Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

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This Is Kirk!
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Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by This Is Kirk! »

I know there are several people here who are very interested in wagering strategy, but I have to admit these discussions make my eyes glaze over. Anyone else in the same boat? The strange thing is I'm generally a math person, but for whatever reason I just can't get into wagering strategy. And for the record I do realize it's an important part of the game.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by Johnblue »

NO. It's an important part of the game.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by econgator »

This Is Kirk! wrote:I know there are several people here who are very interested in wagering strategy, but I have to admit these discussions make my eyes glaze over. Anyone else in the same boat? The strange thing is I'm generally a math person, but for whatever reason I just can't get into wagering strategy. And for the record I do realize it's an important part of the game.
Me. Like you, I love math, but don't really care about much more than "don't give up the lock" and "1st bets to cover 2nd".

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This Is Kirk!
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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by This Is Kirk! »

I've come to the realization that I love numbers as long as there's no dollar signs in front of them. As soon as it's about money I lose interest (no pun intended). :)

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by alietr »

When I was looking forward to going on, I paid a lot of attention. Now, I agree, it's strictly MEGO despite my love of numbers.

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lieph82
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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by lieph82 »

This Is Kirk! wrote: And for the record I do realize it's an important part of the game.
Johnblue wrote:NO. It's an important part of the game.
Very good point, Johnblue.

I like looking at contestants' wagers and trying to figure out what their rationales, if any, were. But despite being a math person as well, the detailed theoretical conversations don't interest me, mainly because there are really a limited number of scenarios and they've been hashed and rehashed again and again. There's a wagering calculator on the archive to tell you whether someone made the "correct" wager or not, and it doesn't wag its finger at you or call you names if you're wrong. And what really gives me hesitation is that Jeopardy! is very different from a theoretical problem in a standard first year game theory course. We saw a leading contestant earlier this season not make the standard cover wager and it aroused a lot of controversy on this board. I don't think it's irrational for the FJ or DD category to play into someone's betting decision, and it's very difficult to accurately judge someone's decision if you don't know the rationale behind it. If one weren't given the category beforehand, then you can judge strictly based on game theory, but that's not how it works. I think there's a case to be made for Shore's conjecture and other nonstandard strategies, depending on your comfort with the category given. I understand that there is probably a pretty good correlation among contestants for getting FJ right/wrong, but there are some categories that are very very weak for some and very very strong for others. And unless they give an interview or visit the board, we have no way of knowing for sure whether a nonstandard wager was because of "I don't care about math, the game's about trivia" or "OMG IDK I'm gonna write down a random number" or "I was thinking that he was thinking that I was thinking that he was thinking that I was thinking…" or "The category is the Beatles, and he mentioned backstage that he wins the World Beatles Trivia Competition every year and I've never even heard of these so-called Beatles so assuming he'll make a rational wager I should bet small."

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by georgespelvin »

The problem with wagering on the FJ category is that sometimes a clue in a seemingly esoteric sounding category turns out to be relatively simple with a TOM that gives it away. Alternatively, sometimes a straightforward category has a weird unexpected clue in it. My favorite example in the latter category was in Presidents, where the clue was actually a word play type--name the only President with the same double letters in his first and last name.
I used to be AWSOP but wanted to be more theatrical.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by Austin Powers »

Oh, absolutely. Just get the question right and stop worrying about what the little fish in third place might do.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by jpahk »

i'll acknowledge that wagering is not the most interesting part of jeopardy. but on the rare occasions that you get two* players who both know what they are doing, and know that they both know what they are doing, in a non-crush situation, there are really interesting things that can happen. strategies that are often deplorable, such as not betting to cover from the lead or betting it all from 2nd, suddenly come into prominence. that can be fascinating stuff. and yes, the category definitely matters in these cases. just because the clue might be easy even if the category is unfavorable doesn't make it right to ignore the category when wagering.

*: or three, but let's not ask for the moon.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by Joy »

georgespelvin wrote:The problem with wagering on the FJ category is that sometimes a clue in a seemingly esoteric sounding category turns out to be relatively simple with a TOM that gives it away. Alternatively, sometimes a straightforward category has a weird unexpected clue in it. My favorite example in the latter category was in Presidents, where the clue was actually a word play type--name the only President with the same double letters in his first and last name.
When I read this, my immediate thought was Millard Fillmore. I hadn't before seen this clue on Jeopardy! nor seen this fact anywhere else. For some reason, I just knew it instantly.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by skullturf »

I'm a math person. And I've been watching Jeopardy! for a long time. But I've never known much about wagering strategy.

I don't always follow all the nuances of the conversations about it on this board, but wagering strategy is an aspect of the game I'd like to understand a little better (and I will *definitely* study it in more detail if I ever get The Call).

Watching Jeopardy! as a teenager, I was definitely aware of the standard leader strategy of "Bet enough so that if you get it right, you end with a dollar more than second place's doubled score" but I literally never thought for a moment about the strategy for making good wagers from second or third place.

It wasn't until I started visiting this board, as a person in my 30s with a PhD in math, that I ever thought about why "bet it all and hope for the best" isn't necessarily a great strategy for the contestant in 2nd or 3rd place.

And something that came up in the past few months, which I had never thought about before and which really blew my mind, is that there are circumstances where it makes sense to *deliberately get a DD wrong*. It's one of those things where, even though I understand and accept and believe the reasoning, it still seems weird to me.

Example: The leader has $20,000 and I'm in second place with $10,600. I get a DD on the very last clue of the game. (Third place has less than $10,000.)

