Monday, March 19, 2007
Not-so-final 'Jeopardy!'
Friday saw a "Jeopardy!" first -- a three-way tie between the contestants.

Obviously, you need the right set-up to lead to this conclusion. In this case, two players were tied for second with $8,000 each, while defending champion Scott Weiss led with $13,400.

In "Final Jeopardy," the two tied contestants, Anders Martinson and Jamey Kirby, both bet everything, and Weiss -- who could have won the game outright by betting $2,601 -- bet enough to tie. When all three were correct, "Jeopardy!" had its first triple champion.

But the question has arisen: Why didn't Weiss bet the extra dollar? It's standard "Jeopardy!" strategy, and though it was sporting of Weiss to tie the other two contestants so each could walk away with cash, he now has to face both of them again Monday.

I've seen one blog applauding Weiss' move, but it's generally not the sort of thing that will put him on the road to becoming the next Chuck Forrest or Ken Jennings.

What do you think? Should Weiss have crushed his competitors? Or did he do the right thing by making everyone a winner?
I think it was the sporting thing to do. He had to face others on Monday, why not face two competitors that he already faced. He gave them an opportunity and they rose to the challenge. I admire that.
It was an honorable thing to do. Sony's got deep pockets....instead of paying out $20,001 ($16,001 plus two $2000 consolation prizes for second place), let them pay out the $48,000. Seriously, it was a nice thing to do and showed that the champ wasn't afraid to face his challengers again. Plus, he's already won a couple games before that, so he's got a decent amount of money from the show. Might as well let the others earn some bigger money.
A good move by him. He is facing two candidates who, based on the scores leading up to Final Jeopard, he has reason to believe he can beat. So instead of facing two unknown opponents, he has set himself up to face two stiffs in the next show.
Since Weiss hasn't publicly given a motive for his decision, I will say it was done out of good sportsmanship. Earning himself the extra $1 by beating them would have cost the other two guys $16000 each. Very kind of him, I'd say.
Apparently there was some value to Scott; facing these two again, so why not. It was not against the rules, so it was Scott's decision.
Full marks to Scott for doing the right and the righteous thing to do. Could he have won it ? I think easily but his competitors were deserving and Scott did the right thing and thereby wrote himself into history books. There was never a doubt that he was smart but now there is no doubt that he is also a nice human being !
Betting as he did came off as a trite stunt by a decent player who wanted to make history and ensure that he's remembered in the Jeopardy history books. The small bet just makes him look petty and I hope he gets thrashed in the rematch.
I think it was stratigic on his part. He knows he can beat the other two so why not have them around again the next game to once again beat them and add to his total? Smart, calculated move I think.
I think Weiss saw an opportunity to become part of "Jeopardy!" history and took it. Me, personally, I would've wagered enough to win, but I understand why he did it. It's not everyday you go into the history books. Can't wait to see what happens Monday!
Maybe he was just too nervous to do the math right! That's probably where I would mess up a win!
Who wants to be just another Chuck Forrest or Ken Jennings... Weiss has something else he will always be remembered for: creating the only 3-way tie Jeopardy has ever seen.
Well, he didn't make everyone a winner. They all have to play each other again to actually determine a winner. Not actually having seen the 3-way tie, I can't judge, but our Scott Weiss is a dult, and should have lost just on that poor betting move alone. Anyone who's watched Jeopardy! knows that you always bet that extra dollar when you're opponent might surpass you by waging everything. He was being altruistic. Not even Ken "The Friendliest Fellow From Utah!" Jennings had the heart to let his competitors win once he it the million dollar mark. No! Like a true American, he kept pushing until his fellow man was crushed into a fine pulp of trivia, full of topics like "War of 1812 Generals". Until he was beaten by some lady who probably cheated. I mean, come one, Jennings was immortal!

So Scott Weiss will not survive the test of time, and America will judge him alongside some of our most grievous disappointments: Benedict Arnold, Post-Watergate Nixon, and uh... RuPaul!

