Gameplay Strategies

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oduguy22
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Gameplay Strategies

Post by oduguy22 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:32 pm

Hello just curious because I dont want anyone to repeat themselves but i was curious is there any listing old or new about different gameplay strategies when you guys have played Jeopardy on the show? I know everyone has different ideas, but just curious to hear what people have to say. I have a taping coming up and I know how i want to do, but I would just like to see what others think or have done to give them the best possibility of winning, thanks all!!!

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by MattKnowles » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:51 pm

Strategic Choices:
-Hunt for daily doubles or don't hunt for daily doubles
-Stay in one column or bounce between different categories
-Take clues from top row to bottom row, from bottom row to top row, random order, or some other order
-On daily doubles, bet aggressively or bet small.

Be careful guessing on clues that you don't know. Avoid ringing in and answering incorrectly.

For FJ bet according to the wagering calculator and don't overthink it. http://www.j-archive.com/wageringcalculator.php

I think people on this forum are pretty mixed about whether or not to hunt for daily doubles. Some people are die-hard advocates. Ideally you don't want your opponents to get the daily double, but you don't necessarily have any control over that. Whoever has control of the board is more likely to find the daily double and whoever has good trivia knowledge and buzzer skill will have control of the board more often.

If you have an advantage over the other contestants in a particular category or difficulty level it would make sense to pick those clues in order to increase your chance of retaining control. I think part of James' strategy worked really well because he had an advantage on the more difficult bottom row clues and he kept more control of the board in the early game by going back to those clues. If you're not an exceptional player you probably won't have any significant advantage over the other players and it won't matter which row or column you pick clues from as long as you avoid weak categories.

Bet aggressively on daily doubles. Almost all players tend to bet too timidly on daily doubles and reduce their chances of winning. You should probably always bet the maximum possible on a DD in the Jeopardy round or early in the Double Jeopardy round. I think a good rule of thumb is to bet as much as you can without taking yourself out of contention. There is $18,000 of value in the J round and $36,000 of value in the DJ round with $54,000 clue value total. If you're still not at the halfway mark for dollar value of clues played there is a lot of time left. It's recommended to bet big if you can get a lock game or put second place at less than 2/3 of your score even if you drop down to second place. First/Second place is a lot more critical when 2nd place has less than 2/3 of the score.

Examples on DD betting:
If the score is 6000-400-200 in the Jeopardy round in your favor then you should bet 6000. Even if you miss you still have the entire DJ round and you'll still be in contention. If the score is 6000-5000-2000 at the start of the DJ round you should still bet everything, there is plenty of time left.

If the scores are 20000-17000-200 at a DD at the end of the DJ round and if you're in first place you can bet as much as 11500 and it is still an ok bet. Betting at least 5,500 is recommended, a 6000 bet would be good to put them at less than 2/3. If you were in second place at 20000-17000-200 bet between 3001 and 3665 to take the lead without dropping to 2/3. If the scores are 20000-14000-200 at a DD at the end of the DJ round and you're in first place you should bet a bit more than 8000 to go for the lock game. If you're in second place in that scenario bet $5.

Trivia knowledge and buzzer skill will dictate who will control the game more than strategy. The only strategic choices you have are which clues to pick and how much to bet. If you can gain some advantage by picking certain clues then pick those, otherwise it probably won't matter. If you have a chance to bet on daily doubles you should usually bet a large amount.
I had a dream that I was asleep and then I woke up and Jeopardy! was on.

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by talkingaway » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:12 am

Definitely go over FJ! wagering scenarios. If you lead, it's usually not wrong to wager 2x - y + 1, where x is second place, and y is your score. There's always one good argument for that bet: if you're right, you automatically win. It's more complicated if you're in second or third place, and you can even use game theory to iterate back to the leader betting less than that wager, but...it's a bit of a risk. Remember that the two most common results in FJ! are triple wins and triple stumpers. In season 34 (picked for non-Holtzhauer), each answer was essentially a coin flip in that 50% of all of the responses were correct, but the flips were linked. If you get it right, chances are your opponents got it right too, so be aggressive.

