Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

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MattKnowles
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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by MattKnowles »

Vermonter wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:02 pm
Golf wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:49 am
Bamaman wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:30 am
In Maggie’s spot I would have bet $9,998. I would assume the leaders would bet it all but one might hold back a dollar so that thwarts that strategy. If I hated the category I would probably bet nothing.

In the lead I would absolutely bet it all. Even if I hated the category.
From Maggie's spot there are two viable wagers, 0 or 8801. From the leader's perspectives there are two viable wagers, 1201 or everything.
I don't take this lightly, since I believe this is the first time this has ever happened, but I'm going to disagree with you here on both counts. For one, Maggie needs to wager 8,801-9,999 to cover a potential zero wager by both leaders.

After Claire McNear emailed me last night with some questions for today's article, it dawned on me that I'd never explored the game theory of this specific situation. If you read below, you can kinda see why — conceptually, it's a mess. (Fear not: I plan to make a video.)

WARNING: GAME THEORY

Although it seems like it might be, wagering 1,201 is not a viable option because it assumes two outcomes that are mutually exclusive. Let's look at this situation from Brian's perspective.

First, consider your options against Jack. In three of the four possible Right/Wrong combinations — RR, RW, WR — wagering everything either gives you the best possible outcome (when you get it right) or is irrelevant (you miss while Jack gets it right and wagers more than zero).

The only combinations when an all-in wager could hurt you is WW, along with WR where Jack wagers zero. Therefore, against Jack, the only time you should wager zero is if you feel there's a >50% chance that BOTH (1) you'll get it wrong AND (2) Jack will either (a) get it wrong or (b) wager zero.

Next, assume you have only two options against Maggie: zero or 1,201. Assuming she wagers properly — a big if, of course, but in game theory, we consider only rational behavior — the sole scenario under which it makes a difference is when you both respond correctly. So by wagering 1,201, you are saying you feel there's a >50% chance that you both get it right.

Finally, let's combine those two statements. By not wagering everything, you're saying there's a >50% chance you'll get it wrong; by wagering 1,201 instead of zero, you're saying there's a >50% chance you'll get it right. Both of those cannot be true.

Conclusion: you should wager everything — unless you feel there is a >50% chance that (1) you'll get it wrong, (2) Maggie will get it wrong, AND (3) Jack will either (a) get it wrong or (b) wager zero, in which case you should wager zero.
I had a little bit of an issue with this when I first read it but now I'm not sure. It looks like you're completely right. Golf says the leader has two valid wagers, 1201 or everything. You, Vermonter, conclude that the leader has two valid wagers, 0 or everything. Scores are 18,800/18,800/10,000 going into FJ.

At a first glance it might look like there is a scenario where the 1201 wager wins the game where the 0 wager would lose, and there is no scenario where the 0 wager wins the game where the 1201 wager would lose. Therefore the 1201 wager should be better than 0.

Except that is not true, there is a scenario where the 0 wager wins the game and the 1201 wager would lose, when the other leader bets 0 and you miss.
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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by bluejaylink »

Maybe this was known but Ken says he can see the contestants' wagers and responses to Final Jeopardy as they are made.

It makes sense as Alex would often say something like "I fear X struggled with this one" or "began writing immediately"

This video below has a segment at the end that wasn't on the tv episode.


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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by opusthepenguin »

twelvefootboy wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:27 pm
I am OK with the suggestion of a guess the numerical value of something type question. My wag for Jupiter's distance from the sun is (don't open this if you want to play along, until you choose your guess)
Spoiler
480,000,000 miles
.
Spoiler
Startlingly close to my guess of 500 million miles. And yours is really startlingly close to the real figure of 484 million miles, assuming we're going by mean distance. So you win. If we're going by the current distance of 473 million, you still win. But if I bide my time, the day comes when I'm the winner. At aphelion, Jupiter is just over 507 million miles from the sun. So you're closer for more than half of Jupiter's 12-earth-year year, but I get my day in the sun. 8-)

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by jeff6286 »

bluejaylink wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:38 pm
Maybe this was known but Ken says he can see the contestants' wagers and responses to Final Jeopardy as they are made.

