If you have ever looked at those expert Jeopardy! websites that list every stat imaginable, have peeked into the J-Archive, or read posts on J-board or the Jeopardy! subreddit, you’ve almost definitely come across the term ‘Coryat Score.’
Sounds fancy. And it kind of is! But even for non-mathletes (like me), it’s easy enough to understand. So let’s dive in and break it down:
What is the Coryat Score?
The Coryat Score is a metric for determining a Jeopardy! contestant’s ability to answer questions.
Why is it Called That?
The greatest inventors and innovators name things after themselves, right? In this case, the gentleman in question is Karl Coryat, a two-day champion way back in 1996, who developed this system of gauging contestants’ abilities.
But, Like, Doesn’t the Dollar Amount/Score Do That?
It does! But this breaks it down more specifically to focus on correct responses, and the Coryat, most importantly, dispenses with wagering bonuses (like potentially doubling up on Daily Doubles, for example).
How Do You Calculate the Coryat Score?
A player’s Coryat Score is the total points/dollars earned in a game, when wagering is not factored in, but (most) of the incorrect responses are.
The straightforward bits:
- If a contestant rings in and, say, gets a $200 response correct, that adds $200 to their Coryat Score.
- If a contestant rings in and, say, gets a $1000 response incorrect, their Coryat Score goes down by $1000.
- If a contestant does not ring in, nothing is added or taken away.
If a contestant hits a Daily Double, that’s where things get interesting.
What Happens with Daily Doubles?
Wagering ain’t no thang! Even if a player bets it all, and responds correctly, they will only get the value of that clue as if it weren’t a Daily Double.
Well, the row the Daily Double was found in? All the clues have the same value. The Coryat uses that value. So if the Daily Double was in the fourth row down in the Jeopardy! round, a correct response adds $800 to the Coryat for the player.
BUT! Because the contestant is ‘forced’ to answer (there is no buzzing to be done, and the player HAS to respond), there is no penalty to the Coryat for being incorrect.
What About Final Jeopardy!?
It is not factored in at all. Everyone (who has qualified) has to play, everyone has to wager, but there’s no shared metric, so it is easier, and more logical, to just ignore the FJ results than try to include them.
Calculating This Thing Sounds Like Tedious, Curly Math!
That’s not a question.
But if you don’t want to do the math yourself, head over J! Scorer; they’ll do that bit of the work for you (though you still have to enter a lot of game info).
Why is it Important?
It’s not actually important for the playing of the game, or even very vital for strategizing as you prepare to be on the show, but it’s an interesting bit of data when comparing players and games, especially the super champions, on a question-answering-and-buzzing-in scale, without their (in)ability to gamble factored in.
What’s a Good/High Score?
It depends on the game and who else is playing. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself, because mine was under $5000, in large part because I was a) nervous as all get out, b) frustratingly bad at buzzing in, and c) playing against James Holzhauer (and another very good player).
What if I’m Playing at Home? What Should I Be Getting if I Want to Qualify to be on the Show?
There’s no ‘official’ cut-off Coryat (and the online tests are very different from an actual game), but Redditors speculate that for potential contestants, a playing-at-home Coryat should be at about $20,000 for someone to be good enough to appear on the show.
What’s an Average Coryat?
In the last few seasons, the average Coryat Score is $11-13,000. Here are the stats for Season 36 (2019-20) (via J-Archive):
What’s the Combined Coryat?
The Combined Coryat is the Coryat score of all three contestants in a game combined. For example, on June 21, 2021, was $27,200.
What is the Highest Ever Coryat Score?
Perhaps shocking no one, the top ten Coryat scores are all held by the aforementioned Mr. Holzhauer and Ken Jennings, the latter of whom holds the top Coryat of $39,200.
What About the Lowest?
It is possible to have a negative Coryat; many contestants who don’t make it to Final Jeopardy! are in negative figures.
And it seems that the lowest-ever Jeopardy! scorer is also the winner of the lowest-ever Coryat score, too, with -$6,800. (Only one player made it to the Final that time. Eep!)
So there you have it! Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Coryat Scores* (*But Were Afraid to Ask!). Now, instead of glazing over when your nerdiest pals start talking about them, you can join in, too!
For the original post that started it all, check out Karl Coryat’s blog from 1996, which is still up for trivia-loving posterity!
And if you’ve made it this far, you must be pretty devoted fan of Jeopardy! If you’re looking for more info on the hit trivia game show, check out some of our other Jeopardy! articles, including a guide on how to get on Jeopardy!, how to prepare for being on Jeopardy!, insider behind-the-scenes facts on what happens during a taping of Jeopardy!, how much money Jeopardy! Contestants REALLY get, weird and wild Jeopardy! Scores and situations, the 15 most common Jeopardy! categories, the worst Jeopardy! answers, how Jeopardy! contestants know so much, and many more!