Streaking “Jeopardy” Contestant Explains His Winning Strategy

James Holzhauer combines big bets with bouncing around the board

James Holzhauer (Jeopardy/Sony)
James Holzhauer (Jeopardy/Sony)

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After playing 14 games, James Holzhauer now holds the top seven spots in the Jeopardy Hall of Fame for single-game winnings. The top total in that bunch is a $131,127 win.

He also surpassed $1 million in total winnings on Tuesday, becoming just the second contestant in show history to do so and continuing his torrid streak.

To put the hot start in perspective, game-show legend Ken Jennings won $2.52 million in 2004 over the course of 74 games. Holzhauer has played less than a fifth of that many games and has already racked up $1.06 million.

Even Jenning is impressed.

So how does Holzhauer do it?

In an interview with NPR, Holzhauer — a professional gambler from Las Vegas — revealed his strategy combines big bets, a fast buzzer and bouncing around the board so he’ll know the category before his opponents do.

“All good professional gamblers are selectively aggressive. You need to pick your spots and bet big when you identify them,” Holzhauer told NPR. “That’s basically my Jeopardy strategy in a nutshell. You need a decent-sized bankroll to bet for profit, which is why I start at the bottom of the board.”

By choosing highest-value clues on the board and answering them correctly, Holzhauer amasses his bankroll. Then he cashes it in on “Daily Doubles” and routinely bets everything he has in order to double his earnings in one fell swoop.

Holzhauer will be going for his 15th win in a row in a pre-taped episode which will air on Wednesday.

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