Andy’s Weekly Thoughts: August 28–September 1, 2023

I hope everyone’s last week has gone well; here are my Andy’s Weekly Thoughts for this past week!

Next Week’s Games

Just in case people haven’t been paying attention to the TV listings, here’s what we’ll be seeing over the next week:
Monday: Game 6 of the Tournament of Champions final
Tuesday: OAD (Original Air Date) September 12, 2022 (Luigi de Guzman game 2)
Wednesday: OAD September 13, 2022 (Luigi de Guzman game 3)
Thursday: OAD September 21, 2022
Friday: OAD September 30, 2022 (David Sibley game 5; Cris Pannullo game 1).

Where I Expect To See Most Of The Recycled Clues From

With Season 40 starting September 11, it’s no secret that we will be seeing a lot of recycled clues from past seasons—the show has stated as much. However, I expect to see most of the recycled clues from games with unplayed clues in their initial runs. Why? Because if I understand things correctly, the current generation of online simulators generally have only imported clues from games with all 61 clues played. Thus, I would venture that players using those simulators to train are significantly less likely to have seen those clues—and are less likely to gain an advantage in-game.

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Why I Keep Saying Daily Doubles Are So Important

Over the past few months, I have been focusing in my recaps on the importance of making intelligent clue selections to maximize your chances of finding a Daily Double. But why is that? Just finding the Daily Doubles has a positive chance on your chances of winning.
In the 3,561 regular-play games that have taken place since October 4, 2004 (the start of my data set), a player who finds at least 2 of the Daily Doubles wins 53.56% of the time. If you find all 3, you win 71.73% of the time. (That’s much higher than the 33.33% “average”.) Moreover, of these 3,561 episodes, only 603 have been won by someone who has failed to find a Daily Double.
Even if you hate the category that a Daily Double might be in, it’s better to bet small on the Daily Double to take the clue out of your opponents’ hands. One further stat: In Season 39’s regular-play games, contestants were 67.54% on Daily Doubles.

In Closing

I was hoping to be able to make a personal announcement about a couple of new projects with this, but I am still waiting for clearance to be able to do that! Keep posted to the site over the next week and enjoy the last week of encore presentations!

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9 Comments on "Andy’s Weekly Thoughts: August 28–September 1, 2023"

  1. It could be argued that the player who finds 2 or 3 DDs wins so much more not because they make good use of them, but because they are getting way more clues correct than their opponents (and thus having more opportunities to select a clue and find a DD).

    Even if this is the case (for example, with a player using the traditional top-down strategy), hitting those Daily Doubles is still super important defensively because it prevents other players from catching up with large wagers.

  2. I agree but I don’t think this is contradictory as even when one is hunting for daily doubles one must still get a lot of clues correct to get the chances to “hunt”.

  3. Lisa, Sam, and, you, Andy, all make good points about Daily Doubles. If a player is able to find ANY of them, they must have gotten at least the last “answer” correct, and, so a Daily Double is an additional reward. A chance to increase a lead (maybe dramatically,) or, a chance to lower, catch up to, or, maybe to even take over a lead. Which is why “playing them correctly” is important

  4. Andy, I am kind of curious as to why the start of your data set is October 4, 2004 (which is almost exactly two-thirds the way into Ken’s run).

    Also, hunting daily doubles resembles the “Forrest bounce”, but I don’t believe that was ever the point of the “Forrest bounce” (and possibly not even a coincidental result of it, though hunting for DDs would also bestow an additional “Forrest bounce” advantage), but I do not recall whether anyone ever attempted hunting daily doubles before James Holzhauer did. Is that correct?

    I was going to ask if you’d consider doing the same “DD vs game winning” analysis but once for the seasons before hunting became popular and once for afterward. However, if I am correct that it originated with James, then that is not very many seasons for the “after” set of data.

    • This is from Andy’s original explanation of his prediction model:

      Why October 4, 2004? For the beginning of Season 21’s tapings, Jeopardy! realized that their challengers might not be getting enough rehearsal time on the buzzer; Ken Jennings’ streak made this very apparent. October 4, 2004 was the first episode of the “extra rehearsal time”.

      • Thanks! That whole thing makes SO MUCH sense — Jeopardy! realizing that challengers were probably not getting enough rehearsal time on the buzzer (and that that was unfair) AND Andy realizing that incorporating earlier statistics would be a bit “apples & oranges”.

  5. In doing some research PRIOR TO making my comment (above) Monday, I noticed that Ken Jennings’ losing game had a few unplayed clues, so I wonder if the infamous ‘H&R Block’ FJ could make it into this season? [I would presume not as an FJ, though.] That would certainly be funny if it did! Alas, the rake/hoe episode had no unplayed clues in it.

    • I would doubt it; that specific Final has become so well-known that the entire world—contestants included—would immediately notice it as a repeat question.

      • Yes, I was mostly saying it as a joke, but it seemed unclear whether they would repeat whole boards again “as was” or collect all the categories and FJs from them and randomize what new boards they are put into. If the former, they would be risking having to skip whole boards due to one famous FJ (or just a regular clue that became controversial), thereby also missing out on using a few clues therein that had NEVER been seen “as is” [i,e, it is clear from J! Archive that different clues based on the same fact are often re-used, not even just many years apart]. For the latter, randomizing usage of category columns and FJs would allow for culling while still having most of the scavenged boards’ clues available for re-use.

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