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-   -   The Jeopardy thread [was James Holzhauer] (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=874217)

enalzi 04-17-2019 04:53 PM

The Jeopardy thread [was James Holzhauer]
 
*spoilers for Jeopardy 4/17 below*
.
.
.
Anybody watching this guy? He's hit 10 wins, which is already a good feat, but he's completely smashing daily records. He's broken the previous single day record 4 times now, pushing the new record to 131K. He's already 2nd behind Jennings in non-tournament winnings.

Some other stats just from today:
-Jamesí 41 correct, 0 incorrect (including Final) is believed to be the most number of correct responses given in one game without being incorrect once. David Madden had a 36 correct, 0 incorrect (35 plus Final) game on July 11, 2005.

-$60,013 is the largest amount of money ever wagered in Final Jeopardy. James is the only player to have had at least $60,000 going into Final Jeopardy (he has now done that three times).

-Jamesí bet of $25,000 on the final Daily Double equals his record Daily Double bet from April 9.

Kent Clark 04-17-2019 05:07 PM

I'm not a regular viewer of Jeopardy but I've seen a few scattered minutes during Holzhauer's run. He seems to be very good at knowing how to bet on Double and Final questions, and combined with his correct answers, that looks like what's pushing his winnings into the stratosphere.

Sherrerd 04-17-2019 05:13 PM

You have to feel sorry for the contestants who happened to be scheduled to play during the reign of one of these mega-players. Like hitting a buzzsaw....

It's good for ratings, though (I'm assuming).

Just Asking Questions 04-17-2019 05:45 PM

Do people really tune in irregularly to shows like Jeopardy!?

He's a machine. I can't see anything obnoxious or really unlikable about him, unlike some recent big winners. Even so, I'm beginning to wish he'd lose. I don't know why - I admit it is irrational.

In one game, I had a thought that, if I were one of the other contestants, I'd just have walked out in the middle of the game. His dominance was so complete, I'd have said fuckit.

(Of course, were I on the game I would have won. So there! :) )

silenus 04-17-2019 05:54 PM

I like him. He isn't excessively quirky or obnoxious like some. Just a betting monster and a answer machine.

hajario 04-17-2019 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sherrerd (Post 21596073)
You have to feel sorry for the contestants who happened to be scheduled to play during the reign of one of these mega-players. Like hitting a buzzsaw....

It's good for ratings, though (I'm assuming).

My cousin was on many years ago when you could only win five times. He went up against the best player that year who won all five of his games and strolled through the end of year tournament. The champ was kind of unlikeable. He did do the best against him than anyone.

According to my cousin, you are allowed to say you arenít feeling well one time and one time only and they will reschedule you. He almost did that after watching the champ in the previous couple of games but didnít. Afterwards Alex said to him, ďdamn it. I thought you had him.Ē

Chronos 04-17-2019 06:01 PM

When you're as good as he apparently is at getting the answers right, "knowing how to bet on Daily Doubles and Final" is easy: Bet as much as you can, to win as much as you can.

enalzi 04-17-2019 06:05 PM

He was on the Chase a few years ago.

It goes about how you would expect.

Baker 04-17-2019 06:08 PM

The guy has the nerve to make big bets. I think they did say he is a professional gambler.

JohnGalt 04-17-2019 06:32 PM

James is taking the strategy of choosing the highest valued clues first (all of the $1000 clues, then all of the $800 clues). That way he gets a big balance to bet if and when he gets a Daily Double, which seem to be on the $600 or $800 clues.

I noticed that on today's show (4/17), when a different player had control of the board, they also chose the most valuable clues first, just as James was doing. I wonder if his strategy will be a new normal from now on. I can also imagine that future shows will have the Daily Double on the $1000 clues to thwart the strategy.

He is certainly brave and very knowledgeable. It also probably helps that he got the feel of the buzzer down, ringing in before anyone else gets a chance.

Sherrerd 04-17-2019 06:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnGalt (Post 21596193)
It also probably helps that he got the feel of the buzzer down, ringing in before anyone else gets a chance.

That really is important (speaking as someone who's auditioned three times and had trouble with the buzzer each time). All the knowledge in the world won't help if you don't get the chance to answer.

Backwater Under_Duck 04-17-2019 08:21 PM

This guy knows the game fully. He uses aggressive Jeopardy strategy to unfailing find the daily doubles; and as a professional gambler and, presumably mathematical quickness he can bet with precision to own the board. Until he decides to stop. What we are witnessing, is the sublime end to a great, one of the greatest game shows ever. I think it's over and this is a great way to always leave them laughing when you say goodbye, as the man says.

Kent Clark 04-17-2019 08:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions (Post 21596121)
Do people really tune in irregularly to shows like Jeopardy!?

