Nation & World

James Holzhauer's record-setting 'Jeopardy!' streak comes to an end

University of Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher unseats Naperville native James Holzhauer as
University of Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher unseats Naperville native James Holzhauer as "Jeopardy" champion on Monday's episode. (Jeopardy Productions/TNS)

James Holzhauer’s record-breaking “Jeopardy!” season ended with a librarian from Chicago taking him down.

The Naperville, Ill., native’s quest to break Ken Jennings’ regular-season record total winnings of $2.5 million fell short as Emma Boettcher defeated the 32-day champion by more than $22,000.

Holzhauer needed just $58,485 to overtake Jennings.

Boettcher ended the day with $46,801; Holzhauer had $24,799. The third contestant Jay Sexton, a senior research engineer from Georgia, placed third with $17,000.

“I know I played my best and did everything I could, so I will hold my head up high,” Holzhauer told the Naperville Sun Monday.

“I plan to take a long break before preparing for the Tournament of Champions, but I expect a tough competition. Winning a tournament of 15 super-champs is more difficult than people think.”

Monday’s episode, taped earlier this year, seemed to be one of those days where things weren’t going right for Holzhauer, according to Andy Saunders, who runs TheJeopardyFan.com.

Holzhauer was first on the buzzer just 42%% of the time, Saunders said. The only time he did worse on signaling was 37% in his second game on April 5.

The professional sports bettor who lives in Las Vegas also is known for accumulating cash going all-in on Daily Doubles, but it was Boettcher who was able to find both Daily Doubles, Saunders said.

As such, Holzhauer was on the ropes going into Final Jeopardy, collecting $23,400, $3,200 less than Boettcher’s $26,600.

Holzhauer’s wager of $1,399 was smart, Saunders said.

“There was absolutely nothing wrong with James’ Final Jeopardy bet of $1,399. He knew that Emma was overwhelmingly likely to bet what she did and, thus, his only chance of winning was if Emma did not get Final Jeopardy correct. $1,399 ensures that his score stays above Jay’s and gives James the best chance of winning the game,” Saunders said.

He said had Holzhauer gone all-in, he would have finished at $46,800 and lost by $1.

All of the contestants provided the correct response — Who is Christopher Marlowe? — to the Final Jeopardy clue: The line “a great reckoning in a little room” in “As You Like It” is usually taken to refer to this author’s premature death.

Holzhauer still has a shot at winning more money on “Jeopardy!” because his 32-game winning streak guarantees him a spot in the show’s Tournament of Champions.

When tournaments are included, champion Brad Rutter holds the all-time record for winning $4,688,436 followed by Ken Jennings with $3,370,700.

Holzhauer is third with his $2,462,216.

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