Brian Barrett on James Holzhauer's record $110,914 Jeopardy! win:
The Jeopardy! board is arranged in a grid featuring 30 total clues across six categories. You’ll often see players work their way through a single category, from easiest clue to hardest—and least to most valuable—before moving on to another column and repeating the process. That’s one way to play, sure, in the same way that a light jog is one way to complete an Olympic steeplechase course.
Holzhauer does not jog. He blitzes the bottom of the board, where the hardest and most valuable clues reside. He staggers from category to category, stalking the invaluable Daily Double clues that let players bet any portion of their winnings to that point. And he goes all in as often as he can.
“My approach isn't complicated: Get some money, hit the Daily Doubles, bet big, and hope I run hot,” Holzhauer said in an email to WIRED. And if you think he sounds more like a gambler describing his craft than a game show contestant, that's no coincidence: Holzhauer, a Nevada resident, bets on sports for a living.
When you think about it, it's so weird that most contestants go through the board from least valuable to most valuable clue. Sure, these clues may be "easier" but many contestants on Jeopardy know all (or most) of the answers. So it should be far more about gamesmanship and strategy, thus, the absolutely extreme approach Holzbauer takes.
Go immediately to the bottom of the board. Why? That's where the money is.Read more...