I do. Why not? Most of the time I have something else I need to do during that time.

panache45 04-18-2019 01:22 AM

I didn't really like the guy at first, but I'm warming up to him. He's a professional gambler, and it shows. Wonder how long he can keep it up.

Just Asking Questions 04-18-2019 01:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kunilou (Post 21596351)
I do. Why not? Most of the time I have something else I need to do during that time.

Because you never know who the daily winners are. It's like watching soap operas once a week.

And you miss all the good questions! :)

Gatopescado 04-18-2019 02:15 AM

I hate the guy.

Mean Mr. Mustard 04-18-2019 05:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by panache45 (Post 21596602)
I didn't really like the guy at first, but I'm warming up to him. He's a professional gambler, and it shows. Wonder how long he can keep it up.

Same here. I thought his smile was more of a smirk.

But then I noticed he seems embarrassed/uncomfortable whenever Alex points out his dominance; I think the 'smirk' is just an expression of mild awkwardness.

On another note, I'm not convinced he's going to beat Jenning's streak of victories. All it would take to end his run is for him to come up against an above-average player while missing one of his huge Daily Double bets.


mmm

glee 04-18-2019 05:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enalzi (Post 21596155)
He was on the Chase a few years ago.

It goes about how you would expect.

An impressive performance.
I do have a question about the prize money though.

James earns $60,000 from his 'quick questions' segment.
The presenter says "That's the most anyone has ever earned!"

But the other two members of the team have already put $115,000 into the prize fund. So surely one of them had already earnt $60,000 (or more)? :confused:

panache45 04-18-2019 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard (Post 21596707)
All it would take to end his run is for him to come up against an above-average player while missing one of his huge Daily Double bets.

Jenning's run was ended by a fairly mediocre player who got lucky. She didn't even win her next game.

enalzi 04-18-2019 09:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glee (Post 21596710)
An impressive performance.
I do have a question about the prize money though.

James earns $60,000 from his 'quick questions' segment.
The presenter says "That's the most anyone has ever earned!"

But the other two members of the team have already put $115,000 into the prize fund. So surely one of them had already earnt $60,000 (or more)? :confused:

They didn't show it, but after the "Cash Builder" segment there's the Chase, where you face head to head with the Beast answering multiple choice questions. You have to answer five right before he answers eight. At the tart, he offers you a chance to get less money for one less question or more money for one more question. Looks like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._gameboard.png One of the earlier contestants must have taken him up on the offer. I'm surprised James didn't since it probably would have been over 100K.

enalzi 04-18-2019 09:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by panache45 (Post 21596932)
Jenning's run was ended by a fairly mediocre player who got lucky. She didn't even win her next game.

Didn't he only lose because he got FJ wrong? He was in the lead at the end.

MrAtoz 04-18-2019 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard (Post 21596707)
All it would take to end his run is for him to come up against an above-average player while missing one of his huge Daily Double bets.

There have already been a couple of games where he got one of the Daily Doubles wrong and lost everything. He was able to climb back and still have a runaway victory.

His strategy with the "all-in" Daily Doubles is that he only does them relatively early in the game, leaving himself enough time to recover if he gets them wrong. When he hits a Daily Double late in the game, with fewer clues left, he will bet more conservatively. Still a big number, usually, but limited enough that he will maintain his lead if he gets it wrong.

Of course it helps that he's fast on the buzzer, and has a very broad knowledge base so that he rarely answers incorrectly. He also doesn't seem to guess. Except on Daily Doubles, when he has no choice but to answer, if he's not confident of the answer he doesn't ring in.

The best chance others have of beating him is to find the Daily Doubles before he does. Of course, that means getting control of the board for a long run, which isn't easy given how fast he is. Get someone else on there who is also good with the buzzer and has a good command of trivia, and it would be an interesting match-up.

While I can't deny James's skill, I'm not entirely thrilled about his winning streak. I don't really like huge blow-outs like he's been delivering. I enjoy it when games are competitive.

FairyChatMom 04-18-2019 09:51 AM

I get a kick out of his wagers - I have to wonder if the amounts have significance to him or he's just having fun.

And I also think his smiles are a bit forced and uncomfortable when he's on camera. I watched at the end of the show one evening when the credits were rolling, and he seemed a lot more relaxed and his smile was more genuine.

silenus 04-18-2019 10:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FairyChatMom (Post 21597082)
I get a kick out of his wagers - I have to wonder if the amounts have significance to him or he's just having fun.

Yes and yes. Alex asked him about it once, and he said a lot of them were special dates like birthdays and anniversaries. He has run out of these dates, however, and the last couple of shows he has made even number bets.

