Who is James Holzhauer? Jeopardy! Champion Continues to Buzz His Way to the Top

Meet James Holzhauer, the new face of Jeopardy! The 34-year-old professional sports gambler has won 26 games so far, giving him the second-longest winning streak in the show’s history. Holzhauer has earned a total of $1,991,135 and he is only getting started.

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On his 23rd appearance on the show, James only missed one question the entire game and brought it home with the largest “Final Jeopardy” wager ever bet. He earned $110,914 that night, surpassing the record of $77,000 from a single show.

Who is Holzhauer

Holzhauer was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois. He excelled in school and teachers praised him growing up for his above-average arithmetic abilities. He moved up to a fifth-grade level math class at the age of 7 where his peers were already 10 and 11.

Although his skills continue to show throughout his teenage years through tests and his activity in his high school math team, Holzhauer, for the most part, received average grades. He skipped school a lot and didn’t do his homework. He was more focused on other things, like playing online poker.

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Jeopardy! was not the only game show that Holzhauer appeared in. In 2014, he participated in the show The Chase. His score on the show set a record that has yet to be surpassed. He helped win him and his team a total of $175,000.

In 2015, he also played on the show 500 Questions. However, James was not on his A-game that night and did not manage to beat out the incumbent champion. Holzhauer’s wife, Melissa Sassin also has a game show track record. In 2014, she appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaireand won $28,8000. What a power couple!

A Betting Connoisseur

After high school, James earned a bachelors degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois. While he was studying he would attend a local card club twice a week to play hearts and spades. Twice a week at the club quickly turned into 5 times a week playing poker at home. He also got involved in sports betting after his success with the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

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Once earning his degree it seemed only right for James to move to Vegas to continue his career in professional sports gambling. In 2019 he was awarded the key to the Las Vegas Strip for his game show success and for his charitable donations.

Holzhauer plans to donate a portion of his winnings to Las Vegas children’s charities. So far he has already donated $10,000 to an organization for displaced teens. We imagine a good portion of his winnings will also go towards his daughter’s college fund, who was born in 2014.

His Strategy

James began his winning streak onJeopardy! this past April 2019. His success on the popular game show does not come from sheer luck. He utilizes an assertive gambling strategy that has so far worked wonders for him. It’s almost as if James has beaten the Jeopardy! system.

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To put his method simply, he goes for the high-value clues rather than the classic way of starting low and working your way up. He also makes it his mission to seek out “Daily Doubles,” which gives him a clear lead early on in the game. His high tolerance for risk has left viewers shocked and even succeeds in throwing off competitors.

Determined to be Number One

Although James has impressed the world with his winning streak, he still has a long ways to go before he can beat the current champion, Ken Jennings. In 2004, Jennings won 74 consecutive Jeopardy! games which earned him a record-breaking $2.52 million in winnings.

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Holzhauer managed to work his way up to the number two spot in only eight games, so the chances that he surpasses Jennings is more than likely. Roger Craig, the holder of the recently broken single-day winnings record spoke of James saying “To me, it’s clear that he’s one of the top players of all time already.”