Moneyball hasn't helped the Oakland Athletics win the World Series, but it has inspired the greatest performance in Jeopardy! game show history.
Roger Craig won $77,000 in one episode to break Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings' single-day record on the show, and he took a page out of a Major League Baseball team's handbook to do it.
Craig, who holds a doctorate in computer science from the University of Delaware, says he created a system that studies Jeopardy! for patterns. He tells National Public Radio it works similarly to Moneyball.
The book written by Michael Lewis in 2003 and turned into a movie with Brad Pitt tells the story of the Oakland A's GM Billy Beane using a specially designed computer program to field the best team while pinching pennies.
The program is a stat geek's dream come true. "I actually downloaded this site called the Jeopardy! Archive, which is a fan-created site of all the questions and answers that are on the show," Craig told NPR. The site has more than 200,000 questions and answers that have appeared on the quiz show. Craig was able to group questions by categories to determine which topics were statistically most likely to appear, and which weren't.
Esquire writer Chris Jones tells NPR that Craig was able to calculate the odds on which categories were most likely to come up, preparing himself like an athlete for a big game. Craig used capitols as an example: Rather than having to know every capitol on the planet, you only need to know the answers to the "80 percent people have heard of."
The theory goes that Jeopardy! is written for people watching at home to play along and have a chance of getting some right. It's not designed for the brainy contestants. As Craig told NPR, "You don't have to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun the other guy."
Craig, 33, ended up winning $250,000 in the Tournament of Champions. But not everyone was happy. A fellow contestant good-naturedly slammed him for cheating. Craig defends his magical program by saying he "practiced efficiently" in getting ready for his game show appearance.
Ironically, a record Jeopardy! run based on a system inspired from sports ended with an NFL question in Final Jeopardy! Yet Craig failed to remember the Saints had won the 2010 Super Bowl.
Craig tells ABC News his secret formula.
Craig goes into great detail about his magical system.
This video of Craig betting it all on back-to-back Daily Doubles has gone viral.
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