The Jeopardy! 2019 Tournament of Champions is upon us, and this year’s tournament is attracting more attention than most, as it marks the return of James Holzhauer.
Earlier this year, the sports gambler and trivia master went on a 32-day winning streak, amassing $2,464,216 (the second highest amount in game history), and setting all sorts of records. (He holds 21 of the top 25 spots for highest single-day winnings.)
Now he’s back to compete in the Tournament of Champions, and although his play style remains the same, his performance last night seemed less aggressive than his previous appearances. Sure, he still went for the high money questions early and pursued the Daily Doubles with a vengeance, but his wagers for both Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy weren’t nearly as ambitious as they’d been before.
His lead over his opponents going into Final Jeopardy was insurmountable, and yet, he only made a small wager. Perhaps he feels like he proved himself during his impressive streak, and now he’s just out to play well, dominating through performance rather than riskier high-money wagers.
Holzhauer joins 14 other former champions in this year’s tournament, and his victory last night means he’ll play again next week against the other winners from this week (plus four high-money competitors). More intriguingly, Emma Boettcher — the competitor who ended his winning streak — will be competing on tonight’s show, so we could see a rematch between the two trivia fiends in the very near future.
Holzhauer’s return and the Tournament of Champions caps off a newsworthy week for the famous game show. Earlier this week, former competitor Avi Gupta — a Columbia University freshman who won $100,000 during the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament — donated some of his winnings to the Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute.
Gupta, a long-time fan of both the show and its host, made the donation in honor of Alex Trebek, whose struggles with his own cancer diagnosis have been well documented.
In an interview, Gupta stated that Trebek is someone he has considered a role model his entire life. It’s a kind and thoughtful gesture from a lifelong fan.
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