Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

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Kingrat47
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Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by Kingrat47 »

Hello out there! Are you like me? Have you, in perusing game threads over the last few months or so, begun to feel increasingly like a patron of this fine dining establishment?



Does it seem to you as well that we've got the same chorus of Vikings around here, except instead of the wonders of SPAM they've taken to extolling proper wagering strategy until their song drowns out all other ways of appreciating a game of Jeopardy!? If so, know that you are not alone!

To be clear about this, I don't have any problem with finding wagering strategy fascinating (takes all kinds, etc.) or with long, intricate discussions of its ins and outs - if I find it boring, I can always skip past it. What I find grating, and harder to ignore, is the increasingly moralistic bent some of the Vikings are taking with regard to the element of gameplay they most prize. There have been several posts since the Battle of the Decades started that have rankled with me, but this post from yesterday's game thread crystallized it for me:
opusthepenguin wrote:Why couldn't this have been a triple stumper? WHY???!!?!? This was probably Chuck's last chance to find out what happens when you don't bother learning how to wager.

It was amazing how fast this turned from an obvious runaway to a game I thought Ken was going to lose. But FJ proved easy and Chuck proved that his quarter-final FJ wager wasn't due to finally understanding how to bet.

Oh well. Maybe Brad will make one of his bad bets tomorrow and lose to Leszek. I can always hope.
It should be noted that this was not the Vikings' first foray into yesterday's game thread; the fifth comment in the bloody thing, and the second one that isn't a standardized recap of the proceedings read in its entirety as follows:
cf1140 wrote:Surprise Surprise. Chuck Forrest made a dumb bet.
To which I can only say, seriously? THAT'S the first thing you want to say about that game? A thriller contest between two of the all-time Jeopardy greats, with both having chances to display their breadth of knowledge and buzzer speed, a spectacular comeback by the underdog, lead changes, two (appropriate!) True Daily Doubles, a third brilliantly judged big Daily Double bet and a cliffhanger finish and you want to discuss, in the snidest possible fashion, an overwager that was not just irrelevant to the outcome but doubly so? Watch the game any way you want, but you're missing a lot of fun if you do it that way.

As I say, what gets me is the sense that the Vikings consider wagering strategy to be the mark of a true intellectual appreciation of Jeopardy! - that there's something vulgar and fluky about champions who win without making the bets that they, the Vikings, consider to be optimal. The guy who's taken the most flak in the last few months is Brad Rutter, whose combination of utter dominance and non-optimal wagering has brought him in for a ton of quibbling from the Vikings:
lieph82 wrote:
Johnblue wrote:He's won the most money of anyone to ever appear on Jeopardy and it was against top-flight competition. As stated above, he's a machine.
Yes, but check out the number of times he's been trailing going in to FJ and the number of times he's made poor wagers. He's an outstanding player, the best of all time by the "count the rings" argument--he may even be better than he was 8 years ago--but he has major weaknesses in his game and is certainly beatable. It will just take a great performance from another player, and an end to Rutter's luck, to get it done.
opusthepenguin wrote:
lieph82 wrote:
MarkBarrett wrote: How many escapes does Brad have left? Tick tick tick...I say his time is coming and he does not collect the fourth million.
How can somebody so good at the game also have such consistently good luck? It's just unfair! :)
Yeah! Like the time Brad was in second place going into FJ in 2002. Third place India Cooper was completely locked out with only $3800 to his $19600. But Brad bet it all! It was a completely moronic and unjustifiable bet. It gave a chance to India even though she made a $0 bet. Unfortunately, Brad got FJ right, so he wasn't hoist by his own petard in that way.

But wait. Frontrunner Leslie Frates ALSO got FJ right. Too bad, so sad, friend Brad. See ya. Buh-b.... WHAT???!??!??!!? Leslie bet $0 from first place and cost herself the game?!?!??!

That's the kind of thing Mark's talking about. Brad was beat fair and square, and won from second place despite his over-wager. That was two dodged bullets in one game. One dodged due to an opponent's cautious wager, the other due to a fortuitously gettable FJ that would have been at home in a regular match. If that game had had this most recent FJ, Brad would have finished in third place with $0 and a foolish look on his face. I like Brad, but I still wish Leslie had made the shutout bet and the FJ had been a triple stumper. His over-wager would've handed the game to India Cooper, which would've been priceless.

