James Holzhauer didn’t “throw” JEOPARDY! game

J-Archive wagering calculator says he did it right

To no one’s surprise, I was happy to see Emma Boettcher, a user experience librarian from Chicago, Illinois beat James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, Nevada (whose 32-day cash winnings total $2,462,216) Monday on JEOPARDY! If you want to see that game, watch it here, only through June 7, 2019.

I am bemused by all these recent fans who decided that he “threw” the game because he was homesick or tired of playing. Some thought his style was “blah”, but that was a function, I think, of good competitors, including Jay Sexton, a senior research engineer from Atlanta, Georgia.

James hit the Daily Double on the first clue, thus was unable to forge a large enough lead at the end of the first round. Then, in the Double JEOPARDY! round, Emma, not James, hit the first Daily Double, bet it all, and took control. She also hit the second Daily Double, won $3000, and never relinquished her lead.

Was he tired? Maybe. But it would have been the first game of the week – they generally tape five shows in one day.

James explains his Final JEOPARDY! wager. If you go to the J-Archive wagering calculator, here are the recommendations:
James: “Try wagering $1,399, which is as much as you can put up against Emma without being usurped by a doubled score on the part of Jay.”
Emma: “Wager $20,201 to cover James.”
And that’s exactly what each of them did. James wagered based on what his score was in the game. He knew he would lose if she got it right so he bet small in case they both got it wrong and Jay got it right.

Usually James had an insurmountable lead in a game, which allowed his massive bets. Still, James’ Coryat score, his score if all wagering is disregarded, was $23,400, with 25 right, and 0 wrong answers. Emma’s was $18,800 (21-0), and Jay’s was $11,000 (13-1).

I am disappointed that the CBS Evening News did a spoiler, as did other outlets. But it’s hard to keep a secret for something that happened in March with 250 people present.

in any case, James Holzhauer will be back for the Tournament of Champions in November.

Addendum from friend Carol:

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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