When was the last time you stopped giving a fuck? Stopped caring on how you looked, and started focusing on your goals? For Arthur Chu, this was mindset he used to win $300,000 on national television.
When Jeopardy! opened its broadcast on January 28, Arthur Chu upset viewers across America with his unorthodox play and no-shits-given attitude. Arthur didn’t break any rules, but he gamed the system for all the competitive edges he could get.
Typically, contestants choose a category and go through the clues from that list consecutively, making the viewing experience simple and easy to follow. Arthur chose a different route. He implemented the infamous “Forrest Bounce” strategy: he picked clues all across the board, jumping from one category to another, chaotically and systematically in search of the Daily Double.
In another instance, Arthur annoyed the audience by repeatedly buzzing in when he wasn’t reeeeeally supposed to. Players can’t buzz in until Alex Trebek finishes reading each clue. But with Arthur’s speedy eye-to-hand reaction time (from being a lifelong gamer) and his opponents’ confusion with the Forrest Bounce, Arthur is able to make a decisive decision and beat his opponents to the buzzer by milliseconds. His confidence got him locked out at times but more often than not, Arthur would come out victorious.
In Final Jeopardy!, when players wager before seeing the clue, Arthur’s strategy was to wager just enough that he would tie with the 2nd-place player instead of going for the win. Arthur’s goal was to simply come back the next day for a chance to compete again. Since the top scorer in each game automatically moves on, there is no upside in wagering more money to try and win 1st place. So why risk it?
The bouncing across the board, the annoying clicks on the buzzer, and the unorthodox move of playing to tie made viewers extremely upset and confused. Watching Jeopardy! was no longer “fun” when Arthur played. People took their outrage to social media, insulting Arthur for his “vile” play. Arthur responded to this backlash during our interview:
“I’m not here to make people happy. For a game show, people say you need to be entertaining for the audience. Well that’s their problem. It’s not my problem.”
— 100 hundred emoji (@sammyjacobs) January 31, 2014
Looks like Arthur bit off more than he could Chu #jeopardy (been waiting weeks to say that)
— Marguerite Sinnott (@margutweet) March 12, 2014
Arthur Chu risks/loses everything on a daily double with the incorrect answer "egoism." How fitting. #Jeopardy
— Michael Lowe (@Lowecountry) March 12, 2014
— Rev. Jake Sowers (@revsowers) March 12, 2014
Not only did Arthur give zero cares about the audience’s expectations, he also prioritized differently than a lot of other contestants.
“It just seems to me that people that get on the show don’t expect to win so they get prepared for other things. They think about the stories they’re going to tell or how they’re going to look for those 22 minutes… and I didn’t. I gained weight while preparing for the show because I didn’t have time to work out and my friend told me, ‘I would have starved myself for the show so that I could look perfect.’ I replied, ‘Yeah, but you would have lost.”
Arthur didn’t worry about all the smaller stuff because those were all distractions from the prize. Luckily, the guy now has a couple hundred thousand bucks to spend on new clothes and a diet plan.
Chuck Forrest, the inventor of one of the famous Jeopardy! strategies that Arthur used, commented: “He’s not a villain; he just did his homework.”
Next month we’re talking about Eureka! moments. You know, when something clicks and everything changes (hopefully for the better). Sign up below to join our weekly email list.