By now, just about everyone has heard about reigning Jeopardy! champ James Holzhauer, a 35-year-old sports bettor and trivia wiz from Las Vegas. He’s been absolutely dominating for weeks, securing his 32nd straight win on Friday evening. He typically averages around $70,000 a game, and his winnings from Friday brought his running total to $2,462,216. The only person in the history of the game show to have been this successful was 2004 legend, Ken Jennings.
Jennings’ winning streak lasted for a shocking 74 straight games before he was defeated, having earned $2,520,700 in total. While Holzhauer is still a long way off from catching up with Jennings in terms of longevity, he’s expected to surpass his overall winning total on Monday’s episode and break the record for the most money ever made on the show, according to USA Today.
How has Holzhauer managed to make almost as much money as Jennings in such a shorter period of time? It’s not just that he’s knowledgeable about a wide range of topics, but he really knows how to gamble effectively, and his strategies have really worked out well for him. He takes full advantage of Daily Doubles and the Final Jeopardy and tends to snag the highest priced questions on the board first. While there have been a few competitors here and there that have given him a run for his money, the majority of the games Holzhauer’s played have been complete runaways. It is not uncommon for him to surge ahead of his fellow competitors by tens of thousands of dollars in mere minutes of the show starting.
So far, Holzhauer seems pretty unstoppable. However, if anyone were to have the skills to bring his winning streak to an end, it might be Ken Jennings himself. Jennings admits he thinks he could certainly give him a run for his money. In a recent interview, he complimented Holzhauer’s playing style but said he still thought he could beat him.
“For 15 years, I have thought somebody was gonna make a run at this record, ’cause I always knew it could be done. I was there. What I did not expect, was that somebody could make a run at the cash record, in like a third (of) the time. It’s really just astounding, what he’s doing. I think I could hold my own against him, even today, but I would need some breaks. It would be all about who found the Daily Doubles, and usually on Jeopardy! I don’t need a lot of breaks.”