'Jeopardy!' Hall of Fame: The Biggest Winners in the Game Show's History

These successful contestants are legendary for their prowess at the podium of the hit quiz show 

01 of 08

Welcome to the Winner's Circle

Amy Schneider Jeopardy!
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

What is ... a champion? Jeopardy! has kept viewers hooked for decades with its rapid rounds and fierce competition, not to mention the excitement of watching a competitor on a serious winning streak.

Once such winning streak? Amy Schneider's more than $1 million-grossing series of wins, the first ever by a woman. To celebrate, we've rounded up the contestants with the most consecutive wins, plus the player who's pocketed the highest earnings of all time.

02 of 08

Ken Jennings

Alex Trebek and Ken Jennings. Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Jennings was working as a software engineer in Utah when he was selected for the trivia competition in 2004, beginning a bid that would make history.

Shooting to stardom with an unprecedented winning streak, Jennings won 74 consecutive games and $2,520,700, making him the highest-winning player in regular season play, per Jeopardy! records.

03 of 08

The G.O.A.T.

Alex Trebek with contestants James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Eric McCandless/ABC

In 2020, Jennings trumped fellow Jeopardy! all-stars Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer and won the ABC special Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time. That year, he also signed on as a consulting producer for the game show.

Following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek in November 2020 and the ousting of former producer Mike Richards over the summer, the 47-year-old stepped on to the stage to split hosting duties with Mayim Bialik for the remainder of season 38, which is currently airing.

04 of 08

Amy Schneider

Amy Schneider Jeopardy!
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Schneider, an engineering manager from California, made history in January 2022 in setting the second-longest consecutive winning streak at 40 games.

In other firsts, the 42-year-old was the first woman to win more than $1 million in regular-season play, and was the first transgender contestant to qualify to compete in the game show's Tournament of Champions.

Schneider won $1,382,800 from the game show.

05 of 08

Matt Amodio

Jeopardy! Champion Matt Amodio
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Amodio, a Yale University computer science PhD student, ranks third on the consecutive-wins list, having reigned for 38 games in 2021. The 31-year-old also is also in Jeopardy's enviable million-dollar club, earning $1,518,601 during his run.

06 of 08

James Holzhauer

Jeopardy Productions, Inc. Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

The sports gambler from Las Vegas became a familiar face on Jeopardy! in 2019, racking up a 32-game winning streak and raking in $2,462,216 during regular-season play, second only to Jennings.

Holzhauer, 31, also sits at the top spot for single-game winnings at $131,127 — in a list only his name is on.

Speaking to PEOPLE in 2019, the contestant opened up about giving some of his earnings away to Project 150, a foundation that helps homeless teenagers in Nevada attend and finish high school.

"It's nice to be able to have a voice," Holzhauer said. "Especially for people who need it."

07 of 08

Julia Collins

JEOPARDY, (from left): host Alex Trebek, contestant Julia Collins
Sony Pictures Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

Before Schneider's historic reign, Collins held the honor of the longest consecutive winning streak for a woman, winning 14 games in a row in 2004. The supply chain professional is also still one of the highest-earning winners for regular season play, pocketing $428,100 during her time on the show.

08 of 08

Brad Rutter

"Jeopardy!" & IBM Man V. Machine Press Conference
Ben Hider/Getty

Rutter ranks as a Jeopardy! icon in his own right, holding the all-time winnings record (including tournaments) at $4,938,436. He first took the podium in 2000, winning big with competitions like the $1 Million All-Star Games in 2019.

Sharing his plans for his prize money at the time, he told the Associated Press the windfall gave him "a little bit more for the nest egg, and I can support myself without having to wait tables like everyone else in Hollywood."

Related Articles