Between May 8 and May 24, six players will compete over 10 hour-long prime time episodes (20 games) to determine the Jeopardy! Masters champion. Who will win?
As always, my prediction model that debuted for the All-Star Games in 2019 has taken the career stats from the six players and are using it to make predictions.
Jeopardy! Masters is a three-stage event; the first 7 episodes will be the quarterfinal stage; the next 2 are the semi-final stage, and the 10th episode is a 2-game total-point affair final.
In the quarterfinal stage, the two game winners from the previous episode will play in the second game of the following episode, along with a third player randomly drawn (with any potential rematches avoided)—the other three players would then play in that episode’s first game. In every game in the quarterfinals, 3 points are awarded for a win, 1 point for second, and 0 points for third place. The six players are then ranked by points, then wins, then total number of correct responses, total Coryat Score, and then total overall score excluding Final Jeopardy! The top four players advance to the semifinals.
Everything is then reset to zero for the semifinals. In the semifinals, the 4 players will face each other—in combinations of 3 players. Points are tracked similarly to the quarterfinals, with the top 3 players qualifying for a two-day total-point final in Episode 10.
For the overall event, the winner will receive $500,000 + the Trebek Trophy, $250,000 for second, $150,000 for third, $100,000 for fourth, $75,000 for fifth, and $50,000 for sixth.
One further wrinkle that affects the at-home viewing experience. At the start of every round, Ken will tell the home audience where the Daily Doubles are located.
Amy Schneider, Oakland, California
1505 correct, 99 incorrect
71/87 on rebound attempts (on 192 rebound opportunities)
49.80% in first on buzzer (1386/2783)
70/82 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $217,200)
32/49 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $24,971
Chance of winning: 19.0%
Chance of reaching finals: 55.0%
Chance of reaching semifinals: 73.8%
Why Amy will win: Amy’s already made it through a big tournament gauntlet with a victory—she’s certainly capable of doing it again! She’s still one of the best on the signalling device, and “when all else fails, signal first and be correct” is always a good path to victory!
Why Amy won’t win: Even in her Tournament of Champions victory, there were way too many 1s in the “Clue Selection By Row” statistics in the tournament. Players like James will absolutely take advantage of those sorts of strategic mistakes if they get the opportunity.
Matt Amodio, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1343 correct, 135 incorrect
57/66 on rebound attempts (on 128 rebound opportunities)
55.24% in first on buzzer (1281/2319)
79/89 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $312,000)
30/41 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $26,956
Chance of winning: 23.2%
Chance of reaching finals: 65.4%
Chance of reaching semifinals: 81.6%
Why Matt will win: When Matt is on his game, he dominates—and he’s had the most success in the past playing to James Holzhauer’s style. If he can find the dominance from his 38-game win streak, the other five players had better watch out!
Why Matt won’t win: Counting the ToC exhibition, Matt’s last three games have been average and pedestrian. There are certainly cracks in the armor, and the other five players know that Matt is very beatable.
Andrew He, San Francisco, California
298 correct, 42 incorrect
17/20 on rebound attempts (on 50 rebound opportunities)
35.21% in first on buzzer (281/798)
19/25 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $84,400)
5/14 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $16,571
Chances of winning: 13.0%
Chances of reaching final: 40.2%
Chances of reaching semifinal: 53.4%
Why Andrew will win: Andrew absolutely lives by the Daily Double. If Andrew starts converting Daily Doubles, he’s going to be nearly impossible to beat.
Why Andrew won’t win: Andrew also dies by the Daily Double. Andrew is only 19/25 on Daily Doubles (and 5/14 in Final Jeopardy). If Andrew can’t get into a commanding position from those Daily Doubles, it might be difficult for Final Jeopardy! to bail him out.
James Holzhauer, Las Vegas, Nevada
1501 correct, 61 incorrect
44/48 on rebound attempts (on 94 rebound opportunities)
54.14% in first on buzzer (1379/2547)
83/90 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $716,588)
41/45 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $27,818
Chance of winning: 23.6%
Chance of reaching finals: 65.2%
Chance of reaching semifinals: 88.6%
Why James will win: James is definitely the favorite coming into the event—assuming he doesn’t get terribly unlucky in terms of finding Daily Doubles or having a bad game at the wrong time. I expect that James will very likely be the #1 seed after both of the first two phases of the competition.
Why James won’t win: He’s been beaten before, and this field is certainly capable of doing so. I definitely think that the change in format has hurt James’ chances of winning overall—if the bad luck happens to him in the final, then he’s not going to be the player lifting the Trebek Trophy on May 24th.
Mattea Roach, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
695 correct, 70 incorrect
35/43 on rebound attempts (on 107 rebound opportunities)
44.89% in first on buzzer (659/1468)
30/37 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $60,000)
18/26 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $19,623
Chances of winning: 13.6%
Chances of reaching final: 42.0%
Chances of reaching semifinal: 56.4%
Why Mattea will win: Mattea has shown they can do well against tougher competition—even though it was an exhibition, they did win the ToC exhibition over Amy and Matt! If things break the right way for them, they could be the one lifting the Trebek Trophy! Aside from the one self-described weakness I talk about below, I would say that Mattea doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses.
Why Mattea won’t win: Mattea has said in interviews that they aren’t as strong in a lot of the Americana. That could end up hurting them in Masters. Also, on the flip side to what I said above, I would say that Mattea doesn’t have any overwhelming strengths compared to the rest of the field.
Sam Buttrey, Pacfic Grove, California
263 correct, 34 incorrect
13/15 on rebound attempts (on 40 rebound opportunities)
37.87% in first on buzzer (259/684)
8/11 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $13,000)
6/12 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $16,183
Chances of winning: 7.6%
Chances of reaching final: 32.2%
Chances of reaching semifinal: 46.2%
Why Sam will win: Sam 100% showed periods of absolute brilliance in the Tournament of Champions. If he can find that again and “bring it!” to Masters, he can absolutely go on a length run deep into the event.
Why Sam won’t win: The prediction model sees Sam as the sixth-best player of six—over a longer series, this is more likely to hurt him than help him, I reckon, as “regression to the mean” is more likely to happen.
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how were the players chosen?
Easy for me to say this now, after seeing the first night, but I think the model underestimates Andrew and Sam. Since Andrew lost in his 6th game and Sam came through the Professor’s tournament and only got to play 4 games there, neither one had a chance to pad their stats over 20-40 games of “regular” opponents before TOC level competition.
I disagree, especially when it comes to Andrew—Andrew is a very high-variance player, and we’ve certainly seen a part of that in Game 1.
Loved the end of game repartee between Ken and James. I can’t remember laughing out loud at Jeopardy like that. It’s a lot of fun watching these fantastic players who are also very witty, have a good sense of humor, and are able to convey it in the moment.
I agree! I’m enjoying the repartee just as much as the games themselves. I’m even starting to enjoy the player(s) I wasn’t that crazy about in their regular appearances as we see them more relaxed and playful. This tournament is a winner!
I’m ok with him not being in this, so don’t misconstrue this post, but Brad would have won at least 1 game by now.