Scott Weiss. What is mediocrity?
During a "commercial break" of the filming of Friday's episode, a middle school student asked Alex if there had ever been a tie on Jeopardy! Alex said there had been many two-way ties, and even times when everyone had bet it all in Final Jeopardy and been wrong (a three-way tie with all players ending up with nothing), but never a three-way tie where everyone won money. Weiss, a long-time Jeopardy! buff, heard the question and answer, and apparently decided to try to be part of Jeopardy! history. By betting $2600 and not $2601, he left the possibility of a historic three-way tie... and that's just what he got! A good move or a bad move? Well, he's generated a lot more publicity than he would have by betting $2601!
I think the he did an awesome thing. Tie the score and everyone gets the cash. He already has enough to be proud to walk away with so it is no big deal if he loses.
I think he was smart. He wanted to assure another Jeopardy payday, that's all, and bet the amount that BEST assured that. Had he bet the extra $1 and got it wrong, he would have been vulnerable to a weird $2800 wager by another player, who thought he might do just that. Of course not likely, but why risk it just to get three new rivals?
good stategy if he's very confident that he can beat his two known opponents... rather than face two unknown and possibly better opponents
If nothing else, he guaranteed that he will face two competitors he knows he can beat. Isn't that good strategy?
He did more than make everyone a winner, he made every paper, he's got people rewatching the moment on uTube, he's probably increased Monday's show's viewership 2 or 3-fold and he comes away looking like a nice guy - which he seems to be. He'll probably come away with some commercial deals. Good for him.
He did the right thing...he made CNN and they all go back for another show. If he had just beat them, it would not be newsworthy. This way is more fun.
He should have tried to beat them like everyone else does. I liken this to price fixing. He is allowing his two opponents to make more money and not allowing new contenders to win any money. Maybe he did this because he knew he could beat these opponents easily but if someone new came along, they might be better than he and his money infusion would stop.

Maybe he just flubbed and forgot to add "1".
Perhaps Scott read "Prisoner of Trebekistan" before he became a contestant. The book's author Bob Harris talks about a Final Jeopardy! strategy that Scott seems to have employed: Wager enough to win or tie. If a tie occurs you have a better chance of winning the next game. According to Harris, much of a contestants success is directly related to how quick he/she can buzz in their response. The three conestants know most of the answers. It's the person who masters the buzzer that wins. Weiss already knows he can beat the two people he played on Friday to the buzzer. Better to bring them back and takes your chances against them again, than to go up against two unknowns who make be quicker to ring in.
If I were Jeopardy I'd be pissed. What's to stop this sort of thing from happening repeatedly?
People who make it onto the show are the people no one else will play with. No Trivial Pursuit, no Boggle or Stratego - only games of chance. And you get there, and there's a roomful of people that you can play with!

You form relationships very quickly in the green room. You don't always want to beat the people you play against.

And I think that was Scott Weiss's motivation - the desire not to win, but to play again. Just keep playing.
Sounds like a great idea to screw Jeopardy out of alot of money. If the contestants all stay within half the value of the leader, they can continue to bet the appropriate amounts to cause a 3way tie every game. And if it's Jeopardy's policy to pay out ties, they will never lose!!!
Smart strategy, not altruism, to bet for the tie. I have never understood the strategy of betting the extra dollar to eliminate two contestants you have soundly beaten. Better to get another shot at weaker adversaries you know than two new faces. Of course, the "play to tie" strategy only works if the two trailing contestants have identical scores after Double Jeopardy. I am surprised it hasn't happened before.
It could've been a nice gesture to his opponents, or it could've been a play to make history, or a little of both.

At the same time, when you purposely make something happen that by chance is near impossible, it cheapens it. If someone flipped a coin and it landed on its edge (and stayed there of course) that would be amazing; if a device were created that forced it to happen? Who really cares?

Now that Jeopardy/Sony knows that the three-way (or even the two-way) tie could easily happen again at the leader's discretion, I'm sure that Jeopardy/Sony will set up a system for a tie-breaker.
I rarely miss Jeopardy, but, unfortunately, I did miss this one. I like Scott Weiss, but I cannot imagine the uproar this has created. It's sad that the amount of publicity such a good-humored act has generated.
I can't believe no one else had done it sooner. As a Jeopardy contest back in 1972, I tried to do the same thing by discussing it with the other contestants. It was obviously the best strategy then and is today if you're the leader and you think you can beat the other contestants consistently. It's the same strategy I learned as a professional poker player. As long as you play against weaker players, you'll win in the long run. As far as Jeopardy is concerned, it's also a nice thing to do.
I think he just wanted to have some fun. Good for him, he did something different that people could remember and he didn't hurt anybody in the process.