It makes sense as Alex would often say something like "I fear X struggled with this one" or "began writing immediately"
Good stuff! It's long been speculated or flat out known by plenty that Alex knows not only the wagers but also the responses. Largely based on as you mention, his "knowing" comments that always seeem to be dead-on. But this might be the first time it was ever acknowledged by an official source!

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by talkingaway »

bluejaylink wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:38 pm
Maybe this was known but Ken says he can see the contestants' wagers and responses to Final Jeopardy as they are made.

It makes sense as Alex would often say something like "I fear X struggled with this one" or "began writing immediately"

This video below has a segment at the end that wasn't on the tv episode.

Thanks for sharing that! I saw that they posted it, but didn't watch until the end because I assumed I'd seen the whole thing already.

You have to wonder...now that we know for a fact that the host can see contestants writing responses in real-time, has anyone ever played poker with Trebeck? Will anyone play poker with the other hosts? Granted, getting a read on the host would be tough if not impossible, especially since you don't know whose response he's looking at. And maybe the lights by the lectern are dim enough during Think! time that you can't really see anything.

I've always assumed the host knows the wagers after they're locked in (so actual possible winners/losers can be known for all 8 combos of responses), and that he knows who got it right (and hence who wins) after the bong-bong. It would be embarrassing to have a Moonlight Oscar moment. But seeing the responses as they're written? That's a new factoid.

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Vermonter »

MattKnowles wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:30 pm
At a first glance it might look like there is a scenario where the 1201 wager wins the game where the 0 wager would lose, and there is no scenario where the 0 wager wins the game where the 1201 wager would lose. Therefore the 1201 wager should be better than 0.

Except that is not true, there is a scenario where the 0 wager wins the game and the 1201 wager would lose, when the other leader bets 0 and you miss.
Right. If Jack wagers everything, the 1,201 wager is better than the 0 wager in exactly one of 8 possible R/W combinations: you and Maggie get it right, Jack misses.

If Jack wagers zero, the 1,201 wager better when you get it right (4 outcomes) and worse when both you and Maggie miss (2 outcomes).

But the arguments against the second point are (1) most players are going to take things into their own hands, and (2) if you're considering a small wager, it's because you are confident you are going to miss Final.
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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Vermonter »

talkingaway wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:01 pm
I've always assumed the host knows the wagers after they're locked in (so actual possible winners/losers can be known for all 8 combos of responses), and that he knows who got it right (and hence who wins) after the bong-bong. It would be embarrassing to have a Moonlight Oscar moment. But seeing the responses as they're written? That's a new factoid.
IIRC, after the wagers were locked in, Alex would get a card with the FJ clue, the players' scores, their wagers, and both of their potential final totals. The champion would also have both potential X-day totals listed. Maybe someone can post a shot of the infamous FedEx card the show keeps in the lobby?
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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by gameshowfandanny »

Vermonter wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 6:07 pm
talkingaway wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:01 pm
I've always assumed the host knows the wagers after they're locked in (so actual possible winners/losers can be known for all 8 combos of responses), and that he knows who got it right (and hence who wins) after the bong-bong. It would be embarrassing to have a Moonlight Oscar moment. But seeing the responses as they're written? That's a new factoid.
IIRC, after the wagers were locked in, Alex would get a card with the FJ clue, the players' scores, their wagers, and both of their potential final totals. The champion would also have both potential X-day totals listed. Maybe someone can post a shot of the infamous FedEx card the show keeps in the lobby?
On the day James' final regular-play game aired, Pat Kiernan posted a picture on Twitter of that Final Jeopardy! card for Ken's final regular-play game:

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by twelvefootboy »

opusthepenguin wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:47 pm
twelvefootboy wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:27 pm
I am OK with the suggestion of a guess the numerical value of something type question. My wag for Jupiter's distance from the sun is (don't open this if you want to play along, until you choose your guess)
Spoiler
480,000,000 miles
.
Spoiler
Startlingly close to my guess of 500 million miles. And yours is really startlingly close to the real figure of 484 million miles, assuming we're going by mean distance. So you win. If we're going by the current distance of 473 million, you still win. But if I bide my time, the day comes when I'm the winner. At aphelion, Jupiter is just over 507 million miles from the sun. So you're closer for more than half of Jupiter's 12-earth-year year, but I get my day in the sun. 8-)
Excellent guesstimate. I kind of locked in the 1/2 billion / 1 billion distances during Pioneer and Voyager (I think) space missions, and know that they are both on the high side. There's also some weird Kepler's law symmetry that I can't remember.
If we re-phrase it to "distance from earth", then we each are right twice a year :). Just like a stopped watch.
I like making Fermi estimates for all kinds of things and am always mentally ciphering things like how much the air weighs in a barrel or the weight / pressure of a mile of ice during the ice ages, etc.. Or mentally smell checking facts like there are more stars than grains of sand on the earth. I did just see we took a 30% markdown on the trillions of galaxies in the observable universe, but, eh, close enough.
I assume your Jovian interest is just as a waypoint on your way to Neptune, the Ice Giant? My guess for the orbit distance
Spoiler
2 billion - seems high, but gotta get Uranus in there someplace
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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by opusthepenguin »

twelvefootboy wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 8:45 pm
opusthepenguin wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:47 pm
twelvefootboy wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:27 pm
I am OK with the suggestion of a guess the numerical value of something type question. My wag for Jupiter's distance from the sun is (don't open this if you want to play along, until you choose your guess)
Spoiler
480,000,000 miles
.
Spoiler
Startlingly close to my guess of 500 million miles. And yours is really startlingly close to the real figure of 484 million miles, assuming we're going by mean distance. So you win. If we're going by the current distance of 473 million, you still win. But if I bide my time, the day comes when I'm the winner. At aphelion, Jupiter is just over 507 million miles from the sun. So you're closer for more than half of Jupiter's 12-earth-year year, but I get my day in the sun. 8-)
Excellent guesstimate. I kind of locked in the 1/2 billion / 1 billion distances during Pioneer and Voyager (I think) space missions, and know that they are both on the high side. There's also some weird Kepler's law symmetry that I can't remember.
I just took Earth at 93 million miles, rounded up to 100, figured it was another 100 to Mars (about double the correct figure), another 100 to the asteroid belt, another 100 to Jupiter, and then throw in another 100 because things are getting farther apart in a way this guesstimate isn't correcting for. :)
twelvefootboy wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 8:45 pm
I assume your Jovian interest is just as a waypoint on your way to Neptune, the Ice Giant? My guess for the orbit distance
Spoiler
2 billion - seems high, but gotta get Uranus in there someplace
You beat me but good on this one. I figured my success on the Jupiter question was a fluke, but it's disheartening to have that hypothesis so decisively confirmed.
Spoiler
I said 1 billion, which is actually only slightly more than the distance from the sun to SATURN (average of 926 million mi.). In other words, when Jupiter and Saturn form a straight line with the sun, Jupiter is just on the Saturn side of the halfway point. Wow. Your guess was low too, but not as pitifully low as mine. The correct mean distance to Neptune is 2.78 billion miles.

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by econgator »

opusthepenguin wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:04 pm
I just took Earth at 93 million miles, rounded up to 100, figured it was another 100 to Mars (about double the correct figure), another 100 to the asteroid belt, another 100 to Jupiter, and then throw in another 100 because things are getting farther apart in a way this guesstimate isn't correcting for. :)
If you want a decent guesstimate, the 4 outer planets follow kind of a pattern (in hundred-millions of miles): 480, 880, 1780, 2780.

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by nserven »

jeff6286 wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:49 pm
bluejaylink wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:38 pm
Maybe this was known but Ken says he can see the contestants' wagers and responses to Final Jeopardy as they are made.