As it is, he probably didn't learn from the experience. I really really really want to see Brad Rutter and Chuck Forrest and I can't remember who else finally lose due to their poor wagers. If they could lose to Stephanie Jass, who's not too cool to hang out with us and so has maybe picked up a wagering trick or two, that would be even more awesome.
And, most spectacularly, this post:
opusthepenguin wrote:
harrumph wrote:What does Brad have to do to be #1?
Here are a few impractical suggestions:
  • Go back in time to 2001 and not lose the first game of the 2-day final to Rick Knutsen.
  • Go back in time to 2002 and not come in second to Leslie Frates going into FJ, only winning because of her $0 bet and despite his own reckless over-wager.
  • Go back in time to 2005 and not be in a distant third to Michael Rooney and Steve Chernicoff going into FJ, that required a sole get AND an over-wager by Steve to counteract his own under-wager. (It was at that crucial point, luck, not skill--and luck that overcame his bad wager with a bad counter-wager by Steve--that kept him from being ELIMINATED from the UTOC. Who knows what name we would attach "#1" to then? In 2011, it would've been someone other than Brad who came in a distant third to Ken Jennings in the match against Watson. Brad would be known as a top-tier player who had a real shot in '05. We would all say not to count him out in this tournament. But anyone who suggested in this thread that he is obviously the best J! player of all time would meet a fair amount of skepticism. Why should things be so different because he caught some very identifiable lucky breaks?)
  • Go back in time to 2005 and not lose his first game against John Cuthbertson, only surviving elimination because it was a two-day affair at that point.
  • Go back in time to 2011 and not come in a distant third WAAAAAYYYY behind Ken Jennings in the second game against Watson. (Ken could have taken his score, subtracted Brad's, and still had enough to keep Brad locked out. If Ken had played as well on the first day of the two-day match, he might have beat Watson. Brad was never in the running.)
In sum, Brad has had many games where he totally dominated. He has also had several where he was quite vulnerable. He has played 22 games (if we break out the 2- and 3-day finals into separate matches). He has won one game from third and another from second, in both cases due to poor wagers by a person ahead of him, in both cases despite his own poor wager, in one case due as well to both people ahead of him missing FJ. He has lost 3 games, two of them as the first half of two-day finals, the other decisively to Ken Jennings but we agree not to count it because the third competitor was not human.

Look. Brad is a good player. He's a great player. He's one of the very very very best. In terms of game outcomes, he is clearly #1. He may come out on top this time around too. Or he might, for the very first time in his J! career lose a game when it counts rather than when it doesn't. He might get an UNlucky break from second or third place. If that happens it may cause people to irrationally change their opinion about how good he is. I've already had my opinion changed by the game we're discussing in this thread. I think he has honed his skills considerably since 2011 and, before that, 2005. He is a lean, mean, J! machine. I have yet to see that he understands wagering. That could be where Roger gets him.
Reasonable people can disagree on the question of whether Brad is the greatest player of all time. There's obviously a hugely compelling argument to make for Ken Jennings, and depending on how this tournament plays out you could see arguments for whichever of the other people wins it - Roger Craig, being otherwise undefeated, would have a particularly strong argument, but I think it's safe to say that the winner's going to have a case.

What's not reasonable, in my view, is to take an admitted flaw in Brad's game, as even I will concede wagering strategy is, and to try and blow it up into a disqualifier. I think in this kind of discussion, you really do have to look, as Opus is loth to do, at "game outcomes."

This speaks to a fallacy that I think cuts to the heart of my problems with the Vikings. It's the difference between trying to assess someone's potential going forward and trying to assess that person in retrospect. You see this when people discuss Hall of Fame candidacies in baseball. You frequently see people discounting candidates because their statistical record, in one way or another, doesn't fit the profile that you want to see when you're assessing whether a player is likely to sustain whatever success he's had in the past. And when you're trying to assess whether Player A is going to have a good season next year, that might be very valuable.

When Player B has been retired for five years and we're trying to decide whether or not he goes to Cooperstown, these forward looking analytical tools get a lot less helpful. We've got Player B's record. He really did accomplish the things contained therein. He doesn't have to worry about next season, and neither should the person trying to place his career in the proper perspective. To switch analogies, consider the hoary old political cliche that the only poll that matters is the one on election day. Brad's trouble with wagering might be analogous to polls showing him trailing with some key constituency. If he keeps getting elected anyway, perhaps we need to reevaluate whether that constituency is as key as we think it is.