The other strategy that I've seen and heard discussed - and it can be annoying to viewers, but handy to use - is to abbreviate category names when you call them out. This isn't just to speed the game along so you get a full complement of 60 clues given. It's particularly helpful in categories where the response must fit the category - anything involving wordplay or quotation marks, for example. If your opponent "forgets" the full category, they'll either have a hard time coming up with a response, or they'll give a response that doesn't fit.

So, if you see a category named "Rhymes with Fettuccine", call out "Rhymes for 800" when you select a clue from that category. Ostensibly, you'll know the rhyming word, but your opponents might not. And it doesn't have to be just wordplay - if the category is "1960s Movies", call out "Movies" to take the 1960s anchoring hint out.

To combat this if your opponents use this trick, pay attention to the categories at the start of the round, and maybe give them a second look if there's ever a pause in action, like during an opponent's DD.


Of course, all of this is secondary to the two pillars of J! that have already been mentioned: buzzer reflexes and knowledge. In fact, I'd say buzzer/brain speed, knowledge, and DD/FJ wagering are the three most important things, and anything else adds less and less marginal value. Hunting for DDs just makes sense to me, but depends on board control...and if you frequently have board control, your score is likely to be high anyway.

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by mas3cf » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:27 am

Respectfully, I have to disagree with the strategy of going from the top down if you're strong in a category. It's only the most likely way to retain control of the board if (a) both opponents are absurdly weak in that category, or (b) you are extremely strong on the buzzer, like "win 90% of the times you try" strong, which is Watson territory.

Think about it this way: you retain control of the board if you answer correctly or if there is a triple stumper. In your wheelhouse categories, the odds are much better on the bottom row that one or both of your competitors won't know it. And if you don't know it, they probably won't either. On the higher rows, you're more likely to have a buzzer race.

Even in a category where you're weak, playing bottom up is your best chance of retaining control, but in this case you're pretty much hoping for a triple stumper, which is more likely on the bottom row.

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by davey » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:24 am

talkingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:12 am

The other strategy that I've seen and heard discussed - and it can be annoying to viewers, but handy to use - is to abbreviate category names when you call them out. This isn't just to speed the game along so you get a full complement of 60 clues given. It's particularly helpful in categories where the response must fit the category - anything involving wordplay or quotation marks, for example. If your opponent "forgets" the full category, they'll either have a hard time coming up with a response, or they'll give a response that doesn't fit.

So, if you see a category named "Rhymes with Fettuccine", call out "Rhymes for 800" when you select a clue from that category. Ostensibly, you'll know the rhyming word, but your opponents might not. And it doesn't have to be just wordplay - if the category is "1960s Movies", call out "Movies" to take the 1960s anchoring hint out.
Yes, this can be annoying watching at home, which I suppose is why viewers may think of it as a strategy. But does it work as obstruction in the studio? Unlike home viewers, the players have the category names in sight at all times...

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by Woof » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:06 am

The best advice I've received, which I now pass on, is to play the game that best suits you. If timing the buzzer off the lights works for you, go for it. If, OTOH, you're more comfortable timing it off of Alex's voice, do that instead. If you're highly risk averse, bet accordingly; if you're not, bet in accordance with game theory. Regardless, though, know proper wagering strategy and make intelligent wagers. If you believe that your knowledge base is stronger than your opponents', focus on the high value questions; conversely, if you feel that buzzer speed is your strength, apply a top-down strategy.

Above all, don't feel afraid to change your strategy mid-game if it's not working out for you. Good luck!

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by merica » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:34 am

davey wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:24 am
talkingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:12 am

The other strategy that I've seen and heard discussed - and it can be annoying to viewers, but handy to use - is to abbreviate category names when you call them out. This isn't just to speed the game along so you get a full complement of 60 clues given. It's particularly helpful in categories where the response must fit the category - anything involving wordplay or quotation marks, for example. If your opponent "forgets" the full category, they'll either have a hard time coming up with a response, or they'll give a response that doesn't fit.

