Jeopardy! typically gives you a set point value for answers you get correct and deducts as much for incorrect answers. The wager--or final--question allows a contestant to essentially set the point value for the final question. If they have 1000 points (dollars in Jeopardy!) and wager nothing, they can neither lose nor gain points. If they wager everything, they may have a big gain or they may lose everything.
In Leonard Cooper's case, he wagered nothing--guessing that he wouldn't know the answer, but neither would his competitors. He ended up being the Jeopardy! Champion and his triumphant, confident answer made headlines: "WHO is some guy in Normandy....But I just won $75,000!"
In Gameshow Pro 5, the Final Answer game has Jeopardy!-style game play, so a final answer can make or break a game. There are both benefits to including a final question and reasons not to do so.
To include a Final Question:
- Adds an element of excitement to the final round
- Is a great way to "cap off" a game
- Keeps everyone in the game; even if the scores are very uneven, the final question can be an equalizer
- Adds variety to the game play apart from multiple choice questions
- Adds an element of chance and risk
- Consistent hard work or right answers during the game can be blown by risk aversion
- The player with the most knowledge doesn't always win
- Adds an element of chance and risk that aren't always appealing