I should bet $600 and deliberately get it wrong. If I have exactly half the leader's total going into FJ, the leader is almost certainly going to bet $0. Therefore, if I get FJ right, I get to come back as a co-champion. (Of course, the leader *could* make an "irrational" wager, but I think that's unlikely in this lock-tie scenario [although I've seen it happen within the past season or two].)

However, if I bet $600 (or a similar small bet), and get the DD *right*, then I have $11,200 going into FJ and the leader has $20,000. There's a decent chance the leader will bet $2401 (in fact, that's an extremely standard and common bet for the leader to make), so I am not guaranteed to become a co-champion if I get FJ right.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by davey »

I could live without the constant shock that people don't use it.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by Magna »

When people who enjoy trivia about Millard Fillmore are bored, that says something.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by nserven »

As someone who wants to get on the show and do well on the show, I’m paying very close attention to what Arthur (and Keith) have to say. It is not as interesting, perhaps, as trivia and the more TV-friendly aspects of the show, but it is an integral part of the game, and exploiting it is a skill that I view as akin to Billy Beane’s ability to discover and exploit market inefficiencies, as discussed in Moneyball.

What I do fear is that by the time I make it on the show, what is being revealed won’t be such a secret anymore, so whatever advantage I hope to get by boning up on wagering and game theory won’t have the same impact.

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This Is Kirk!
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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by This Is Kirk! »

Magna wrote:When people who enjoy trivia about Millard Fillmore are bored, that says something.
I'm more of a Rutherford B. Hayes man.
nserven wrote:What I do fear is that by the time I make it on the show, what is being revealed won’t be such a secret anymore, so whatever advantage I hope to get by boning up on wagering and game theory won’t have the same impact.
Doubtful. Most people just aren't going to spend the time to really study such arcana.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by Lefty »

I don't read it, but I like to see long, involved analysis on the chance that my future opponents see it and figure it's just too complicated to think about.
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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by BaltimoreBoy »

skullturf wrote:I'm a math person. ...

It wasn't until I started visiting this board, as a person in my 30s with a PhD in math, that I ever thought about why "bet it all and hope for the best" isn't necessarily a great strategy for the contestant in 2nd or 3rd place. ...

Example: The leader has $20,000 and I'm in second place with $10,600. I get a DD on the very last clue of the game. (Third place has less than $10,000.)

I should bet $600 and deliberately get it wrong. If I have exactly half the leader's total going into FJ, the leader is almost certainly going to bet $0. Therefore, if I get FJ right, I get to come back as a co-champion. (Of course, the leader *could* make an "irrational" wager, but I think that's unlikely in this lock-tie scenario [although I've seen it happen within the past season or two].)

However, if I bet $600 (or a similar small bet), and get the DD *right*, then I have $11,200 going into FJ and the leader has $20,000. There's a decent chance the leader will bet $2401 (in fact, that's an extremely standard and common bet for the leader to make), so I am not guaranteed to become a co-champion if I get FJ right.
I'd be interested in what you would imagine the probability would be of: 1) being in second place, 2) with slightly more than half of the leader's amount, 3) getting the final DD, and 4) getting it on the final clue. Not sure exactly how important it would be to have learned this strategy! ;) But I guess it's important to prepare for all possibilities...

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by Golf »

BaltimoreBoy wrote:I'd be interested in what you would imagine the probability would be of: 1) being in second place, 2) with slightly more than half of the leader's amount, 3) getting the final DD, and 4) getting it on the final clue. Not sure exactly how important it would be to have learned this strategy! ;) But I guess it's important to prepare for all possibilities...
Obviously you can take this example and apply it correctly to many different situations.

As far as wagering strategy being boring, it's simply a part of the game. IMO, the question asked is no different to saying the material Jeopardy asks is boring and doesn't interest you. With proper strategy, a player with less knowledge can beat a player with more knowledge over the long haul with savvy wagering.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by debramc »

alietr wrote:When I was looking forward to going on, I paid a lot of attention. Now, I agree, it's strictly MEGO despite my love of numbers.
This is me exactly.
I love math and logic both. But game theory has a dollop of psychology thrown in, which I do not do as well in. (I generally do not understand my fellow humans well at all.) I studied wagering hard after each audition, more so after the call - it was my airport/airplane distraction from my fear of flying. I didn't have much opportunity to apply my knowledge - just one DD and FJ, but I'm sure I did it right, and thought about the folks here on jboard and how they'd be proud of me even though I lost. (And they were, which was almost cooler than winning would've been. Almost.) And as soon as it was over, I stopped caring. I occasionally read the posts that are heavy on the wagering strategy, but mostly I just skim to make sure I'm not missing some other stuff in the same paragraph.

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Re: Wagering Strategy: Anyone Else Bored Stiff?

Post by Woof »

I am a bit of an agnostic on the subject. I do bristle a bit, though, at the characterization of what Arthur and Keith do as "game theory." It's simply careful evaluation of probabilities and acting on that information. As someone who learned to count cards at Blackjack in high school, I'm no stranger to wagering strategy, and I have enjoyed learning about the nuances of FJ wagering from those on this board who have give the topic detailed consideration. OTOH, I will probably never be so conversant with it that I'll be able channel Sg and say, "Aha! A 4/5 Faith Love scenario" and will instead just work things out from first principles to the best of my abilities. Whether that''ll work under the Klieg lights of Sony Studios remains to be ascertained.

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