James Holzhauer's Cryptic Tweet Has Fans Wondering If He Lost Final 'Jeopardy!' Game on Purpose

The game show whiz lost to Emma Boettcher in June, just shy of breaking Ken Jennings' total winnings record

James HolzhauerCR: Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Photo: Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

James Holzhauer stunned Jeopardy! fans in June when he fell just short of breaking the show’s all-time winnings record, leaving some wondering if perhaps he’d purposely given up.

Holzhauer, 35, threw those conspiracy theorists a bone over the weekend with a cryptic tweet about Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s abrupt retirement that many saw as a reference to his own loss.

“I hope to be as brave as Andrew Luck one day,” Holzhauer tweeted on Saturday. “Imagine reaching the pinnacle of the only job you’ve ever trained for, finding no joy in it, and having the guts to do the right thing for yourself even though millions of fans will hate you for it.”

Luck, 29, announced this weekend he was leaving the NFL after seven seasons because repeated injuries had made it difficult for him to enjoy the game.

Holzhauer, meanwhile, was defeated on Jeopardy! by Emma Boettcher after a 32-game win streak that earned him $2,462,216. The game show whiz was $58,484 shy of breaking Ken Jennings’ regular-season total winnings record.

RELATED VIDEO: Jeopardy! Champ James Holzhauer Donates Portion of Winnings to Cancer Walk in Alex Trebek’s Name

Though the professional sports gambler is frequently sarcastic and self-deprecating on Twitter, and likes to troll his fans with cryptic tweets, many saw his Luck comments as an admission that he’d let Boettcher win.

“Maybe you already were that brave?” one fan replied, while another wrote, “wait is this why you lost jeopardy before passing Ken Jennings.”

Holzhauer appeared to respond to those suggesting he lost on purpose with another tweet on Monday.

“New game: Imagine you pulled off the most dominant upset in @Jeopardy history and people won’t shut up about how the 32x champ must have let you win #JeopardyEmma,” he wrote.

Holzhauer became a household name thanks to his impressive run, which he achieved in part by going for all of the high-value questions first, hunting for the Double Jeopardy items, and betting all he had when he found them.

“Nobody likes to lose. 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,” he told The New York Times following his defeat.

Holzhauer will return to Jeopardy! for the Tournament of Champions, a 10-day event airing Nov. 4-15.

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