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  #551  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:05 AM
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I can't believe there are baseless conspiracy theories that James threw the game. He bet basically as I predicted he would bet. He knew he couldn't win if whatshername got the question right so he bet to win if she got it wrong. It was the best strategy going into the final round as an underdog.

Maybe he didn't play quite as well as he had the day before, but:

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Originally Posted by MrAtoz View Post
Alex seemed to be tearing up a bit at the end, and I suspect it wasn't just because James lost. This week's episodes were recorded the day after he announced his cancer diagnosis. I imagine that he was dealing with a lot of emotions at that time.
I didn't know this but any seeming weakness in James's game could be tied to that announcement. James had been a Jeopardy fan since he was a kid. He loves the show and from what I could tell, he loves Alex Trebeck. They had gotten to know each other at least a little from a few weeks of taping together. And James's here just announced that he had cancer. James delivered a handmade card from his beloved daughter to Alex. Perhaps, James was a little off his game because he could see that this game and the coming games really are the end of an era, defined not by James taking taking the all-time money winning lead, but potentially by the looming absence of the man who has defined the game for his entire life. So yeah, maybe James was a bit distracted and someone else got the better of him.

In an interview, Ken Jennings said its really hard for a winner to follow up with another victory after beating a long time champion. The game usually films at a rhythm with the returning champ getting a few minutes of break and going right into filming the next episode. When a long-time champ gets defeated, the rhythm is broken while the new champ has to film promos and do interviews. Then they resume the next game. It's probably overwhelming and puts the the new champ off her best performance. It might be a lot to expect her to hold on for even one more game. It would be interesting to have a giant-slayer tournament where the people who beat Ken, James, and Julia (who had a 20 game winning streak).
  #552  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by MrAtoz;21679621
Nevertheless, the [URL="https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ftw/2019/06/03/jeopardy-star-james-holzhauer-shoots-conspiracy-theories-after-loss/39542011/"
conspiracy theories[/URL] are already coming out. Really, he lost in exactly the way that people have been predicting he might lose: someone else found the Daily Doubles.
Yeah, the conspiracy theories are just plain dumb. He didn't throw the game or anything like that. He just plain lost. It almost happened to him a week or so ago (and it should have happened to him then), but his opponent bid too timidly on a Daily Double and allowed James to catch up. A more aggressive wager and James would have been toast. Also mentioned, the trifecta of James hitting a $1000 Daily Double on the first play of the game, effectively turning it into an ordinary $1000 clue, and Emma hitting both Daily Doubles and betting reasonably aggressively in the second round was James's undoing.

James even got more questions right than Emma (25 vs 21) If he was trying to throw the game, he really wasn't doing a very good job of it. If James just hits one of those Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy, or hits the first Daily Double with a bit of bankroll, Emma is toast.
  #553  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:23 AM
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When the scores going into final are two people over $20k and the last person over $10k, nobody was frigging throwing the game.
  #554  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:30 AM
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Claiming James threw it is just a shot against Emma. She played an absolutely outstanding game, and I'm happy he went down that way as opposed to a "James beats James" scenario that I predicted.
  #555  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:38 AM
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Claiming James threw it is just a shot against Emma. She played an absolutely outstanding game, and I'm happy he went down that way as opposed to a "James beats James" scenario that I predicted.
The fact that someone affliated with the University of Chicago beat James somehow did not surprise me at all. I've been to their trivia nights at the student pub (my wife was a doctoral student there), and their trivia nights made Jeopardy! look like the Junior Edition of Trivial Pursuit. I'm lucky if I'd get 1 or 2 questions of 10 right in each round. (Whereas in normal bar trivia or Jeopardy, it's more like 8/10 for me.) Now, I know she didn't go there for undergrad or grad, but U of C does seem to attract a certain type of hyper-smart hyper-focused intellectual.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-04-2019 at 09:40 AM.
  #556  
Old 06-04-2019, 10:21 AM
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Apart from the luck of getting both DDs in FJ, and not answering any clues incorrectly, a big part of Emma's win was that she was just as quick as James on the signalling device. ITSM that the real difference in last night's game was that James didn't answer nearly as many clues as he usually did. And that inevitably reduced his chances of finding a DD.

