By now just about everyone has heard about the unstoppable James Holzhauer. The 34-year-old sports bettor from Las Vegas has won 22 straight games on Jeopardy! as of Friday night. He’s broken several records for the show, including the record set for the shortest amount of time taken to secure $1 million in winnings, as well as the most money won in a single episode. Right now, he’s sitting at about $1.6 million, the second highest winning amount in the show’s history. The man who currently holds the record for the highest amount won on the show is Ken Jennings, who came on the show in 2004 and won an impressive 74 straight games. His winnings surpassed $2.5 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
With more viewers tuning in to see just how long Holzhauer’s winning streak will last, the ratings for Jeopardy! have increased in recent weeks. The first week that Holzhauer came on the show, the ratings increased from 9.58 million daily viewers to 10.09 million. By April 15, ratings had increased by 11 percent overall. While this is an improvement, it is far less than the amount Jennings drew in during his stint on the show. At that time, ratings improved by a whopping 22 percent.
This is likely because, for the most part, Holzhauer has proven to be fairly predictable. He frequently surges far ahead of his fellow competitors in the first few minutes, making it impossible for them to catch up. He rarely gets an answer incorrect, and few have even come remotely close to his score. Out of his 22 games, there were only two occasions when another competitor racked up enough money to potentially beat him in Final Jeopardy. Both times they fell short, Holzhauer winning by just $18 on one occasion. Aside from these rare occasions, the majority of the games are runaways. For some viewers, this simply takes away the entertainment aspect.
While not everyone may be enjoying Holzhauer’s reign, Jennings is thoroughly impressed by him, according to Wired.
“First of all, I’m just gobsmacked by James. It’s absolutely insane what he’s doing. Like, I thought I had seen everything on Jeopardy!. And this is something I would have thought was just impossible, these numbers. Statistically1, he’s playing at as high a level as anyone who’s ever played the game. And then he’s got these incredibly confident wagers. He’s maximizing money. He can make two or three times what any other player ever has with that same level of play, which again is top-shelf.”