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    James Holzhauer

    … "gutsier" than Austin Rogers?


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    I looooove Jeopardy, and I have been enjoying this guy so much. He obviously knows stuff, and has great buzzer reflexes, but his betting is unreal. He went "true daily double" with $29,000 on one play! Last night he got his fifth win the day after the record. In the first round he hit the first Daily Double and bet his entire $12,000, and lost it to go back to zero, and still won the game with $54,000. He has over $298,000 in five games. That's double Ken Jennings's average (but of course, Jennings won 74 games, so there's a long way to go).

    He was a math major, and makes his living betting on sports.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    I looooove Jeopardy, and I have been enjoying this guy so much. He obviously knows stuff, and has great buzzer reflexes, but his betting is unreal. He went "true daily double" with $29,000 on one play! Last night he got his fifth win the day after the record. In the first round he hit the first Daily Double and bet his entire $12,000, and lost it to go back to zero, and still won the game with $54,000. He has over $298,000 in five games. That's double Ken Jennings's average (but of course, Jennings won 74 games, so there's a long way to go).

    He was a math major, and makes his living betting on sports.
    … his "showmanship" by gesturing as if pushing his chips in the pot is both disturbing and awesome.

    You're right. His buzzer reflex makes some of his opponents look like they're desperately shooting blanks at a charging lion.

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    Last night, he went to $0.00 on a Daily Double and was still uncatchable in Final Jeopardy.

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    The breadth of his knowledge is pretty impressive. I haven't noticed any weaknesses yet. When there are two well-known options to a question he sometimes mixes them up (for instance, if the question was about an electrolyte and the answer is potassium, he might answer sodium instead), indicating a lack of deep knowledge. This is not a knock, it's impossible to have deep knowledge of every subject.

    It seems likely that he's done some extensive studying to cover weaknesses, and, obviously, he's done an incredible job. He probably has a very good memory, and is able to integrate new knowledge with things he already knows. He probably had a pretty wide knowledge base originally.

    He is quick, and quick thinking, and wagers sensibly - which is not something most people do. Most people are far too conservative. It's a bit easier for him, since he's generally so much better than the other players, but his gambling background probably is also an advantage because he fully understands that he's playing with house money.

    His games are definitely fun to watch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by D&MsDad View Post
    It's a bit easier for him, since he's generally so much better than the other players, but his gambling background probably is also an advantage because he fully understands that he's playing with house money.

    His games are definitely fun to watch.
    Your comments seem accurate. While rare, it is odd when he flubs a "gimmie". His wagering style does indicate "nothing to lose" and indeed, with most past players at this level, betting is often conservative in an attempt to maintain a recoverable reserve!

    I'm not great at math but I've always liked the strategy of attacking big money answers first, thus sucking comebacks out of your opponents! He was free and clear so early in Double Jeopardy last night that the last 15-20 answers were anticlimactic and the other players sensed this.

    Makes you wonder how many houses ban him in Vegas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akirasho View Post
    I'm not great at math but I've always liked the strategy of attacking big money answers first, thus sucking comebacks out of your opponents! He was free and clear so early in Double Jeopardy last night that the last 15-20 answers were anticlimactic and the other players sensed this.

    Makes you wonder how many houses ban him in Vegas.
    Going for the big money questions first is a great strategy. When you control the choice, it makes sense to go for the big money. If you're like JH, you have a great chance to answer the question and make more money than if you'd chosen a lower value question. Also, if the round ends and there are clues left on the board, they are the lower value clues so you maximize the amount you've made.

    There is some downside: in the first round, the daily double is often in the higher money questions (this is less true in the double jeopardy round, but at least one of the daily doubles is usually in a big money question), so if you hit it you may have less to wager. Also, if it is a "fun" category with a particular way of thinking required to arrive at the answer, then you don't have a chance to figure out the rubric with an easier example. For viewers it is a little less entertaining when players go to the high value questions first, because you miss the build up from easier to harder questions.

    If there is a category you're weak in, when you have control of the board it makes sense to go for the higher dollar amounts in that category as well, so that, if a daily double is hidden there, you either hit it (and wager small), or if someone else hits it they have less accumulated money to wager.

