After 32 straight wins, James Holzhauer's Jeopardy! run is finally over

By Natalie Stone
June 03, 2019 07:51 PM
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James Holzhauer‘s time on Jeopardy! has finally come to an end.

After 32 straight wins, 34-year-old Holzhauer was defeated on Monday’s episode of the long-running, Alex-Trebek-hosted game show.

The game show whiz was on track to break Ken Jennings’ regular-season record total winnings of $2.52 million — but he fell just short as Emma Boettcher, a librarian from Chicago, defeated the champion by $22,002.

“Emma dominated her warmup games that day, and I knew she would make an extremely tough challenger,” Holzhauer said in a statement. “I was still incredibly impressed by her courage on that ‘True Daily Double.’ I’m proud that it took a top-level player at her absolute best to eliminate me.”

Holzhauer finished in second place with $24,799, and Boettcher won the game with $46,801.

With $2,462,216 in earnings, Holzhauer needed just $58,484 to overtake Jennings.

James Holzhauer and Alex Trebek
| Credit: Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

“I never really believed I could win 75 shows, but I definitely thought I had a great shot at Ken’s cash winnings record,” Holzhauer, who now holds the number two spots on both the all-time consecutive Jeopardy! wins list and the all-time regular season cash winnings list, said in a statement.

Credit: Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

“Nobody likes to lose,” Holzhauer told The New York Times. “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.”

Holzhauer, who lives in Las Vegas and has a background in professional sports gambling, is one of only three players to cross the $2 million mark. He dominated the game with a strategy that involved going for all of the high-value questions first, hunting for the Double Jeopardy items, and when he found them, betting all he had.

James Holzhauer
| Credit: Jeopardy

“A lot of the opponents have adjusted to the strategy,” he told the Times. “But not all of them have had the guts to actually back it up with a big bet.”

Though he did eventually lose, Holzhauer’s statistics will be tough to beat. According to the Times, he won an average of $77,000 per game, more than double Jennings’ rate.

Previously, the Jeopardy! contestant revealed on an episode that his father also had a knack for trivia.

“Well, so my dad while growing up could always solve the whole New York Times crossword, and I was like, ‘That’s amazing. I wanna be that smart when I am old.’ And then when I was an adult, he confessed to me that he would look up all the pop culture answers because he uh, you know, he didn’t bother with that sort of trashy knowledge. But he told me he did memorize some of the ones that come up often, like rap star Dr. Dree,” he said with a laugh.

Holzhauer will return to Jeopardy! in season 36 for the next edition of Tournament of Champions.