HomeEntertainment‘Jeopardy!’: What Are the Odds of a Three-Way Tie?

‘Jeopardy!’: What Are the Odds of a Three-Way Tie?

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

While it may not appear so, in many ways “Jeopardy!” is a game of odds.

Odds are in play at getting on the show. It’s not easy to become a contestant on “Jeopardy!” or any game show on television. The questions are completely randomized as well. A contestant may study or attempt to prepare, but will never really know exactly what’s in store.

Is there any chance that all the contestants will end up earning the same amount of money?

‘Jeopardy!’ Three-Way Tie

According to MeTV, the odds of a three-way tie happening are one in 25 million.

On March 16, 2007, all three contestants happened to finish with the exact same final score of $16,000. Those odds are specifically one in 7,200.

The three contestants that day were Scott Weiss, James Kirby, and Anders Martinson. There has not been a tie-breaker clue on the show until March 1, 2018. There have been other tournament games that instead have ended with a tie-breaker clue, however.

The odds of a two-person tie are a lot more likely. According to Today, two players on January 22 tied for that first-place crown. After Double Jeopardy, both returning champion Brian Chang and contestant Jack Weller had a total of $18,800. They happened to both wager all their money. This means the final amount for both of them was $37,600.

How is that kind of tie resolved on the show?

The show goes into a tiebreaker where the host reads a clue and the first person to chime in wins the game. In this case, guest host Ken Jennings read a history clue and Chang got the correct answer and walked away with $37,600.

The show changed its tie-breaking system in 2016. The former rule was that two winners could come back if they happened to tie.

Odds of Getting on the Show

Ties can make for a pretty interesting game of “Jeopardy!”

However, what are the odds of actually getting to step foot on the studio, hold that buzzer, and answer a series of trivia questions? The odds in this case are a little higher, but not great.

One person told the story of his audition process on Quora and how difficult the show makes it for future contestants. He said he has taken the written audition test in person at Sony studios as well as the online test several times at home.

During the online test, people are given 15 seconds per clue. The questions are more difficult than the ones that appear on the show. A possible contestant passes the test if they earn 70%.

From there, it’s once again open to chance. From about 100,000 entries, the show picks randomly from the individuals who earned above the passing rate. Those chosen must then take a test in person with pen and paper. Then a simulated game is conducted.

This individual claims that it is easier to get into Harvard than to get on “Jeopardy!” In order to keep the show interesting, “Jeopardy!” is pretty selective on who can step foot on the stage.