This isn't a situation, as in team sports, where "counting the rings" is going to mislead you by crediting the person you're analyzing with successes they had the assistance of teammates in achieving. Luck is undoubtedly a factor in Jeopardy!, but the only people who have an impact on a contestant's success or lack thereof are that contestant and his or her opponent's. So if someone puts up the kind of glittering record that Ken or Brad has, it's theirs to be judged on. It's kind of crazy that I feel the need to defend the *quality* of Brad Rutter's victories, but even if he hadn't put up nine locks in seventeen wins, including six against TOC-or-better level competition, at some point you have to say that quantity has a quality all its own.

This post has already gone on far too long. But I do want to circle back once more to what truly bothers me about the Vikings. It's the sense they give of having suffered some sort of personal affront when someone is successful in spite of not wagering the way they think they should. It's not enough for Opus that Chuck lost last night - he lost without receiving his proper comeuppance for improper wagering, and so Opus is disappointed. Better, of course, that Chuck open his eyes to the vital importance of wagering strategy, but if he wasn't going to do that the least he could have done was provide a cautionary example for everyone else.

I'm tired of it. As I say, I know that people are going to keep focussing on the wagers, and that's great. But I think, and I suspect I'm not alone in this, that we could do with a little less moralizing about it.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by lieph82 »

I think that if, in every single one of his appearances on the show, Brad screwed up a basic "this is the state capital of ___" clue, you would hear no end of comments about it on this board. It's frustrating when someone has a weakness that is very easily correctable and it seems as though he does nothing about it.

That being said, everyone has weaknesses in their game, and when Brad's weaknesses have been exposed, he has won due to weaknesses in the wagering strategies of other players. There's really no doubt as to Brad's greatness. And you're right that posters sometimes get a little too frustrated and start moralizing and whatnot. But I think the consternation is warranted, if not to the degree of some of those posts.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by bleezy »

If I'm confident that I know everything there is to know about 19th century poems then I can wager as much as I want on such a question.

Only Mr. Forrest knows how confident he was with his knowledge of the subject. So even if there is only some tiny chance that KJ will make a sub-optimal wager, CF might consider himself even less likely to not know the right answer. By increasing his bet he can cover a greater number of possible sub-optimal wagers that KJ could make. There is admittedly a very small chance of any sub-optimal bet by KJ, but that chance is non-zero. The more confident CF is in his knowledge of 19th c poems, the more he can wager to cover these faint possibilities. And considering he got the answer right I don't think anyone can definitively say it was a dumb wager.

It really isn't as cut and dry as changing your door in the Monty-Haul problem; Jeopardy! is a game where understanding the abilities and psychology of the other players and correctly gauging one's own abilities is important.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by evanakm »

Kingrat47 wrote:When Player B has been retired for five years and we're trying to decide whether or not he goes to Cooperstown, these forward looking analytical tools get a lot less helpful. We've got Player B's record. He really did accomplish the things contained therein. He doesn't have to worry about next season, and neither should the person trying to place his career in the proper perspective. To switch analogies, consider the hoary old political cliche that the only poll that matters is the one on election day. Brad's trouble with wagering might be analogous to polls showing him trailing with some key constituency. If he keeps getting elected anyway, perhaps we need to reevaluate whether that constituency is as key as we think it is.
I agree with everything you said, but you don't even need to go that far. If every game where Brad was helped by a little luck led to three games where he dominated his TOC-calibre competition, that reveals a (very well known) flaw in the game, which is that the best players don't always win.

Somewhere in the archives, there is a player of Brad Rutter or Ken Jennings' calibre who lost his or her first game. I have no desire to spend hours debating the ethical implications of this. I'm here to discuss how impressive it is that a player knows facts in six completely unrelated categories. If I really cared that much about wagering strategy, Texas Hold 'em Poker is on frequently enough that I'd watch it to my heart's content. But watching Jeopardy for the wagering strategy (and then spending hours complaining about it) is not the best use of my time.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by Kingrat47 »

lieph82 wrote:I think that if, in every single one of his appearances on the show, Brad screwed up a basic "this is the state capital of ___" clue, you would hear no end of comments about it on this board. It's frustrating when someone has a weakness that is very easily correctable and it seems as though he does nothing about it.

