‘Jeopardy!’ phenom James Holzhauer says he doesn’t think he changed the game forever

Posted at 6:52 PM, Jun 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-04 18:52:17-04

James Holzhauer’s mind-boggling “Jeopardy!” streak came to a crashing halt Monday night, but the reality of his glorious run may not have entirely set in yet.

Jeopardy James, as he’s affectionately known, said he’s not sure how much he’s influenced the game, though he is interested to see whether future contestants mimic his thrilling, high-stakes playing style that captivated the audience.

“I don’t think I’ve changed the game of ‘Jeopardy!’ forever, but I’ll have to watch future episodes to see if everyone is playing this style now,” Holzhauer said in an interview with CNN affiliate KLAS.

He used a method known as the “Forrest Bounce,” switching between categories and picking tiles out of order to throw off opponents. Holzhauer also aggressively went after the Daily Doubles and made big bets.

“I liked it as an opportunity to let my personality shine up there,” Holzhauer said.

He was surprised by his success

The Las Vegas professional sports bettor never even expected to get as far as he did. He ended up winning $2,462,216 in 32 days and almost managed to break “Jeopardy!” legend Ken Jennings’ $2,520,700 non-tournament earnings record from 2004.

“You know I’m no less proud of myself than if I had made it there. I know Ken’s achievements are incredible and it would have been no less incredible if I had won a couple of extra games,” he said.

On his 33rd straight day of risky bets, Holzhauer was knocked out. He entered that night’s Final Jeopardy! round trailing Boettcher by about $3,000. To win, Holzhauer needed his opponent to answer incorrectly. However, Boettcher successfully answered the question about 16th-century English playwright Christopher “Kit” Marlowe and dethroned the “Jeopardy” champion.

“I did expect to do pretty well when I was on the show, but I thought maybe I could win maybe six, seven episodes; certainly not 32, and certainly not this level of money,” Holzhauer said. “I think the amount of attention it’s gotten has surprised me.”

The show’s ratings soared ever since people caught wind of Holzhauer’s streak.

“I think among the people who know me best I’ll go back to being James or Uncle Jamie to my nephews and nieces, but I think there will always be a segment of the population who doesn’t forget about this,” he said.

He added that he’s content with ending his streak at the hands of someone like Emma Boettcher, a user experience librarian at the University of Chicago.

“If I had to go out, I wanted to go out against a top player who beat me in a straight up contest,” Holzhauer told KLAS.

Holzhauer returns to the “Jeopardy!” stage for the next edition of the Tournament of Champions.