Jeopardy! has been a dependable nightly fixture on TVs throughout America for many years. However present contestant James Holzhauer is exhibiting it’s by no means too late to show an outdated present new methods.

Holzhauer, knowledgeable sports activities gambler from Las Vegas, had received 22 straight video games by the point the present took a break in early Could for its Academics Match. He’s attributable to return to the present on Could 20, however that’s already the second-longest streak since Jeopardy! lifted a five-game cap for returning champions again in 2003.

Like all robust gamers, he rings in sooner than his opponents and is wise sufficient to ship the proper response. However it’s Holzhauer’s crushing money strategy that units him aside. Quite than working by way of classes systematically, beginning with the small-dollar clues on the prime of the board, Holzhauer goes straight for essentially the most profitable clues on the backside.

Then, he takes full benefit of the Day by day Doubles. These clues permit gamers to wager any amount of cash they’ve earned. It’s uncommon for gamers to guess all or most of their pot, however Holzhauer, drawing from his playing expertise, does this usually, to successfully double his already giant lead.

Anybody can wager giant sums. However not everybody has the abdomen for it. Even Holzhauer concedes that he has to consciously maintain his anxieties in test in the course of the sport. “In gambling we say you are ‘on tilt’ when your mood gets in the way of making your best decisions,” he says. “And nobody plays well on tilt.”

To totally grasp his dominance, think about that the prior file for single-game winnings stood at $77,000. That’s a median sport for Holzhauer, who has performed 5 video games that topped $100,000. At $1.7 million, he ranks second in complete regular-game winnings—which excludes specials and tournaments—behind Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy! whiz who took dwelling $2.5 million from a 74-game tear in 2004. And the hole is closing shortly.

It seems that Jennings and Holzhauer have cross paths earlier than. In 2012, Jennings hosted a trivia contest in Seattle. “There was a very eager man who was answering so fast he would interrupt me in the middle of the question and get it wrong,” Jennings remembers. That contestant was Holzhauer, who didn’t win the competition. “Apparently he has gotten much better in accuracy and speed since then.”

Apart from mutual admiration, Jennings and Holzhauer do have lots in frequent. Each ready for the present by watching reruns and making flash playing cards. They every honed their buzzer abilities with family objects. (Jennings used a ring-stack toy and Holzhauer long-established a mechanical pencil wrapped in masking tape.) Jennings has provided Holzhauer recommendation on coping with sudden Jeopardy! fame. And each say they’d be concerned about dealing with off in a championship matchup.

“It’s fun to be king of the hill, but 15 years later, to be dethroned by a mind-boggling good player like James — that would be extremely flattering,” the reigning champ says.

“It takes a lot of guts” to play the sport so otherwise, says Jennings, who says he doubts he may efficiently undertake Holzhauer’s high-risk type. “I wager more conservatively, and I have no regrets. Playing to keep a lead is not a crazy strategy. James is better able to cope with the drama of seeing the big numbers come and go.”

Holzhauer’s success doesn’t imply his type is the one technique to win. However he’s actually making a robust case for it. And he’s desirous to see whether or not future gamers will comply with his technique. “I would feel like a pioneer if there are imitators, and I find it more exciting to watch a game with big bets,” he says. “That said, there is a big difference between shouting ‘All in!’ from your couch and actually doing it on stage.”

Contact us at editors@time.com.



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