That being said, everyone has weaknesses in their game, and when Brad's weaknesses have been exposed, he has won due to weaknesses in the wagering strategies of other players. There's really no doubt as to Brad's greatness. And you're right that posters sometimes get a little too frustrated and start moralizing and whatnot. But I think the consternation is warranted, if not to the degree of some of those posts.
I appreciate the response. A subsidiary point of mine, buried in my overlong initial post, is that wagering, particularly of the Final Jeopardy variety that seems to preoccupy most of the wagering analysis, is an awful lot less important than it's being treated.

To use your example, if a player were goofing up Jeopardy 101 stuff like state capitals in every game he played, it is my strong suspicion that such a player would lose in his first game. It has been an extremely long time since I saw a Jeopardy! champion who I thought was outright weak in the knowledge component of their game, and sure enough he lost the next day. Whereas the example of Brad (and Chuck, and I'm quite sure many more) demonstrates that one can have one of the most spectacular Jeopardy! careers around without following any but the most basic tenets of wagering ("Don't Clavin").

Now, I take your point that the wagering basics are relatively easily grasped. I also agree that it's immensely frustrating to watch someone shooting themselves in the foot - watching Jeanie Welch was incredibly annoying, because her timid wagers seemed designed to undercut an otherwise impressive player, and indeed she was beaten in the end because she bet too little. With that said, I draw the line where people seem to be approaching the game through the prism of wagering first, everything else second - and that is how the posts I quoted above, particularly the ones from yesterday, struck me.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by Vanya »

What gets me, is that Chuck Forrest's FJ bet was irrelevant, so all discussion of how "dumb" it was is also irrelevant.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by slam »

Vanya wrote:What gets me, is that Chuck Forrest's FJ bet was irrelevant, so all discussion of how "dumb" it was is also irrelevant.
Now that's a logical fallacy. Just because one takes an action that later proves irrelevant to a final result doesn't mean the initial action can't be judged by whether it was "dumb" or "smart" at the time that it was made.

Consider an example from baseball. A team has its slowest player on 1st base with 2nd base open and the opposing pitcher has the best pickoff move in the league and the catcher has an amazing bullet arm. Manager has the runner attempt to steal and, unsurprisingly, he's thrown out. Seems like a dumb move to me. And even though the runner's team a few innings later rallies big time to win the game, making the poor decision irrelevant, doesn't make that decision any less dumb.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by evanakm »

slam wrote:
Vanya wrote:What gets me, is that Chuck Forrest's FJ bet was irrelevant, so all discussion of how "dumb" it was is also irrelevant.
Now that's a logical fallacy. Just because one takes an action that later proves irrelevant to a final result doesn't mean the initial action can't be judged by whether it was "dumb" or "smart" at the time that it was made.

Consider an example from baseball. A team has its slowest player on 1st base with 2nd base open and the opposing pitcher has the best pickoff move in the league and the catcher has an amazing bullet arm. Manager has the runner attempt to steal and, unsurprisingly, he's thrown out. Seems like a dumb move to me. And even though the runner's team a few innings later rallies big time to win the game, making the poor decision irrelevant, doesn't make that decision any less dumb.

It's absolutely a logical fallacy. But if you show up at the office every single day and start pontificating about how the Yankees didn't deserve to win last night's game because they made a tactical error in the third inning, first of all, people are going to get annoyed, and second of all, you're missing the point of watching baseball.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by econgator »

evanakm wrote:start pontificating about how the Yankees didn't deserve to win last night's game
They didn't win last night's game. ;)

Hey, I'm a Mets fan; I take what little satisfaction I can get when I can get it.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by zakharov »

I appreciate you making this post, and this should be an interesting discussion. I agree that the chiding of poor wagerers seems to have taken on a bit more of a strident tone lately.

A pet theory of mine is that the "gene" for knowledge absorption and canny wagering overlaps less than we think. I offer myself as an example: I've passed the audition test three times, but I find learning about wagering difficult and tedious. The number of scenarios that exist can seem overwhelming. While I'd certainly spend time studying strategy were I ever to get The Call, this may be something worth considering as an explanation. People find different things easy or difficult to learn.

