What are the odds that three contestants on the game show Jeopardy! bet all their winning and lose? What is… Once in a blue moon?
Rare Three-Way Loss
Early into Jeopardy’s existence, specifically, the show’s second episode, airing in 1984, all three contestants bet all their money in the ‘Final Jeopardy’ round, and all three were incorrect. The result was a three-way loss and no champion to move on.
This occurrence would not happen again until 32 years later, in January of 2016. All three players bet their total winning, only to be left empty-handed and the crown to collect dust.
What is Final Jeopardy?
At the end of each episode of Jeopardy!, the host, being either Mike Richards, Ken Jennings, or the late Alex Trebek, would ask a ‘Final Jeopardy’ question.
Contestants were able to bet a certain amount of their earned money on the question. A few numbers were not allowed to be bet due to their negative connotation, such as 69, 666, and 1488. However, numbers that may be deemed as inappropriate but are still allowed include 13, 420, and 911.
According to IMDb, “During the commercial break before Final Jeopardy, contestant coordinators provide each contestant with the proper interrogative (Who or What) to respond to the clue correctly.”
After each contestant bet their amount, a single clue was revealed, along with a category. After thirty nerve-wracking seconds, the players had to show their written answers. However much the players bet, they either add that to their winning, or it gets taken.
Other Rare Occurrences
What is even rarer than a three-way loss due to bold contestants is a three-way win. This has only happened once in the history of Jeopardy! The odds of it happening once, let alone ever again, are a one in 25 million odd.
If this happens, I recommend buying a lottery ticket, staying indoors during a lightning storm, not going in the ocean, and staying away from vending machines because you are that lucky (or unlucky), individual.
Surprisingly, there have been winners who were named champions with just $1 in winnings. This happened in 1993 and in 2017 when the other contestants raked in a total of zero dollars, and the lucky winner had a dollar.
Insert commercial that says ‘I caught you a dollar.’
Tricky Final Jeopardy! Questions
“It’s the only country that borders both the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf.”
Beep Beep The correct answer is Iran.
What about this one?
“In 1937, his sister said he had “hats of every description,” which he would use as a “foundation of his next book.”
Here is a hint, “I do not want them, Sam, I am.”
The answer? None of that, Dr. Seuss himself.