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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

‘Jeopardy Villain’ Explains How He Keeps Winning

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and contestant Arthur Chu pose for a photo. (Facebook)

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and contestant Arthur Chu pose for a photo. (Facebook)

He’s being called the “Jeopardy villain,” but Arthur Chu of Broadview Heights, Ohio, considers himself more of a “mad genius.” The 30-year-old insurance analyst and voiceover artist has won three times since he came on the show last week.

Some say Chu is taking all the fun out of the game. He goes for the hardest questions first, slams down his buzzer incessantly and tries to get the host to speed up. It’s all part of his strategy inspired by game theory — a model of strategic, mathematical decision making.

Chu joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss his strategy and how he keeps winning. They’re also joined by Keith Williams, who won the “Jeopardy!” College Championship in 2003. Williams’ blog “The Final Wager” is aimed at making game theory “accessible to people who are scared of math.”

Interview Highlights

Arthur Chu on preparing his Jeopardy! strategy

“A month isn’t a lot of time to learn new information, other than some basic things you can memorize, so what I focused on was learning the strategy of the game and what past champions had done. Unlike other game shows, Jeopardy! has been around for 30 years in its current form under Alex Trebek, and its got a huge community of people who have watched it for years and have analyzed every facet of it. So all I had to do was literally Google ‘Jeopardy strategy’ and see what came up. That’s how I discovered the theory of how you can leverage your advantages in Jeopardy!, even if you’re not necessarily the person who knows the most trivia, or if you’re about evenly matched with your opponents, how can you increase your chance of winning. It turns out there’s a lot of things you can do that most people don’t do for whatever reason.”

Keith Williams on Chu’s strategy

“There are two different aspects of the game. There’s the viewer experience at home and then there’s actually playing the game itself. If you’re watching the game at home, it’s more comfortable if someone goes from the top down because you get the swing of the category, you figure out what the category’s about. When you’re on the show, it’s less about the viewer experience and more about using strategy to maximize your chance of winning, which is exactly what Arthur is doing. So it’s a little jarring to viewers at home when someone’s jumping between categories and starting at the bottom of the board with the tougher questions. Arthur has determined that that’s his best chance of winning.”

Chu on his poker mindset while playing Jeopardy!

“The best combination of traits in a poker player is tight and aggressive — that you don’t play that many hands, but the hands that you do play you go as big as you can on it. There’s no reason to bet a moderate amount on it if you’re not sure how good you are at it. Either you commit to making the big bet or if you know you’re not going to get something, you commit to making the smallest bet you can get away with. That way, if I’m not wasting money on things I don’t know, I preserve my lead so I can go big on things that I’m pretty sure I do know.”

Williams on buzzer strategy

“A lot of people aren’t clear on how the buzzer actually works, so this is probably the deciding skill of the game, honestly. You have to wait until Alex is done talking and a light comes on on the game board that signals you are allowed to buzz in. And at that point, the first person to buzz in gets the chance to answer the question. The thing is, if you buzz a little bit early, even a tiny bit, you get locked out for some period of time, about half a second, before your buzzer becomes active again. So that’s to discourage you from buzzing in all the time. But what that means is — and this is something we were explicitly told in contestant orientation — if you buzz and you don’t get it, it might be because you were too early, so when you start buzzing, you need to keep on buzzing, so as soon as your lock out expires, you hit the buzzer and buzz back in.”

Watch Chu in the Jan. 30 Jeopardy! episode





And it's probably the most fascinating thing to happen on "Jeopardy!" since that computer, Watson, was on the show. But it's not a computer this time. It is Arthur Chu.



ARTHUR CHU: What's white noise?


CHU: Black and white and red, 800.

TREBEK: Answer, daily double.

HOBSON: A 30-year-old insurance analyst from Ohio has won four times since he came on last week, and he's doing it with game theory. Arthur Chu joins us from WCPN in Cleveland. Welcome.

CHU: Thanks.

HOBSON: And we're also joined by former "Jeopardy!" winner, Keith Williams, who writes the Final Wager blog about "Jeopardy!" He is with us from NPR New York. Welcome to you, Keith.

KEITH WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.

HOBSON: Well, let me ask you about, first of all, you, Arthur, your experience. When you found out that you are going to be on "Jeopardy!," instead of going out and trying to bone up on all kinds of trivia that you didn't already know, you did what?

