# What's the most money possible to win in one day on Jeopardy? (math needed)

Let’s say you rang in on all the questions for both single and double jeopardy.
And the daily doubles were on the lowest (or would it be highest?) category.
And you lucked into that last category last so that you could bet the maximum amount.

According to Wikipedia, it’s \$566,400 so long as every clue is revealed, you get them all correct, the DDs are all in the top row and revealed last, you bet everything on each DD, and you bet it all on FJ.

The Daily Doubles are never in the top row of the board, are they? I watch the show every day, and I’ve never seen them up there. They are occasionally in the second row (\$400 in Single Jeopardy, \$800 in Double Jeopardy), though.

I’ve never figured out why in some games everyone goes from top to bottom and other games they all want to start at the high ones and work down. But they never seem to work across, all the lows or all the highs.
Guess I don’t notice the scoring enough to see the strategy.

In Jeopardy, it helps to “practice” on the easier ones near the top before tackling the harder ones. Sometimes you have to get the hang of a particular category before you do well in it.

And I think it helps most thought processes to stay in one category as the clues get tougher. Moving horizontally means you are changing categories each time. It feels like changing gears rather than accelerating.

At least that’s the way my mind works, and it seems to be the way most contestants play the game as well.

Here’s now I calculate it:

In single Jeopardy, there’s \$9,000 on the board. If the Daily Double is a \$100 clue, that’s \$8,900 available. Using the Daily Double, you could double that to \$19,800.

In Double Jeopardy, there’s \$18,000 on the board. If both Daily Doubles are \$200 clues, that’s \$17,600 available. If you take all that money, you have \$37,400.

Now if you double your money with each Daily Double and then double it again with Final Jeopardy, you’ll have \$299,200.

You are a few years behind, they have doubled the values (regular is 200-1000 double is 400-2000)

Brian

As has been mentioned, it is easier to get a feel for the category by taking the easier questions first.

Early in the Trebek show’s run, a player named Chuck Forrest developed a strategy of picking clues from different categories all over the board. This disoriented his opponents and made it easier for him to win. Not everyone can successfully pull off the “Forrest Bounce”* though, and apparently the production staff don’t like it since they don’t know where to point the camera next.

*In his book Secrets of the Jeopardy! Champions, Forrest refers to it as the “Rubin Bounce” after the law school friend who first suggested it to him.

If someone ran the boards during regular play, would they even have Final Jeopardy? If not, then you have to let one of your opponents win a \$200 question just so there is someone against whom you can compete in Final Jeopardy. In this case, I get:

\$18,000 on the board in Jeopardy - \$200 for your opponent - \$200 for the one clue that is a daily double = \$17,600. Double that in your DD and you get \$35,200.

\$32,000 on the board during the second round - (2 x \$400 for two DDs) = \$31,200. Double that twice for your DDs and you get \$122,800.

Therefore, you go into Final Jeopardy with \$158,000. If you risk it all to maximize winnings you end up with \$316,000. If you hold back \$401 to ensure that you win, you end up with \$315,599.

Did I get the math right?

I’ve seen a game where only on person was in Final Jeopardy.

Brian

I’m trying to imagine anything sadder than running the table like this, betting it all in FJ, and losing to the schlemiel who only answered one question right in the whole game up until then. “I’ll take ‘Televised Suicides’ for \$1000, Alex.”

You have to add the total from the first round before you double twice in the second because they keep a running total, so add \$35,200 to \$35,200 (not \$31,200, there’s \$36,000 on the board in Double Jeopardy) for \$70,400. Double that twice for \$281,600. Another double up in Final Jeopardy gives you \$563,200, or \$562,799 if you hold back the \$401.

However, I’m pretty sure they have the Final Jeopardy round even if there are no opponents. If you leave in the \$200 from the first round it gets doubled 4 times for \$3,200, giving a total of \$566,400, which agrees with the Wikipedia article quoted above.

Just ask Cliff Claven.

Believe it or not Mrs. RickJay and I figured this out not a few weeks ago, and \$566,400 is indeed the theoretical upper limit.

However, as has been pointed out, Daily Doubles never appear in the top row. If you were to get all three in the second row - a rare occurrence, but it does happen - the maximum drops to \$550,400.

:smack:
This is why I should never post on a Sunday morning before my second cup of coffee. Thanks for the correction.

The theoretical lowest score – assuming you chimed in first for every question and got every one wrong – would be half the theoretical highest with a minus sign in front of it (since you wouldn’t play Final Jeopardy with a negative score).

I don’t think that’s right, since you can’t double up a large negative score with daily doubles. Your maximum wager is either your current score or the max question value for the round you’re playing. If you have -5,000, you can’t wager more than 2,000.

Not quite. If you have a negative dollar amount the most you can bet on a DD is 1000 in the first round and 2000 in the second. I come up with a lowest possible score of 54,000.

That should be -54,000 if course.

Well, that would be a good strategy if your playing by yourself but you’ve also got two other players there. Doesn’t making it easier on yourself also make it easier for them?
I think I’d take the Chuck Forrest approach just to throw off my opponents even if it was harder for myself.