. With the other two players so close to each other, it was entirely conceivable (if you had missed the Daily Double) that a very small final score might still be good enough to win. You can generally count on the leader making the shut-out bet, and the second-place player goes all-in surprisingly often. --Bob

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by opusthepenguin »

leszekp wrote:
Golf wrote:No surprise Leszek went big on the late DD in a category he was confident in, but still managed to shoot himself in the foot.
Wouldn't say "shoot himself in the foot", but not an optimal wager. Wanted to bet enough that I would be in control of my destiny in FJ, but 10K was too high. Should have bet either 7.5K, or gone whole hog with a true Daily Double. But you try doing the math with Alex Trebek staring at you waiting for a response. And it was a good category for me, so it worked out.
Yeah, I don't know what Golf means there. You may have had your foot in the cross-hairs, but you totally jumped out of the way after pulling the trigger! :lol: I wouldn't suggest a TRUE Daily Double at that point. No need to risk the walk of shame.

Nice win, and congratulations. You played well against tough competition.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by legendneverdies »

Was Leszek on the CHallengers in 1990-91? I don't recall hearing that he was. Someone on WWTBAM Bored and WIkipedia indicated that he was. His J! appearances aired in October 1991 originally, and there'd have been a problem with the one year between airdates of shows I would imagine, since both were syndicated. He'd have to have probably appeared in the first month of the Challengers run if he did at all(Sep. 1990). Bruce Simmons mentioned on a post on the old Usenet alt.tv.game-shows that he got a spot on the CHallengers but turned it down in Summer 1991(right before the show was cancelled) holding out for a spot on J!.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by dexterG »

Kermit the Frog did great!

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by leszekp »

I think a contestant of Leszek's obvious analytical skills is capable of that as long as he's thought about such situations in advance.
Guilty - I didn't spend a lot of time prepping for all contingencies. Even if I had, not clear I would have been able to make that analysis under time and pressure.

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Re: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Game Recap & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Post by leszekp »

dexterG wrote:Kermit the Frog did great!
Nice :). Alas, also not the first time I've heard this. Yoda is the other reference frequently cited.

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