CHU: What I asked myself was, how can I maximize my chance of doing well with the trivia that I know? A month isn't a lot of time to learn new information other than some basic things that you can memorize. So what I focused on was learning the strategy of the game and what past champions had done. Unlike other game shows, "Jeopardy!" has been around for 30 years in its current form under Alex Trebek, and it's got a huge community of people who watched it for years and have analyzed every facet of it.

So all I had to do literally was Google "Jeopardy!" strategy and see what came up. That's how I discovered stuff like the theory of how you can leverage your advantages in "Jeopardy!" even if you're not necessarily the person who knows the most trivia. Or if you're about evenly matched with your opponents, how can you increase your chance of winning? And it turns out there's a lot of things you can do that most people don't do for whatever reason. That's not part of their preparations.

And I think success in a lot of things isn't about innovation or originality, really. It's about really understanding what the experts have something to say. Finding out who the experts are and learning what they're saying and really committing to, you know, sometimes radically changing your own strategy to fit what people know, what is known about whatever field you're in so.

HOBSON: Well, it appears one of the things that you learned in that research is that you should go right for the daily doubles, which is what you have been doing. We've got some sound of you searching out the daily doubles. Let's listen to that.


CHU: Kings of England not born in England, 1,600.

TREBEK: Uncork a bottle of claret for King Richard II, born in this French wine region in 1367. Arthur?

CHU: What is Bordeaux?


CHU: Inventors and inventions, 1,600.

TREBEK: William Painter invented the leak-proof bottle cap in 1891 lined with a disc of this. Today, plastic is typically used. Arthur?

CHU: What is cork?

TREBEK: Cork is right.

CHU: Math problem, 1,600.

TREBEK: After spending $200...

HOBSON: Now, people may have noticed that what you're doing there is very unusual. You are going from 1,600 to 1,600 to 1,600 rather than doing what most people do on "Jeopardy!," which is to start at the lowest level of each category and move your way up. You're going - searching for those daily doubles, which it appears you have found often exists in the last two levels of each category.

CHU: Right. That's actually something that's been analyzed. There was actually - I mean, I didn't do much research. I found an article on Slate, actually, from 2011, that just literally talks about the statistically daily doubles are far more likely to be in the bottom two rows of the board, than at the top three. And that statistically, they're most likely to be on the left-most column, fourth one down, you know? So that's where I would often originally start my search.

And I wasn't the first one to do it. You know, when they wrote articles about Watson, the computer, the scientists who programmed Watson also did this research, also tried to find out what the best strategy was to make sure Watson have the maximum chance. And Watson would go hunting for the daily doubles the exact same way. So if a machine can do it, I can do it.

And the main thing is if you get the daily doubles early, there's - those are the points in the game where the game can swing really heavily one way or another. Getting the daily double is so important because it's not just a chance for you to double up the money that you have. If you don't know the daily double, it's a chance for you to bet small and take away an opponent's chance to double up their money. It's to take that random factor out of the game and make sure it goes into your favor.

HOBSON: Take it off the board?

CHU: Yeah, yeah.

HOBSON: Well, Keith, what about that strategy? And why don't more people do it if it's the right thing to be doing?

WILLIAMS: Well, there are two different aspects of the game. There's the viewer experience at home, and then there's actually playing the game itself. So if you're watching the game at home, it's more comfortable if someone goes from the top down because you get the swing of the category and you figure out what the category's about. When you're on the show, it's less about the viewer experience and more about using strategy to maximize your chance of winning, which is exactly what Arthur is doing. So it's a little jarring to viewers at home when someone's jumping between categories and starting at the bottom of the board with the tougher questions. But Arthur has determined that that's his best chance of winning, is to do it that way.

HOBSON: Well - and let's listen to what happened when he actually got a Daily Double. Here he is.


TREBEK: Arthur, back to you.

CHU: Pay-Pal 16.

TREBEK: Answer: Daily Double. You have a big lead.

CHU: Just 3,000.

TREBEK: OK. Here is the clue. This U.S. church is in communion with the Sea(ph) of Canterbury.

CHU: What is the Episcopal Church?

TREBEK: That's it. That's the pal.

HOBSON: So you knew the answer to that Daily Double, although you didn't know the answer to every one that you got, at least in the episodes that have aired so far. There was one about sports, you only wagered $5, Arthur, because you knew you weren't going to get that one.

