Daily Double hunting is a divisive topic in the world of Jeopardy! fandom. Some people understand that selecting clues in a seemingly random fashion in the hopes that you’ll land on that all-important square is an integral part of a winning strategy. Other, more traditional fans wish contestants would simply run the board from the top to bottom, relying solely on their dominant knowledge of trivia. If you’re in the former camp and are currently preparing for an upcoming Jeopardy! appearance, you may be interested to see this new “Daily Double Heatmap,” which, while not the first attempt to map these highly coveted bonuses, is the most accurate attempt to date.
Created by Reddit user leme16 using data from all 34 seasons of the gameshow stored on the J! Archive, the heatmap shows that Daily Doubles are most likely to be located in the $1600 row, primarily on the left side. A similar map was created a few years ago by statistician Nathan Yau, but now we’re getting into hundredths of percentiles because Jeopardy! is serious fucking business.
While it makes sense that producers wouldn’t want Daily Doubles popping up in the first two rows, which would normally be selected early in the game, the favoring of the leftmost categories seems somewhat arbitrary. A few Redditors suggested that the low probability on the right side may have to do with the fact that the sixth category is usually a “gimmick” or “punny-type” category, which isn’t suitable for something as important as a Daily Double.
Whatever the reasoning behind it, 34 seasons of data can’t be wrong. So, when you find yourself looking up at that big blue board with buzzer in hand, remember to aim down and to the left. Happy hunting.
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