Arthur Chu is back on "Jeopardy" Monday night. Trader-turned-comedian Raj Mahal takes has a few words for all the haters out there.
I would like to thank "Jeopardy" whiz Arthur Chu for giving America someone else to call an "emotionless villain" besides Wall Street guys. Between the financial crisis and the "Wolf of Wall Street," we are taking a beating.
Chu has won more than $100,000 on four "Jeopardy" appearances using a controversial tactic of bouncing around the board hunting for the coveted "Daily Double" to increase his winnings, a tactic that can end up confusing the other contestants in the process. Typically, most contestants move through the categories from low to high dollar amounts.
He's stirred up a firestorm on Twitter as fans complain the game is harder to watch because he's ruining the organization of the board. He's been called everything from a "hacker" to a "thug." Even host Alex Trebek at times seems confused. "The crew, the production team and Alex, they want you to take the clues in order. That way, Alex doesn't have to go hunting around for the right note card when he has a clue," Chu was quoted as saying on Yahoo Finance.
Fueling the fire, Chu actually responds to critics on Twitter while the show is on (it's pre-taped).
Chu, an insurance analyst and aspiring actor, himself has said he realizes it makes the game "less pleasant to watch," but here's why I love this guy: "Between $10,000 and getting haters on Twitter, the $10,000 is more important to me," he said in an interview on Fox News.
That sounds like something the "Wolf of Wall Street" would say. Someone on Wall Street hire this man please!
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I think it has become an epidemic in America to hate successful people. People just assume successful people are lucky, ruthless or smug. If a person has figured out a way to make a lot of money, people will find a reason to dislike them. People say they hate Mark Zuckerberg but they will spend all day on Facebook. When he donated $100 million to Newark public schools, he was accused of ulterior motives. People hate LeBron James because he would rather play basketball in Miami than in Cleveland. Given the choice, I assume most Americans would do the same.
I think America has become soft. We give out ninth place trophies now. That sends a bad message. You have to work hard to be No. 1 and hard work should be rewarded. There is a bit of luck involved in getting rich but the harder you work, the luckier you get. Occupy Wall Street protesters spend more time complaining about the 1 percent than trying to be part of the 1 percent. If you don't make it, it has to be someone else's fault. It's easier to blame someone else than look at what you could have done differently.
Last week I was talking to this girl at a bar and she asked me what I did. I told her I am a comic but I used to work on Wall Street. She said, "Thank god. Because all Wall Street guys are douchebags." I asked why she thought that and her response was, "Well, I don't really know any Wall Street guys. It seems you guys all make a lot of money so you must be doing something shady."
First of all, we need to keep one thing in mind: "Jeopardy" is entertainment. And if it's one thing we've learned from reality TV, everyone loves a villain! Arthur Chu is gold for ratings.
But more importantly, we could all stand to learn from Arthur Chu.
Chu wasn't just thrilled to be on "Jeopardy" and test his knowledge like some strong-man contest at a carnival, where you just show up and hit something. The minute he found out he was going to be on the show, he Googled "Jeopardy strategy."
The strategy he used wasn't new — but it worked. Called the "Forrest Bounce," the strategy was first used by Chuck Forrest way back in 1985. (Disclosure: I was once on "Jeopardy" and I lost. Wish I'd know about this strategy then!)
Chu knew he was no Ken Jennings (who won 74 straight games) and he couldn't get by on knowledge alone. He knew playing good defense not just offense would help his chances to win. (Ahem, this seems to be a running theme of 2014: See also, Seattle Seahawks.)
"The more unpredictable you are, the more you put your opponents off balance, the longer you can keep an initial advantage," Chu told mentalfloss.com.
And, to be clear — he's not breaking any rules.
Chu made a point to avoid categories he doesn't know like sports — unless it was for tactical reasons. He angered viewers by choosing a sports question, which, as fate would have it, had the coveted "Daily Double." Knowing he wouldn't know the answer, he bet just $5 and then cut off Alex Trebek before he even finished the question! The only reason he picked it was to make sure his opponent didn't get it. Had one of his opponents gotten that question right, Chu may have lost the game. The reason for the interruption wasn't without cause either: He knew there is only a certain amount of time per round and didn't want to waste valuable seconds where he could earn more money.
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That is very sound advice in life — and investing. Stick to companies and strategies you understand. Play to your strengths. Don't waste time. That very strategy made Warren Buffett a billionaire.
One of the most brilliant things about Arthur Chu is that he didn't just play "Jeopardy" the way it's always been played.
That's good advice, too: Never take someone else's word for it. Never buy a stock because your friend's friend got a hot tip. If you don't believe me, go watch the "Wolf of Wall Street" and see how those investors ended up!
Just like Wall Street — it's not just about how much you know, it's how you play the game.
You also have to know what game you want to play. Arthur Chu isn't just playing "Jeopardy" to win money. Remember, he's an aspiring actor. Would we remember him if he were just a nice insurance analyst playing "Jeopardy?" No we would not. Everyone loves a villain. From Walter White to Gordon Gekko everyone loves a villain. Those are the guys we remember. Those are the guys we talk about decades later.
I think Arthur Chu would be a perfect choice to play a villain in the next "James Bond" movie!
As much as I would like to see this guy hired on Wall Street, I have a feeling we'll be seeing him in Hollywood.
Well played, Arthur Chu. Well played.
— By Raj Mahal