Alright, Jeopardy! fans, here’s your clue: The psychological phenomenon of an expectation becoming reality simply because a person believes it will. I’ll give you a moment to think (playing “Think” while you do so is highly encouraged).
Do you have your answer? Okay. The correct answer is: What is a self-fulfilling prophecy? Did you get it?
As a Jeopardy! contestant, confidence is key. Even the most knowledgeable contestant can face their downfall if they allow nerves to get the better of them. And, unfortunately, one-game champion Robert Won learned the power of confidence and self-fulfilling prophecy in a recent episode.
In Friday’s game, Robert Won became champion after defeating his fellow contestants by a mere one dollar. After the close call, the new champ revealed his biggest fear.
Though he has no qualms about living in a tent to score basketball tickets or repeatedly submitting crossword puzzles to The New York Times, he’s horrified by the thought of bad math. “I was terrified,” he said. “I’m a math professor and I wagered wrong. If I lost in a wrong wager, my colleagues wouldn’t let me hear the end of that.”
“You did it right by one dollar,” host Mayim Bialik replied. And, well…Monday’s game had a similar outcome. Just not in Robert’s favor.
‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Robert Won Loses by $2
As Monday’s game came to a close, Robert Won appeared to be the clear winner. Going into Final Jeopardy, Robert had $23,000 to his name, while his competitors, Steve and Aleithia, had only $13,800 and $7,400, respectively.
With a smart betting strategy, Robert wouldn’t necessarily need to provide the correct answer to remain champion (though that would certainly help). Instead, however, his worst fear became reality.
The nightmare scenario started with Mayim Bialik reading the final clue. “It’s one of the most revived shows in Broadway history and, in 2001, it was designated the state opera of South Carolina,” she said.
Both Aleithia and Steve gave the correct answer, “What is Porgy & Bess?“. Robert, however, was tripped up by the question and responded, “What is South Pacific?” instead.
To his horror, Robert realized that he and Steve had bet the exact same amount: $4,601. Steve, a lawyer from Chesapeake, Virginia, expertly predicted Robert’s betting strategy and out-played the math professor. The result was a crushing defeat for Robert and an exciting victory for Steve, who finished with just $2 more than the champion and took the crown.
On the bright side, Robert Won won’t be facing the ridicule of his colleagues empty-handed. He’ll have his $32,001 in Friday’s winnings to keep him company.