LOS ANGELES — “Jeopardy!” is back to its regularly scheduled programming on Monday, and that means James Holzhauer is back on the buzzer.
After a two week hiatus because of the “Jeopardy!” Teachers Tournament, the record-breaking, reigning champion picks up where he left off on May 3 in hopes of continuing his hot streak.
In reality, Holzhauer has finished taping the show until the fall, but viewers have to tune in to find out how far he got.
The 34-year-old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has won 22 games so far, earning a total of $1,691,008.
He has the second longest winning streak in the show’s history and the second highest winnings in regular season play — behind only Ken Jennings, who won $2,520,700 over the course of 74 games in 2004.
He also holds each of the top 10 slots for the highest single-game winnings, not to mention that he’s helped “Jeopardy!” rack up some records of its own.
To beat Jennings, Holzhauer has to win $829,693 and 53 more games. Judging by his average winnings per game, it might not be much longer before he gets there.
Records aside, Holzhauer is pulling some impressive numbers on the show.
- $131,127: The most he’s won in a single game
- $76,864: His average winnings per game
- $9,128: His average Daily Double bet
- 97%: The rate of accuracy for his responses
- 95%: His Final Jeopardy accuracy rate
- 93%: His Daily Double accuracy rate
- 20 out of 22 of his games have been runaways
Holzhauer’s hot streak has captivated viewers, but his epic run is no fluke.
He employs an aggressive strategy, going for the higher value clues instead of starting low and making his way up a particular category. It also throws off his opponents.
In particular, Holzhauer makes it a mission to seek out Daily Doubles, which helps him score early leads.
He has hit on 53 out of the 66 available Daily Doubles so far, and he answered 49 of those correctly, according to the “Jeopardy!” website. And his average Daily Double bet is $9,128.
It also helps that Holzhauer has a background as a professional sports bettor — it means he has a higher tolerance for risk.
“I’m used to gambling,” he told Vulture. “To me, these are just points on the scoreboard and not actual dollars.”
Finally, he’s mastered the elusive “Jeopardy!” buzzer.
As soon as Alex Trebek finishes reading a clue, a staff member offstage presses a button that illuminates lights on both sides of the board letting contestants know they can ring in.
If a contestant presses the buzzer too early, the system locks them out for a quarter of a second — which is usually enough time for someone else to get through.
By buzzing at just the right time, he’s able to beat the other contestants to the punch and continue racking up wins.
“Jeopardy!” can be seen weekdays at 6 p.m. on FOX31.