View Single Post
Old 06-05-2019, 08:59 AM
commasense's Avatar
commasense is online now
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Atlanta area
Posts: 6,424
Originally Posted by Railer13 View Post
If you've watched many episodes of Jeopardy, you know that the 'standard' bet for the money leader entering FJ is to bet enough to cover the amount that is twice the current total of the second-place contestant. And, indeed, that's what Emma bet. And James surmised that she would bet that amount. So he bet small, hoping that she would bet big and miss, and thus he would win the game.

Had he bet all of his bank in FJ, and missed the question, he would have forfeited any chance of winning the game. His bet at least gave him an opportunity for the win.
He also bet the amount he did so that if Jay, the third-place player, bet everything (he didn't), James would remain above that total, and so come in second instead of third, which he did.

It earned him an extra $1,000. Peanuts in the face of nearly $2.5 million, but a grand is a grand.

I'm annoyed at people, including reporters, like the one in the article Darren Garrison linked to, who say that James' FJ bet was "uncharacteristically low," as though it were a mistake or a sign that he was throwing the game. It was only uncharacteristic because he had almost always had a commanding lead going into FJ, and had rarely if ever been in second place. It was precisely the correct bet for his position:

1. If both he and Emma were right, he couldn't win, because Emma would bet enough to beat his all-in bet, which is exactly what she did.

2. If he was right and Emma was wrong and bet as expected above, he won.

3. If he was wrong and Jay was right, he definitely got second instead of third.