'Jeopardy!' Contestant Matt Amodio Becomes 3rd All-Time Highest Winner with $547,600: 'I'm Honored'

The Ph.D. student from New Haven, Connecticut, is now behind fellow top players Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer

Matt Amodio
Photo: Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Matt Amodio is making Jeopardy! history!

The Ph.D. student from New Haven, Connecticut, earned his 17th consecutive win on Thursday. The victory makes Amodio, who is originally from Medina, Ohio, the game show's third all-time highest winner.

Amodio's total winnings are $547,600 — placing him behind only two fellow top players: Ken Jennings ($2,520,700) and James Holzhauer ($2,462,216).

"The show has had so many brilliant people [on it]," Amodio said in a statement. "I'm honored to be thought of as even close to them."

He is next set to take the Jeopardy! stage on Friday, when Amodio will appear in the final episode of season 37. He will go up against Nicolle Neulist from Chicago and Eric Shi from Houston.

Amodio has showcased his knowledge across various subjects throughout his Jeopardy! run, but he admitted to Vulture that his weakness is "anything that has ever been published in TMZ in the last ten years."

"Pop culture in general. I did my best. Thankfully, if there's one thing the internet has information on, it's celebrities. That's pretty easy," he told the outlet on Thursday. "I did my best to be interested in the minutiae of the celebrity eye. I'm naturally a curious person, which helps, but I still went in very skeptical. This is gonna be miserable every second I spend on TMZ reading about these people. But as I learned more, I was able to appreciate the nuances of things and started asking questions."

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The contestant continued, "I would read about Brad Pitt and how he was married to Jennifer Aniston before Angelina Jolie. How did that end? Well, that was an interesting outcome. I found myself interested in the answers to these questions more than I thought I would be. I went down Wikipedia pages for a lot of awards shows and then went down the rabbit holes of links."

Amodio has also become known for his unique answering style, where he says "what's" rather than "who is." Speaking to Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science on Monday, he explained that it's a part of his "strategy."

"I have a strategy where I form all of my questions with a 'what's' at the beginning — then, I can focus on the rest of the clue," he said. "Other people have been very upset about me being robotic instead of forming a question differently each time. I was glad that Jeopardy! said this was perfectly within the rules. I've watched Jeopardy! every day of my life, so I knew it was OK."

Jeopardy! was previously hosted by Alex Trebek until his death last November. Nearly nine months later, it was announced Wednesday that executive producer Mike Richards has become the new permanent host while Mayim Bialik has been tapped to host Jeopardy! primetime and spinoff series, including Jeopardy! National College Championship, which will air in primetime on ABC in 2022.

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