When it comes to Jeopardy!, we often talk about some of the boldest contestants with the riskiest bets. However, as a recent player just proved, sometimes it’s just as important to show restraint. Here’s why a Daily Double could have cost this contestant the entire game if he hadn’t played it safe.
Lloyd Sy Dethrones Ray LaLonde
On January 3, a new Jeopardy! champion emerged. Lloyd Sy, a graduate student from Rockford, Illinois, managed to cut down Canadian scenic artist Ray LaLonde after an impressive 13-game run. However, Sy cleverly avoided disaster with a surprising $5 Daily Double bet.
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In the episode’s first round, Sy landed on the Daily Double in the category “Kid Cuisine.” Sy seemed to immediately realize he had little expertise in the category, and he decided to wager only $5. Oftentimes, the allure of considerably increasing your score or even doubling it leads contestants to bet big on the Daily Doubles. Players like the legendary James Holzhauer and recent champ Cris Pannullo credit the Daily Doubles for their massive totals and long win streaks.
However, Sy made the smart decision to hold back. The clue read, “History professor Paul Josephson’s definitive article on these breaded items is titled ‘The Ocean’s Hot Dog.'”
Sy apparently didn’t have any idea, choosing to answer, “What is…you see why I bet $5?” Everyone shared a laugh at Sy’s humble answer before Jennings revealed that the answer was “fish sticks.”
Lloyd Sy’s Bet Possibly Saved Him The Game
While Sy’s $5 bet earned him some laughs, it very possibly earned him a lot of money in the long run. As it turns out, while Sy competed admirably, he didn’t have a very wide margin over his fellow contestants. By Final Jeopardy, Sy had just a $490 lead over reigning champion Ray LaLonde.
The excitement certainly didn’t stop there. All three contestants bet big on Final Jeopardy and nearly doubled their scores. It was a close game with all players going scoring over $22,000. As for Sy, he narrowly took home victory by just a $490 margin.
If he hadn’t played it safe with his Daily Double bet, he could have easily lost to the formidable Ray LaLonde and walked away with just the second place $2,000 consolation prize. Instead, Sy recognized where his expertise didn’t lie and made the responsible decision to bet low. It just goes to show, no matter how broad your trivia knowledge is, Jeopardy! is just as much about strategy.
Sy went on to win his second game, proving that his first one wasn’t just a fluke. Though his streak ended when he came in second in his third game, we’ll still be keeping an eye out for more of this winning strategy in the coming games.