    Wagering strategy is something that Jeopardy contestants are notoriously bad at.

    Remember the ... contestant (I'll be polite) who had exactly double the amount of money accumulated by the 2nd place player, and in final jeopardy he wagered $1 and lost when he got the answer wrong and the 2nd place contestant got it right and beat him by $1? I was yelling imprecations at the TV for a couple of minutes. The ... contestant had just bet $12,000 (or whatever it was) to win $1. If he had bet nothing he was guaranteed to win $12,000 (or whatever it was). He deserved to lose. Idiot. (I didn't say that.)

    Unfortunately, JH is always so far ahead that his wagers in final jeopardy don't matter. It is always a surprise (and a pleasure) when a game comes along where the 2nd and/or 3rd place going into final jeopardy are still in it and make an intelligent wager. This happens about once every three weeks - maybe even less frequently. The strategy for the player in first place going into final jeopardy is obvious, but the strategies for 2nd/3rd place are not, so most people just wager dumb.




    ------------

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    So, wagering strategy in Final Jeopardy: here’s an example.

    Say the contestants going into Final have $10,000, $8,000 and $5,000

    Player #1 wagers enough to beat Player #2 if #2 wagers everything. So, Player #1 wagers $6,001

    Player #2 has to make two assumptions: (a) Player #1 will wager the smart amount (see above – this isn’t always the case, sometimes Player #1 will wager less if they’re not confident in the category, but this is not common); (b) Player #1 will get the answer wrong. Player #2 cannot win if Player #1 wagers as above and gets the answer right, so obviously he has to bet based on the scenario where Player #1 gets the answer wrong.
    If Player #1 gets it wrong, he’ll be down to $3,999. So, Player #2 can wager anything between $0 and $4,000. BUT, Player #2 also has to consider Player #3. The maximum Player #3 can win is $10,000. So, the correct wager for Player #2 is $2,001. #2 wins if he answers correctly, if #1 gets the answer wrong; and regardless if #3 gets the answer right or wrong. #2 also wins if everyone gets the answer wrong.

    Player #3 has to wager based on (a) Player #1 and Player #2 will get the answer wrong; (b) Player #1 will wager $6,001; (c) Player #2 will wager $0 (the maximum amount Player #2 could have if they answer wrong). In this scenario, #1 will have $3,999; #2 will have $8,000; so Player #3 could wager $3,001 to win by $1, but #3 might as well wager everything since he can only win if #1 and #2 are wrong and he is right, so #3 might as well maximize his potential winnings. It doesn’t make sense to play for 2nd place because the difference in $ winnings between 2nd and 3rd place isn’t significant in comparison to the potential winnings for first place. (There are scenarios where Player #3 can make a smart wager that matters, for example if the gap between the players is smaller and #3 could wager less, answer incorrectly and still win if #1 and #2 wager as expected and get the answer wrong.)

    In actual games, in the scenario above Player #2 normally wagers something like $7,999 or a similar stupid amount, and sometimes loses a game he could have won by wagering intelligently. Player #3 will also commonly wager everything but $1.

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    Proof that "Jeopardy" contains jeopardy.

    During the game, Saunders reports Holzhauer had 28 correct and one incorrect response and was first on the buzzer 47% of the time. He entered Final Jeopardy with $33,517.

    With $27,000 going into Final Jeopardy, Levin had 20 correct responses (none wrong) and buzzed in 33% of the time.

    Jasmine Leonas, a social media specialist from Chicago, didn’t fare as well. She had nine correct responses and amassed $7,800 for the final round.

    In Final Jeopardy, Levin wagered all but $1 and Holzhauer bet $20,500 on: The oldest of these business booster groups, formed in Marseille in 1599, uses “de” instead of “of” in the name.

    Both Levin and Holzhauer had the correct response — What is a Chamber of Commerce? The Naperville North graduate edged out Levin by an $18 margin, bringing his 18-day total winnings to $1,329,604.

