In the USA Today, Bill Keveney, reports on the amazing run of Jeopardy’s current champion James Holzhauer. If you haven’t seen this talent in action it is worth tuning in…here’s the report:
The streak goes on.
James Holzhauer, whose amazing “Jeopardy!” performance has put the spotlight on the venerable quiz show, added to his legacy Tuesday with his 24th consecutive win.
The 34-year-old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas pocketed $86,905 with his latest victory, bringing his total winnings to a whopping $1,867,142.
Holzhauer already was firmly entrenched in the No. 2 spot for most “Jeopardy!” victories and prize money before Tuesday’s win. He trails only Ken Jennings, who remains in the top spot on both lists: 74 victories and $2,520,700 in prize money.
Holzhauer remains far from Jennings’ win total but he’s closing in on the money crown based on a playing strategy that features picking higher-dollar clues first and betting aggressively on Daily Doubles.
If anything, the size of Holzhauer’s money hauls is even more impressive than his streak. He holds the single-day record for prize money, $131,127 (April 9), having beaten a record he previously set.
Holzhauer’s average daily winnings of $77,798 over 24 wins now eclipses the previous one-day high, $77,000, set by Roger Craig in 2010. If he keeps winning and continues at that pace, he will cross the $2 million mark before the end of this week and will be within range of Jennings’ money mark with fewer than 10 more victories.
Holzhauer explained his strategy last month in a Q&A with The New York Times.
“You can see as soon as I get control of the board in the first game, I’m going for the $1,000 clues whenever I have the opportunity,” he said, likening his approach to a poker strategy.
“There are big advantages to having a lot of chips early on in a poker tournament. You can make plays that other people can’t.”
Eddie Timanus, a five-time “Jeopardy!” winner who compiles the college coaches polls for USA TODAY Sports, describes Holzhauer as “a game-changer” in his analysis of Holzhauer’s play.
Timanus notes Holzhauer’s mastery of the signaling buzzer, but says he really stands out in his aggressive bidding.
“While many players, myself included, prefer to play categories from top to bottom and try to stick to them, Holzhauer clears the big-dollar clues first,” Timanus says. “Thanks to his ability to ring in first consistently and rarely miss, he usually has a considerable total built up by the time he uncovers a Daily Double. He finds most of them since he’s able to maintain control of the board for long stretches, and, as we’ve seen, he’s not afraid to bet big.”
“Jeopardy!” and host Alex Trebek are celebrating their 35th anniversary season. With a weekly audience of 23 million viewers, it’s the top-rated quiz show on television.
- Bill Keveney