SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes, having only a dollar to your name doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
On Tuesday night’s “Jeopardy,” two-day champion Manny Abell proved that very point.
Abell, a naval officer from Lacey, Washington, was up against Salt Lake City-based actor Carlos Nobleza Posas and Fran Fried from Prospect, Connecticut.
Although Fried was quick on the buzzer and took a large lead during the first half, several missed questions from all three contestants leveled the playing field.
The Salt Lake City actor attempted to capitalize on this when he landed on a Daily Double question. He was tied with Fried for first place at $4,000 — with returning champion Abell at $2,000. In an effort to take a large lead, Posas wagered everything.
The question referenced the novel that includes chapters titled ‘‘5 June 1832’’and “Marius enters the darkness.”
Posas responded with “The Heart of Darkness,” but Victor Hugo’s “Le Miserables” was the answer for which Alex Trebek was looking. This brought Posas down to third place with $400 at the half, Abell in second place with $2,200 and Fried in the lead with $2,800.
In the Double Jeopardy round, Fried continued to dominate the buzzer and secured a substantial lead at $12,700 with just under a minute to go. At this point, Posas trailed in second with $3,600 and Abell in third with $600.
But then Posas got a moment of redemption.
He landed on another Daily Double question, and before making his wager, Trebek informed him that an incorrect answer he had given earlier was found acceptable, giving him an extra $4,000 and bringing his second place total to $7,600. Posas then wagered $5,100 to tie for first.
The question was: “William Shockley shared a Nobel Prize for creating this device that supplanted vacuum tubes in electronics.”
Posas correctly responded with “transistor,” bringing him to a tie for first at $12,700.
Going into Final Jeopardy, Posas and Fried were tied for first with $12,300. Abell trailed behind with $1,000.
Then the unimaginable happened.
All three contestants were unable to provide the correct answer to the Final Jeopardy question that referenced the only country that borders both the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf — Iran.
The game came down to a battle of wages, and it was the contestant in last place that emerged victorious.
Both Posas and Fried wagered everything, while Abell wagered $999 of his $1,000 sum — bringing his game total to $1.
It wasn’t much, but it was enough to secure a victory, bringing Abell's three-day total to $42,799. Trebek called it the “smallest win in many, many years.”
The only other time this has happened in "Jeopardy" history was in 1993, according to jeopardy.com.