So, if you see a category named "Rhymes with Fettuccine", call out "Rhymes for 800" when you select a clue from that category. Ostensibly, you'll know the rhyming word, but your opponents might not. And it doesn't have to be just wordplay - if the category is "1960s Movies", call out "Movies" to take the 1960s anchoring hint out.
Yes, this can be annoying watching at home, which I suppose is why viewers may think of it as a strategy. But does it work as obstruction in the studio? Unlike home viewers, the players have the category names in sight at all times...
And I cannot stand when the players abbreviate the amount of the clue. I'm thinking if they want to play "Rhymes for 8", then their correct answer should be worth $8, not $800. Just a pet peeve of mine! :P
Oh, and it seems that FJ wagers, in general, are just atrocious. For having so many intelligent people on the game, they sure could use a math refresher.

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by Peter the accountant » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:16 pm

MattKnowles wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:51 pm

For FJ bet according to the wagering calculator and don't overthink it. http://www.j-archive.com/wageringcalculator.php
I personally find the wagering calculator too difficult to apply under pressure. If you don't that's fine. But it's got too much "if this, then that" for me.

I prefer the method at The Final Wager http://thefinalwager.com/. It gets to the same result, but with a much simpler method. Learn a few rules, then follow the same construction method every time. Yes, it is a tad slower then memorizing a large if...then table. But you have almost unlimited time to calculate your wager, and Keith's method isn't very slow anyway.

In either case, I would grab a stack of cards (I don't recall if they give you 3x5 or 4x6, but find out and get that one) and a sharpie, then start calculating wagers. The more you do, the better you'll get. Go through the archive and play every game you can. Play along with the daily broadcast. Pause the show during the final commercial break and take the time to calculate your wagers. Calculate the wager for every player every time. You'll need to know how to wager from every position, plus you usually need to calculate the other wagers to figure your own maximum and minimum wager anyway.

Resist the temptation to shortcut the process in your head in practice. You'll be under pressure when the lights are on and your mental math skills will deteriorate slightly. If you get in the habit of shortcutting in practice, you'll try it when things get real and you're more likely to make a mistake. The goal is to turn your FJ wager into a rote exercise.
--Peter

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by talkingaway » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:31 pm

davey wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:24 am
talkingaway wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:12 am

The other strategy that I've seen and heard discussed - and it can be annoying to viewers, but handy to use - is to abbreviate category names when you call them out. This isn't just to speed the game along so you get a full complement of 60 clues given. It's particularly helpful in categories where the response must fit the category - anything involving wordplay or quotation marks, for example. If your opponent "forgets" the full category, they'll either have a hard time coming up with a response, or they'll give a response that doesn't fit.

So, if you see a category named "Rhymes with Fettuccine", call out "Rhymes for 800" when you select a clue from that category. Ostensibly, you'll know the rhyming word, but your opponents might not. And it doesn't have to be just wordplay - if the category is "1960s Movies", call out "Movies" to take the 1960s anchoring hint out.
Yes, this can be annoying watching at home, which I suppose is why viewers may think of it as a strategy. But does it work as obstruction in the studio? Unlike home viewers, the players have the category names in sight at all times...
As someone who's never set foot in the studio to see the game live, I assume the pace of the play is fast enough that when a clue is called, one of two things happens. You're either an "auditory player", and listen to Alex as he reads the question, or a "visual player", and you read the clue as Alex says it in the background. Either way, you might not have time to look up to see the whole name of the category before it's time to buzz in. Maybe you can take 0.5 seconds AFTER you buzz in to refresh your mind on the category, but by then, it's a little too late.