There's also the glare of the lights to consider. Maybe some people spent hours studying wagering scenarios, but couldn't come up with them in the heat of the moment on the stage, and went with a gut wager. Not saying that would be Chuck's explanation, but it's worth remembering.

Yes, this may be a rambling defense of my own poor wagering skills, but I stand by it.
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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by slam »

evanakm wrote:
slam wrote:
Vanya wrote:What gets me, is that Chuck Forrest's FJ bet was irrelevant, so all discussion of how "dumb" it was is also irrelevant.
Now that's a logical fallacy. Just because one takes an action that later proves irrelevant to a final result doesn't mean the initial action can't be judged by whether it was "dumb" or "smart" at the time that it was made.

Consider an example from baseball. A team has its slowest player on 1st base with 2nd base open and the opposing pitcher has the best pickoff move in the league and the catcher has an amazing bullet arm. Manager has the runner attempt to steal and, unsurprisingly, he's thrown out. Seems like a dumb move to me. And even though the runner's team a few innings later rallies big time to win the game, making the poor decision irrelevant, doesn't make that decision any less dumb.

It's absolutely a logical fallacy. But if you show up at the office every single day and start pontificating about how the Yankees didn't deserve to win last night's game because they made a tactical error in the third inning, first of all, people are going to get annoyed, and second of all, you're missing the point of watching baseball.
Well, I'm a Mets fan, too! And in real life, I usually let such statements slide because of social considerations. But the rules as to what's appropriate to comment on here are different than in real life. After all, even bothering to talk about what happened in last night's J!, even as exciting and interesting a game as last night's was, would simply gather a bunch of glazed eyes.

In the days of the Sony board, I was one of the most frequent posters on wagering strategy in both DD and FJ situations. Around here, there are others who post excellent analyses much more quickly than I get around to it, so I generally no longer bother. I agree that the attitude toward poor wagering has gotten a bit out of hand. However, I also believe that it's very reasonable topic to discuss around here.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by lieph82 »

Kingrat47 wrote:
lieph82 wrote:I think that if, in every single one of his appearances on the show, Brad screwed up a basic "this is the state capital of ___" clue, you would hear no end of comments about it on this board. It's frustrating when someone has a weakness that is very easily correctable and it seems as though he does nothing about it.

That being said, everyone has weaknesses in their game, and when Brad's weaknesses have been exposed, he has won due to weaknesses in the wagering strategies of other players. There's really no doubt as to Brad's greatness. And you're right that posters sometimes get a little too frustrated and start moralizing and whatnot. But I think the consternation is warranted, if not to the degree of some of those posts.
I appreciate the response. A subsidiary point of mine, buried in my overlong initial post, is that wagering, particularly of the Final Jeopardy variety that seems to preoccupy most of the wagering analysis, is an awful lot less important than it's being treated.

To use your example, if a player were goofing up Jeopardy 101 stuff like state capitals in every game he played, it is my strong suspicion that such a player would lose in his first game. It has been an extremely long time since I saw a Jeopardy! champion who I thought was outright weak in the knowledge component of their game, and sure enough he lost the next day. Whereas the example of Brad (and Chuck, and I'm quite sure many more) demonstrates that one can have one of the most spectacular Jeopardy! careers around without following any but the most basic tenets of wagering ("Don't Clavin").

Now, I take your point that the wagering basics are relatively easily grasped. I also agree that it's immensely frustrating to watch someone shooting themselves in the foot - watching Jeanie Welch was incredibly annoying, because her timid wagers seemed designed to undercut an otherwise impressive player, and indeed she was beaten in the end because she bet too little. With that said, I draw the line where people seem to be approaching the game through the prism of wagering first, everything else second - and that is how the posts I quoted above, particularly the ones from yesterday, struck me.
That is totally fair, and I agree with much of what you're saying.

Of course, not knowing wagering strategy is not anywhere near the same level as not knowing Jeopardy 101 stuff. But you can know A LOT of Jeopardy 101 stuff and still have obvious gaps in your knowledge, like sports or capitals. I would be surprised if a player missed a basic state capitals question, but I understand that everyone has knowledge gaps. What would annoy me is if that same player came back and kept missing state capitals questions, making it appear as though they didn't make the effort to fill in that gap. The fact that he won a lot of games despite not knowing state capitals, or despite not knowing wagering strategy, doesn't excuse him from taking a little bit of time to shore up his knowledge in that area during the interim.

