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(Spoiler Alert) Jeopardy! And Life Metaphor Question
Old 06-03-2019, 02:15 AM   #1
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(Spoiler Alert) Jeopardy! And Life Metaphor Question

I got to see for the first time the guy playing Jeopardy!. Friday I walked into a bar and watched the champion question the final answer. He was ahead by several thousand dollars (maybe $50K), so he was well positioned to make a big bet on the final answer, and still comfortable in the knowledge that even if he missed the question, he was going to win, moving on to the next round.

By later today, he will have most likely broken the record for the most money ever won by a Jeopardy! contestant. Ken Jennings, who presently owns the money record, says he always thought that if someone had the proper skill-set, the strategy this current champion is employing would be a formula for success.

His formula, from what I've heard (haven't watched the show) is that he starts off by picking the highest dollar value answers, and that by accumulating big dollars, when the "Daily Double" rolls around, he's able to bet big if he feels he will know the question.

When I watched the guy on TV, I was struck by how young he looked. I'm guessing he's a very very bright guy. How does one acquire so much knowledge at such a young age? Also, with his advanced skills, it's doubly interesting he uses that to be a professional gambler in Vegas.

So here's my question: The strategy this champion uses to play Jeapardy!, is there a life's lesson to be learned?

One of them might be when you're young, go hard and go big. IOW, pay the price early (education) and it's something that will provide a good income for life.

Would find it interesting what others may think and if there truly are life lessons to be learned.

As an aside, I would think when this is all over, this guy will parley his notoriety into the speaking circuit and other avenues. His winning on Jeapardy! is only the beginning.

[mod edit - link contains spoilers]
Oh boy, just saw this, will see if it's true:
https://www.nydailynews.com/entertai...aym-story.html
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:18 AM   #2
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Would find it interesting what others may think and if there truly are life lessons to be learned.
The lesson: television celebrities can make a lot of money.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:23 AM   #3
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I'm not sure he really optimizes his score for the Double Jeopardy squares. DJ is usually in the 3rd or 4th square down. He goes for the 5th down (1000 or 2000) first, which does rack up points, but he could be padding with the first and second squares for even more before DJ pops up. I think he's hunting for DJ to increase his chances of getting it, rather than letting someone else get it by sneaking in on an easier clue.

He almost always doubles up on DJ and Final, on the theory that it's a 50/50 payoff but he feels his odds of knowing the answer question is much higher than that. So his "go big" is really about taking controlled risks when the odds are in your favor.

If you want to draw a corollary, I'd say it's going heavy in the stock market, as this MarketWatch story points out.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/wh...uer-2019-05-24

Quote:
As the guys at Planet Money, the great NPR podcast, explained in an interview with Holzhauer: “By the way, this is how you’re supposed to manage your retirement portfolio — riskier stocks when you’re younger, safer bonds when you’re heading into retirement.”
He's certainly not a model of "go big" in education as he was a lazy C student in high school and while he did get a BS in Math, I think I remember him saying he went to a minimum of classes to get by. I think he's just a sponge of information, and almost never even seems to have to take time to retrieve the answers from memory. I wouldn't expect a professional gambler to have such a vast range of knowledge of trivia. He does play a lot of bar trivia, and I found an article where he says he falls asleep reading adult books, so he filled in his gaps with children and teen books before playing jeopardy.

https://www.newsweek.com/how-did-jeo...ks-are-1413460
Quote:
“You may be able to read an adult book about a boring subject without falling asleep, but I can't,” Holzhauer said, according to The Washington Post. “For me, it was either read some children's books—designed to engage the reader—or go into Jeopardy! with giant gaps in my knowledge base.”


Holzhauer said children's books are filled with “infographics, pictures and all kinds of stuff to keep the reader engaged.”


“I couldn't make it through a chapter of an actual Dickens novel without falling asleep.”


What are James Holzhauer's favorite children's books?

“The Classics Illustrated series was an excellent primer in literature, and I also really enjoyed Zachary Hamby's mythology books for teens,” he told the Post. He read his daughter Where the Wild Things Are before she was born, he said.
To me, the lesson is "Find a better way." Don't follow the norm (in selecting squares) if there's a better way, and there are other ways to learn than a traditional education.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Elbata View Post
....

Oh boy, just saw this, will see if it's true:
[mod edit - link contains spoilers]

https://www.nydailynews.com/entertai...aym-story.html
Link contains major spoilers
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Elbata View Post
I got to see for the first time the guy playing Jeopardy!. Friday I walked into a bar and watched the champion question the final answer. He was ahead by several thousand dollars (maybe $50K), so he was well positioned to make a big bet on the final answer, and still comfortable in the knowledge that even if he missed the question, he was going to win, moving on to the next round.

When I watched the guy on TV, I was struck by how young he looked. I'm guessing he's a very very bright guy. How does one acquire so much knowledge at such a young age? Also, with his advanced skills, it's doubly interesting he uses that to be a professional gambler in Vegas.

As an aside, I would think when this is all over, this guy will parley his notoriety into the speaking circuit and other avenues. His winning on Jeapardy! is only the beginning.
[mod edit - link contains major spoilers]
Oh boy, just saw this, will see if it's true:
https://www.nydailynews.com/entertai...aym-story.html
That guy has already made a fortune by his brilliance and professional gambling skills and retired at 27, only to come out again and pursue new challenges. There is a fascinating podcast about him on Planet Money. It will blow your mind. https://www.npr.org/templates/transc...ryId=722198188

He totally cracked Jeopardy, creating a novel approach for maximizing gains and thus shutting out competition quickly.