CHU: Yeah. That's something that I've said a lot is - I've mentioned I - to other people that I have friends who play poker, and they say the best combination of traits in a poker player is tight and aggressive, that you don't play that many hands, but the hands that you do play, you go as big as you can on.

There's no reason to bet a moderate amount on something if you're not sure how good you are at it. Either you commit to making the big bet, or if you know you're not going to get something, you commit to making the smallest bet you can get away with. That way, if I'm not wasting money on things that I don't know, I preserve my lead so that I can go big on things that I'm pretty sure I will know.

And on that one, in particular, it wasn't just that it was a sports category. There had already been two clues that came out from that category - higher rows, like lower-value clues - and I hadn't had any chance of figuring those out. I looked at them and blanked on them. So when I got that Daily Double and was at the bottom, I was like the chance of this being something I can get based on what I know is very low. And so no reason to lose any more money on this than I absolutely have to, and no reason to waste any more time on it.

You know, time is money in "Jeopardy!." That's the other factor. If I were to spend a lot of time on that Daily Double, that's other clues on the board I might not be able to get to before we hit the commercial break. So it was a pretty strategic thing. It also appears to have been a polarizing thing. Like, emotionally, some people thought that was an awesome moment. Other people thought I was being really rude by not at least trying.

But for me it was - almost 100 percent of everything I did on the show was with the idea of how much real money can I win. I keep saying to people we're playing for money up there. That's real money.

HOBSON: And there are a lot of critics of that strategy. We are talking with Arthur Chu, current "Jeopardy!" champion, and Keith Williams, who writes the blog The Final Wager. You're listening to HERE AND NOW.




TREBEK: Arthur Chu couldn't be caught. He played the game magnificently again. And he wrote down an incorrect response. So what is he going to lose off that 20,000? 2,000 only. That gives him 18,800 today and a three-day total of 82,800.

HOBSON: "Jeopardy's" Alex Trebek talking there about the show's reigning champ, Arthur Chu. After a final round of "Jeopardy!" last week, Arthur won, even though he had the wrong answer. And as we've been discussing, his success is due in large part to his unusual game theory strategy that is making a lot of viewers very angry. We're talking with Arthur Chu and Keith Williams, a former "Jeopardy!" champ who writes the blog The Final Wager.

And Keith, what do make of that criticism, that Arthur plays very quickly, he bounces around from category to category, searching for those Daily Doubles, but it's harder for viewers to play along, and it's not as much fun to watch.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. But Arthur is the one playing the game, and he's the one who has tens of thousands of dollars riding on each victory. So I understand that it can be troubling. And I - when I played, I actually tried to bounce around between categories and found it very hard to do. So - that Arthur is able to pull it off is just a real testament to his strength as a player and as a person who uses strategy to win the game.

HOBSON: One of the other things that he's been doing that people - some people don't like, and you can actually hear it in the clips that we played, is he has been just tapping that buzzer like crazy, which I've often heard from people who played "Jeopardy!" that it's - you got to get that buzzer in right away. And it doesn't always work for Arthur, but tell us about that, that the buzzer is very important in that game.

CHU: Right. A lot of people aren't clear on how the buzzer actually works. So this is actually probably the deciding skill of the game, honestly, that you have to wait until Alex is done talking and a light comes on on the game board that signals that you're allowed to buzz in. And at that point the first person to buzz in gets the chance to answer the question.

The thing is, if you buzz a little bit early, even a tiny bit, then you get locked out for some period of time, about half a second, before your buzzer becomes active again. And so that's to discourage you from just buzzing the whole time. But what that means is - and this is explicitly something that we were told in contestant orientation - if you buzz and you don't get it, it might be because you were too early.

So when you start buzzing, you need to keep on buzzing so that as soon as your lockout expires, you hit the buzzer and you buzz back in. If you buzz in once, or even if you like hit it like two or three times and you don't get in and you stop, then you're taking the chance that you're still locked out and someone else will beat you to it.

And some people are self-conscious about that, and so they are good on the buzzer but they'll like hide the buzzer behind their back or they'll hold it under the level of the podium so you can't see them doing it. I just was, like, I'm going to have the buzzer right here in my right hand supported by my left hand. That means a lot of times it's visible and it's audible and it's right there. And yeah, I kind of understand people finding it annoying when they're watching it.

