JAMES HOLZHAUER’s reign as “Jeopardy!” champ FINALLY came to an end yesterday. After 32 straight wins and more than $2.4 million in winnings, James lost to a Chicago librarian named Emma Boettcher.
And the tragedy is that James came into last night’s game only about $58,000 short of KEN JENNINGS’ all-time record of $2.52 million.
James ends his run with $2,464,216. That includes the $2,000 he “earned” last night for coming in SECOND.
James told the “New York Times”, quote, “I lost to a really top-level competitor. She played a perfect game. And that was what it took to beat me.”
He also joked that he shouldn’t have invited DRAKE to the taping.
So how did James lose? Well, he entered Final Jeopardy TRAILING Boettcher. He had $23,400, and she had $26,600.
They both got the correct answer, but James had only bet $1,399, while she wagered $20,201. That gave her a grand total of $46,801. She beat James by $22,002.
So why did he bet so little? The tinfoil hat crowd is already out there saying James lost ON PURPOSE. And maybe he did. But James explained his wager, and it does make sense.
James knew that Emma would bet enough in Final Jeopardy to beat him even if he BET IT ALL, which she did. She ended up with $46,801, while James would have had $46,800 if he went all in.
What everyone is forgetting is that there was a THIRD player in last night’s game. And he went into Final Jeopardy with $11,000. If HE doubled down and got the right answer, he would have had $22,000.
With James’ bet of $1,399, he would have ended up with $22,001 if he got the wrong answer.
Remember, James is a professional gambler. So he ran the odds and decided that the only way for him to win was for Emma to get the question wrong, and for him to not bet so much that if HE got it wrong too, the guy in third ended up winning.
In the end, though, everyone got it right, and even if James HAD doubled down, he still would have come in second.