What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

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hscer
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What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by hscer »

I was watching Larissa Kelly's Crackle game today. (I'm pretty sure I saw the game on its air date, but I will narrate as if I haven't necessarily.) Mary Kay Schmidt was a one-time champion, with a healthy $22,400 in her win. After the first round, I quickly counted the scores, and they added up to $19,000...$1,000 more than the total value of the round, thanks to Mary Kay's $2,000 wager on a Daily Double in a $1,000 spot. The three players had gotten every clue, and none wrong. Mary Kay actually led, $10,000 to $8,000. Of course, in the second round, Larissa found both Daily Doubles, revealed her now-famous aggressive wagering, and ended up with a runaway, $42,200 to $18,800 entering Final Jeopardy. She had answered 29/29 tries, but Mary Kay was 24/24 in her own right. Both answered Final correctly, but obviously it wasn't relevant. Despite the anticlimactic 61st clue, this just felt like a ridiculously well-played game. The poor third contestant, Ameet Shukla, never had a chance.

I'm not sure it is THE best-played game ever, and I'm posting this partially to see what other games people come up with. The Harris-Schwartz-Spangenberg Million Dollar Quarterfinal, which I also watched the other day (I was 14 when it aired, so I think I missed it, but who knows), is another possibility that strikes me, although a review at the J-Archive suggests it was more dramatic than anything. Anyway, I'm probably not aware of some obvious candidates, but again, that's where everyone else comes in. Suggestions? I'm thinking of games where at least two players made a very strong go at it, rather than, say, Ken Jennings picking up another 50 grand with 40 correct responses against two hapless foes--although a few Ken's more competitive games could certainly be candidates.
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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by arandomgamer02 »

That's funny, I literally just rewatched that game a few minutes ago. Not online, either, but I was rummaging around the other day and found a DVD I made years ago of Larissa's entire run. I was happy to discover that it still worked.

Ken Jennings game 1. Combined, all three contestants went 57/64 (89%). Each got a daily double and went 2/3 (Jerry missed) for a net of +5,200. In final they went 2/3 (Julia).

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by cheezguyty »

June 29, 1993, the only game in the Archive with 63 correct responses.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by seaborgium »

Bob Harris cited the M$M QF match with Leslie Frates, Chuck Forrest, and Eric Newhouse as one of the best games he'd ever seen.

One of my favorites is Mark Wales vs. Amy Coffee vs. Daniel Weissman. It reran not long before I taped my first appearances, and I made sure to have it recorded alongside the recently-aired 2009 ToC, so I could practice with the best.

Aside from the ending, ElendilPickle's game was pretty superb.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by StevenH »

I am not sure how it compares statistically to the ones that have already been mentioned, but my all time favorite game is the 2004 ToC semifinal between Tom Walsh, Anne Boyd, and Chris Miller.

The 2009 ToC semifinal game between Aaron Schroeder, Ben Bishop, and Mark Wales is up there, too.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by pdano »

I was going to bring up the Aaron/Ben/Mark game, too. Great knowledge, big bets, HIGHLY competitive. Larissa and I were on the sidelines very grateful that they were duking it out amongst themselves.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by opusthepenguin »

seaborgium wrote:Aside from the ending, ElendilPickle's game was pretty superb.
I was just preparing a post on that. Here it is.

Great question, hscer! I think the game you suggested is a definite contender. Here's another one. 3-time champ Ashok Poozhikunnel vs. Matt Ruprecht vs. Lee Ann Roberts (aka our very own ElendilPickle).

If you want to watch it without spoilers, click the play button and read no further. (If the embedded video doesn't work for you, here's a link to it on YouTube).



Here are a few game statistics:

Combined Coryat: $51,000
Clues uncovered: all 60
Wrong responses in SJ/ DJ rounds: 1 (clue 18 in SJ)
Triple stumpers: 2 (clue 28 in SJ, clue 23 in DJ)
Scores at end of SJ: $9,000, $3,800, $4,600
Scores at end of DJ: $21,400, $19,000, $18,000
Scores after FJ:
Spoiler
$3,400, $0, $1
Whether this game should be considered may depend how we define "best-played." Does that include wagering? In any event, the game's a thrill ride with opportunities aplenty to gasp, bite your nails, and shout at the TV. One thing that makes this game great is it's a definite three-way contest. Kara Spak would be proud. A lot of high-scoring games have at least one player who doesn't seem to be in it. That's not the case here.