I think in general, I come off as someone who's really intense about playing and winning this game, which I can see how that could be off-putting at the same time. I keep coming back to this fact, like real money. Like every time I win the game, that's tens of thousands of dollars, that's money that I can use to pay for my kids' college fund, that's something real at stake.

HOBSON: All right. There was another unusual tactic that not many players do. Arthur was in the lead when he entered final "Jeopardy!" last Wednesday, and he intentionally wagered to tie with one of his opponents. Let's listen to Alex Trebek when he noticed how unusual this was the following day.


TREBEK: Now, yesterday Arthur could have risked a dollar more to be a sole returning champion today, but I guess he enjoyed competing against her because the two of them tied. Maura, you're...

HOBSON: Arthur, why did you do that?

CHU: If you were paying attention in the previous game where I was playing against returning champion Julie, I also bet so that - I was in the lead. I bet that I would tie her if she went all in and got it right. And I think I've done it again since then. That's something that Keith talks about on his blog. And it gets a little math-y to try to explain it, but essentially it's one of two things. One thing is that any extra dollar that I bet - assuming we both get it right, then, yes, spending that extra dollar gives me the lead and then I win outright.

But if we both get it wrong, and supposing that the second place player hasn't gone all in, they've made a smaller, more conservative bet, and specifically they've anticipated that I would bet to try to shut them out, and they bet the minimum amount necessary to win if I got it wrong - if we both got it wrong, that extra dollar is going to put me $1 below them.

Maybe that's not coming across when I say it, but if you watch "Jeopardy!", you see this happen, you see - people know that's the bet you're, like quote-unquote, supposed to make. The second place player plans for that, then it turns out to be a really hard question. Everyone gets it wrong. And the first place player loses by that extra dollar.

HOBSON: Arthur, is it difficult to think about all the strategy while you're also trying to get the answers right? Because, we should say, none of this means anything if you get the answers wrong.

CHU: No, absolutely it's hard to think about it when you get the answers right. That's why you have a playbook. That's why I made these commitments about what my plan was going to be before I even started playing. You have a limited amount of time to think once you're actually playing. And so you can get caught up in the excitement of it. You can get caught up in the nervousness of it.

A lot of people make strategically bad wagers on Daily Doubles or on Final Jeopardy, because when you're in the moment and you're stressed out, you talk yourself into things. And Alex, you know, to his credit as a game show host, his job is to make the game interesting. He likes to encourage people to take wild chances, to - he likes to point out the possibility of something really exciting happening if you make a really big bet, even if it's not what you should be doing at that moment.

And so for me it was very much like if I commit to making the right decision - what I think is the right decision before I go in, I don't have to think about it anymore. Like the Daily Double hunting, I told myself, you know, if the game is close, you bet big. You know, if the game is not close, you bet small. I made a little set of like simple rules in my head, rules of thumb. And as long as I'm following those rules, the game part of the game is almost on automatic, and you can see that, that I play really fast. And that means because I'm not using that part of my brain to think about strategy, because I've already planned my strategy, I can use it all for trying to get the questions right.

HOBSON: Keith, do you think that more people are going to start to play this game like Arthur now that he has shown you can be very successful doing it that way?

WILLIAMS: I don't know. We have seen players do this in the past, and it never really caught on. But now that we have Twitter and now that we have all this media paying attention to what Arthur is doing, maybe it will catch on.

HOBSON: And Arthur, we should say that you're going to be donating your winnings to fibromyalgia research, something that your wife suffers from, correct?

CHU: Right. I didn't say I was going to donate all my winnings. There are things that - there are things of a selfish nature or of a practical nature that I would like to save some money for. But...

HOBSON: See, I was giving you an opportunity to have a very likeable moment with the audience, and you pulled it back.

CHU: No. Then someone's going to track down my financial records - he lied. I am going to donate a chunk of it to charity. And one of the causes that I care about is fibromyalgia research because my wife suffers from fibromyalgia, and it's a disease that there's a lot of misunderstandings about, not enough awareness about.

But as you can probably tell the kind of person I am, I do a lot of research before I commit to doing anything. So one of the things that I've done since being on "Jeopardy!" is do a ton of research, and I'm still doing a research to try to figure out where the best place to put my money is if I want to make a difference in the world. And that's a whole other - I could talk for hours about that.

HOBSON: Arthur Chu is the current "Jeopardy!" champ. He's been using game theory in part, as well as a lot of knowledge about a lot of things to win the game. And we've also been joined by Keith Williams, who writes a blog about game theory. He's also a former "Jeopardy!" champ. He was with us from New York. Thanks to both of you.