    According to Saunders on The Jeopardy Fan, Levin’s $53,999 is the highest-ever regular-play, nonwinning score in the history of the show, and is the 21st-highest final score of all time. Holzhauer’s $54,017 is 20th.

    The previous record was held by Michael Cudahy, who won $44,400 on June 25, 2018.
    Saunders also mentioned that Monday’s game was the first time Holzhauer bet $10,117 on a Daily Double, making sure to say “Vegas Strong” in reference to the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017.
    s Naper Settlement issued April 11 news release



    James Holzhauer is on track to surpass 'Jeopardy!' legend Ken Jennings in half the time: 'He has no weak point'


    Well he has shown a weak point if another player can match him on questions and chop his Daily Doubles a bit (I believe Holzhauer was $1K red after the first 3 or 4 answers).

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    After Tuesday, he's at $1.4m for 19 games. If he could maintain that daily average, he would pass Jennings's 74-game money total in another 15 games - 34 games total. We'll see. The bold betting strategy could backfire on any given day. Monday was a close one, the first time in 2 weeks he didn't have the game sewed up before Final Jeopardy.

    He's very aware of what he's doing, and how it differs from most contestants. Other players would be rattled by making such big bets, he thinks, and it would interfere with clear thinking. He has won and lost tens of thousands on a single bet so many times in his career that he's immune to that kind of stress.

    And someone asked about him being banned? He said in one interview that about half the sports books in Las Vegas won't let him play any more.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

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    I heard an NPR piece today that confirmed something I was thinking about. Much of his winning "strategy" has to do with how well he is at buzzing in. He practiced that before the show and, as the incumbent, has an edge on the new contestants.

    By his own admission all of the contestants that get selected for the show probably know the answers to all of the questions (I find that a little hard to believe though - the guy is a real whiz). The trick is to time the buzzer correctly so you get the chance to answer in the first place.

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    Dude won his 18th game by $18, pretty crazy.
    Only wished that these were airing during the winter so I could watch while on the trainer instead of missing them due to riding.
    In reference to the Assault on Mt Mitchell...
    Quote Originally Posted by merckx56
    The easier solution is to find a biker bar in Spartanburg the night before, go in and pick a fight. The ass-whipping you'll get will be far less painful than the one Mitchell will give you the next day!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    I heard an NPR piece today that confirmed something I was thinking about. Much of his winning "strategy" has to do with how well he is at buzzing in. He practiced that before the show and, as the incumbent, has an edge on the new contestants.
    An enhancement for the home viewer might be a reaction indicator for the players. As it stands now, viewers don't have a "view" of the "window" where a player's press is allowed (after Alex finishes reading the answer). Some players keep their buzzer hand "hidden" and show a relaxed feel while others look like they're trying to start a recoil lawn mower!

    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    By his own admission all of the contestants that get selected for the show probably know the answers to all of the questions (I find that a little hard to believe though - the guy is a real whiz). The trick is to time the buzzer correctly so you get the chance to answer in the first place.
    … there is some truth here. An average human brain stores a remarkable amount of information, some of it, well ordered by virtue of relevance but most is fragmented... a matter of access. We've all experienced that "tip of the tongue" moment.

    My generation was taught multiplication by rote and it's kinda remarkable where it starts to break down (but we can still "add" to extend it a bit)... or I'm just dumb! Are the tables still taught by rote?

    I did NOT enjoy Jeopardy's recent "team" experiment but wonder if James would do as well in a situation where he'd have to yield to the team strat?

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    i don't know anything about jeopardy, but he's gotta be juicing.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

