Jeopardy’s Controversial New Champion Is Using Game Theory To Win Big


Using game theory for actual games?!?!?… Eric Levenson over at Business Insider's The Wire (via Farhad Manjoo):

It's Arthur's [Chu] in-game strategy of searching for the Daily Double that has made him such a target. Typically, contestants choose a single category and progressively move from the lowest amount up to the highest, giving viewers an easy-to-understand escalation of difficulty. But Arthur has his sights solely set on finding those hidden Daily Doubles, which are usually located on the three highest-paying rungs in the categories (the category itself is random). That means, rather than building up in difficulty, he begins at the most difficult questions. Once the two most difficult questions have been taken off the board in one column, he quickly jumps to another category. It's a grating experience for the viewer, who isn't given enough to time to get in a rhythm or fully comprehend the new subject area. And it makes for ugly, scattered boards, like above.

However, Wednesday's game showed the benefits of that strategy. Arthur's searching was rewarded with all three of the game's Daily Doubles. Arthur was particularly fond of the “true” Daily Double, wagering all his money the first time (he lost it all) but quickly recovering with a massive wager later on another Daily Double. While most contestants are hesitant to go all-or-nothing, Arthur is happily taking those calculated risks.

One Daily Double, in which he wagered just $5, was particularly strange. Arthur's searching landed him a Daily Double in a sports category, a topic he knew nothing about. (Ever the joker, he tweeted he'd rather have sex with his wife than learn about sports). Most contestants will avoid their topics of weakness, but not Arthur. Instead, he wagered just $5 on the sports question, effectively making its specifics irrelevant. Trebek and the audience giggled, and when the question came, Arthur immediately blurted out “I don't know.” But that wasn't a waste of a Daily Double, as he kept that question out of the hands of the other contestants.

More here.