“Jeopardy!” contestant James Holzhauer broke the show’s single-game winning record. Then, he broke his own record a week later.
Clue: This legendary “Jeopardy!” contestant has an epic 74-game winning streak, and we are dying to know what he thinks of current champ James Holzhauer, who is smashing records.
Answer: Who is Ken Jennings?!
Jennings, who racked up an impressive $2,520,700 during his streak spoke to Wired about the professional sports gambler who won his 12th game on Friday.
“First of all, I’m just gobsmacked by James. It’s absolutely insane what he’s doing,” Jennings, who etched his place in the show’s history in 2004, said in the Q&A. “I thought I had seen everything on ‘Jeopardy!’ And this is something I would have thought was just impossible…
“He’s maximizing money. He can make two or three times what any other player ever has with that same level of play, which again is top-shelf,” Jennings added. “He’s as good as anybody.”
Holzhauer reset his own record of single-game winnings Wednesday with a total for the day of $131,127. As of Friday, the top 5 records for single-game totals are in his name, according to the website for “Jeopardy!”
As “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek pointed out Thursday, if Holzhauer keeps winning, he’s going to run out of people to say hi to on the show.
His dozen victories have him tied for fifth place when it comes to consecutive games won, the show’s site says.
Comparing his style of play to Holzhauer’s, Jennings revealed that his “top priority wasn’t maximizing winnings.”
“I would never have had the stomach for those kinds of bets,” he admitted. “You’re going to have to be comfortable with losing the average American income on a single trivia question a lot of the time, and then have to come back five minutes later and play another game with that in the back of your mind. Psychologically, my peace of mind was built on just playing my game — a lot lower stakes, fun game, let’s pretend we’re all here to have fun. James is under no such illusion.”
Jennings also praised Holzhauer for “going for the high dollar values early.”
“Not just because it enables bigger wagers, but because he’s taking money off the board while he’s the most comfortable player, and everybody else is still finding their legs,” Jennings complimented. “It’s really, really smart. I’ve never seen it before.”
Jennings adds that he’s championing Holzhauer, despite the threat to his records.
“I’ve always been on the record as believing that my streak was replicable,” Jennings told Wired. “The reason I’m so confident in that is that I was the one who did it! I was there. I know it can be done.
“So I’m very excited,” he continued. “As a fan of the show, I’m actually rooting for James or anybody who can take a swing at that record. It’s bizarre to me that it’s still a one-off.”
As for a possible battle between the brains, Jennings said that would be “a real uphill battle.”
“If you compare my stats to James’, they’re almost identical. But here’s the thing: That’s not me, that’s Ken from 15 years ago, who was 29, still super mentally acute,” Jennings explained. “It’s kind of a young person’s game. I’m 45. At some point, I’m just a generation behind the new crop of players, and they’re going to be a little bit sharper, a little bit faster than me, and there’s nothing I can do about it. There’s a reason why even Tim Duncan eventually retired.”
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