In a lot of ways, a champion like Brad who keeps on winning despite poor wagering strategy is even MORE impressive, because the other aspects of his game have to be that much more impressive. But luck has contributed to his wins as well, just like it has contributed to the wins of every single Jeopardy! champion in history. His weaknesses and his luck are just especially highlighted because of his success.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by Woof »

zakharov wrote:I appreciate you making this post, and this should be an interesting discussion. I agree that the chiding of poor wagerers seems to have taken on a bit more of a strident tone lately.

A pet theory of mine is that the "gene" for knowledge absorption and canny wagering overlaps less than we think. I offer myself as an example: I've passed the audition test three times, but I find learning about wagering difficult and tedious. The number of scenarios that exist can seem overwhelming. While I'd certainly spend time studying strategy were I ever to get The Call, this may be something worth considering as an explanation. People find different things easy or difficult to learn.
That's a very relevant point. Jeopardy emphasizes knowledge recall, logical association and wordplay. Canny wagering makes use of formal logic and mathematics, neither of which figure greatly in the play of the game.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by Kingrat47 »

lieph82 wrote: Of course, not knowing wagering strategy is not anywhere near the same level as not knowing Jeopardy 101 stuff. But you can know A LOT of Jeopardy 101 stuff and still have obvious gaps in your knowledge, like sports or capitals. I would be surprised if a player missed a basic state capitals question, but I understand that everyone has knowledge gaps. What would annoy me is if that same player came back and kept missing state capitals questions, making it appear as though they didn't make the effort to fill in that gap. The fact that he won a lot of games despite not knowing state capitals, or despite not knowing wagering strategy, doesn't excuse him from taking a little bit of time to shore up his knowledge in that area during the interim.

In a lot of ways, a champion like Brad who keeps on winning despite poor wagering strategy is even MORE impressive, because the other aspects of his game have to be that much more impressive. But luck has contributed to his wins as well, just like it has contributed to the wins of every single Jeopardy! champion in history. His weaknesses and his luck are just especially highlighted because of his success.
You are of course entirely right to say that Brad's been lucky, as everyone's been lucky who's been on the show. Evanakm is undoubtedly right that there are many "superchamps who weren't", buried in the archives, the victims of bad luck on Daily Doubles or Final Jeopardy questions or an opponent who got hot at precisely the wrong time. How many of the 147 Ken Jennings victims might have won multiple games under other circumstances? So yeah, it's perfectly fair to say, hey, Brad's been very lucky at points.

The tricky thing is not to sound churlish in making that point, which I should say is something that to my mind you personally have avoided. It's one thing to observe that a particular champ has been observably lucky at points, and another to say that that luck eliminates him from the conversation about who's the best. I mean, I guess I could imagine hypothetical scenarios in which a player might compile a record that would get them into the conversation but falls apart on closer scrutiny (five undistinguished regular wins, TOC QF wildcard, squeaks through in the semis from behind, wins the final despite not winning either day, etc etc.) but I can't imagine that Brad Rutter in any way resembles that scenario.

As I say, I think it's great to analyze contestants' wagering savvy or lack thereof, but I'm increasingly convinced it's something like 5% at most of what makes a top champion. Possibly a great tie-breaker if we can't otherwise decide, but unlikely to be the key factor.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by harrumph »

IIRC, it seemed that the contestants in the UTOC, when the situation called for it, understood the 2/3rds rule at a much higher rate than the average contestant, and I think this also applies to TOCs.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by Magna »

Occasionally, a wagering problem interests me, but in general I'm not all that interested in it. So I usually just don't read the posts or parts of posts that deal with it. For me, that's an easier and more natural response than writing at length.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by Turd Ferguson »

zakharov wrote:There's also the glare of the lights to consider. Maybe some people spent hours studying wagering scenarios, but couldn't come up with them in the heat of the moment on the stage, and went with a gut wager. Not saying that would be Chuck's explanation, but it's worth remembering.
I figure that if Robert K S could make a "bad" FJ! wager, anybody can make a bad wager, and it's not necessarily evidence that a player was not properly prepared for his/her appearance, 'couldn't understand a simple concept', or anything like that. So, I personally am not going to criticize anyone's wager, and tend to just skim past posts that do so.