It makes sense as Alex would often say something like "I fear X struggled with this one" or "began writing immediately"
Good stuff! It's long been speculated or flat out known by plenty that Alex knows not only the wagers but also the responses. Largely based on as you mention, his "knowing" comments that always seeem to be dead-on. But this might be the first time it was ever acknowledged by an official source!
Given this and what we have learned about how much power the host has during the course of the show (including activating the times-up signal on a triple stumper), I would love to see a close-up photo of the host's lectern.

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by NYCScribbler »

I can possibly answer one of the peripheral questions that came up! I was a Friday champion at the end of a taping week, and because of the Thanksgiving break, there was a longer layoff than normal between taping sessions. Sony paid my airfare to return for the next taping session. It would make sense if that worked the same way for contestants who needed to come back for other reasons that weren't their fault.
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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by alietr »

I would have thought that with new hosts, they would have moved to some sort of electronic tablet for the host instead of crossing things out on paper. You'd think they could do all sorts of things with that.

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Bamaman »

I had always assumed the judges could see the responses as they were being written. Never thought the host/guest host could as well. Although I did figure he was told who got it right or wrong.
Last edited by Bamaman on Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by talkingaway »

alietr wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 7:40 am
I would have thought that with new hosts, they would have moved to some sort of electronic tablet for the host instead of crossing things out on paper. You'd think they could do all sorts of things with that.
I love technology, but it just simply may be simpler to have the 5x6 sheet of paper at the lectern, so that clues can be crossed out and DDs and "do not read" clues (clue crew, guest categories) are highlighted. If you start to read a DD clue like a regular clue, without pausing to allow the contestant to wager, you spoil the game.

It also allows the host to personalize the game sheet, adding diacritical marks and marks for emphasis like Alex used to. Reading out loud can be tricky - if you Ben Stein all the questions, you're going to bore the audience and not help the contestants get the oddly-worded clues correct.

There is a monitor in the host's lectern, and I've seen a picture of it showing one of the clues. But I don't know if that's just showing what the real-time, first draft view of the game is, or if it's actually a host aid.

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Volante »

talkingaway wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:19 am
alietr wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 7:40 am
I would have thought that with new hosts, they would have moved to some sort of electronic tablet for the host instead of crossing things out on paper. You'd think they could do all sorts of things with that.
I love technology, but it just simply may be simpler to have the 5x6 sheet of paper at the lectern, so that clues can be crossed out and DDs and "do not read" clues (clue crew, guest categories) are highlighted. If you start to read a DD clue like a regular clue, without pausing to allow the contestant to wager, you spoil the game.

It also allows the host to personalize the game sheet, adding diacritical marks and marks for emphasis like Alex used to. Reading out loud can be tricky - if you Ben Stein all the questions, you're going to bore the audience and not help the contestants get the oddly-worded clues correct.

There is a monitor in the host's lectern, and I've seen a picture of it showing one of the clues. But I don't know if that's just showing what the real-time, first draft view of the game is, or if it's actually a host aid.
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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by alietr »

Volante wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:56 am
Paper doesn't BSOD
Meh. When was the last time you got a BSOD? And besides, it's not like they can't stop the taping to resolve a technical issue. They do that all the time.

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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by Volante »

alietr wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:03 pm
Volante wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:56 am
Paper doesn't BSOD
Meh. When was the last time you got a BSOD? And besides, it's not like they can't stop the taping to resolve a technical issue. They do that all the time.
But why risk it? One less thing to worry about.
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Re: Friday, January 22, 2021 Game Recap and Discussion (SPOILERS)

Post by opusthepenguin »

Volante wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:28 pm
alietr wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:03 pm
Volante wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:56 am
Paper doesn't BSOD
Meh. When was the last time you got a BSOD? And besides, it's not like they can't stop the taping to resolve a technical issue. They do that all the time.
But why risk it? One less thing to worry about.
Same reason you risk using a computer instead of writing everything down on paper. The risk-benefit tradeoff seems worth it.

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