wits & wagers [Updated Dec. 4, 2006]  

2006 WBC Report  

 2007 Status: pending December Membership Vote

Matthew Amitrano, VA

2006 Champion

Offsite links:


Event History
2006    Matthew Amitrano     28


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Matthew Amitrano   VA    06     20
  2.  Suzanne Tuch       NY    06     12
  3.  Jason Arvey        VA    06      8
  4.  Jim Freeman        VA    06      6
  5.  Cliff Ackman       PA    06      4
  6.  Peter Martin       MD    06      2

2006 Laurelists

Suzanne Tuch, NY

Jason Arvey, VA

Jim Freeman, VA

Cliff Ackman, PA

Peter Martin, MD

Northstar knows how to get your attention ...

When does the Texas Hold'em game start?

Trivia Betting ...

The first annual Wits & Wagers World Boardgame Championship tournament was a smashing success!  At least it was for me.  I had expected to draw enough players for one or two games at the most.  It turns out that we had 28 players (and a few more that we had to turn away) divided evenly between four different games (seven players at each table).  I could not have hoped for better participation.

Due to the number of players that attended, I had to stand on a chair and shout out the questions so that everyone could hear them.  Hopefully I was not too annoying to the other nearby tournaments.  Even with these unwieldy circumstances, everything went smoothly.  I used new never heard before questions to make sure no one had an unfair advantage.


The tournament format was Swiss style (my favorite tournament format from my professional Magic days).  Players were randomly assigned to their first table but assigned by standing for the following two games.

Game 2: Top seed table

Matthew Amitrano: 7 points (1st)

Jason Avery: 7 points (1st)

Mike Coomes: 7 points (1st)

Gary Schaefors: 7 points (1st)

Mike Desto: 6 points (2nd)

Jim Freeman: 6 points (2nd)

Peter Martin: 6 points (2nd)

Game 3: Top seed table

Jason Avery: 14 points (1st / 1st)

Suzanne Tuch: 13 points (2nd/ 1st)

Mike Coomes: 13 points (1st / 2nd)

Matthew Amitrano: 11 points (1st / 4th)

Gary Schaefors: 11 points (1st / 4th)

Robert Drodz: 11 points (3rd / 2nd)

Jim Freeman: 11 points (2nd / 3rd)

Final Standings

Matthew Amitrano: 18 points (1st / 4th / 1st)

Suzanne Tuch: 18 points (2nd/ 1st / 3rd)

Jason Avery: 17 points (1st / 1st / 5th)

Jim Freeman: 17 points (2nd / 3rd / 2nd)

Cliff Ackman: 16 points (6th / 1st / 1st)

Peter Martin: 16 points (2nd / 5th / 1st)

Mike Desto: 16 points (2nd / 4th / 2nd)

Mike Coomes: 15 points (1st / 2nd / 6th)

Robert Drodz: 15 points (3rd / 2nd / 4th)

David Brooks: 15 points (3rd / 3rd / 3rd)


While it helps to be knowledgeable (of course), the good players also made smart strategy decisions.  The most important strategy is in playing the odds correctly.  Good players quickly multiply the payout odds by the spread (the amount of numbers for which the given answer will pay out) in order to arrive at the actual payout odds. For instance, an answer that will pay out 4:1 on five different numbers is half as good as an answer that will pay out 2:1 on 20 different numbers. Since time is limited, the good players learned how to make quick estimates about the relative odds for each answer. When they had no idea of the answer, they simply went with the best odds. 

I noticed that the winning players often hedged their bets in order to maintain their lead while the losing players often played riskier (betting both chips on the same answer) in order to catch the leader.  There were also several occasions when a few of the leading players refrained from betting.  This is something that I do not see very often because it takes a lot of discipline.  This was done when the leading player had no idea at all about where to bet and there was no obvious strategic decision based upon the odds.

The next level of play was in regards to getting to know the other players area of expertise.  Sometimes this took place through friendly conversation (I heard someone asking another player if they had a graduate degree) and other times by paying attention to game play.  Most of the top players were at the same table for the last two games (a few were at the same table for all three games) which means they had the chance to learn about the knowledge base of other players.  There is usually a clear cut distinction between someone who knows a lot about pop culture and someone who knows a lot of academic trivia.  The best players are always paying attention to how the other players answer questions and how they bet.

All in all, this was a fun and exciting first Wits & Wagers World Championship.  Congratulations to Matthew Amitrano for winning and to Suzanne Tuch for an honorable second place!

 The banked theatre seating was perfect for the Game Show.

 Rows and aisles provided clustered seating for teams.

The tournament was one heat of three rounds done in Swiss style.  28 people attended and it took an hour and 30 minutes. 

Game Shows:

We ran three team Game Shows.  This is an event where people form teams and everyone plays in one big game.  We keep everyone involved in the same game by using a 6' by 3' dry erase board so everyone can see the board.  A game show consists of two full games of Wits & Wagers so it lasts a little over an hour.  35 people attended the first one, 46 the second, and 49 the third.  View the results at http://www.northstargames.com/events/game_conventions/wbc2006pic.page.


 Theatre seating allowed audiences of 50 to play a six-foot board.

 Dominic MC'd the game using a six foot wipeboard
quoting the odds.
 GM      Dominic Crapuchettes [1st Year]  422 Ridge Rd #8, Greenbelt, MD 20770  
    dominic@northstargames.com   202-253-6070

2006 Preview Page | View the Icon Key | Return to main BPA page