Strategy Talk: Tournament Wild Cards – What Score Should I Aim For?

Prior to the College Tournament, I introduced a model for predicting a player’s chances of qualifying as a wild card for the semifinals if they did not win a game. This model took the combinatorics from Keith Williams at The Final Wager back in 2015 but used slightly different percentages.

I have now analyzed all four of Jeopardy!’s regular tournaments (Teen, College, Teachers, and the Tournament of Champions). For each of these tournaments, I have included every tournament since the dollar values were doubled (November 26, 2001), as I feel that the doubling of the dollar values changed the Daily Double bets just enough that doubling the pre-2002 scores doesn’t quite work out, in my eyes. I also have not included the Battle of the Decades and Million Dollar Masters in with the Tournament of Champions data, because I feel that the field quality in the super-tournaments are different enough that I think it would skew the data.

One change I have made to my prediction model from the College tournament is that instead of taking a Z-score, I am taking a Student’s T-score (using the number of tournaments in the dataset as my degrees of freedom). This has about a 0.5 to 1% effect on the percentages of advancing, but it makes me feel more comfortable in dealing with the possibility of an outlier result (especially in the case of the Teacher’s Tournament, for which there have only been six).

The combinatorics calculations are similar to that mentioned in my College Wild Card post. However, in these charts:

  • For the QF Finishing Position: Unknown column, 9 non-winning scores to come are assumed (with a maximum of three scores beating the player’s score.)
  • For the QF Finishing Position: 3rd column, 8 non-winning scores to come are assumed (with a maximum of two scores beating the player’s score.)
  • For the QF Finishing Position: 2nd column, 8 non-winning scores to come are assumed (with a maximum of three scores beating the player’s score.)

---Advertisement---

The following table shows the 50% threshold, per the model, of each tournament, in each finishing position (known or unknown):

QF Finishing Position
Tournament Unknown 3rd 2nd
Teacher’s $9,007 $10,508 $8,089
Tournament of Champions $7,601 $8,907 $6,798
College $12,696 $13,958 $11,918
Teen $11,150 $12,595 $10,259

And these graphics show the percent chances of qualifying from each position (known and unknown) for each $1,000 score between $0 and $20,000.
Teachers Tournament:

Teachers’ Tournament chances of qualifying as a wild card for each finishing position (known and unknown) and score from $0 to $20,000.

Tournament of Champions:

Tournament of Champions chances of qualifying as a wild card for each finishing position (known and unknown) and score from $0 to $20,000.

Become a Supporter now! Make a donation to the site on Patreon!

College Tournament:

College Championship chances of qualifying as a wild card for each finishing position (known and unknown) and score from $0 to $20,000.

Teen Tournament:

Teen Tournament chances of qualifying as a wild card for each finishing position (known and unknown) and score from $0 to $20,000.

Remember, you can also now get the following products (and others!) from our new store! Check out our collections! All prices are now in US dollars!

STAY CLAM!
The Jeopardy! Fan products, including the new STAY CLAM ceramic mug!
This Team Won The 2016 World Series
Trivia Tees

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

1 Comment on "Strategy Talk: Tournament Wild Cards – What Score Should I Aim For?"

  1. Andy Saunders | March 10, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Reply

    The highest scores not to qualify in each tournament in this model:
    Tournament of Champions: $12,800 (Kristin Sausville) – 96.4% chance of qualifying, given no other known scores
    Teachers Tournament: $13,800 (Michael Townes) – 92.6% chance
    College Tournament: $15,000 (Olivia Colangelo) – 80.4% chance
    Teen Tournament: $17,400 (Ben Noe) – 97.5% chance

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*