James Holzhauer is unseated as second-winningest 'Jeopardy!' champion | News Coverage from USA

James Holzhauer is unseated as second-winningest ‘Jeopardy!’ champion

Spoiler alert: The following contains the outcome of Monday’s episode of “Jeopardy!”

And that’s a wrap.

“Jeopardy!” contestant James Holzhauer lost on Monday, ending his 33-day run on the game show, during which he took home a total of  $2,464,216, including $2,000 for his second-place finish to new champ Emma Boettcher.  He came up just $56,484 shy of besting the all-time record set by Ken Jennings for non-tournament play.

“Nobody likes to lose,” Holzhauer said in an interview with the New York Times published Monday. “But I’m very proud of how I did, and I really exceeded my own expectations for the show. So I don’t feel bad about it.”

In a statement released by Sony Pictures Television, which produces the show, Holzhauer credited Boettcher, who “dominated her warmup games that day, and I knew she would make an extremely tough challenger. I’m proud that it took a top-level player at her absolute best to eliminate me.”  He said he “never really believed I could win 75 shows, but I definitely thought I had a great shot at Ken’s cash winnings record.”  

Holzhauer, 34, made a splash during his winning streak on the show by taking the board by storm, going for the highest-dollar questions first and hunting for Daily Doubles. Then, he bet big. The professional sports gambler from Las Vegas explained to the Times that his huge advantage on the trivia show was that he wasn’t afraid to risk his winnings.

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More: James Holzhauer reveals what’s behind his ‘Jeopardy!’ hot streak

“The fact that I win and lose money all the time helps desensitize me, so I can write down $60,000 as the Final Jeopardy wager and not be trembling at the thought of losing that money,” he said.

Except on Monday, when he didn’t. Holzhauer, along with his two rivals, gave the correct response (“Who is Marlowe”?) to the clue in the category Shakespeare’s Time:  The line “A great reckoning in a little room” in “As You Like It” is usually taken to refer to this author’s premature death.  But with $23,400 going into the round – $3,200 below Emma’s total – he wagered only $1,399, a “modest (bet) for the first time,” as host Alex Trebek termed it, and finished with $24,799.

Boettcher, who led going into the round, bet big, wagering $20,201, and finished the victor with $46,801. Holzhauer immediately approached her with a high-five.

Overall, it was a remarkably competitive game, as the three contestants collectively got only one incorrect response.  

During his nearly seven-week run on the show, Holzhauer crossed the $1 million mark on Day 15 and the $2 million mark on Day 27, becoming only the second person in the game show’s 35-year history (excluding an earlier NBC version) to reach the feat in regular-season play. He first appeared on April 4, and was absent only for a two-week Teachers Tournament that aired in mid-May. But his final episodes were taped in early April. 

More: A five-time ‘Jeopardy!’ champ explains what makes current star James Holzhauer a game-changer

He also playfully teased early word of his exit on Twitter, with a reference to the “Drake Curse,” a reference to the singer as bad-luck omen: “Knew I shouldn’t have invited @Drake to the @Jeopardy taping.” 

Computer programmer-turned-author Jennings made off with $2,520,700 over 74 games in 2004, one year after the show stopped limiting champions to five-day reigns and allowed them to compete until they lost. 

Holzhauer’s financial haul is even more impressive given the pace of his winnings. He holds the top 15 daily money totals, including the one-day record of $131,127 set April 17. Jennings averaged $34,064 during his 74-game run.

In a recent Q&A with Wired, Jennings said he was “gobsmacked” by Holzhauer’s hot streak. 

“I thought I had seen everything on ‘Jeopardy!’ And this is something I would have thought was just impossible,” Jennings said. “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. He’s as good as anybody.”

But this is not the last we’ve seen on Holzhauer: He’ll be back on the show’s next tournament of champions. 

More: Ken Jennings ‘gobsmacked’ by ‘Jeopardy!’ champ James Holzhauer: ‘It’s absolutely insane’

 A look at Holzhauer’s day-by-day winnings:

Game 1) April 4:  $43,680

Game 2) April 5:  $38,926

Game 3) April  8: $50,845

Game 4) April  9: $110,914

Game 5) April 10: $54,322

Game 6) April 11: $27,190

Game 7) April 12: $89,158

Game 8) April 15: $45,444

Game 9) April 16: $106,181

Game 10) April 17: $131,127

Game 11) April 18: $74,133

Game 12) April 19: $80,006

Game 13) April 22: $90,812

Game 14) April 23: $118,816

Game 15) April 24: $73,621

Game 16) April 25: $90,812

Game 17) April 26: $49,600

Game 18) April 29: $54,017

Game 19) April 30: $96,726

Game 20) May 1: $101,682

Game 21) May 2: $80,615

Game 22) May 3: $82,381

(Teachers tournament aired May 4-17)

Game 23) May 20: $89,229

Game 24) May 21: $86,905

Game 25) May 22: $71,885

Game 26) May 23: $52,108

Game 27) May 24: $74,400

Game 28) May 27: $130,022

Game 29) May 28: $59,381

Game 30) May 29: $69,033

Game 31) May 30: $58,612

Game 32) May 31: $79,633

Contributing: Bill Keveney

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