Somewhere, Ken Jennings is stroking a fluffy white cat and cackling. Menacingly.
Monday’s episode of Jeopardy! marked the final outing for fan-favorite contestant James Holzhauer (aka “Jeopardy James”), whose 32-day winning streak was unceremoniously ended by Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher during a savage round of Final Jeopardy.
Atop the final round (category: “Shakespeare’s Time”), Boettcher led the pack with $26,600. Holzhauer followed closely with $23,400, while Jay Sexton rounded out the group with $11,000. The clue was: “The line ‘a great reckoning in a little room’ in As You Like It is usually taken to refer to this author’s premature death.”
Both Boettcher and Holzhauer guessed correctly (Christopher Marlowe), but with a modest wager of $1,399, Holzhauer failed to clinch another win. He came in second place with $24,799, behind Boettcher with $46,801.
From his 32 victories, Holzhauer — a 34-year-old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas — earned a total of $2,462,216, just $60,000 shy of the $2,520,700 amassed by Jennings during his 74-game appearance in 2004.
Beginning with his first appearance on April 4, Holzhauer has maintained a clear strategy, one that included a commitment to taking huge risks. “When I watch at home, I always root for the contestants to bet big on Daily Doubles,” he said after officially becoming the show’s second-highest cash winner. “They get them right most of the time, and it can give them a big leg up on the competition.” (Ironically, this was the same strategy Boettcher employed to beat him.)
Assuming you missed the leak that made its way around the Twitterverse this morning, were you surprised to see Holzhauer taken down? Were you hoping he’d surpass Jennings’ record? Hit PLAY on the video above to witness Holzhauer’s defeat, then drop a comment with your thoughts below.