CHU: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

HOBSON: And Robin, Arthur is already getting some flak also for his shirts, which are not always ironed on the show. He said he was focused so much on his strategy that he didn't even think about his clothes.


Why should he think about his shirts or his strategy? He's winning.

HOBSON: Right.

YOUNG: Emma Lou Schwichtenberg Cousens wrote us: What each player brings to the game only adds to the challenge. But Carla Riganti Russell says: It drives me crazy that he goes right for the $800 clue. Your thoughts - go to facebook.com/hereandnowradio.

Jeremy, this story is already one of the most popular at hereandnow.org. You know, we cover wars, the economy, but "Jeopardy!" is touching a nerve.

HOBSON: It's a show that everyone knows, and it's such an interesting idea to play it in such a different way than it has been played for a decade.

YOUNG: I have no idea what you've all been talking about.

HOBSON: From NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Jeremy Hobson.

YOUNG: I'm Robin Young. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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  • loyal listener

    The government’s own Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare will cost our country over 2 million jobs! Why is Here and Now ignoring this important news story???? Your show was a MAJOR CHEERLEADER for Obamacare. As a recipient of our tax dollars, you have an OBLIGATION to report the facts on this issue and not just what fits into your liberal agenda!

  • David Haley

    I always wondered why so many contestants chose the lowest paying questions first. That always seemed like going for a field goal in football.

  • themeasureofaman

    I’ve wondered for years why contestants don’t go straight to the high bets. Seems like the most likely path but people are likely too polite to do it. GO ARTHUR!

  • Caroline

    Ha! Chu is laughing all the way to the bank! Who cares if your shirt is ironed – but of course we like tidy people . . and some also like to bring the big guy down. Could Alex T really be upset? I doubt it. He’s met many, many, many people and probably enjoys all the characters most.

  • Duffy Johnson

    Lots of contestants choose not to begin with the simpler, low-value clues. They like to hunt for the Daily Double, which is frequently the 4th clue in a column. Nothing unusual about Arthur’s method. Drives ME crazy, though! I passed the ‘Jeopardy!’ audition years ago but ultimately was not selected for the show.

  • Execelsior

    I think that his method is excellent – I hope that he surpasses the pompous Ken Jennings. It was fascinating to hear his approach, especially why he chose to draw with a contestant. Very impressive.

    • Jodi Smith

      He’s got a long way to go to beat Ken Jennings or Brad Rutter. So far as we know, he’s only won three times, not even an entire week yet. (My guess is that he made it past that.) That’s why I’m mystified over the fuss being made. Once he hits 15-20 wins, maybe we could start getting excited, but he’s barely in Tournament of Champions territory.

  • Jodi Smith

    I don’t find it unsettling if contestants don’t go straight down the categories, I find it fun. Winning at “Jeopardy” is how you bet, how well you can time hitting the button, and ultimately if you get the correct response. I haven’t noticed Mr. Chu doing anything I haven’t seen contestants do in the past. What’s the fuss?


    Why does this make him a ‘villain’? He’s not breaking the rules or even stretching them.

    Strategically, it makes more sense to go for the bigger $ clues first. That way, if you do get a daily double, you’ll have more to wager.

    • Avril111

      My Uncle Harrison recently got Infiniti Q50 Sedan from only
      workin part time on a home computer… go to this website B­u­z­z­3­2­.­ℂ­o­m

    • Jake McGrew

      Bc he is an obnoxious ugly tool.

  • Albert Garcia

    I hope not everyone takes exception to my remarks but… this guy is creepy. I am aware that it is human nature to want to succeed but, if all there is is money, he should have gone into business as a stock broker or something. I concur that there is nothing sacrosanct about a trivial game show but many of us have watched for decades and we take great relaxation from this agreeable little half-hour away from it all, taking in a sporting little contest with interesting people having fun, fair and square, not a greedy, predetermined strategy of probability theory to get rich quick. Watching these whizbos trying to outsmart the rank and file player with every little edge they can dream up just tarnishes the luster of what sometimes is otherwise a very entertaining and pleasant experience. This fellow could take a lesson from the current contestants on the 80′s throwback tournament… as genteel, jovial, capable and appealing a bunch as you’ll ever see, clearly there for the fun. It’s not ALL about the bucks.
    (Incidentally, I hope SOMEDAY Alex makes these whizbos answer with the FULL name…not MONROE, PRESLEY, or GARLAND for God’s sake.)