It's also significant that, even though she knew nothing about James and his strategy before going into that game, Emma (and to a lesser extent, Jay) immediately started using it as well. It was frustrating (if understandable) to watch most of his previous opponents stick with the "old way" and go for low-value clues when confronted with the Holzhauer method. Most of them, all those who didn't play in the first game of their tape day, had had a chance to watch James in action, but only a few had the guts to mimic his game play, and only Emma beat him at it.

Here's what Jennings told the NYT about maintaining a long run: “People don’t realize how fragile a ‘Jeopardy!’ streak is,” Jennings said. “Any night could be the game with your name on it. You just never know.”
  #557  
Old 06-04-2019, 10:56 AM
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James even got more questions right than Emma (25 vs 21) If he was trying to throw the game, he really wasn't doing a very good job of it. If James just hits one of those Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy, or hits the first Daily Double with a bit of bankroll, Emma is toast.
This. On the question before the first Daily Double, James had $12,600 and Emma had $6,400. She got the $1200 question right and was at $7,600 when she found the DD. She doubled her score for the lead.

But consider if James answers the $1200 question correctly and then finds the DD. He would be at $13,800 and, given his history, would probably bet at least $8,000. A correct answer would put him over $21,000, at least $15,000 ahead of Emma. And he would probably have won the game.
  #558  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:03 AM
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I saw an article about this yesterday in which James said it took him a second to remember the answer to the Duke of Albany question and that allowed her to answer it and then pick the DD question next (and he said that he would have gone for the same question next). So that's where the game shifted. Also, the article said that she studied locations of Daily Doubles and practiced buzzer timing using, I think, a ballpoint pen.

I think Alex suggested that we'd see James challenging Ken Jennings at some point, so perhaps a three-way tournament among them and Brad Rutter would be interesting.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 06-04-2019 at 11:03 AM.
  #559  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:09 AM
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This. On the question before the first Daily Double, James had $12,600 and Emma had $6,400. She got the $1200 question right and was at $7,600 when she found the DD. She doubled her score for the lead.
Yes but IIRC James later took the lead back, and then Emma finally took the lead back again and maintained that lead going into FJ. It was exciting, even watching it a 2nd time last night and knowing how it ends.

I still think Emma reminds of Lilith of Cheers. Her vocal inflections and delivery timing. It’s really kind of amusing. Anyone else pick that up?
  #560  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:11 AM
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I don't think James threw it, but his FJ bet still surprises me. I would think his best approach would be to assume he gets FJ right and - crossing his fingers - that Emma gets it wrong. Bet everything, or almost everything, why not? I've read the posts upthread but don't get why he would be at all concerned about the third-place guy.
  #561  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:18 AM
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I don't think James threw it, but his FJ bet still surprises me. I would think his best approach would be to assume he gets FJ right and - crossing his fingers - that Emma gets it wrong. Bet everything, or almost everything, why not? I've read the posts upthread but don't get why he would be at all concerned about the third-place guy.
No, that's definitely not the right strategy if you want to maximize the chance that you come back.

Emma has to bet enough to cover them both getting it right, because both of them getting it right is by far the most likely outcome. But if she gets it right, he doesn't come back at all, so he bets so that if she gets it wrong, he wins regardless of his answer.

People had dumb conspiracy theories about Ken Jennings throwing his final game too. He's always said that it's an extremely silly idea: If you had a fun job on TV that paid $150k a week, would you quit?
  #562  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:18 AM
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I don't think James threw it, but his FJ bet still surprises me. I would think his best approach would be to assume he gets FJ right and - crossing his fingers - that Emma gets it wrong. Bet everything, or almost everything, why not? I've read the posts upthread but don't get why he would be at all concerned about the third-place guy.
You're forgetting the possibility that he and Emma both get it wrong and third-place guy gets it right. If everyone bets logically, James wins.
  #563  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:26 AM
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Yes but IIRC James later took the lead back, and then Emma finally took the lead back again and maintained that lead going into FJ. It was exciting, even watching it a 2nd time last night and knowing how it ends.
You are correct...James came back and took a thousand dollar lead, which lasted for a few questions, until Emma herself came back and retook the lead, and then found the second DD. After she correctly answered the second DD, her lead, while not insurmountable, was enough that James couldn't come back, especially against two good players.

I still contend, however, that if James had found the first DD (or perhaps even the second), he has the lead going into FJ and wins the game.
  #564  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:44 AM
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I still contend, however, that if James had found the first DD (or perhaps even the second), he has the lead going into FJ and wins the game.
Oh, yes, the deciding factor was definitely the fact that Emma found both Daily Doubles. Had James gotten either of them, he could have had the lead going into Final. He might not have had a runaway, but he would have had the lead, which would have ensured him a win as things shook out.

