Album tells the story of the first Jeopardy! 3-way tie (set in ancient Greece)

John from the Creative Commons label Vosotros sez,

On March 16, 2007, a great thing happened in Culver City, California. For the first time ever, all three contestants of the game show Jeopardy, without ending in a score of zero, tied. At the time, at least two incorrect interpretations of this event were made; one being that it was a chance occurrence, the other that it was caused by mistake.

In fact, this tie was purposefully created by the episode's returning champion Scott Weiss, a puzzle-lover who must have been thrilled when he saw the opportunity arise (in the form of his tailing opponents being tied) in the Final Jeopardy round. Instead of wagering the customary one dollar extra needed to win, Weiss bet the exact amount required to tie, should all three contestants question the answer correctly, which they did.

When I saw this happen-- coincidentally I was watching the show that evening, something I did rarely before and have barely since-- it struck me as a profound gesture of good sportsmanship. All three got to keep their winnings and play again on the next episode.

Drawing on an amount of gathered research as well as formulated opinion on the event, we organized this twelve-song interpretation of the story, which takes place in ancient Greece. The album is entitled (a telling of) The Greatest Event in Sports History. As you might be able to guess by now, there is a fair amount of humor in this album. But also, I hope, a good and resounding lesson to be learned.

LMM 2.10 - The Greatest Event In Sports History

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  2. I remember shouting out loud when I saw that happen. A truly beautiful moment, in all seriousness. We should celebrate March 16 instead of Christmas.

  3. It was very cool; I never miss Jeopardy!, and I shouted out loud when that happened. While the guy apparently did it in a spirit of sportsmanship, though, it was also the smart play for him:

    Going into Final Jeopardy, he had $16,000 and the other two had $8,000 each. (Or something; they had X and he had 2X, anyway.) He could have bet a dollar to go for the win, but if one or both of the others had doubled their money to $16,000, and he had missed the final question, he would have lost. By betting zero he could be assured of getting his $16,000, because he would at least tie the others, plus he was assured of coming back to play another day. (Players who tie for first all get their dollar amounts, and all come back the following day.)

    It was also smart because, if he’d beaten the other two, he’d have faced two unknown challengers the next day; this way he could have the same players come back the following day, and he knew he could beat those two, having done it once already.

    (There’s a lot of insight into the show in Bob Harris’s excellent and entertaining book Prisoner of Trebekistan: A Decade in Jeopardy!. I am not paid to say that.)

  4. “It was also smart because, if he’d beaten the other two, he’d have faced two unknown challengers the next day; this way he could have the same players come back the following day, and he knew he could beat those two, having done it once already.”

    Apparently not – he lost the next day, in Final Jeopardy. See http://www.j-archive.com/showplayer.php?player_id=3578 for game details.

  5. Well sure, anything can happen on any one show; Nancy Zerg, the lady who beat Ken Jennings, was a one-hit wonder and lost the following day. Still, if he were to play the probability, that’s the way to bet.

    …And now I just looked at the actual scores for the three-way tie episode, and I was wrong anyway; it was $13,400 to $8,000 to $8,000. So I guess everything I wrote above should be taken as an exercise in theoretical Jeopardy! strategy.

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