My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Hard Quiz’ winner Markos Hasiotis – Part I

That’s Markos on the left, in the red shirt.

Hello! Today sees the first part of a three-part interview with Markos Hasiotis, who’s one of the winners of the Australian game show Hard Quiz; a show that requires its contestants to have great general knowledge and outstanding knowledge of their own specially selected subjects. Or to put it another way, they need to know a little about a lot, and a lot about a little. And in November 2017, Markos absolutely nailed it. Let’s meet him!

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SH: Markos, thanks so much for talking to me today for HowToWinGameShows.com. By way of background, what was your life like before going on the show? I’m assuming you’ve always been interested in trivia (especially since your trivia handle is @FactBuffet)!

MH: Thank you, Stephen. Well, my life was pretty normal: I grew up in Melbourne, went to school, had fun with friends. I graduated from university in 2014 where I studied media, and since then have worked in different media roles. Hard Quiz was probably the most out-there thing I had done up to that point!

Facts have definitely been a constant throughout my life. As a kid, we didn’t have a TV in the house, so I read fact books instead and fell in love with facts. That love manifested itself into an enjoyment of trivia nights, my fact-based Twitter account and, eventually, the aforementioned quiz show.

SH: Had you watched Hard Quiz from its beginning in 2016?

MH: I’d actually auditioned for the show in 2016 but wasn’t successful, so I didn’t watch the first season… because it hurt too much! After I auditioned the second time in 2017 and got the green light, I binged on all the episodes that I’d missed and I very much enjoyed doing so.

SH: Some regular visitors to this site may be unfamiliar with Hard Quiz‘s format, so could you please give them a quick description of how the show works?

MH: Sure. Well, each episode has four contestants, each with an expert subject. (The show’s host) Tom Gleeson briefly chats with / insults each of us and then the game begins:

Each contestant is asked 5 questions about their expert subject, they get 5 points for a correct answer and 5 points off for a wrong answer. Other contestants are allowed to buzz in and answer a question on someone else’s subject; if they’re correct, they receive 10 points and they lose 5 points if they’re incorrect.

After that, it’s a round called ‘Tom’s Subject’, where you’re asked 5 multiple-choice questions on a random subject. In my case, it was Indonesia. You receive 5 points for a correct answer and lose 5 points for an incorrect answer… except on the 5th question where correct answers get 10 points.

The contestant with the lowest score after that round is eliminated.

Then it’s ‘The People’s Round’, where Tom asks general knowledge questions for 30 seconds. 5 points for a correct answer, 5 points off for an incorrect answer. The person with the lowest score after that round is also eliminated.

In the Final Round, the 2 remaining contestants go Head to Head. They’re each asked 5 questions on their expert subject, one tick for a correct answer and one cross for a wrong answer. Whoever gets the most ticks, wins the mug.

SH: What made you decide that you wanted to go on the show?

MH: I couldn’t resist! It seemed like an exciting chance for me to put my knowledge to the test, and the fact that Tom Gleeson was hosting indicated that it’d be a funny experience. I had no work or study commitments either, so the timing felt just right.

SH: Your special subject was James Bond – and I could see why it would be! (I’m something of a fan myself) How did you train for going on the show?

MH: Bond-A-Rama! looks great, I wish I’d gone to see it.

SH: Haha! Thank you!

MH: I trained by doing lots of James Bond quizzes online. I also had several James Bond books and a James Bond board game at my childhood home, so I looked through them which was helpful. I wanted to watch the movies but my DVD player broke after From Russia with Love which threw a spanner in the works. However, there’s an online channel called Haphazardstuff which has detailed video reviews of James Bond movies, so watching them was a worthy alternative.

As for general knowledge, I’m quite lucky that I essentially train for it daily, through my tweeting. I also scanned newspapers and encyclopaedias often and also quizzed myself with every Carlton Draught bottle cap I could find!

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And that’s where we’ll leave it for this week. For our overseas visitors, I should explain that Carlton Draught is an Australian brand of beer. The caps on the 375 mL bottles always have a trivia question (and answer) printed on their underside. Loads of paradoxical quizzing fun to share with friends over drinks in the pub; why not exercise a few brain cells while simultaneously killing a few off?

I’ll be back next Tuesday with Part II of my chat with Markos. See you then! 

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