Emma seems to have prepped for the game just as much as James did. She watched the show obsessively for years, practiced ringing in using a ball point pen as a signalling device, kept a tally of her correct and incorrect answers, kept track of where Daily Doubles tend to fall--all those geeky things that the big-time Jeopardy champs seem to do. If you listened to her interview, you know that she even wrote her master's thesis on trivia questions. If anyone was going to beat James, it was going to be someone like her.
  #565  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:46 AM
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FYI, Emma wrote a paper in grad school on "Predicting the Difficulty of Trivia Questions Using Text Features" based on Jeopardy! questions. So if anyone was ready to beat him, it was certainly her.
  #566  
Old 06-04-2019, 12:03 PM
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ITSM that the real difference in last night's game was that James didn't answer nearly as many clues as he usually did. And that inevitably reduced his chances of finding a DD.
This is correct. In this game, he answered 25 correct to Emma's 21. Normally, he answers somewhere in the mid 30s questions correctly, sometimes even lower 40s.

His close call (vs Nate) has similar numbers to this loss. James answered 26 correct, and Nate answered 24 correct (more than Emma, and almost as many as James.) There was another tight one earlier on (Game 18), where he hit 28 correct, and Adam had 20.

Actually, looking back to his second game, he only got 22 right on that one (to Satish's 18 and Marshall's 15), but finished miles ahead of the competition because of his betting strategy. Also, in game 6 he only got 25 right (and 2 wrong).

So he has had a few vulnerable games in there where he hasn't answered his usual 35 or so questions.
  #567  
Old 06-04-2019, 12:21 PM
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This is correct. In this game, he answered 25 correct to Emma's 21. Normally, he answers somewhere in the mid 30s questions correctly, sometimes even lower 40s.

His close call (vs Nate) has similar numbers to this loss. James answered 26 correct, and Nate answered 24 correct (more than Emma, and almost as many as James.) There was another tight one earlier on (Game 18), where he hit 28 correct, and Adam had 20.

Actually, looking back to his second game, he only got 22 right on that one (to Satish's 18 and Marshall's 15), but finished miles ahead of the competition because of his betting strategy. Also, in game 6 he only got 25 right (and 2 wrong).

So he has had a few vulnerable games in there where he hasn't answered his usual 35 or so questions.
Thanks for looking those numbers up for us. I knew they had to be out there somewhere, I just didn't have the time to find them.
  #568  
Old 06-04-2019, 12:25 PM
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I wished that he had beat Ken's winnings total. Sorry to see him go, he was nice to look at! She is nice looking too but I like men! Wonder if Jeopardy will like more million dollar winners...if she is that good. I think sometimes the double jeopardy spots are in place when they want them to be.
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  #569  
Old 06-04-2019, 12:37 PM
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...

What will be interesting to see is whether James's approach to the game will start to become more common. Emma basically adopted his strategy: go for the big value clues first, accumulate as much money as possible as quickly as possible, and bet big if you find a Daily Double. I'm curious to see whether that will become the norm for contestants.
It'll be really interesting to see if that becomes standard practice, but I don't think it'll be successful for many players. James (and, as we discovered, Emma) have a fairly uncommon set of skills: extraordinarily smart, very quick with the buzzer, and no hesitation about betting big on Double Jeopardy questions (their intelligence gives them the confidence to do so). Some players have one of those skills, a few have two, but very few have all three of them. If Emma continues that practice (no spoilers for today's episode, please), I could see her having a good long run as well.

Last edited by Gordon Urquhart; 06-04-2019 at 12:38 PM.
  #570  
Old 06-04-2019, 01:17 PM
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I was looking at it the other way around: imagine that you’re Holzhauer, and you’re right on the brink of breaking a trivia record set by Ken Jennings, and you hear that, oh, hey, we found a librarian who earned a graduate degree in Jeopardy.

