James Holzhauer wins ‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament of Champions in nail-biting game

Brenda Watkins
November 16, 2019

Over the two-night final, Holzhauer - a 35-year-old professional gambler from Las Vegas - faced off against Emma Boettcher, a 27-year-old librarian from Chicago who famously beat him on June 3, and Francois Barcomb, a 50-year-old physics teacher from New Paltz, NY, who won the Teachers' Tournament.

A teacher from the Hudson Valley scored the highest total while advancing in Jeopardy's "most prestigious tournament of the year".

Halfway through the two-night finale, Las Vegas professional sports gambler Holzhauer has $49,326, almost double the $26,400 tallied by University of Chicago user-experience librarian Boettcher.

The tournament set up the flawless rematch between Boettcher and Holzhauer, as it was Boettcher who ended Holzhauer's record-breaking reign during regular season play.

The victor in the finals is determined by the score from Thursday and Friday night's games. Boettcher led going into final Jeopardy, totaling $21,600 to Holzhauer's $17,785, with Barcomb's way back at $1,600.

The category of the decisive clue: "International disputes".

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If anything, this proves Boettcher's win over Holzhauer wasn't a fluke.

The tournament title will increase Holzhauer's lifetime winnings to $2,712,219, putting him on his way to challenge Brad Rutter's $4,688,436 and Ken Jennings' $3,370,700 on the all-time total winnings leaderboard. "Now the world sees that I wasn't just making excuses".

Holzhauer was quick on the buzzer during Friday's game, buzzing in first better than 54% of the time, according to community site thejeopardyfan.com. All three contestants got the Final Jeopardy clue correct, and Boettcher emerged the victor of night 2 with $38,600. Holzhauer nailed Final Jeopardy, though, thwarting the comeback and adding to his legacy. His peak performance came on the April 9 episode, when he won a record $131,127.

"I strongly suspect this was not my last appearance on 'Jeopardy!'" Holzhauer said.

"Fingers crossed that I may be back on TV again next year", Holzhauer said.

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