Spoiler Alert: There’s A New ‘Jeopardy’ Champion In Town

June 3, 2019

The popular TV game show Jeopardy! has a new champion not named James Holzhauer.

The 34-year-old Las Vegas sports bettor James Holzhauer, who rocketed to fame by demolishing past winning records, saw his luck run out Monday when challenger Emma Boettcher, a Chicago librarian, beat him.

Holzhauer, the 32-time champ, set one record by winning $131,127 in a single game, nearly doubling the previous single-day in regulation play of $77,000. He also holds the 16 highest one-day scores in the history of Jeopardy!

In April, Holzhauer told NPR’s Merrit Kennedy how he kept winning:

“‘All good professional gamblers are selectively aggressive. You need to pick your spots and bet big when you identify them,” Holzhauer tells NPR over email. “That’s basically my Jeopardy strategy in a nutshell.

“‘Holzhauer starts by choosing the highest-value clues on the six-by-five board. Contestants have typically started with the lowest value of a category and worked down the board to the more valuable spots.

“‘You need a decent-sized bankroll to bet for profit, which is why I start at the bottom of the board,'” he says. That bankroll pays off when he hits a “Daily Double,” a question where he can bet more if he has more money in his pocket already. And he routinely bets everything he has.'”

In the end, Holzhauer walked away from the game show with more than $2.46 million in 32 games. The highest regular-season winner was Ken Jennings with $2.52 million over 74 games in 2004.

“I really felt like I had been playing with house money, so I wasn’t too upset to see my run end,” Holzhauer said in an email to the Associated Press. He said he ran into “a terrific opponent playing flawlessly.”

Holzhauer congratulated Boettcher, the new champion of Jeopardy!, with a high-five in the episode that will air Monday.

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