With Ken Jennings’ all-time winnings record in his sights, Las Vegas native and professional sports gambler James Holzhauer’s run as Jeopardy! champion ended. On Monday night’s episode, Holzhauer was bested by User Experience Librarian Emma Boettcher of Chicago, Illinois, bringing his run at Jennings to a close.
After rattling off 32 consecutive victories, Holzhauer entered Monday night within reach of Jennings on the money rankings. Even if he fell short of his average winnings (nearly $77,000 per show), he’d likely still catch and surpass the Jeopardy! legend. In the opening round, Holzhauer hit the Daily Double with the very first clue that he picked. While he gave the correct response, he was only able to earn $1,000 for it (which happened to be the same as the value of the clue he had selected) as opposed to his significantly-higher wagers when he found Daily Doubles later in rounds.
By the end of the first round, Boettcher’s $6,400 total had her within reach of Holzhauer, just $2,600 back of the reigning champion. The match’s three contestants—Holzhauer, Boettcher, and Jay Sexton—combined to successfully respond to every clue in the round with no incorrect responses.
The Double Jeopardy round is where Boettcher was able to make her move. She found both Daily Doubles in the second round, responding correctly both times. On the first, she wagered $7,600 on a True Daily Double to take the lead. Then, she used the second to increase her lead to nearly $6,000. Holzhauer would enter Final Jeopardy in second place.
All three contestants responded correctly in Final Jeopardy. Unlike in the previous 32 matches, Holzhauer wagered conservatively in Final Jeopardy. It wouldn’t have mattered either way, as Boettcher wagered enough to beat Holzhauer no matter how much he wagered on the final clue, taking home $46,801 for unseating the champion.
Holzhauer finished his run on Jeopardy! with the second-most match wins (32), the second-most total money earned during traditional gameplay ($2,462,216), and holds the top 16 single-day winnings records in the history of the program.
When it comes to the prop bets, there were three related to Holzhauer’s run that were available after he won his 10th consecutive match. The first, “Will Holzhauer break his own single-game money record?” would have required him to beat the $131,127 he won in his first two weeks on the program. While he did top $130,000 on a later episode, he did not surpass his record, so the wagers paid out at +200 on a “No” bet.
The other two wagers were both related to Holzhauer’s pursuit of Ken Jennings, be it his total winnings record ($2,520,700) or his consecutive wins mark (74 matches). The “No” bet paid off on both of these, as Holzhauer’s $2,462,216 in total winnings and 32 consecutive victories both fell short. A correct wager on the total winnings bet paid off at +200, while the consecutive victories “under” wager paid off at -140.
Holzhauer averaged near $77,000 in winnings per appearance, was 97% accurate with his responses, and ran away in 29 of his 32 victories. It is also likely to influence the way the game of Jeopardy! is played for a long time to come.
Drew has been covering sports professionally since 2007, covering sports of all kinds in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA. In addition to covering college sports, he also spent two seasons working with the NHL's Florida Panthers as part of their TV broadcast team, as well as reporting and anchoring for AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports affiliates, CBS Sports Network and ESPNU. Drew has also ...
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