In other words, he doesn’t even need to do a speaking circuit.

He’s banned from Las Vegas.
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:01 AM   #6
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The lesson: television celebrities can make a lot of money.
He already made a huge amount before Jeopardy. And only became a TV celebrity after breaking records on Jeopardy and earning a lot.
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:16 AM   #7
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That guy has already made a fortune by his brilliance and professional gambling skills and retired at 27, only to come out again and pursue new challenges. There is a fascinating podcast about him on Planet Money. It will blow your mind. https://www.npr.org/templates/transc...ryId=722198188

He totally cracked Jeopardy, creating a novel approach for maximizing gains and thus shutting out competition quickly.

In other words, he doesn’t even need to do a speaking circuit.

He’s banned from Las Vegas.
I have to say I love him and that being smart in several ways is in the spotlight. And that his profession is pretty unusual for the typical Jeopardy contestant. Plus he went to the same preschool as my son-in-law, two years behind him.
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:17 AM   #8
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One other part of his strategy is 'going fast' in everything he does with the game. For instance, if a subject is "Flying fast in caves", he'll say: "caves for 8". Which is shorthand for "Flying fast in caves for eight hundred, Alex" which was the traditional way to call out a square. The judges are letting this go. In this way, the teams are clearing the board almost every time... something that took like 26 weeks to do when they rebooted the series back in the mid 80s and everyone was politely starting with $100 and slowly saying everything. In other words, he analyzes the rules and plays within them, sometimes in very novel ways.

The other 'going fast' thing he does is that he doesn't dwell on a mistake or fret over 'sunk cost.' This may come from his gaming background. It is also something we've talked about on various threads here. Sometimes you just have to let 'sunk cost' go and move on.
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:26 AM   #9
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^^ Agree with that. The other thing going fast does is intimidate his opponents. They don't have a chance to get settled into the game with $200 questions, instead as they are just getting their bearings he's answered 3 questions and has a $3000 lead. Not long after, he hits DJ, and he's up over $10K and the rout is on before the first commercial break.
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:28 AM   #10
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^^ Agree with that. The other thing going fast does is intimidate his opponents. They don't have a chance to get settled into the game with $200 questions, instead as they are just getting their bearings he's answered 3 questions and has a $3000 lead. Not long after, he hits DJ, and he's up over $10K and the rout is on before the first commercial break.
Exactly! He "Tiger Woods" them. Or at least, what Tiger used to do.

By clearing the board in reverse, there is also more money in play. Hence his incredible average game total.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:20 AM   #11
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Board strategy aside (which is quite clever), he has to know the answers! Which is quite impressive.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:40 AM   #12
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High risk, high return.

Someone who would not only choose 100% equities for their portfolio, but would probably choose a double or triple-leveraged fund.

But can you sleep at night with the above strategy for your portfolio?
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:01 AM   #13
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:02 AM   #14
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I wonder if the game will ever be the same now that all the secrets are out?
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:25 AM   #15
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I wonder if the game will ever be the same now that all the secrets are out?
Don’t think so. It’s changed forever.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:26 AM   #16
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One other part of his strategy is 'going fast' in everything he does with the game. For instance, if a subject is "Flying fast in caves", he'll say: "caves for 8".
I call that "efficiency of words". The concept eludes most, not just in Jeopardy.

Can't wait to watch today. He's a smooth operator.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:49 AM   #17
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He's an example of "Guy gets lucky. Everybody thinks he's 'good'." He would have had to blow it only once early on to be bounced out and we'd all be saying: Dumbass! Professional gambler. No surprise there. Ha ha. Loser" Great way to run a life. Like hard work and education. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes not
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:51 AM   #18
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He's an example of "Guy gets lucky. Everybody thinks he's 'good'." He would have had to blow it only once early on to be bounced out and we'd all be saying: Dumbass! Professional gambler. No surprise there. Ha ha. Loser" Great way to run a life. Like hard work and education. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes not
If you read or listen to the podcast you’ll learn that the guy is a math genius and very clever/street smart on top of that. This s is not a case of pure luck.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:47 AM   #19
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Some folks have an incredible memory for details. I have known two of those types of folks. One, I met at a trade show and talked for about 5 minutes. Two years later he remembered, in general terms, my name, my home town, one of the business endeavors that I was involved with, some $ specifics that we talked about, and a few comments that I had made. The other, a manager where I worked, would meet people on their first day and have a 5 minute talk with them. He would remember where they went to school, where they grew up, what their parents did, etc.

That type of a memory would be an obvious advantage to remembering the trivial details that show up in some of these game shows. Likewise, the ability to work your plan under pressure is a skill that pays off. A lot of folks, under pressure, would not remember their parents middle names.

As far as the strategy, I suppose it could be used as an analogy for going big into stocks early in your years, but it is a pretty weak analogy. The game he is playing is most certainly a zero sum, winner takes all type of game.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:34 PM   #20
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He already made a huge amount before Jeopardy. And only became a TV celebrity after breaking records on Jeopardy and earning a lot.
I know he earned a lot before Jeopardy. That's not the point.

Had you ever heard of him before? Neither did I.

Do you doubt that his new celebrity will allow him to make more money? Neither do I.
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