(And I don’t get the relevance of saying his “final wager was not anything near what he normally wagered.” He normally went into the final with a lead — and he could wager so that he’d win even if everyone got it right, and so he did. This time, he couldn’t do that; he went in without the lead; regardless of how he wagered, he was already going to lose unless his opponent screwed up.)
But he didn't even bet enough to pass her if she bet zero.
  #571  
Old 06-04-2019, 01:30 PM
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But he didn't even bet enough to pass her if she bet zero.
Which would've been incredibly unlikely.
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:51 PM
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Oh, yes, the deciding factor was definitely the fact that Emma found both Daily Doubles. Had James gotten either of them, he could have had the lead going into Final. He might not have had a runaway, but he would have had the lead, which would have ensured him a win as things shook out.
And before that, another contributing factor to JH's loss was that in the first round, he found the DD on the very first (IIRC) square, instead of later as he usually did to extend his already-sizable lead. As it was, he had $2,000 at the start of the game and the DD was gone from that round.
  #573  
Old 06-04-2019, 02:10 PM
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I think Alex suggested that we'd see James challenging Ken Jennings at some point, so perhaps a three-way tournament among them and Brad Rutter would be interesting.

Oh, hell yes. I would shell out some coin to see that trio matched up. James is the young gun with the flashy numbers, but I still wanna see what happens.
  #574  
Old 06-04-2019, 02:24 PM
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And before that, another contributing factor to JH's loss was that in the first round, he found the DD on the very first (IIRC) square, instead of later as he usually did to extend his already-sizable lead. As it was, he had $2,000 at the start of the game and the DD was gone from that round.
He had $0, could only bet $1000, so after the $1000 daily double, he only had $1000, just like a regular $1000 clue.
  #575  
Old 06-04-2019, 02:29 PM
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But he didn't even bet enough to pass her if she bet zero.
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.
  #576  
Old 06-04-2019, 02:48 PM
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Incidentally, this matter of "but what if the other players bet this way" can be carried many layers deep. One of the reasons why Watson's bets looked so peculiar was that it was able to carry the reasoning to enough levels that it converged, something that no human ever does.
  #577  
Old 06-04-2019, 03:09 PM
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Sounds like that clip leaker is going to be very, very, very fired.
  #578  
Old 06-04-2019, 04:05 PM
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SPOILER:
I only caught Final Jeopardy today, but defending champ Emma had an insurmountable lead. I was surprised that she and the third-place contestant both missed the question. Emma lives to fight another day.
  #579  
Old 06-04-2019, 05:04 PM
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Thanks, I was just about to ask if anyone had a spoiler.
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Old 06-04-2019, 05:35 PM
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I honestly don't think James deliberately threw the game, but in recent episodes, there was something about him that made me think he was getting bored with the whole thing. Or maybe I was projecting.
  #581  
Old 06-04-2019, 05:37 PM
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Thanks, I was just about to ask if anyone had a spoiler.
This site usually has results up before noon CDT.
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Old 06-04-2019, 06:51 PM
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He had $0, could only bet $1000, so after the $1000 daily double, he only had $1000, just like a regular $1000 clue.
Ahh, yes of course! Oops! Thanks for that correction, pulykamell. But my point is that he did not get the usual sling-shot boost from the first round'd DD.

Thanks again for that.
  #583  
Old 06-04-2019, 07:03 PM
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In a ESPN interview, James said that she just kept beating him to the buzzer.
  #584  
Old 06-04-2019, 07:19 PM
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Emma Boettcher hadn't seen James play. Her episode taped before his had aired on television. It's interesting that she had independently developed a similar game strategy.

She's off to a good start. I wouldn't draw too many comparisons to James until she wins at least 10 games.

Her winnings today were quite good, but less than what James usually raked in.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-04-2019 at 07:23 PM.
  #585  
Old 06-04-2019, 07:31 PM
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Ahh, yes of course! Oops! Thanks for that correction, pulykamell. But my point is that he did not get the usual sling-shot boost from the first round'd DD.
Yes, clearly, that was part of the perfect storm of events to bring James down.
  #586  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:32 PM
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Emma Boettcher hadn't seen James play. Her episode taped before his had aired on television. It's interesting that she had independently developed a similar game strategy.

Are you sure she hadn't seen him play? That contradicts what Alex explicitly said.

I did clock that she noticeably bristled when Alex stated the assumption that her "bet the farm" DD move was in imitation of James. She obviously wants to get credit for knowing what's up on her own.


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In a ESPN interview, James said that she just kept beating him to the buzzer.

Yeah, that's certainly how it looked.

