Ken Jennings had better watch his back as “Jeopardy!” phenom James Holzhauer seems poised to beat the game show champ’s long-held winnings record.
On Monday, the 34-year-old contestant won his 28th consecutive game, winning an additional $130,222, USA Today reported.
That puts Holzhauer at a total of $2,195,557 in winnings so far, just over $325,000 shy of iconic “Jeopard!” champion Ken Jennings’ $2,520,700 haul from his incredible 74-game streak in 2004.
On Friday, the current champ crossed the $2 million mark with his $74,000 victory, while setting a new “Jeopardy!” record by raking in $24,600 by the end of the first round.
In a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, Jennings heaped praise on Holzhauer for both his trivia knowledge and his strategic game play.
“It’s impossible to overstate what a statistical outlier Holzhauer has been during his ‘Jeopardy!’ rampage — even for a fellow ‘Jeopardy!’ outlier like me,” Jennings wrote. “Let me put it this way: When I set the one-day ‘Jeopardy!’ earnings record back in 2004, my total that night was $75,000. Over his first 22 games on the show, Holzhauer is averaging $76,864 per game. Nice work, if you can get it.”
Jennings continued: “We are seeing history made in front of our eyes, the ‘Jeopardy!’ equivalent of a basketball player notching 70-point games for an entire season or a baseball player hitting for the cycle in every game. Even casual fans of the show have probably heard by now how Holzhauer is doing it: He’s a sports bettor who feels supremely comfortable wagering aggressively, and he cannily plays the game board from the bottom up, starting with the highest dollar values and amassing cash before the Daily Doubles have been found and while his poor opponents are still finding their feet.”
Jennings concluded by pointing out that nobody can appreciate what Holzhauer is achieving better than he can.
“I’m the only person alive who knows firsthand how difficult it is to do what Holzhauer is doing, and that’s why I’m rooting him on,” wrote Jennings. “I may hold a bunch of ‘Jeopardy! records, but at heart I’m just a fan of the show. And for any real “Jeopardy!” fan, this streak is something special.”