First, do the people who dont win on the show get to keep the money?

second, what if everyone loses and ends up with 0 left at the end, then does the person with the most money before go on to the next show?

has anyone seen 2 or all 3 people end up with 0 at the end?

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Chief’s Domain

No, they get the prizes that are announced for the second and third place contestants. The winner gets the money, and returns.

2 happens an awful lot.

As to what happens if they all end up with zero, 2-way ties are relatively common, and both contestants go on in that case. I’d assume it would be the same with a 3 way tie, whether all 0s or not.

Eschew Obfuscation

First, only the winner gets to keep the prize money. The 2nd and 3rd place finishers get consolation prizes.

In the old days, when Jeopardy was filmed in New York and hosted by Art Fleming, losers got to keep whatever money they’d earned. Why the change? According to Alex Trebek, it’s because the dollar figures are so much higher today. SUPPOSE a guy got on Jeopardy and aced the first round, winning 5000 bucks. Then he sees 6 categories in Double Jeopardy that he doesn’t know much about. Well, 5000 bucks is a pretty good payday for 15 minutes work! He might decide to sit tight, say nothing for the rest of the game, and take home the 5000 bucks.

Well, that would make for a VERY boring program for viewers. So, the rules stipulate that only the champ keeps the cash. This insures that everyone is trying his/her best at ALL times.

I have seen ONE episode where all contestants ended up at sero or in a minus situation. WHen that happened, all three went home, and three new contestants came in the next day.

i saw something on tv recently about the 3 @ $0 at the end situation…i believe they said it was the first show (of alex’s tenure?) when no one really knew the finer aspects of the game…

My brother appeared on Jeopardy over 15 years ago and his only win came in a tie game and he was lucky to get that much money. He and the other guy came back for another show and he got whipped the next time out.

It’s hard to get a three-way tie where everyone ends up with $0 because it would require all the contestants to be pretty even and all of them would feel the need to bet it all. Usually someone will try to hold on to a buck. I’ve seen people win with less than $100.

Before the answer for Final Jeopardy is revealed the production staff does advise the contestants on how much they need to bet to have a chance to win or to avoid losing. They don’t want to see someone lose because of a math error.

It surprises me that they advise the contestants on how to bet. These folks are pretty bright, but they are not expected to be able to do simple math? Knowing strategy for the game is as important as knowing your trivia. They should just give them a pencil and paper if anyone wants to work out the math.

Joe, I agree.

Back to the OP, I saw one show several years ago where one player finished Double Jeopardy in the minus, and the other two players were tied. So they both bet everything in Final Jeopardy, and both lost. Everyone went home a loser that day.

I was on Jeopardy in 1989, and I ended up in a two way tie for second. But because I had less money going in to the final round than the other guy, I got the third place prize and he got the second place prize. The guy who beat us ended up going on to become a five time champion, so I didn’t feel too bad. All three of us got the Final Jeopardy question wrong, but the first place guy was so far ahead of us that he bet almost nothing, while second place guy and I bet everything but $100. I still use the wet/dry vacuum cleaner I won.

“The analyst went barking up the wrong tree, of course. I never should have mentioned unicorns to a Freudian.” – Dottie (“Jumpers” by Tom Stoppard)

But Paula, did they give you advice on how to wager in Final Jeopardy?

If everyone is tied I think they take 3 new contestants, no matter how much money they have.

I would think that if all 3 contestants tied with a positive number, they would all get invited back unless one of the three was a 5-time winner.

Yes they did - the staff member advised me to bet almost everything, that way I wouldn’t be left with zero if I got the answer wrong. They didn’t tell me exactly how much to hold back, I just picked $100. I was actually kind of glad I didn’t win the second place prize, it was a trip to some dumb spa in Phoenix - it didn’t appeal to me at all. I got a camcorder, which I sold, as well as the vacuum cleaner which I still have.

“The analyst went barking up the wrong tree, of course. I never should have mentioned unicorns to a Freudian.” – Dottie (“Jumpers” by Tom Stoppard)

Turning it around a bit, what’s the BEST (most closely contested) game of Jeopardy! you’ve seen?

I wish I could tell you more about it, but once, the contestants really stunned me. Generally, if the contestants have $15,000 between them just before entering Final Jeopardy, they’ve done quite well. Well, these three had $25,000 between them. Keep in mind that there’s $27,000 total available, not counting those Daily Doubles.