Here's a different take on the buzzer thing. If they are going to make that aspect so important, why not let the audience see what they are doing? Maybe have it be something where you have to slap two big buttons a couple feet apart in quick succession.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 06-04-2019 at 09:33 PM.
  #587  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:39 PM
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This site usually has results up before noon CDT.
Ack. Let's try that link again.

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In a ESPN interview, James said that she just kept beating him to the buzzer.
I suppose it depends on what values of "kept beating him to the buzzer" means. James still had buzzed in first the most. He was first on the buzzer 42.11% of the time; Emma was first exactly one in three times (33.33%), and Jay was 24.55% of the time.

So, perhaps she "kept beating him to the buzzer" as in, he couldn't completely dominate buzzer play like he has before (his average was 57% first on the buzzer overall), but he definitely beat her to the buzzer most of the time. That said, he didn't beat both of them to the buzzer most of the time.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-04-2019 at 09:42 PM.
  #588  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:47 PM
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I wonder how much Jay, clearly a strong player himself, affected all this? In theory, you would think that a better path to beating James would be to be good like Emma but then have a weak third player. But I guess it all depends on whether Jay beat James to the buzzer on crucial clues where James was faster than Emma.
  #589  
Old 06-04-2019, 10:09 PM
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Are you sure she hadn't seen him play? That contradicts what Alex explicitly said.

I did clock that she noticeably bristled when Alex stated the assumption that her "bet the farm" DD move was in imitation of James. She obviously wants to get credit for knowing what's up on her own.

Yeah, that's certainly how it looked.

Here's a different take on the buzzer thing. If they are going to make that aspect so important, why not let the audience see what they are doing? Maybe have it be something where you have to slap two big buttons a couple feet apart in quick succession.
The press is reporting her episode taped before James episodes had aired.

Maybe she was in the audience and saw a game during taping?
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nyt...pardy.amp.html
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Before Emma Boettcher arrived at the “Jeopardy!” studio in California on a Tuesday in March, she hadn’t heard of James Holzhauer.

Boettcher, a 27-year-old librarian at the University of Chicago, did not know that the contestant she would soon face had already won 32 games, amassed $2.46 million and established himself as one of the game show’s greatest players of all time. Games are prerecorded, usually five in one day; Holzhauer’s first win would not air until April 4.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-04-2019 at 10:13 PM.
  #590  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:08 PM
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Thanks to those who explained James's FJ betting strategy. Still not sure I get it, but what the hell, I'm mathophobic.

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Are you sure she hadn't seen him play? That contradicts what Alex explicitly said.

I did clock that she noticeably bristled when Alex stated the assumption that her "bet the farm" DD move was in imitation of James. She obviously wants to get credit for knowing what's up on her own....
Agreed on both counts. But she otherwise looked like she was playing like James tonight - going along the bottom rows and then jumping around looking for DDs.
  #591  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:31 PM
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I did clock that she noticeably bristled when Alex stated the assumption that her "bet the farm" DD move was in imitation of James. She obviously wants to get credit for knowing what's up on her own.
Clearly she didn’t think highly of what Alex said. But then again Alex says some awkward things when social visiting with the contestants.
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:29 AM
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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.
I was on Jeopardy!
  #593  
Old 06-05-2019, 02:55 AM
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I was on Jeopardy!
Railer13 is still right, though. James' betting strategy was correct.
  #594  
Old 06-05-2019, 05:52 AM
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Emma Boettcher won’t last very long.
  #595  
Old 06-05-2019, 06:09 AM
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I wished that he had beat Ken's winnings total. Sorry to see him go, he was nice to look at! She is nice looking too but I like men! Wonder if Jeopardy will like more million dollar winners...if she is that good. I think sometimes the double jeopardy spots are in place when they want them to be.
The reason we are discussing Holzhauer is because of his knowledge and reflexes. He'd still have done well on Jeopardy no matter how he looked (as, for that matter, would Boettcher). So comments like this (directed towards either sex) aren't really appropriate.
  #596  
Old 06-05-2019, 06:24 AM
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Emma Boettcher won’t last very long.
Then again, who does?
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:07 AM
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Then again, who does?
James did a man's job!
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:58 AM
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Reading through James twitter timeline is interesting.

https://twitter.com/James_Holzhauer/...55102764654592
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  #599  
Old 06-05-2019, 08:59 AM
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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.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:22 AM
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Then again, who does?
Honestly, the most shocking stat I discovered during James run is that in the 16 years since they removed the 5-day cap, only 8 players have won 10 or more games.
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