Dewey Finn 04-18-2019 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enalzi (Post 21597058)
Quote:

Originally Posted by panache45 (Post 21596932)
Jenning's run was ended by a fairly mediocre player who got lucky. She didn't even win her next game.

Didn't he only lose because he got FJ wrong? He was in the lead at the end.

I remember that. The question was something about a company with peak employment from January-April and the answer was H&R Block. I think he guessed Fedex.

As for James, I've been enjoying watching him, except for the little bit at the end where he kisses the tips of his fingers. It just annoys me irrationally.

glee 04-18-2019 01:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enalzi (Post 21597056)
They didn't show it, but after the "Cash Builder" segment there's the Chase, where you face head to head with the Beast answering multiple choice questions. You have to answer five right before he answers eight. At the tart, he offers you a chance to get less money for one less question or more money for one more question. Looks like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._gameboard.png One of the earlier contestants must have taken him up on the offer. I'm surprised James didn't since it probably would have been over 100K.

Aha!
That's it - the presenter meant "that's the most money anyone has earnt in the cash-builder phase..."
Thanks. :)

TreacherousCretin 04-18-2019 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions (Post 21596121)
He's a machine. I can't see anything obnoxious or really unlikable about him, unlike some recent big winners. Even so, I'm beginning to wish he'd lose. I don't know why - I admit it is irrational.

We liked him from day one, but after his 6th win we've stopped watching until he loses. He's no longer fun to watch. Here's why:

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrAtoz (Post 21597078)
While I can't deny James's skill, I'm not entirely thrilled about his winning streak. I don't really like huge blow-outs like he's been delivering. I enjoy it when games are competitive.


Just Asking Questions 04-19-2019 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Backwater Under_Duck (Post 21596339)
Until he decides to stop. What we are witnessing, is the sublime end to a great, one of the greatest game shows ever. I think it's over and this is a great way to always leave them laughing when you say goodbye, as the man says.

It's Michael Larson on Press Your Luck. It's Ender Wiggins in the Battle Dome. Total dominance, and (even if there was a reason to keep battle school after the defeat of the buggers) battle school would never be the same again. You can't go back to what existed before. The game will not be the same after.

Even more than Arthur Chu, James has altered the way the game is played, probably permanently. Austin Rogers played a straight-up strategy for the game, so did Ken and Julia and Roger and everyone. Now along comes James with such a different way of winning that he just crushes his enemies and drives them before him. All that's left is to hear the lamentations of the women.

enalzi 04-19-2019 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions (Post 21598459)
Even more than Arthur Chu, James has altered the way the game is played, probably permanently. Austin Rogers played a straight-up strategy for the game, so did Ken and Julia and Roger and everyone. Now along comes James with such a different way of winning that he just crushes his enemies and drives them before him. All that's left is to hear the lamentations of the women.

I don't know if the game will change that much. The strategy only works with the skill to back it up. He's answering the question more than 50% of the time. Even if it wasn't for the daily doubles, I bet most of these games would be runaways.

Chronos 04-19-2019 10:19 AM

But he's not the first one to start with the high values, or to bet aggressively on Daily Doubles. His dominance is due much more to his skill than to his strategy.

TroutMan 04-19-2019 10:29 AM

Here's an interview with him where he talks about his strategy, other players trying to copy it, and other topics. He comes across as a likable person, but it's pretty hard to stay likable when you are demolishing the competition like he is.

pulykamell 04-19-2019 10:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions (Post 21598459)
It's Michael Larson on Press Your Luck.

My favorite gameshow moment! I was eight (almost nine) years old at the time, but I remember seeing that episode. I always just assumed I saw a re-run, but then I learned the episode was only aired once -- in 1984 -- until 2013.

notfrommensa 04-19-2019 10:46 AM

I haven't seen any of his episodes yet (I binge watch them) but I have seen some highlights. Just from the highlights, I find him a little off-putting.

Most likely there is going to be a new host next year. To promote the new host, I think the producers are going to want a Brad Rutter vs Ken Jennings vs James Holzhauer showdown.

enalzi 04-19-2019 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by notfrommensa (Post 21598936)
Just from the highlights, I find him a little off-putting.

I don't really get the complaints about him. He's pretty bland. You figure everyone who complained about Austin Rogers would be thrilled.

Bullitt 04-19-2019 11:14 AM

I used to record and watch daily, but I stopped doing that years ago. I just set my DVR...

Just Asking Questions 04-19-2019 11:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enalzi (Post 21598991)
I don't really get the complaints about him. He's pretty bland. You figure everyone who complained about Austin Rogers would be thrilled.

I hated Austin. Still do.

James does nothing to complain about.

Even though I'm on record as hoping he'll lose, that's me, not him.

"Go. Fight! Win!

