A Millionaire in Two Weeks


Brendan Sullivan, Entertainment Editor

“Jeopardy!” contestant James Holzhauer became the second person to earn over a million dollars in the history of the game show on Tuesday.

Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, has been dominating “Jeopardy!” for the past two weeks, ending each episode with a record breaking score. On the show’s Hall of Fame, which documents the highest single-game winnings, Holzhauer claims the top seven spots. Holzhauer’s strategy boils down to this: Go for the high-value clues first, hunt for the Daily Doubles and, when he finds them, bet everything he has.

“I’m going to get the Daily Double right a lot more often than I’m not going to,” he said in an interview with ESPN on Monday. “I want to maximize that bet.”

Former contestant Ken Jennings stands alone as the most successful earning $2.52 million during his “Jeopardy!” run. But Jennings amassed that prize over 74 games, while Holzhauer took only 14 games to reach his total.

His first record total, $110,914, resulted from a calculated Final Jeopardy bet to match his daughter’s birth date: Nov. 9, 2014. And he has written the sentimental notes at the bottom of his answers on Final Jeopardy, once saying hello to his niece and nephew and another time dedicating the game to his late grandmother.

During Monday’s Final Jeopardy, Holzhauer’s 13th show, he gave a shout-out to three friends, saying that he had exhausted his family members.

“You realize,” the host Alex Trebek replied, “if you keep winning, you’re going to run out of family and friends to acknowledge.”