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Old 05-06-2019, 11:14 AM
Tired and Cranky is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,640
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
OK, suppose that Holzhauer builds up one of his characteristic unbeatable leads, and then on the third Daily Double, he bets big, and (as happens occasionally) gets it wrong. Now that unbeatable lead suddenly isn't unbeatable any more.
His bets on the last Daily Double look riskier than they really are. He usually tries to leave himself enough even if he loses the wager that he still faces little risk of losing the game.

For example, in this game, he had $28,400 and bet $15,000 on the third daily double, which seems like a lot. If he missed, he still would have been left with $13,400. Gabby, his closest competitor at the time, had only $2,800, and there was only $4,000 worth of clues left on the board. With his wager, he was only at risk in Final Jeopardy if: (1) he missed the clue, (2) Gabby got all five remaining Double Jeopardy clues right, (3) she bet it all in Final Jeopardy and got the answer right, and (4) he missed Final Jeopardy. If you start assigning independent odds to all those possibilities, you see that his real chance of losing that game despite his big wager were vanishingly small. (Though, had he bet just $201 less, Final Jeopardy would have been a lock for him no matter what happened in the rest of the round. His bid wasn't quite optimal from a risk perspective but it was pretty close given that he has a few seconds with tens of thousands of dollars on the line to make that decision.)

Here's another big bet of $25,000 on the last Daily Double. Theoretically, he was at risk here too. Had he missed it, and had Samantha got every question right for the rest of the game while James missed Final Jeopardy, he could have lost. However, he only needed to get $1,600 of those remaining clues right to guarantee himself another lock. His calculated bet meant he made an extra $50,000 in Final Jeopardy one he doubled down on that Daily Double wager.

Does anyone think producers are rearranging the board to lower James's earnings? It seems there are more Daily Doubles in the $1,000 row, which means that James is more likely to pick them early in the round before he has built up a huge pot to wager. This reduces his potential winnings a bit (though it doesn't interfere with his streak). I wonder if producers will start making the FJ questions tougher just to reduce his daily winnings further.