Thursday April 25, 2019 at 11:50 pm

James Holzhauer took the Jeopardy! world by storm by passing $1 million in winnings in only 14 episodes. Holzhauer, a pro sportsbettor from Las Vegas, won 15 matches in a row and counting. Ken Jennings won 74 matches back in 2004, but no one has come close to Jennings' mastery until Holzhauer's arrival three weeks ago. The Vegas sportsbettor has been destroying the competition and averaging twice as much as Jennings did during his record-setting run.

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Ship it to Holzhauer, once again. The Vegas shark is now up to $1.1 million in career earnings on the quiz show Jeopardy! He's been a perfect 15-for-15 thus far with 15 consecutive wins on the popular game show that everyone loves to watch at 7pm local time (check local listings for odd times for Jeopardy!). This season of Jeopardy! is special because it (presumably) marks the final season for Alex Trebek before he loses a tough bout with pancreatic cancer. Trebek is a trooper and he's been taping episodes despite his poor health. The quiz program, record at Sony TV studios in Culver City, California, finished up taping for this cycle. The new production cycle will resume in the fall. No one knows who will take over and replace Trebek as the new host. Will it be Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings or Drew Carey?

Ken Jennings is known as the smartest man alive not named Kevin Mathers. Jennings destroyed Jeopardy fields back in 2004 when he rattled of 74-straight wins. He had a couple of close calls, but Jennings crushed souls and destroyed the greatest minds in trivia 15 years ago.

When I was a kid, the producers only allowed the best of the best to win five times in a row on Jeopardy before they booted the champ. The five-time winners were relegated to a TOC and not allowed to run the table for as long as they could. The format changed in 2000 and champs played out until someone picked them off. It took four years before someone came along to shake up the Jeopardy! world. Enter Ken Jennings in 2004.

Ken Jennings crashed the party and one could stop him for 74 episodes. It seemed like he would go on forever, but Jennings finally met his match when he lost on episode #75. Along the way, Jennings set and broke records that many pundits thought would never be broken. His 74 wins was equated to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak that would never get broken.

Jennings amassed $2.5 million during his sensational run, which seemed like a redonkulous amount. Prior to last month, very few people came close to winning a half-million on Jeopardy, let alone seven figures. Jennings was the sole big dog with at least a cool million in winnings.

Alas, the Alpha Dog was the alpha no more after James Holzhauer entered the picture. The Vegas pro came out of nowhere and now everyone is watching him run roughshod over his opponents.

Holzhauer is the combination of many things and he employs the Forrest Bounce and refuses to pick categories in the traditional top-to-bottom manner. But, he truly figured out ways to life-hack jeopardy (learning how to beat the buzzer while practicing at home in dress shoes), while being a straight-up OG trivia whiz. Throw in his penchant for optimal game theory (how the heck do these nerds play so… conservative and wrong?) and his willingness to go busto on any Daily Double, and you have the deadliest player in Jeopardy! history.

During Ken Jennings' peak years, Jennings played rather conservatively compared to Holzhauer's aggro style. Holzhauer hunts Daily Doubles and tries to truly double up, which sounds so obvious but you'd be surprised how passive most competitors are when they have a chance to wager on a Daily Double. Holzhauer rarely misses on a DD (he missed only three clues with a 34-for-37 rate), so he's been able to maximize his stack at an insane rate. Very few opponents have actually found the DD's before him and the ones that have snatched them away, failed to inflict any significant damage to present a legit threat or challenge to Holzhauer.

Holzhauer's sharkhunting for DD's equated to printing money. It also means that his matches are dunzo before the end of the second round of Jeopardy! Holazhauer tipped his strategy in an interview that his goal (which seems obvious and universal) was to lock down a victory before heading into Final Jeopardy, so he didn't have to worry about losing to a fluke situation on the final clue.

Then again, Holzhauer has been utterly crushing Final Jeopardy and missed only once in 15 attempts. Through 15 episodes, Ken Jennings correctly answered 10 of 15 Final Jeopardy clues. The GOAT was only batting 67% at the end of the show.

On Episode #14, Holzhauer used his massive surplus to his advantage heading into Final jeopardy! He was up $52K and wagered $50K on the final clue. He correctly answered a Civil War question about Grant and Lee to lock up a six-figure score. It marked the fourth time he won 100K plus too. That score also pushed him over seven figures in total winnings. He joined Jennings as the only millionaires to amass that much cash playing regular games.

Holzhauer's average win is $76.6K, which is a tad under what the previously highest game total was! Jez, $77K used to be the top of the mountain and that's what Holzhauer nets on a regular basis.

Holzhauer's average is more than double Jennings' avg. win rate through 15 matches, which was $32,420. At this current rate, Holzhauer should catch Jennings in three plus weeks, or 17 more matches.

Oh, in case you didn't know... Holzhauer has toes to the poker community. He played low-stakes poker in college with Jameson Painter, while he studied to earn a math degree.

When Holzhauer moved to Las Vegas to pursue sportsbetting for a full-time job, he hung out with poker players at an Irish Pub at a locals casino in Henderson, NV. A group of 2p2 guys played bar trivia together and Holzhauer was their secret weapon.

According to ESPN, "Holzhauer was the ace and the perfect teammate, mostly because he wasn't a big drinker."

Holzhauer is also a fan of the Las Vegas Knights hockey team. He got a dubious honor to ring the buzzer in one of the Knights home playoff games this season.

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Thursday October 31, 2019 at 2:01 am
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