NOTE: This is my 3,000th post. I started in late October 2008 and have averaged over 300 posts per year and over 25 per month. Yay!
My wife and I were catching up on recorded episodes of Jeopardy last night and were stunned by what happened--both how one contestant bet and by Alex Trebek's comment about his bet.
When the second round ended, the score stood as follows:
Contestant A: $4,000.
Contestant B: $6,200.
Contestant C: $12,400.
Focus on contestant C. He has a sure win in Final Jeopardy if he bets $0. If he did that, he would end with $12,400. The best B can do is bet $6,200 and give the right answer, ending up with $12,400. So they tie and C pockets $12,400 plus goes on to play again, along with B.
Now cut to the answers.
Contestant A bets $3,999, gets it wrong, and ends up with $1. He was probably thinking that contestant B would bet it all and, if he got it wrong, end up with $0, giving A second place and $2,000 for second instead of $1,000 for third. Of course, any bet between $1 and $3,999 would have worked from A's viewpoint.
Contestant B, sure enough, bets $6,200 and gets it wrong. He ends up with $0.
As we wait for contestant C's answer, my wife and I look knowingly at each other: his answer won't matter because he'll bet $0.
Contestant C gets it wrong. But he bets $1, bringing his final number down to $12,399. So he got lucky because B got it wrong.
Alex, looking at the bet, says "A wise wager." Seriously, Alex? I thought we Canadians were better at math than that.