And call me when you get back, darling. I enjoy our visits. "

Omar Little 04-19-2019 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnGalt (Post 21596193)
He is certainly brave

I wouldn't consider bravery to be a characteristic of playing a game.

madmonk28 04-19-2019 01:13 PM

I checked in last night to watch, I hadn't really watched Jeopardy in years. He seems like a nice enough guy, talking about his grandmother and his kids, but definitely is awkward. When the game is on, he's totally in the zone, but as soon as it stops he seems kind of embarrassed by the whole thing. I always find it interesting when someone figures out a new way to win something that we all assume has its best practices set in stone. One of the other contestant would get a $200 clue right and try to go to the next one down, but as soon as Holzhauer got control it was all over.

notfrommensa 04-19-2019 01:20 PM

Just now watching his first show. In the interview segment, he asked Alex if he was looking for any action on the [Stanley] Cup this year, and then added that he likes the Lightning.

That was a complete whiffy!

Maserschmidt 04-19-2019 06:53 PM

Just watched him for the first time. Holy hell that looked effortless.

Sherrerd 04-19-2019 07:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by madmonk28 (Post 21599236)
... I always find it interesting when someone figures out a new way to win something that we all assume has its best practices set in stone. ....

The only way I could see that strategy failing, given a well-informed contestant who can work the buzzer, is if the show-runners started emphasizing obscure word-play games. If the rules were eccentric enough that you needed the easier clues to be able to figure out said rules, then the strategy could become less useful.

Maserschmidt 04-19-2019 07:45 PM

Ken Jennings tweeted yesterday that heís always wanted to watch someone pursue that incredibly aggressive strategy, and who also had the skills to back it up.

madmonk28 04-19-2019 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sherrerd (Post 21599790)
The only way I could see that strategy failing, given a well-informed contestant who can work the buzzer, is if the show-runners started emphasizing obscure word-play games. If the rules were eccentric enough that you needed the easier clues to be able to figure out said rules, then the strategy could become less useful.

I donít want to see them change the rules to beat him, Iíd think it would be fun to see another player take him on using these tactics: a really fast paced game between two contestants during it out and one person kind of lost in the middle.

I think whatís likely is that James will blunder badly in his fast passed strategy and blow a big wager. I bet the person who beats him does it by a little luck.

Sherrerd 04-19-2019 08:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by madmonk28 (Post 21599821)
I don’t want to see them change the rules to beat him, I’d think it would be fun to see another player take him on using these tactics: a really fast paced game between two contestants during it out and one person kind of lost in the middle.

I think what’s likely is that James will blunder badly in his fast passed strategy and blow a big wager. I bet the person who beats him does it by a little luck.

Could be. After all, he's playing five games a day (unless they've changed their system in the aftermath of Trebek's health news, that's the way it's filmed--two days a week, five games each day).

That has to be incredibly wearing after a while.

Gatopescado 04-19-2019 11:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Maserschmidt (Post 21599807)
Ken Jennings tweeted yesterday that heís always wanted to watch someone pursue that incredibly aggressive strategy, and who also had the skills to back it up.

I don't have Twitter, but was it, "Dez NUTS!"?

Bullitt 04-20-2019 12:37 AM

I just watched him for the first time tonight. It was actually close in the first round, and then he blew their doors off in the second round to win $45,000. Very impressive. The other two finished with less than $5,000 each.

Go, James, go!

notfrommensa 04-20-2019 07:10 AM

I wouldn't be surprised if the shows being shown today were taped well before Alex's announcement of cancer which was about 6 weeks ago.

I believe shows are taped 2-3 months in advance.

peedin 04-20-2019 07:52 AM

I watch Jeopardy! every day. James is blowing me away. He doesn’t have an OTT personality and isn’t annoying or showy. As a professional gambler, he has nerves of steel and a strategy. Five games a day are taped. I figure at some point fatigue will get him and he won’t be able to be as quick on the buzzer. I am impressed with his scope of knowledge. But runaway games get boring. I do hope though, he wins a million.

Chronos 04-20-2019 08:38 AM

It occurs to me that his payoff calculations might be based on incorrect assumptions. His strategy maximizes the expected value of payoff for each game. But the winnings from a single game aren't the only payoff. If you win the game, even if it's only be a score of $1 to $0, then you get to come back for another day, which also has a high expected value. So he should perhaps be playing a bit more conservatively, to increase the chances of coming back, even though he's decreasing how much he gets per game.

Sherrerd 04-20-2019 07:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by notfrommensa (Post 21600164)
I wouldn't be surprised if the shows being shown today were taped well before Alex's announcement of cancer which was about 6 weeks ago.

I believe shows are taped 2-3 months in advance.

Yes, you're probably right about the timing of the announcement (and the rest).


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