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    After another 100K day for game 20, he's at about $1,528,000. He now owns the 10 highest daily scores. In other words, he has broken the previous daily record in 10 of his 20 games.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    After another 100K day for game 20, he's at about $1,528,000. He now owns the 10 highest daily scores. In other words, he has broken the previous daily record in 10 of his 20 games.
    Regardless of when (if) his run comes to an end, he's gotta have an agent (with whom I doubt he's negotiated a traditional deal) who will have him on a season of "Dancing a With The Stars". I'm guessing that his long term financial plans will be much more conservative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akirasho View Post
    I'm guessing that his long term financial plans will be much more conservative.
    I wonder how much he's made at is day job. His Jeopardy winnings aren't yet enough to retire on comfortably but if he's as good at professional gambling (which I didn't realize was even a thing) he might be about there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    I wonder how much he's made at is day job. His Jeopardy winnings aren't yet enough to retire on comfortably but if he's as good at professional gambling (which I didn't realize was even a thing) he might be about there.
    A trade-off for James might be greater IRS scrutz! While not germane to the game, I wonder how many contestants see their winnings as "make or break" or finishing the pool at the summer cottage? We know little of their back stories... they might mostly be filthy rich already (many seem to have some degreeworthy professions.. but I don't wanna assume too much)!

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    Jeopardy does a fair job at maintaining an illusion. The illusion being that a single episode is taped each day.

    Web sources suggest that as many as a week's worth of shows may be taped two times per week which places added pressure on a champion who doesn't get that alleged "rest" that Trebek references "we'll see you here again in 23 1/2 hours".

    Hell, it even puts pressure on the champion's wardrobe (extra shirts? extra dresses? extra suits?). I wonder if all players arrive with padded wardrobes in case they're required for multiple tapings per day.

    Then there is the logistics of secrecy. Are players and studio audiences this loyal or could we scratch a bit and find out if a champ has already lost? Maybe they sequester both!!!???

    I think Trebek's Canadian Mafia goons keep everyone in check.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akirasho View Post
    Jeopardy does a fair job at maintaining an illusion. The illusion being that a single episode is taped each day.

    Web sources suggest that as many as a week's worth of shows may be taped two times per week which places added pressure on a champion who doesn't get that alleged "rest" that Trebek references "we'll see you here again in 23 1/2 hours".
    Good points. Holzhauer has discussed this as an issue, but also noted the countervailing advantage for the champion: When they get to the last game of the day, the challengers are new and relatively unpracticed, while the champ has been working on the buzzer timing and concentration for hours.


    Then there is the logistics of secrecy. Are players and studio audiences this loyal or could we scratch a bit and find out if a champ has already lost? Maybe they sequester both!!!???
    I don't think they sequester (actually, they couldn't, since the gap between taping and broadcast can be several weeks), but somehow they have rarely had lapses. Rarely, but not never - when Ken Jennings's 74-game streak ended, there were rumors a few days before his losing game aired, and the rumors turned out to be true.

    Holzhauer is now up to $1,691,008 in 22 games. We won't see him again until May 20, due to the two-week Teachers Tournament starting today.
    Last edited by JCavilia; 05-06-2019 at 10:32 AM.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

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    … he's baaaaaaaack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akirasho View Post
    … he's baaaaaaaack.
    24 games.

    $86,905 Tuesday

    $1,867,142 total.

    At this rate ($77,797/day) he would pass Jennings's money total in another 9 games, 33 games total vs. Jennings's 74 games.

    He's some kind of strange machine.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post

    At this rate ($77,797/day) he would pass Jennings's money total in another 9 games, 33 games total vs. Jennings's 74 games.

    He's some kind of strange machine.
    Seems he hit that target zone 2nite.

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    Last night provided a challenge from a player using the same strategy but he prevailed. 2nite he devastated and despite losing the power of a double jeopardy daily double, he was clear to hit his apparent target without challenge... in fact, I think he missbet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akirasho View Post
    Last night provided a challenge from a player using the same strategy but he prevailed. 2nite he devastated and despite losing the power of a double jeopardy daily double, he was clear to hit his apparent target without challenge... in fact, I think he missbet.
    Wonder if the pool of contestants that hasn't seen him play has been exhausted? Topped $2M today, dude has a deep knowledge of pretty much everything but it's almost a little too perfect...Big ratings, Trebek's last year, record-breaking (soon) payouts. Guess it's just the cynic in me.
    In reference to the Assault on Mt Mitchell...
    Quote Originally Posted by merckx56
    The easier solution is to find a biker bar in Spartanburg the night before, go in and pick a fight. The ass-whipping you'll get will be far less painful than the one Mitchell will give you the next day!

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