Advanced Stats TV: Let’s Watch Chris Yeh on Mental Samurai

Let’s Watch!

I got into Mental Samurai thanks to Chris Yeh. Over six weeks I’ve tracked advanced stats and learned the show for this very moment. Chris’ run was on this week, and I avoided social media and watched his run “blind” for excitement. Of course, editing by the show impacted my run a little. Enough of Chris’ run was in clips to know he got far, and was worried on a sequence question. As I note, editing also fooled me into thinking he failed as well. Tricky fools! Anyway, I have a few noted on his run, and some meta-analysis. Also, sadly WBTV pulled this run off of YouTube almost instantly. Kind of a bummer, but I wanted to make sure the view included Chris’ footage, so glad I can post it here.

Tune In Next Time

Some basic reminders. Chris Yeh has a great podcast: “The Chris Yeh Podcast”, which you can find on most platforms. Definitely subscribe if you want good behind-the-scenes Mental Samurai content, as well as a fantastic business and tech advice.

Of course, Chris Yeh will be on the Mental Samurai season finale on May 21st. So make sure you tune in. You can stream it on Fox.

You can follow Chris on Twitter, @chrisyeh.

Check Your Work!

Chris had an interesting run in that he never developed much of a buffer. A neutral pace is around 18 seconds an answer. Chris stayed close to this in the first round. What’s more, on a few questions he spent a little longer than I’d have liked, as you’ll notice in my “Let’s Watch.” Of course, here’s the key, when Chris “spent too much time” he was verifying an answer he knew. And Chris never went over 30 seconds on a given question, which wasn’t hard to gain back. On his podcast, Chris made a very astute observation. The value of extra time is minimal. You get a little extra in the last round, but beyond that, there is no reward. On the other hand, any miss is instant death. Two other competitors on last week’s show knew an answer but buzzed in immediately and lost. So, honestly, doing a double check on any question you know is pretty prudent.


Doing a let’s watch added some good meta-analysis about runs. For seven weeks I’ve been tracking stats and collecting ideal strategies for solving Mental Samurai. I will say, Chris’ run is one I likely could have done. But as you’ll notice in the let’s watch, I miss three questions (two memory, and a puzzle, which I notice, no one misses!)

On Chris Yeh’s podcast both he and several of the Mental Samurai contestants note that the producers gave the advice to talk out their answers. And, of course, every contestant knows they’re being watched. Doing a Let’s Watch I could have been silent and tried to “match” Chris’ run, but I wanted to make sure I was giving good commentary to go along. And doing that definitely made focusing and memorizing things harder. Also, the adrenaline just from realizing a friend of mine did great on the show “knocked me off my game.” Realizing Chris probably wins, I got so excited I missed a question that I said: “No one misses this.”

Doing a let’s watch is nowhere near as stressful being in gyroscope spinning you around, tens of thousands of dollars on the line, or having Rob Lowe commenting on your every move. As such my respect for the contestants that have put up impressive runs is even higher.

I’ll see if I do another let’s watch for Chris’ finale. And, of course, I’ll keep tracking the stats until then. Seeya next time!