THE RUNDOWN:

Ashok Poozhikunnel is a 3-day champ with $65,602. That's a formidable $21,867 average per game. And for the Single Jeopardy round, he lives up to the hype. Ashok takes the lead with the second clue and finds the DD with the third. He wagers the max $1000 and gets it right. By clue 5, he's got $3200 to Lee Ann's $200 and Matt's nothin'. Then Matt and Lee Ann start to close the gap, taking turns winning the buzzer race. They get away with this for 6 clues before Ashok finds his buzzer mojo again and grabs some high-value clues. By the end of the round, Ashok is ahead with $9000 to Lee Ann's $4600 and Matt's $3800. They're putting up a good fight, but it seems like Ashok's game.

Then in DJ, Ashok's buzzer prowess deserts him. He gets the first and third clues, bumping his total to $10,600. For the next 22 (!) clues, he looks like a spectator. Matt and Lee Ann take turns buzzing in with correct responses. By clue 12, Matt has tied Ashok and Lee Ann is only $1200 behind them. By clue 15, Lee Ann has tied Ashok and Matt is $1200 ahead. By clue 19, Lee Ann has pulled ahead of Ashok as well. Ashok still has $10,600 to Lee Ann's $11,400 and Matt's $15,800.

That's when Lee Ann lands on the first DD--the $1200 clue in the DIRECTOR category.

She bets $3000. Oh, Pickle! Don't get cold feet on us now! This is the part where we throw things at the TV. Her wager isn't even enough to take the lead. After her correct response, she has $14,400 and is more secure in her second place position than she was previously.

That's when Lee Ann does a smart thing. She abandons the DIRECTOR column. It's out of DDs. She moves to the $1200 clue in EXTRAS. It's not the other DD, but she does win the buzzer race and gets it right. She's only $200 behind Matt now. Then Matt picks up $1600 and the gap widens again. He's got $17,400 to her $15,600.

Meanwhile, Ashok is stuck at $10,600. He can't even take advantage when Matt and Lee Ann don't know the correct response to the next clue--$2000 in EXTRAS. He doesn't know either. (Nor did I.) It's down to 5 clues in EDITOR and 2 in DIRECTOR. Matt picks the $400 clue in EDITOR. Lee Ann rings in with a get and bumps up to $16,000. Six clues left.

This is where Lee Ann does a less smart thing (and I'm totally not saying I would have kept better track). She goes back to the DIRECTOR column for $1600. Whatever else that can do for her, it can't give her another DD. She needs that DD--either for its positive value to her or to keep it out of the hands of her opponents.

Matt picks up that $1600. He chooses the remaining clue in DIRECTOR, the one clue guaranteed NOT to be a DD. That's when Ashok gets a ring in edgewise. (He beats Lee Ann to the buzzer. Matt appears not to have tried to ring in. But that can be hard to tell.) Ashok picks up $2000 for a total of $12,600 to Lee Ann's $16,000 and Matt's $19,000.

It's a crucial get. EDITOR is the only category left. It has 4 clues. One of them is a DD. Ashok picks up right where Lee Ann left off. EDITOR for $800, Alex. Perhaps he isn't aware that this is the least likely of the four remaining clues to have the DD. Perhaps he knows it, but right now he can't remember what he knows. So he defaults to just going down the column. Whatever.

The $800 clue is the DD.

A collective, sympathetic JBoard groan registers briefly on seismographs across North America.

Naturally, with three clues left, Ashok bets enough to have $400 less than Matt's current score. :roll: He gets it right, moving into a very strong second place with $18,600. He then picks up the next two clues to establish an insurmountable pre-FJ lead. Lee Ann grabs the last clue for $2000.

So going into Final, Lee Ann's got $18,000 to Matt's $19,000 (which is also his Coryat since he got no DDs :shock:) and Ashok's $21,400.

This is bad news for Matt, who finds himself in Stratton's Dilemma. He has to choose between guarding against Lee Ann if they both get it right and having enough left over to beat Ashok if all three get it wrong. He can't have it both ways. The wagering calculator says this means he should bet it all or bet nothing. I'm guessing our friend from Vermont would disagree. In Matt's shoes, I would probably waffle between $2400/$2401 to cover a $0 bet by Ashok and $17000 for the shutout-tie against Lee Ann. Unless Matt loves the category, I'd recommend the small bet. If Ashok gets FJ wrong (as he pretty much must do if Matt's going to win), Matt will probably miss it too.