    • Arthur Chu

      Hey, so it’s me. I normally try to stay out of random discussion forums but why the hell not, because this actually gets to me.

      Dude, I completely agree with you that life is “not just about money”, and that I would not want to live the life of someone who obsessively optimizes everything about their life to make the most money. Hence why I work a mundane desk job that gives me the freedom to act and play games and get drunk and read Shakespeare with my friends rather than working an 80-hour work week flying high on Wall Street.

      But Jeopardy isn’t life. Jeopardy took a chunk out of my life, but not as big of one as it may appear to you watching it on TV — a week’s worth of Jeopardy episodes films within one day in real time.

      My “creepy” demeanor on Jeopardy is the result of spending about a month of my life preparing for literally one day when being able to be hyper-focused and hyper-strategic for JUST ONE DAY could give me the opportunity to take him a life-changing chunk of change.

      If I were already independently wealthy and had nothing to worry about, maybe it would be douchey of me to care that much about that one day rather than just “enjoying the experience”. But I’m not. My ability to live my life in peace and comfort, sad to say, depends on money and having enough money is something I worry about. If that’s not true for you, then you have my congratulations — I think it’s something true of most of us.

      $100,000 makes a big difference to me, and it’s going to make a big difference to my wife, and I’m honestly kind of shocked that people lack the self-awareness to understand how much they’re asking when they ask me to not play the best game I know how to play because it makes Jeopardy more fun for them to watch at the kitchen table.

      In the long run? If you think the game isn’t fun because of “whizbos” like me — get the Jeopardy producers to change the rules of the game. Jeopardy’s a business and they make their profits entertaining people — if they agree with you that the possibility of “whizbos” playing the way I play is something they want to discourage, they can change the rules to prevent it. It wouldn’t be hard to do.

      But when the Jeopardy producers are basically offering a guy like me the chance to get enough money to put a down payment on a house or buy a new car or start a college fund for one day’s worth of work — and that chance is well within the rules, it’s something other people, as you note, have done and no one’s telling me not to do it — it’s actually completely crazy that you think I’d give that up for the sake of being a “decent, likable person” in the eyes of you personally.

      Can you really put yourself in the shoes of someone like me who’s been given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win $100,000 for one day’s worth of work?

      • Carol R.

        I loved your response, enjoy your game strategy, and wish you continued success in the game. No one is getting hurt by your play, and you are helping your family, so the complainers can change the channel if they don’t like it.

    • Arthur Chu

      Also the original “whizbo” was Chuck Forrest, who pioneered this strategy in 1985 (Season 2 of Jeopardy, when I was one year old) and who won using this strategy again last night on the 1980s tournament.

      • depressionbaby

        Can’t remember for sure but was he the one from Wilmington, Delaware who studied each and every Jeopardy show? BTW I’m a fan and when do you come back on after the ’80′s Champions I can’t remember?

        • mortalcity

          February 24th — I’m sure you’d rather hear it from Arthur, but just in case he doesn’t get back to you because of all these interviews he’s doing. (-:

      • alsviews

        Incidentally, “whizbo” doesn’t really mean anything except that it could
        be the presumptive opposite of “dumbo”. Seemed appropriate, though. Kind of rolls off the tongue.

    • depressionbaby

      My God! I take exception! This is a game where you try to win a lot of money; like Lotto, Powerball, or Megamillions. I’ve seen lots and lots of Jeopardy “players” search for the double. And they always go for the higher value questions towards the end of a round. Genteel? Are you from Victorian England? After all that I do agree with you that answers should be COMPLETE names. Some are obvious, but Alex lets some pass that should require a first name.

      • alsviews

        Perhaps you don’t get it. What’s wrong with Powerball, Lotto, et al? Nothing. “Jeopardy” is a TV show. For the average viewer, it’s not about some guy taking a shortcut to a new house. If a guy needs to make some bucks on a show, it’s legal. Why do I have to enjoy it? In the final analysis, a lot of people were enamored of a preprogrammed automaton cutting out a piece of the dream. A lot of people like me just wanted to be entertained for a half an hour by some appealing people who shared a love of useless knowledge. You don’t like what we think, sue us.

        • depressionbaby

          I have a lawyer lined up. I’m sure if you were a contestant you wouldn’t even try to win; too genteel for that.