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by countyguy »

Kingrat47 wrote:
lieph82 wrote: Of course, not knowing wagering strategy is not anywhere near the same level as not knowing Jeopardy 101 stuff. But you can know A LOT of Jeopardy 101 stuff and still have obvious gaps in your knowledge, like sports or capitals. I would be surprised if a player missed a basic state capitals question, but I understand that everyone has knowledge gaps. What would annoy me is if that same player came back and kept missing state capitals questions, making it appear as though they didn't make the effort to fill in that gap. The fact that he won a lot of games despite not knowing state capitals, or despite not knowing wagering strategy, doesn't excuse him from taking a little bit of time to shore up his knowledge in that area during the interim.

In a lot of ways, a champion like Brad who keeps on winning despite poor wagering strategy is even MORE impressive, because the other aspects of his game have to be that much more impressive. But luck has contributed to his wins as well, just like it has contributed to the wins of every single Jeopardy! champion in history. His weaknesses and his luck are just especially highlighted because of his success.
You are of course entirely right to say that Brad's been lucky, as everyone's been lucky who's been on the show. Evanakm is undoubtedly right that there are many "superchamps who weren't", buried in the archives, the victims of bad luck on Daily Doubles or Final Jeopardy questions or an opponent who got hot at precisely the wrong time. How many of the 147 Ken Jennings victims might have won multiple games under other circumstances? So yeah, it's perfectly fair to say, hey, Brad's been very lucky at points.

The tricky thing is not to sound churlish in making that point, which I should say is something that to my mind you personally have avoided. It's one thing to observe that a particular champ has been observably lucky at points, and another to say that that luck eliminates him from the conversation about who's the best. I mean, I guess I could imagine hypothetical scenarios in which a player might compile a record that would get them into the conversation but falls apart on closer scrutiny (five undistinguished regular wins, TOC QF wildcard, squeaks through in the semis from behind, wins the final despite not winning either day, etc etc.) but I can't imagine that Brad Rutter in any way resembles that scenario.

As I say, I think it's great to analyze contestants' wagering savvy or lack thereof, but I'm increasingly convinced it's something like 5% at most of what makes a top champion. Possibly a great tie-breaker if we can't otherwise decide, but unlikely to be the key factor.
Other people have been lucky, too, as you have stated I want to share more examples.

First, note that the last player to have 5 straight locks in games 1-5 is Rick Knutsen (unless a four-timer clavined), and nobody's invincible when they don't have a lock. Starting season 20, only two 5+-timers

Out of 61 5+ day champs since the 5-game rule was removed, 40 trailed at least once going into FJ! in their first five games, requiring either a miss or an underwager on the leader's part. Joel Pool only led twice in seven games. A total of 15 of the 61 above players trailed going into FJ! going into their first game. Dan Pawson was not only in third, but missed!

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by opusthepenguin »

Kingrat47 wrote:And, most spectacularly, this post:
opusthepenguin wrote:
harrumph wrote:What does Brad have to do to be #1?
Here are a few impractical suggestions:
[Excessive spectacularness redacted]
I really am spectacular, aren't I?

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Re: Against the Wagering Vikings [SPOILERS up to May 12, 2014]

Post by sarah0114 »

zakharov wrote:A pet theory of mine is that the "gene" for knowledge absorption and canny wagering overlaps less than we think. I offer myself as an example: I've passed the audition test three times, but I find learning about wagering difficult and tedious. The number of scenarios that exist can seem overwhelming. While I'd certainly spend time studying strategy were I ever to get The Call, this may be something worth considering as an explanation. People find different things easy or difficult to learn.
Seconded. Or thirded or wherever we are now. I don't know, counting is hard.

I think that another problem is that if you want to learn this wagering strategy, you also have to learn all the lingo first because no one really explains what they're talking about (Keith makes an effort but he goes very fast in his videos so it can be hard to keep up). I still don't understand what the hell Shore's conjecture is or what it has to do with anything, and I have read the glossary several times. It's a lot harder to make knowledge "stick" if you're not interested in it, and I have a lot of difficulty getting interested in this, especially when wagering strategy seems to be based on the assumption that the other two players will make rational wagers, which they probably won't.

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