James Holzhauer dodges ‘Jeopardy!’ threat, wins by $18

James Holzhauer dodges 'Jeopardy!' threat, wins by $18
James Holzhauer dodges 'Jeopardy!' threat, wins by $18

After edging out a competitive challenger Monday, James Holzhauer was back to his dominant self on Tuesday’s episode of “Jeopardy!”

Because he was so far ahead of his two challengers Tuesday, the native of Naperville was able to wager $40,000 in the Final Jeopardy category “European Cities.” He amassed $56,726 in first two rounds; the closest contestant had $7,400.

The 34-year-old sports bettor from Las Vegas provided the correct question response — What is Bonn? — to the answer, “Founded, according to tradition, in 11 B.C., this former capital lies about halfway between Paris & Berlin.”

His $96,726 in winnings brings his 19-day total to $1,426,330, the fifth highest one-day total of all time. Holzhauer holds the top nine one-day totals of all time.

The story was much different on the episode the day before, when Holzhauer was given a run for the money by Adam Levin, a sports information director from Ashland, Mass.

According to Andy Saunders of The Jeopardy Fan, Levin was a carryover contestant from last week’s episodes and would have seen Holzhauer play five games from the audience before having his chance.

The benefit to the challenger, Saunders said on his website, was a chance to watch the champion’s strategy so he could go into the game with an idea of how to match it.

Monday’s episode was only the second time in 18 games that Holzhauer didn’t have such a commanding lead that he was a shoo-in winner before Final Jeopardy.

During the game, Saunders reports Holzhauer had 28 correct and one incorrect response and was first on the buzzer 47% of the time. He entered Final Jeopardy with $33,517.

With $27,000 going into Final Jeopardy, Levin had 20 correct responses (none wrong) and buzzed in 33% of the time.

Jasmine Leonas, a social media specialist from Chicago, didn’t fare as well. She had nine correct responses and amassed $7,800 before the final round.

In Final Jeopardy, Levin wagered all but $1 and Holzhauer bet $20,500 on: The oldest of these business booster groups, formed in Marseille in 1599, uses “de” instead of “of” in the name.

Both Levin and Holzhauer had the correct response — What is a Chamber of Commerce? The Naperville North graduate edged out Levin by an $18 margin, bringing his 18-day total winnings to $1,329,604.

Many on social media suggest that the $18 was a play on numbers by Holzhauer in recognition of his 18th win.

According to Saunders on The Jeopardy Fan, Levin’s $53,999 is the highest-ever regular-play, nonwinning score in the history of the show, and is the 21st-highest final score of all time. Holzhauer’s $54,017 is 20th.

The previous record was held by Michael Cudahy, who won $44,400 on June 25, 2004. Ironically it was the same day “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings had his 18th win toward his streak that would end at 74 games.

Saunders also mentioned that Monday’s game was the first time Holzhauer bet $10,117 on a Daily Double, making sure to say “Vegas Strong” in reference to the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017.

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