The game show streak we’ve watched closely for the past almost two months is officially over. James Holzhauer, who has taken the Jeopardy! world by storm since first appearing on the beloved game show on April 4, will be no competing after he sadly lost on Monday, June 3, according to a New York Times spoiler.
The professional sports gambler — dubbed “Jeopardy James” — gave legend Ken Jennings a run for his money and fans cheered him along on his mission to beat the former champ’s 2004 record of $2.52 million earned in a whopping 74 games. Unfortunately, James’ 32-game winning streak came to an end in his 33rd game. The 35-year-old just barely missed Ken’s record with earnings totaling $2,462,216. So close!
Jeopardy! fans have been amazed by the Las Vegas native’s impressive intellect. James blew millions of viewers away — including host Alex Trebek — after taking home $131,127 in a single game on April 17, a new one-day record he set just days before when he won $110,914 on April 9 (which was also a record at that point).
So, how did James’ run on Jeopardy! compare to Ken’s? Well, even though Ken still holds the record for most wins and most money earned, James’ streak proved to be extremely applause-worthy. In fact, game show guru was on the way to completely blowing Ken out of the water, considering he won an average of $77,000 per game — which doubles more than Ken typically pulled daily during his run in 2004.
Even more impressive, James had reached $2 million in nearly a third of the time that it took Ken. Before losing on the June 3 episode, James was only $58,484 shy of beating the Jeopardy! record.
Although Ken doesn’t have to worry about his crown being taken away — for now — he did previously admit that he was “just gobsmacked” by James’ performance. “It’s absolutely insane what he’s doing,” the computer scientist revealed to Wired in mid-April. “Like, I thought I had seen everything on Jeopardy!. And this is something I would have thought was just impossible, these numbers.”
James believes that he was able to dominate the long-running show for so long thanks to being aggressive and focusing on the big-money questions first. The dad-of-one recently explained that would start with the most “expensive” clues while simultaneously trying to find the Daily Doubles. Although the strategy can backfire at any time, James said with no risk comes no reward. “I know life goes on if you make a big bet and you lose,” he dished to Vulture. “But if you don’t give yourself the best chance of winning, you’re going to kick yourself tomorrow.”
Jeopardy! won’t be the same without James, that’s for sure.