I also have no idea if the board is close enough that you can read the clues. Seems like it would be. That would be a good piece of advice for former J! contestants to weigh in on - although your own personal style may help. I tend to ignore Alex and read at home, unless he starts doing voices as hints. (I know he's done that at least once this season already, but I'm blanking on when he did it.)

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by Steve McClellan » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:58 pm

Getting your wagering strategy worked out is by far the biggest bang for your buck in terms of preparation.

The single biggest bang: If you're in the lead, you probably want to bet for the shutout. If you're not, you probably want to realize that the leader usually does make that bet, therefore either 1) the leader is right and there's nothing you could possibly do to win, or 2) the leader is wrong and you have a pretty good idea of the leader's post-Final score. For the love of all that is holy, make use of that knowledge!

---

The following makes use of a bunch of my personal stats (because I have them handy, and I have an ego two sizes too big). These will be most useful to someone similar to me: about at the level of an average-to-slightly-above-average on-air contestant.[1]

All of these are based on a sample of 710 first-run, regular-play games.

Bet aggressively on DDs, especially in the J! round. There's still a lot of time to recover from a miss, and even a mediocre player like me has a 76% get rate on DDs in that round.

Do pay a bit of attention to the clue value, though, as lower-box DDs are more difficult. I'm 83% in the $400 row, falling to 68% in the $1000 row.

Aggression on DJ! DDs is often a good idea. I'm at 68% overall (76% in the $800 row down to 60% in the $2000 row).

If you're in the lead and hit a DD late in DJ!, consider betting for the lock, even if it's an all-in wager. You're probably more likely to get the DD right than Final. (My 54% clip in Finals is worse than even my $2000-row DD rate.)

Take DD categories with a grain of salt. I assign topics to each category. There are 30 topics in my sample in which 25 or more DDs have appeared. I am over 50% on DDs in every single one of them. Among those common topics, my worst is movies, where I'm 450/1610 (28%) on non-DD clues (with 47 negs). I earn only 19% of the available Coryat score in movie categories. Yet I'm 20/34 (58%) on movie DDs. The bit of knowledge you need to come up with a correct DD response is often not from the category listed at the top of the column.

In Final, if you're not in the lead, prefer betting to win on a triple stumper over forcing yourself to get a Final that the leader misses. I'm 54% on all Finals, but only 41% on Finals the on-air leader misses.
  • The leader misses 45% of the time.
  • First and third both miss 31% of the time.
  • In only 19% of games do I get Final and see the leader miss it.
  • First and second both miss 28% of the time.
  • In only 11% of games do I get Final and see both first and second miss it.
---

[1] My primary evidence for that assessment is Final get rates. Over my 710-regular-game sample, on-air contestants are at 48% overall, and leaders (entering Final) are at 55%. I'm at 54%.

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by Golf » Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:42 pm

Some important clarifications.
Be careful guessing on clues that you don't know. Avoid ringing in and answering incorrectly.
If you never give a wrong answer you aren't ringing in enough.
I think people on this forum are pretty mixed about whether or not to hunt for daily doubles. Some people are die-hard advocates. Ideally you don't want your opponents to get the daily double, but you don't necessarily have any control over that. Whoever has control of the board is more likely to find the daily double and whoever has good trivia knowledge and buzzer skill will have control of the board more often.
The three DD's are the most important clues of the regular game, so obviously it's better you find them than your opponents. The above is partially correct as control of the board helps in finding the DD's. But we all see the lemmings with control of the board continually go to the top of a category and forfeit the chance of finding one. Not hunting for them is simply lowering your chances of winning.
Bet aggressively on daily doubles. Almost all players tend to bet too timidly on daily doubles and reduce their chances of winning. You should probably always bet the maximum possible on a DD in the Jeopardy round or early in the Double Jeopardy round. I think a good rule of thumb is to bet as much as you can without taking yourself out of contention.
Again, partially accurate. Most contestants do not wager enough when the odds are in their favor. However, even more contestants wager too much when the odds are not in their favor. One must take into account category and how far down the board the clue is. Wagering everything on a bottom row clue in a bad category is bad strategy as well. A good rule of thumb in the first round is to either wager everything or $5, the minimum.

