James Holzhauer’s run may be coming to an end, and a viral video clip leaked from Jeopardy! appears to show the moment that the record-smashing champion’s run comes to an end.
For the past few months, the 34-year-old professional gambler has destroyed opponents and threw a wrench in the longtime strategies employed by contestants on the weekday quiz show. Holzhauer has smashed some records along the way, racking up record daily totals while bringing together a total haul of $2,464,216. Now, as the New York Post points out, that run seems to be coming to an end (warning, there are some potential Jeopardy! spoilers ahead).
A video clip made the rounds on social media on Sunday appearing to show Holzhauer stumble during the Final Jeopardy segment of Monday’s show. In the clip, Holzhauer is in second place, a position he rarely sees at any point in the game, and trails leader Emma Boettcher by $3,200.
As the clip shows, Holzhauer was able to correctly answer the final question, but bet what the outlet noted was an “uncharacteristically low sum.” That allowed Boettcher to steal the win with a correct answer and a James Holzhauer-like giant wager, giving her more than double his total to end the game.
The clip showed Holzhauer giving the winner a high-five despite what likely had been a crushing ending. Assuming the clip is legitimate, Holzhauer ended his run less than $60,000 short of the all-time earnings record, a mark he more than doubles on some days.
As the New York Post noted, the video clip was spreading around social media but was being taken down from copyright strikes by Sony. Some short clips and screenshots of the final totals have remained on Twitter.
There had been some speculation that James Holzhauer’s run may not last too long. Some Jeopardy! experts noted that he turned conventional strategies for the show upside down by going against the longtime tactic of slowly building money. Instead, Holzhauer used analytics to aim for the most-likely spots where Daily Doubles are held, then made enormous bets to jump far ahead of the pack. During most of his run, James had already built an insurmountable lead by the time Final Jeopardy came around and was free to make even more large bets to pad his totals.
Former Jeopardy! champion turned strategy expert Michael Day predicted that Holzhauer’s style would allow him to build up massive winning totals, but ultimately would shorten his potential run.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 3, 2019
“It seems like betting big on Daily Doubles—especially if you like the category—and risking a loss is what will maximize your expected winnings. You’ll likely have a shorter run, but you’ll win a lot more money per show,” wrote Day in The Atlantic.
If the leaked Jeopardy! clip is true, then Day’s assessment of James Holzhauer’s run turned out to be true.