Hey, it's not like he Clavin-ed!
Wise move. He had them beaten almost two-to-one, making a victory next game almost assured. Why collect 16,001 today when you can have 32,001 tomorrow?
Another aspect to this is not as altruistic - maybe the next day, one of the others will "return the favor" if Weiss is behind.
I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often; it costs the winner nothing and his competitors get the cash. In fact, there's always the chance that the contestants make a gentleman's agreement before the show that, in case the situation presents itself, that they aim for a tie, with the player who's ahead before Final Jeopardy getting a kickback from the other two who might have lost. Sony, of course, could fix this by simply awarding the cash winnings earned of all contestants. They certainly make enough to be able to afford to do it, and especially since they don't pay the expenses of contestants who have to go through myriad tests and fly themselves out to and put themselves up in LA for the shooting of the show. What other kind of show business forces the performers to pay their own way and not pay them what they earned while performing?
Right on! How generous he was. He prob. felt that he could crush them the next time out, and why not give them a chance for a nice payout.
I think this was a lovely little performance. Anyone who condemns it as trite or a publicity stunt, is jaded. The message here was that given a choice he was willing to win together with his competitors. It was charming and clearly a geeky response to a game, where he realized what could happen. He couldn't MAKE it happen. They both HAD to answer correctly and bet correctly.

Beyond that, people suggest that his competition was weak, but they were in fact quite strong. Scott was heavily outmatched in the first round. It was a quality win on his part, and I sort of felt that he was expressing some respect for the challengers.

Also its sort of an interesting zinger, that having had his total reduced, he proceeded to raise the prize total in a sort of revenge. Not like it matters. And as far as anyone in showbiz is concerned, this is how you keep viewers, so who could complain.

I wonder if it will start a trend?
I'm surprised that this type of collusion doesn't happen more often.
great publicity..that's what it's al about
Smart strategy or nice guy? Who cares? "Jeopardy" can't buy publicity like this! Curiosity will have the ratings up for Monday's show. I know I plan to watch... and I haven't for quite some time.
I think it was a great move (maybe). Since a tie means he still wins then against a random opponent it's good move because 1. You still get the money and you come back if you are correct in your answer and 2. If you are wrong you have one more dollar than if you go for the win. Things get a little more complicated when you consider the skill of the other opponents. My initial thoughts are that if you think you are better than your current opponents then you'd want them to come back again so go for the tie. So still good move. If you think you are not better or these opponents are better than in next gen ones then may be better to go for the win since you now have a lead against them and next time you might not. If he did it for this reason or just wanted a tie I applaud the move. Made me smile. O.K. So maybe I don't have a life...
He may have done the smart thing, because he now knows a little how the other two play which could be an advantage to winning when playing them again. If he had won alone, he would have had two new competitors knowing nothing about how they may play the game.
What a nice thing to do for the other two competitors. He sure didn't have to do it. You don't see that level of kindness anymore. It's nice to see and hear about kindness for a change. I'd rather hear about the good guys than the crimes any day. And if he wrote himself into the history books, that's okay. Who knows what impact his decision/kindness will make for the families of the other two competitors. There is nothing wrong with helping another. I'm sure Jeopardy is enjoying the extra publicity, the increased audience, and the attention they are getting. Everyone wins this time.
I was at the taping of this episode and can therefore rely the motivation behind Weiss' decision.

During one of the commercial breaks an audience question arose as to whether there had every been a 3-way tie. The answer at the time was that there had been one where everyone got 0 (but I cannot verify this).

After the show Alex spoke with Weiss an asked him why he did it. His answer was that he had heard the question from the audience and when the opportunity arose he thought it would be a good opportunity to make history.

