Prognostication

The Yahtzee Method of TAR Prognostication – Introduction and Basic Principles

Using a tried and true prognostication method, like astrology or the I-Ching, to predict the outcome of a reality show is one thing, but inventing a prognostication method to predict the outcome of a reality show is another. Something a bit more obsessive. Something, well, geekier. Thus I created the Yahtzee method of divination.
I’ve been using Yahtzee as a prognostication tool for TAR ever since the third leg of TAR4.
I’ve been using Yahtzee as a prognostication tool for TAR ever since the third leg of TAR4. Why this particular game instead of other methods? Well, at the time, I was trying to be different, yet use commonplace randomization objects like other unusual divinatory methods used by fans. However, as I kept using the dice, I found that once I actually understood the rules, Yahtzee seemed to be one of the more accurate predictors. I’m not fully sure why, but I think it has something to do with Yahtzee being invoked by name more than any other game in reality shows (except for chess).

While I have been using this method for a while, I haven’t really explained how I use it. Other prognosticators haven’t, either, but they use methods that are very old and extremely well-documented. Anyone could look up these methods in bookstores or on the Internet and follow along with the prognosticators. But since the Yahtzee method is unique and my own invention, there’s nothing one could use to understand what I’m doing. So, I decided to write this first article as an introductory resource so everyone can follow along with my predictions.

Over the years, I’ve uncovered a few principles of this new way of doing prognostications. And in doing so, I use certain terms to share the information I have gleaned. Some come directly from the game itself, but I’ve invented a few. Here’s the mostly standard dictionary.

Result: The final combination on the five dice, whether it is on the first (or initial) roll or the third. All results come by the third roll, but some can come earlier. The results that can come before the third roll are noted below. Each result has a point value associated with it.

Three Of A Kind: A result with three dice showing the same number and two dice showing two other numbers. Exactly like the same hand in poker. The points for this result are the sum total on all five dice, and can range from 8 to 27. May also be referred to as a “triple-oak” or “triple.”

Four Of A Kind: A result with four dice showing the same number and one die showing another number. Again, exactly like the same hand in poker. The points for this result are the sum total on all 5 dice, and can range from 6 to 29. May also be referred to as a “quadruple-oak” or “quad-oak” or “quad.”

Small Straight: A result with four dice showing consecutive numbers; e.g., 13456. This result has a score of 30 points. May also be referred to as “Small” or “SS”.

Kicker: The die or dice in the above results that do not fulfill the requirements of the hand. In the above example, the 1 is the kicker.

Consistent: A consistent is a kicker that occurs in all three rolls. For example, in the set of rolls 13345, 23335, 33356, the result is a triple-oak with a consistent 5.

Full House: Just as in poker, a result with three dice showing one number and the other two dice showing a second number. This result can come on any of the three rolls, and has a score of 25 points. May also be referred to as a “FH.”

Large Straight: A result with all five dice showing consecutive numbers. There are only two Large Straights, 12345 and 23456. This result can come on any of the three rolls, and has a score of 40 points. May also be referred to as a “Large” or “LS.”

Yahtzee: A result with all five dice showing the same number. A rare occurrence, this result can come on any of the three rolls, and has a score of 50 points. May also be referred to as a “Y!”

Chance: A result that does not match any of the types listed above. One of the most common yet varied results. The points for this result are the sum total on all five dice, and ranges from 9 to 26. May be referred to by its point value only.

Polarity: The polarity of a result indicates whether it’s favorable or not. A positive result indicates either a move up in ranking, or a decreased likelihood of elimination, while a negative result indicates either a move down in ranking, or an increased likelihood of elimination. A neutral roll indicates little to no move in rank. There are a few results with unknown polarity, and are referred to as wildcards.

Confluence: When the dice show unusual patterns of similarity throughout the rolls. For example, each initial roll for all teams containing a pair, or most all the results being Small Straights. This usually indicates a non-elimination leg, or some other unusual event occurring during the leg.
So, now that we have the terms defined, let’s get into what constitutes a positive roll or a negative one.
So, now that we have the terms defined, let’s get into what constitutes a positive roll or a negative one.

The triple and quadruple oaks are usually positive. However, if there’s a consistent for either of these results, then the polarity flips to negative. The Small Straight is predominantly neutral. It too can have a consistent, but as of this writing, that particular result is a wildcard.

With the results that can come on any of the three rolls, the polarity is generally more positive for the result coming on the third roll and decreases as the number of rolls does.
For example, a Full House in 3 is positive, while a Full House in 1, well, isn’t. Another good example is the Yahtzee itself. In three rolls, it tends to indicate Final 4 status. However, in two rolls, it seems to indicate Instant Reversal of Fortune, as the first team to have this particular result went from first to eliminated. No one has yet to get the Yahtzee on the first roll, so it’s a wildcard still.

Chance has a wide range of point totals, and thus a wide range in polarity. In fact, each score has a unique polarity. There are a few Chance rolls that are wildcards.

Below is a summary table of the polarity of the results on each possible roll. A + indicates a positive polarity, while a – indicates a negative one, and an N shows a neutral polarity. Wildcards are represented with a ?, and an X indicates that a result cannot come on that particular roll.
Name Of ResultFirst RollSecond RollThird Roll
Three of a KindXX+– with consistent
Four of a KindXX+– with consistent
Full House--+
Small StraightXXN? with consistent
Large Straight/td>N--
Yahtzee?-+ (Final 4 contender)
ChanceXX9?18+
10?19N
11?20+
12?21?
13+22-
14-23-
15+24?
16-25-
17?26+
While not the best indicator, the point total for a roll does sometimes show the relative polarity of a result. This is helpful in cases where a majority of the results have the same basic polarity. In general, lower point totals are more positive, and higher point totals are more negative. For example, in a case with two results as triple oaks without consistents, with scores of 13 and 26 respectively, and another as a Full House (score of 25), the 13-point triple is most positive, followed by the Full House, then the 26-point triple.

The final leg calls for something extra, and a little special. That’s why I invented The Verifier. Only used for the finals, this is a set of rolls used to confirm predictions. Unlike the rolls for regular results, the Verifier does not follow standard Yahtzee rules. Instead, it’s a series of rolls that terminates in a Yahtzee, no matter how many rolls it takes to achieve one. In general, the fewer rolls it takes to complete the Verifier, the more positive. While not quite as important, the smaller the number of the Yahtzee (1 through 6), the more positive. That matches with the point total being the lesser indicator, and the lower point totals being more positive.

That covers the basic principles for this new method. In my next article, I’ll do my pre-race overall predictions for the teams.