Matt Amodio tops James Holzhauer’s streak on ‘Jeopardy!’

Two years ago, a “Jeopardy!” The contestant, James Holzhauer, captured the imagination of game show fans they watched every night to see his ultra-fast ringing reflexes and risky bets.

Holzhauer’s 32-game streak put his face (with his trademark forced smile) in all the “Danger!” Hall of Fame. But on Friday, another contestant, Matt Amodio, a Ph.D. A student at Yale, he won his 33rd game, breaking Holzhauer’s streak and taking his place as No. 2 in the record book for the most games won in a row. The top spot goes to Ken Jennings, who won 74 games and eventually became a consulting producer for the show.

Amodio’s victory brought him to $ 1.27 million in total earnings, and he has a long way to go to surpass Holzhauer’s $ 2.46 million. With such an extraordinary total, Holzhauer was poised during his 33rd episode to possibly surpass Jennings’ record of $ 2.52 million won during the regular season, but Was overcome by Emma boettcher, a librarian who wrote her master’s work on “Jeopardy!”

the fanfare around Amodio – some on social media call it the “Amodio Rodeo” – it’s perhaps a relief to the people behind the game show, who have been struggling to find a replacement for Alex Trebek, the beloved presenter who died last year. Former executive producer of the show, Mike Richards, was announced as the new host, then went down quickly after The Ringer reported about offensive comments he had made on a podcast he created several years ago. Actress Mayim Bialik and Jennings they are hosting episodes until the end of the year.

“Danger!” Superfans also rejoice at the shift in focus from the behind-the-scenes drama to what is actually unfolding on stage.

Andy Saunders, who runs the website The risk! Fan, said Amodio and Holzhauer have similar approaches to the game: In the first round, they both start tackling all the $ 1,000 tracks, then they try to find the Daily Double, to double their winnings and gain a significant advantage over the other competitors. Where the two diverge, Saunders said, is in the next round, where Holzhauer tended to inflate his score by betting large sums on the Daily Double courts.

“Where James could bet $ 13,000 or $ 14,000, Matt is betting $ 5,000 or $ 6,000,” he said in an interview. “And that’s pretty much the difference in their scores.”

Saunders believes Holzhauer’s aggressive strategy comes from a higher level of confidence that he will give the right answer. According to Saunders statistics, Holzhauer tended to get three or four more correct answers than Amodium in each episode, providing a greater basis for that confidence. The willingness to bet big could also stem from Holzhauer’s background as a sports bettor, where he felt comfortable betting large sums of money on games.

That difference in strategy makes it unlikely that Amodio, who is studying computer science, will start to beat Holzhauer in the single-game win category. that Holzhauer completely dominates.

However, if Amodio maintains his dominance, he has a chance to overcome Jennings’ 74-game streak since 2004 and set an all-time winning record in regular season play.

Amodium tends to be humble in comparisons to “Danger!” all the stars, saying in a press release that it was “surreal” to stand next to Jennings in the hall of fame and, on Twitter, writing that Holzhauer is better than him “literally in every way.”

Amodio’s star turn, just two years after Holzhauer rose to fame, has raised the question: “Jeopardy!” getting easier, or are the players just getting better?

Saunders, who tracks the results of each game, believes players are improving. He said he does not see substantial changes in the content of the tracks but instead believes that the contestants have taken note of Holzhauer’s winning strategy and are taking advantage of a vast internet archive from the past “Jeopardy!” clues to prepare.

As for Jennings’ record, Amodio has yet to double his streak and then win nine more games to break it.

“Let’s see that in another month,” Saunders said. “Then maybe Ken should start to worry.”

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