‘Jeopardy!’ champ Matt Amodio breaks top 10 record, reveals lessons learned from Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer

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“Jeopardy!” contestant Matt Amodio’s impressive eight-game winning streak officially makes him one of the top 10 highest-grossing winners of the game ever. 

Amodio’s streak ran for the entirety of “Star Trek” and “Reading Rainbow” star LeVar Burton’s entire guest-hosting run. He’s raked in a total of $291,200 in prize money after scoring his eighth win overall on Friday, which puts him in ninth place as the all-time highest “Jeopardy!” winner of all time for regular season play. If his streak continues, he’ll tie for tenth place for the highest consecutive winning streak of all time, thus earning him another accolade on the “Jeopardy” Hall of Fame. 

Currently, the record for highest winnings and consecutive games won is none other than the famous “Jeopardy!” star Ken Jennings, who had an impressive 74-game streak in 2004. Right behind him in both categories is 2019 breakout, James Holzhauer, who ended his run on the show with $2,462,216, just shy of Jennings’ $2,520,700. 

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Amodio notes that he has been a longtime “Jeopardy!” fan, but didn’t think he had what it takes to even be considered in the same conversation as Jennings and Holzhauer, who he considers titans of the quiz show. In fact, he told the outlet that he auditioned for the show reluctantly before going on his winning streak. Now he says he’s just trying to learn every lesson from the two “Jeopardy!” champs that he can. 

Matt Amodio has won eight consecutive games of ‘Jeoaprdy!’ and cracked the top ten highest winners of all time.
(Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)

“I think that my strategy going in was watch Ken [Jennings], and try to do whatever Ken does. He’s done TED talks, he does podcasts and he drops a little bit of knowledge here and there, like, ‘When I was trying to get in on the buzzer I would just listen to the cadence of the voice and try and view it like a musical meter and get the rhythm and stuff,’” Amodio explained. “So I would just take any notes I could from him. And then also, James brought in a lot of probability-based analysis in terms of which clue selection to do. I just remembered how they did it, and I’m hoping that I’m imitating it as best as I can.”

Although he’s won a total of eight games and continues his run on the show, Amodio is already thinking about the “Tournament of Champions,” which he solidified his place in after his fifth win. He notes that he’ll have his work cut out for him as the run of episodes, which brings back past champions on par with himself, will make for a significantly more competitive game than he’s used to. 

Ken Jennings said an ‘Jeopardy!’ game between him and James Holzhauer is ‘inevitable.’
(Getty Images/AP)

“I am [excited], with a combination of anticipation and dread. Because my competitors have been extremely smart, but on the other hand, in the ‘Tournament of Champions,’ you’ve filtered it so that you only get people who have won at least five games of ‘Jeopardy!.’ That’s going to be a more competitive stage than I’m prepared for mentally. So I’m quite worried about that. Hopefully, I’ll do well, but I’ll be shaking in my boots a little bit,” he told the outlet. 

All eyes are on Amodio as he seeks to win a ninth game of “Jeopardy!” and possibly make a place for himself in the consecutive wins category. Until then, he’ll just have to settle for being in the top 10 highest winnings category.

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