Could This Gambler Surpass Ken Jennings?

James Holzhauer moves into second place for Jeopardy! winnings
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2019 1:00 PM CDT
Updated Apr 16, 2019 1:19 PM CDT
Could This Gambler Surpass Ken Jennings?
This image made from video aired on "Jeopardy!" and provided by Jeopardy Productions shows James Holzhauer.   (Jeopardy Productions, Inc. via AP)

As a Jeopardy! champion, Ken Jennings seems untouchable. After arriving on Alex Trebek's set in 2004, Jennings racked up 74 consecutive wins and $2,520,700, the show's website says. He might have some competition brewing, however. James Holzhauer still has a long way to go, but he had won $460,479 as of Monday to move into second place, the show tweeted. The 34-year-old contestant, who makes his living as a sports gambler, has already set a single-game record, USA Today reports: He passed Roger Craig's mark last week, collecting $110,914. His daughter happened to be born on Nov. 9, 2014.

Holzhauer set that record by generally following a strategy pioneered by fellow contestants, explains Wired. He stays on the bottom of the board, in search of the most valuable Daily Double clues, jumping among categories. He bets it all whenever he can. "My approach isn't complicated: Get some money, hit the Daily Doubles, bet big, and hope I run hot," Holzhauer tells Wired. His day job helps. "I don't have a mental block about betting $38,314 on one trivia question," Holzhauer says. "It's only money." Still, as with the athletes he gambles on, winning takes more than knowing how and having nerve. Buzzy Cohen, winner of the 2017 Tournament of Champions, was in the audience for some of Holzhauer's victories: "What I saw was basically someone who took a playbook that has existed and executed it flawlessly." (More Jeopardy stories.)

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