The situation is relatively good news for Lee Ann. She can win on a triple stumper. Her choices are between betting $0, betting $1000/$1001 to tie/beat Matt's current score, and betting $3400/$3401 to tie/beat Ashok's. I don't have a strong opinion here and am open to arguments.

Ashok's position is scary but relatively straightforward. Make the shutout bet. And get FJ right. Keith Williams would recommend the shutout-tie bet, I think. Maybe that's right from a probabilistic game theory standpoint. Maybe I'm just weak and foolish for saying Ashok should risk the extra buck rather than face these powerhouses again.

The Result:
Spoiler
FJ's a triple stumper! If Lee Ann wagered as recommended, she's sitting pretty. She wins with at least $14,599. Not a bad payday for a missed FJ.

North American seismographs register another disturbance in the JBoard Force. Lee Ann, our beloved ElendilPickle, wagered everything but a buck. She'll come back to us a one and done. We still love her, but man! Coulda woulda shoulda. Sigh. Here's Lee Ann/ElendilPickle's recollection of her thinking at the time.

Matt met his dilemma head-on with an all-in wager. Probably not optimal, but not terrible either. And the optimal aggressive wager wouldn't have carried the day in this scenario anyway. He needed a get to make that work. He ends the game in third place with $0.

And Ashok? He over-wagered, but not disastrously. Rather than using the shutout-tie or shutout-win approach, he goes with the NRN* strategy and bets $18,000.

After that titanic offensive slugfest, Ashok wins the game with $3400. His 4-day total is $69,002.

Ashok lost the very next game, a game Lee Ann/ElendilPickle says she would have won easily. Ashok in fact was in third place going into FJ, with half the leader's score. That FJ was (surprisingly, to me anyway) another triple stumper. Kristin Morgan won from second with a savvy wager. She shook off her shaky start and went on to win 4 more games. She went to the TOC as a 5-time champion. In the TOC, she wildcarded into the semi-finals where she beat Dave Leach and Jason Shore :shock:. She came in third in the two-day final against Colby Burnett and Keith Whitener. (Colby had a terrific first day that helped him put together a lock tournament by the end of the second day. Kristin had a very good second day and would have easily taken second place if she'd gotten FJ.)

Oh, and Ashok? He went to the TOC as well on the strength of his 4-game total, most of which he earned in the first three games. He lost to Dave Leach in the first round. His $12,000 wasn't enough for a wildcard.

And now you know, my children, why ElendilPickle's avatar has the caption "ToC Enabler".


*Nice Round Number
NOTE: Writing this was way more involved than I thought. I'm so sick of it I don't feel like editing. Corrections--especially to the numbers or factual assertions--will be gratefully received and incorporated into the above. Acknowledgements for corrections will appear below.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by Woof »

Good call on ElendilPickle's game. If one looks at combined Coryats as an index of how well-played it was (an imperfect metric, to be sure), her game tops the list of non-Teen Week games with an impressive $51,000. In comparison, here are the combined Coryats of the other games mentioned:

Larissa/Mary Kay/Ameet - $49,200
Ken J/Jerry/Julia - $43,600
the June 29, 1993 game - $25,600
Leslie/Chuck/Eric in the M$M - $44,600*
Mark/Amy/Daniel in the TOC - $41,200*

* An obvious variable that needs to be accounted for is the increased difficulty level of clues in the TOC and other tournaments.

Frankly, it's a matter of splitting hairs, as all of these games impress the hell out of me. I can't wait to see Larissa and Ken J back in action next week.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by teapot37 »

Woof wrote:Good call on ElendilPickle's game. If one looks at combined Coryats as an index of how well-played it was (an imperfect metric, to be sure), her game tops the list of non-Teen Week games with an impressive $51,000. In comparison, here are the combined Coryats of the other games mentioned:

Larissa/Mary Kay/Ameet - $49,200
Ken J/Jerry/Julia - $43,600
the June 29, 1993 game - $25,600
Leslie/Chuck/Eric in the M$M - $44,600*
Mark/Amy/Daniel in the TOC - $41,200*

* An obvious variable that needs to be accounted for is the increased difficulty level of clues in the TOC and other tournaments.