Taking yourself out of contention is irrelevant. You make the wager that gives you the best chance of winning the game regardless if you take yourself out of contention if you miss.
Examples on DD betting:
If the score is 6000-400-200 in the Jeopardy round in your favor then you should bet 6000. Even if you miss you still have the entire DJ round and you'll still be in contention. If the score is 6000-5000-2000 at the start of the DJ round you should still bet everything, there is plenty of time left.
Again, you have to take category and row placement into account here.
If the scores are 20000-17000-200 at a DD at the end of the DJ round and if you're in first place you can bet as much as 11500 and it is still an ok bet. Betting at least 5,500 is recommended, a 6000 bet would be good to put them at less than 2/3.
I do not agree with this endgame DD scenario. Why would you ever risk giving up the lead if you can't lock out your opponents? Although it might be interesting to run the percentages on this taking into account both clues using the known get rates.
If you're highly risk averse, bet accordingly; if you're not, bet in accordance with game theory.
Risk has nothing to do with wagering. It's highly risky to your winning chances to make a sub-optimal wager. :D

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by MattKnowles » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:51 pm

Golf wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:42 pm
If the scores are 20000-17000-200 at a DD at the end of the DJ round and if you're in first place you can bet as much as 11500 and it is still an ok bet. Betting at least 5,500 is recommended, a 6000 bet would be good to put them at less than 2/3.
I do not agree with this endgame DD scenario. Why would you ever risk giving up the lead if you can't lock out your opponents?
To maximize your odds of winning.

Run the numbers yourself and tell us what the chances of winning with a $6000 bet versus a $2000 bet in that scenario. You say not to give up the lead but that's not the correct move for a typical player

As a quick estimate, the chance of winning with a bet of 6000 is close to 62.5%. The chance of winning with a bet of $2000 that maintains the lead is close to 50%.

Cunningham's Law states "the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer."
Golf wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:42 pm
The three DD's are the most important clues of the regular game, so obviously it's better you find them than your opponents. The above is partially correct as control of the board helps in finding the DD's. But we all see the lemmings with control of the board continually go to the top of a category and forfeit the chance of finding one. Not hunting for them is simply lowering your chances of winning.
I agree and should have said something about it in my original post. When you're picking clues, avoid the top row clues. You will not find the daily double in the top row clues and presumably every contestant will be able to buzz in on these clues. Going for a top row clue takes away your chance to control the board and find the daily double and will reduce your chances of winning. It's good strategy to just skip the top row clues.
I had a dream that I was asleep and then I woke up and Jeopardy! was on.

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by talkingaway » Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:40 pm

One other thing - you might consider trying to figure out which categories might have DDs in them. I imagine they'd be less likely to be in wordplay categories - although there are no hard-and-fast rules, and one did pop up in a "man" category last week. I saw a category with three words, one of which was not a soup that you had to identify...definitely not a good category for a DD.

I do think it's absolutely key to find and convert DDs - at best, you can take full advantage of them and get a good lead. Even at worst, you can at least neutralize them so that the leader/champ/person-you-think-is-better can't use them. Think about it this way: Even if you lose $2000 on a DD, you can still come out ahead. How? What if someone else found it, bet $8000, and got it right? You effectively gained $6000 in the money race by sacrificing your $2000.

Yes, I'm ignoring the third contestant for now, and subtracting the same amount of money from two players always helps the leader in FJ!, but still...even getting a DD wrong isn't always deadly. It's when your opponent gets it right that can seal your fate.

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Re: Gameplay Strategies

Post by econgator » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:57 am

Golf wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:42 pm
But we all see the lemmings with control of the board continually go to the top of a category and forfeit the chance of finding one. Not hunting for them is simply lowering your chances of winning.
Or, just as bad, going back to a category where one was already found. Remember where it was and avoid that category.

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