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Jeopardy Champion Ekes Out Surprise Win of $1

A lot of game shows are all about luck. You have to hope the spinning wheel hits the right number, or that you picked the right door. The long-running show 'Jeopardy!', however, requires intelligence. You have to be smart to win it.

One contestant proved he was smarter than all others, not because he knew all the answers, but because he knew enough not to bet his last dollar.

Manny Abell, a Naval officer appearing on Tuesday's episode of 'Jeopardy!', didn't look like he was having a good night. He went into the final round with only $1,000, trailing far behind the two other contestants. Fran Fried and Carlos Nobleza Posas were both tied at $12,300.

Abell was still in the game though and probably learned in the military not to go down without a fight. Then came the final answer.

The final clue was, "It's the only country that borders the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf."

All three contestants were apparently stumped and scrambled for the answers. Abell put down 'Iraq', and host Alex Trebek had to report that he was incorrect.

Abell wagered $999, leaving him with a single dollar in the pot.

Trebek then turned to Posas, who also had the wrong answer. Posas bet his entire pot, leaving him with nothing.

The host of the game then turned to the final contestant, Fried, who had been leading for most of the evening. He read her answer and was stunned to find that she, too, was wrong.

The actual answer was Iraq, he announced. Then Trebek asked to see how much Fried had bet. Fried was apparently the first to realize what was happening because she was standing there with a stunned look and her hands on her face. Fried also bet it all, leaving her with nothing.

"Congratulations, you win the game with a dollar!" Trebek said.

"Whoops!" was Abell's shocked response.

In the big picture, Abell won a three-day total of $42,799. In an email to the Huffington Post, the contestant thought that he was going to lose, and his three-day run on the show would come to an end.

“There was no way I was going to win that thing,” he wrote. “When I watch at home, I always get a chuckle when someone bets all but a dollar and loses it, leaving them with that single, lonely ‘$1’ on the podium... This was my chance to be that guy and laugh at myself.”

Abell actually learned that leaving at least a dollar is a wise move in the game. Another military man, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Darryl Scott, won the game back in 1993 by leaving that single dollar in play. Scott set the record for the smallest win on the show. At the time, had been running for 9 years, and a $1 win has rarely happened.

If you're wondering how a Naval officer could have missed the 'only' country to border both seas, chalk it up to pressure. Abell said after performing so poorly throughout the first two rounds, he really struggled with that last round. “I just trying to fight the pressure and remind myself of the maps I’ve been looking at my whole life, but I moved the Caspian Sea to the southwest a bit,” he admitted.

Source: The Huffington Post
Photos: The Ringer, Jeopardy/Twitter

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