All three got the Final Jeopardy question correct. Their bets were so well-calculated, there was a difference of $3 between the highest and lowest score.

Remarkable players. Oh, and if you wanna read how one guy beat the Jeopardy! system and became a 5-time champion, check out Bob Harris.

About a year ago I saw one where they all ended with zero. Going into Final, two people were tied for first place, so naturally they both bet everything they had. The third person was therefore also forced into betting everything.

All three got the wrong answer. All three ended with zero. All three were replaced the next day.

If the other two players have more money than you, how does betting it all help you? Your only chance is if you get the question right and they get it wrong.

Given that condition, be smart and save a buck so you at least get a positive balance at the end.

Oh, not so Irishman. Consider. You’re playing me and Björk in Jeopardy. After Double Jeopardy, you have $6000, Björk has $5000, and I have a lowly $1000. Luckily for me, the final question is on Transac-SQL, so I figure I have a good chance on this one. Why should I bet?

Well, you know Björk could bet it all, and end up with $10,000. To prevent her from winning if she’s right, you have to risk at least $4001 and win. This means you’ll have $1999 if your answer is wrong. If I bet it all, I can still win, $2000 - $1999, but only if I get it right, you both get it wrong, and you bet intelligently. If I don’t bet everything, I can’t win at all (unless you bet more than you need to.)

Your Quadell,
Jeopardy fan

I was quite surprised about the fact that people are advised on how to bet, mainly because I’ve seen a few instances wherein someone has made a mind-numbingly poor calculation to bet themselves out of a sure win. Does this mean that they got bad advice, or that they chose to ignore the sound strategy provided because they were unjustifiably confident/greedy? Wouldn’t it be in the show’s best legal interest to keep their mouths shut and let people determoine their own fate, no matter how they arrive at the math? I mean, you go on the show, you takes yer chances, this is understood from the get go? Is it not?

Secondly, what does it say about society that you can be purdy darn smart and have no clues to choose from and be faser than two other competitors without rest for a full half hour and win 5 thou’, (or as the case may be a wet/dry vac), but if you can choose one correctly out of four without anyone else trying to do it faster than you, and take as long as you want, you can go home with a cool million after 10 questions?

If the Jeopardy staff used to advise on strategy, they certainly don’t do it now. My friend was on the show last year and I went with her (as her official Jeopardy trainer, of course). At final Jeopardy time, the contestants were given paper and pens and as much time as they needed to figure out their wager. No advise was offered, nor would it have been if asked. The staff was very careful to not say or do anything with the contestants that could possbily be construed as giving any one of them an advantage. In fact, no one can have any contact with the contestants except for the assigned handlers. They’re not so much worried about actual cheating as the accusation of cheating. Gotta keep that reputation pristeen.

For the record, my friend won her first game and lost the second to a guy who went on to be a five day champion. Really funny thing, the champion-to-be was also from our town and lives only a few blocks away from me! We even happened to meet on the plane trip outthere.

Although there was absolutely no colusion between this guy and my friend, you’d think this was exactly the sort of situation the producers would want to avoid setting up. “Hmmmm… two people from the same town on the same show. Think we should ask if they know each other?”

You know, I really do know that ‘advise’ and ‘advice’ are two different words.

I swear.

Quadell, I’d like to differ with your reasoning on what the optimal bet is.

Here was your original situation:
Player A has $6000
Player B has $5000
Player C has $1000

Under your analysis, with “intelligent” betting, Player C should risk everything.

I would argue that with “intelligent” betting, the best player C can do is go home with second place.

Yes, Player A should bet $4001 to make sure that he wins irrespective of the Player B’s bets.

However, Player B’s optimal bet is to bet $1001. Player B can never win if Player A gets the question right and bets optimally. Player B however wants to bet enough so that he wins whenever he answers the question correctly and Player A doesn’t. Furthermore, by placing a bet of $1001, and Player A placing a bet of $4001, Player B will win whenever Player A gets the question wrong. Player B has effectively eliminated one variable from the equation (that variable being the limits of Player B’s knowledge)

Since the worst Player B can do is $3999, there is no way that Player C will ever win.
If we change Player C’s beginning total to $2000, then I would agree that Player C should risk it all.