Whether he had other motivations (such as playing against people who he knows he can beat) is unclear. But from the way the whole thing played out it was clear to me that his primary motivation was to make history in response to the audience question.

I am not sure why Jeopardy aren't publicising the facts about the audience question. Perhaps it makes for a better story without the real reasons behind it.

Anyway - mystery solved - no more comments necessary ;-)
It was absolutely the coolest thing I have ever seen on a TV game show. It was the ultimate act of sportsmanship. I noticed throughout the game, Scott had a very warm smile on his face. He was enjoying himself, and I am convinced his effort to create the three-way tie was totally about being a good guy. Thanks Scott for bringing a very memorable and emotonal moment to reality televison.
I don't think it had anything to do with "playing nice". Absolute game theory there. If you feel like you're better than your opponents, then you want them back as long as you can have them, rather than allow the uncertainty of a better opponent showing up on Monday. Very intelligent there.
As a lifetime fan of Jeopardy, I have never liked the bets that included $1.
Every clue is valued $200-$2000. I would adjust the rules so double jeopardy and final answer would have to be wagered with values based on 100's just like the regular answers. That would allow the scores to be in direct competition and remove the abstract that occurs when someone wagers odd amounts. This would require more strategic wagers and remove the $1 addition to a wager that can be used to win the game.
Apparently I am in the huge minority, but the guy's a moron! Why would he even THINK of giving these guys another chance to beat him and knock him out? Think Ken Jennings would have done this? No way!!! You gotta go for the win and keep on playing, not a tie. All it takes is one bad question for you to lose. And how did the guy know that the others bet everything? Was this fixed? I hope not, because if it was, the integrity of the players and the show is gone. How many times have we seen people bet little when they had the final answer right and the champ had it wrong but still won? I hope that this comes back to haunt this guy big time, and he loses his championship. In the words of a famous NFL coach "You play to WIN the game!" I agree with the coach.
I saw Weiss repeatedly pressing his buzzer; but he couldn't time it better than the other contestant. He had to play catch-up.

His generosity could backfire. Jeopardy is a game where luck frequently is a deciding factor.
Should one or the other get the bonus question and bet it all, they could be out of reach, or in such a commanding lead, that Weiss can't catch up.

And would the other contestants be then as generous, to him?
Scott Weiss will indeed go down in the record books. It was a true show of sportsmanship, he knew he could not lose but allowed his fellow players to retain all of their winnings.
By setting up a 3-way tie, he may not have been the sole champion, but he bought himself (and the others) a place in the history books.
Those of us that are in the current contestant pool would appreciate it if there were fewer ties as it makes it less likely that we'll get a shot at being on the show.
think about it... if he bet one dollar more would i ever read his name on cnn? worth 10x more to not bet it... glad the other two guys got it right also. Hope he gets something more out of it...
Having been on the show, I can tell you that you quickly develop friendships with your fellow contestants. They tape 5 shows a day which means you're spending a very long day with nobody else but the other contestants. Because of rules, you're not allowed to speak to anyone else, not even camera or production staff. I can easily see this happening. Every contestant wants the others to have a great time. Think about it, you made it onto Jeopardy!
I think it was wonderful what Scott Weiss did. He created something memorable and showed a camaraderie and respect towards his opponents. He could have won by $1 but this was more commendable.

Unfortunately he lost on Monday's show though. I hope Jeopardy will remember him and bring him back to play in their Tournament of Champions. He may not be one of their highest winners but he showed something more special in my opinion.
Had it bet the extra $1 we all wouldn�t be talking about it. He probably knew he wasn�t going to win as much as Chuck Forrest or Ken Jennings, so leave he left his mark in history as being one of the first to be in a three way tie. He�s going to be in the game show history books forever now, I�m sure that�s worth whatever money he may have lost. Or maybe he�s bad at math.
He just goofed...obviously, if he had been thinking properly, or had done his math properly, he would have bet the extra dollar to win outright. There was no benefit to him in NOT doing so. I think he just had a lapse. Hardly Ken Jennings-level play, so that comparison is without merit. Weiss will not be remembered as on a par with Jennings, especially after such a basic error.
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