    • Math guy

      You remind me of people who show up to a poker game and complain about the players who actually play the game: “I take great relaxation from playing poker, a nice sporting contest people having fun, fair and square. What’s with all this tight and aggressive betting? Using probability theory? It’s not very friendly game anymore. Just trying to get every little edge takes away from a pleasant experience.” Would you say the same thing about contestants in the World Series of Poker? I hope not. The fact is, the “betting” and other aspects of the game are part of the game. If you don’t like it, ask the producers to change the rules.

    • frankyburns

      Creepy? Read what you just wrote.

    • Guest

      Wow, an advocate for being average. Who would’ve thunk it?

  • some2example2

    yes, lets rag on this guy because he didn’t go down the list in the “18th century cricket players” category and jumped to “famous 19th turkish singers”.

  • sgodwin

    I realize I’m probably in the minority, but IMO, Jeopardy has “jumped the shark”. When they changed the rules so champions could win more than five games, Ken Jennings came along and I found it boring to watch him win every game. And that change, along with having a lot more “tournaments” each year, have reduced the total number of contestants who get to play. I’ve always found the jumping around strategy to be annoying. It may help a contestant to win, but it’s not as much fun to watch. And with all the publicity this Chu character is getting, you can bet we’ll see more of this style of play in the future. Meantime, I find myself watching the show less and less because it’s just not as much fun as it used to be.

    • depressionbaby

      Generally I still watch, but there are way too many “tournaments”! Teachers, Kids, Former Champions, High Schoolers, College Students, Former Losers,. OK That last one was not real, but I do believe they should have that. I remember lots and lots of narrow losers who should have been given a second chance.

  • Smokey – Jeopardy Fan

    Jeopardy is not merely a game of chance. Winning is based upon one’s knowledge. Chu’s plan to go big rather than start small appears to reflect confidence in his knowledge not greed. I enjoy the courage of his approach.

  • Chris Lo

    Betting to let second place get a draw with you while you’re in first is genius. Think about it. It means you only have to face one new opponent the next time. The other opponent you are facing, you already know you are superior to.

    • depressionbaby

      I agree. At first I thought why is he doing this. And then I thought, it’s because he knows he can beat her the next day.

  • GWCoyote

    Arthur Chu’s strategy is hardly original and he is not a villain. However, over the years there have been occassionally a category where the only way you could get the highest clue answer was to have seen the previous four questions. That’s because Jeopardy set it up where the fifth answer was derived from having seen answers 1 – 4. His upcoming opponents should use the same strategy as his to try and balance things out.

  • depressionbaby

    And this is news why? Isn’t the objective to win? In the current TV audience maybe not.

  • Sandra Bilek

    Chu played to win, and he did.

  • jonathanpulliam

    Arthur Chu reminds me of three-time world chess champ Mikhail Botvinnik, whose revolutionizing Soviet-era chess instruction led to no small amount of skepticism/sour grapes within the Grandmaster community, but also to no fewer than three extremely distinguished student proteges:


    Way to go Arthur !

  • Rick Evans

    You go Chu!

    Let the whiners and crybabies qualify to get on Jeopardy and win ‘their way.’.

    Hey crybabies! The objective of the game is to win the most money and not to be the pied piper for a bunch of wannabe viewers.

  • frankyburns

    Yeah right, and pro football players are villains when they play to win. And if a pro boxer goes to a punch when his opponent’s guard is down, then he is a villain. And the greatest villain of all is Chu.

  • Jim

    He may not be breaking any rules but I sure don’t like when he looks at the other contestants that hit the buzzer before him in a VERY GLARING MANNER!!! I sure as heck DO NOT want to be watching him show me how highly intelligent he is (I really don’t give a damn)’ It would be nice if the show reverted back to one of its old ways and that’s a contestant can win 5 times and then gets a new car and bye-bye). I’m really tired of watching him already strictly because of his actions and reactions!!

    • lm

      Thanks Jim, for your boring and asinine comment.

  • Tequila_Mckngbrd

    Way to go! The goal is to win. Usually by being smarter than the other players by knowing all the answers. He goes one step beyond that since he doesn’t know all the answers, so employs strategic thinking. I love seeing it work!

  • Joe Crowe

    For a show that is supposed to be an intellectual challenge, I’m surprised his strategy hadn’t been used before. I didn’t see the show, but I like his lateral thinking.

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