Frankly, it's a matter of splitting hairs, as all of these games impress the hell out of me. I can't wait to see Larissa and Ken J back in action next week.
The combined Coryat of my game (thanks for remembering, StevenH) was $44,400 (Tom 11,800 / Anne 15,400 / Chris 17,200). The Aaron / Ben / Mark game he mentioned is $39,600 ($26,600 / $13,400 / $10,600).
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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by StevenH »

It wasn't the most fun game to watch since it ended in a lock, but Mark Runsvold's fifth game, against Samer Ismail and Brian McEntee, was one of the biggest clashes of the titans ever in a regular game. The combined Coryat in that one was $47,400.

Dan Melia's first game, which was the one that was put on Crackle, featured two contestants (Dan and Patrick Friel) who finish near the top of the standings at the World Quizzing Championships every year. That game had a combined Coryat of $22,000, under the pre-doubled dollar values.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by MarkBarrett »

Jason Keller #2: http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=3786

Ryan Chaffee #4: http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=3258

Anne Boyd #1: http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=2641

Those are three with the combined Coryat over 50,000 and champs who went on to the TOC.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by lieph82 »

2009 TOC Finals:
Game 2: 57 R, Coryat $43,200
Both games were really a pleasure.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by boson »

Arthur Chu's first game vs. Julie Singer and Cesar Perez - Gonzalez is not far behind these classics : 42400 combined Coryat and some great playing.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by nightreign »

Woof wrote:Good call on ElendilPickle's game. If one looks at combined Coryats as an index of how well-played it was (an imperfect metric, to be sure), her game tops the list of non-Teen Week games with an impressive $51,000. In comparison, here are the combined Coryats of the other games mentioned:

Larissa/Mary Kay/Ameet - $49,200
Ken J/Jerry/Julia - $43,600
the June 29, 1993 game - $25,600
Leslie/Chuck/Eric in the M$M - $44,600*
Mark/Amy/Daniel in the TOC - $41,200*

* An obvious variable that needs to be accounted for is the increased difficulty level of clues in the TOC and other tournaments.

Frankly, it's a matter of splitting hairs, as all of these games impress the hell out of me. I can't wait to see Larissa and Ken J back in action next week.
The June 29, 1993 game actually would have a higher combined Coryat than ElendilPickle's game, if adjusted for the doubled dollar values.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by MDaunt »

I don't think combined coryat is a terribly useful measure of how well-played a game was - more like a measure of the overall question difficulty. Number of lead changes would be better, at least as a measure of entertainment value.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by Vanya »

The one I am going to be on.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by hscer »

Great responses, everybody, thanks. Keep them coming.

Opus, thank you especially. I went ahead and watched the video first, then read your summary and was still engaged, so well done. It was funny watching the game, as I did not recognize it at all, until Matt's answer of Hoover in Final Jeopardy was ruled incorrect. Freaking writers got me twice! I was frustrated then and frustrated now that they picked a longstanding fact that had just become outdated. Too bad for Matt there's no such thing as half credit in Jeopardy.
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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by ElendilPickle »

This is where Lee Ann does a less smart thing (and I'm totally not saying I would have kept better track). She goes back to the DIRECTOR column for $1600. Whatever else that can do for her, it can't give her another DD. She needs that DD--either for its positive value to her or to keep it out of the hands of her opponents.
If I had hit the second DD, I would have gotten it wrong - the only name I could come up with was Alex Haley.

Great game summary, Opus! I did kind of get cold feet on my DD, but the scores were close enough that I was wary of betting too much and getting it wrong.
Last edited by ElendilPickle on Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by zdude69closedrofl »

I'll have to say I'm a big fan of the "comeback games" where it's like whoever's in a distant third with two really strong players completely comes from behind to steal the game. Three good examples are:

Patrick Macaraeg/Jennifer Goodwin/Vince Valle
http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=3251

Tom Baker's second game:
http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=3177

Chris Miller's Round 2 UToC game:
http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=288

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Re: What's the best-played single game of Trebek era?

Post by seaborgium »

Ooh, yeah, that Patrick Macaraeg one is pretty amazing. I love that he goes from $8,800 to $17,500 to $19,100, $100 ahead of the (former) leader, in the last two clues before time runs out. If I may toot my own horn, in my second game I went from third place after clue 15 of DJ to a guaranteed lock when I hit the last DD on clue 28. It's not a well played game, but it's my favorite of my shows. http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=3106

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