His latest win has brought him close to champion Ken Jenning's record of $2.5 million

By Robyn Merrett
May 24, 2019 11:29 PM
James Holzhauer
| Credit: Jeopardy

Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer has done it again!

Following Thursday’s win, which put him within $10,000 of the $2 million mark, Holzhauer, 34, won his 27th consecutive game, taking home a whopping $74,400.

The contestant from Las Vegas ended the week with $2,065,535 in total winnings.

For his final question on Friday, Holzhauer answered, “What is Sun Valley?” after being given the final clue: “Astronomy buffs visit Idaho for the USA’s first Dark Sky Reserve. Oddly, part of it is this resort area with a bright name.”

On the episode, Holzhauer admitted that he almost got the question wrong.

As the time came to share his answer, Holzhauer’s board showed that he had crossed out another answer: “Las Vegas Strip.”

He explained to host Alex Trebek, “I didn’t think that was in Idaho.”

Holzhauer is one of only three players to cross the $2 million mark. His latest win has brought him close to champion Ken Jenning’s record of $2.5 million.

Jennings, 44, previously spoke of his admiration for Holzhauer, telling Wired, “I’ve always been on the record as believing that my streak was replicable.”

“The reason I’m so confident in that is that I was the one who did it! I was there. I know it can be done,” Jennings said.

While Jennings entered the show as an erudite computer scientist, Holzhauer has a background in professional sports gambling, with many Jeopardy! purists undermining Holzhauer’s run as simply a cash-grab.

Jennings came to Holzhauer’s defense in a Sunday editorial for The Washington Post, where Jennings announces Holzhauer is “getting within spitting distance of the $2.5 million all-time cash record. All right, fine, if you insist: my all-time cash record.”

“But I count my blessings that I own at least one Jeopardy! distinction that Holzhauer can’t touch: I appeared on the show before the dawn of social media. Holzhauer has been met every night by a barrage of hot takes about his streak: He’s ‘broken the game.’ He’s ‘ruined the show.’ He’s ‘unfair’ to his competitors, or ‘boring’ to watch,” Jennings wrote.

James Holzhauer
| Credit: Jeopardy

In an interview with The Washington Post in early April, Holzhauer explained that each large wager that he previously made during his first few appearances on the game show was in honor of an important date in his life — such as “his wedding anniversary, the birthdays for his dad, nephew and daughter.”

He also told the outlet that he had dreamed of being on the show since he was a kid.

“More importantly,” he told The Washington Post, “I promised my dear Granny that I would appear on Jeopardy one day, and I never take promises lightly. So here we are.”

Holzhauer will return to the game on Monday to face new competitors.