Jeopardy! phenom James Holzhauer is already being called the best player of all time after just 15 days as champ, but will he catch up to the game's all-time winners and can the show survive someone who seems to have "solved" Jeopardy!?
Back during Ken Jennings' legendary 74-game reign as Jeopardy! champion in 2004, few could have imagined anyone coming along to topple Jennings as the undisputed quiz show king, but 15 years later, professional gambler James Holzhauer looks like he's making a go of it, and he might just do it in record time.
Over the last 15 shows, professional sports better James Holzhauer has not just been winning Jeopardy!, he has been dominating it and smashing almost every record in sight.
Holzhauer now holds the records for the highest single-day win, the 5-day win record, and highest successful Double Jeopardy wager.
His winnings also topped the $1 million mark in just 14 appearances, faster than anyone else in the show's history, and it doesn't look like he will be slowing down any time soon.
James Holzhauer: 10 Wins and New Jeopardy! Records | JEOPARDY! www.youtube.com
Aside from his encyclopedic knowledge, much of Holzhauer's success comes down to his simple but ingenious strategy. Unlike most players, James starts off with the more difficult, high dollar questions so when he lands on a Daily Double he has more money to wager.
James also likes to have fun with his betting, purposefully winning $110,914 one night to honor his daughter who was born on Nov. 9, 2014. So far Holzhauer's strategy seems to be working.
While most players win about $20,000 in one night, James has taken things to a whole new level, averaging around $75,000 per game, but even that number is low compared to his record setting wins.
On April 17 he set the record for highest single-day winnings with $131,127, though he didn't stop there. Holzhauer currently holds the top seven single-game winnings records. Jeopardy! has even set up a "James Holzhauer Tracker" so fans can keep up with his record breaking streak.
Almost over night, Holzhauer became a household name and a certified Jeopardy! legend, though fans still can't believe just how good he is.
@Jeopardy https://t.co/RSIlx3Lcex— Jacob Fisher (@Jacob Fisher)1554865317.0
@Jeopardy https://t.co/KaS6LtlYkH— Swearengen (@Swearengen)1554865752.0
@Jeopardy Amazing! https://t.co/G9GjPdMlxv— Jennifer Kremnetz (@Jennifer Kremnetz)1554892628.0
@nSayne23 @Jeopardy @asadmirza14 @ZahidMirza09 @KroBro23 https://t.co/vcUA1P5fhz— Abid (@Abid)1554915179.0
@Jeopardy So approx $3,697 a minute....#wellplayed— Adam (@Adam)1554865365.0
@Jeopardy I swear this guy is a robot!! What a genius!! 😮— Penny (@Penny)1554875564.0
Though given his background, James' success makes a lot more sense. Holzhauer who lives in Vegas with his wife and two children makes his living as a professional sports gambler. He also holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics, so if there's one thing James knows it's numbers.
James' trivia knowledge may be one thing, but fans seemed even more impressed by his ingenious strategy.
@Jeopardy Love the strategy. Get highest valued questions answered first then blow it open on the double jeopardy q… https://t.co/PtODRzsXi8— Brian (@Brian)1554866890.0
@Jeopardy He's a scary dude! All in-- cannot believe is bets. Max Window! All In. We've never had a gambler on… https://t.co/KnvaPTEuBY— Millicent Borges Accardi (@Millicent Borges Accardi)1554865842.0
@Jeopardy Should've never let a Vegas gambler on the show 😂 https://t.co/KnWfeFxqpa— Las Vegas Locally 🌴 (@Las Vegas Locally 🌴)1554909233.0
@Jeopardy I would love to see him bet everything on Final Jeopardy too, once he has a long streak secured.— Rip Gassman (@Rip Gassman)1554881170.0
In just 15 appearances Holzhauer is quickly catching up to the $2.5 million regular season winnings record set by former champ Ken Jennings and at this pace he might surpass it in no time.
"James is just a perfect 'Jeopardy!' machine," Jennings told The Associated Press.
But some are wondering if the show's prize budget can withstand such a dominant champ.
If reports of host Alex Trebek's salary are accurate Holzhauer is currently earning more per episode than Trebek himself.
Fortunately game shows like Jeopardy! typically are insured against unexpectedly large payouts, and as Ken Jennings proved with his impressive streak the publicity big wins generate for the show can end up being worth it.
So the only question left may be one even Holzhauer can't answer -- just how long can he keep the streak going?