James Holzhauer reveals his winning Jeopardy strategy

He has won a total of $851,926 over 12 games

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 23 April 2019 19:51
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Jeopardy contestant James Holzhauer has shared his technique for winning 12 games in a row and earning thousands.

The professional sports bettor, who lives in Las Vegas, beat his own single-game record last week with a total of $131,127 - bringing his overall total earnings up to $851,926.

But it isn’t just knowledge that has propelled Holzhauer past his competitors, as a lot of his success has to do with his betting strategy, which relies on being “selectively aggressive”.

“All good professional gamblers are selectively aggressive,” the 34-year-old told NPR. “You need to pick your spots and bet big when you identify them.

“That’s basically my Jeopardy strategy in a nutshell.”

For Holzhauer, this means starting with the questions on the board that have the highest value, as you “need a decent-sized bankroll to bet for profit”.

The technique allows him to bet large amounts of money when he lands on Daily Double clues, which he does frequently.

Holzhauer’s strategy has even impressed Ken Jennings, a former Jeopardy contestant who earned more than $2.5m in 2014 over 74 games and who currently holds the record for the most money won on the game show.

“This is absolutely insane,” Jennings wrote on Twitter. “I’ve always wanted to see someone try Jeopardy wagering this way who had the skills to back it up.”

According to Holzhauer, while he appreciates the honour of being compared to Jennings, he told NPR the two play “very differently”.

“Studying his game film would be about as useful as someone my size trying to play like Shaq in a pickup basketball game,” he said.

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To prepare for the show, Holzhauer spent most of his time studying topics such as animals, classical music and literature - and “almost no time” on geography and sports because he’s “already strong in those subjects”.

The contestant also practised hitting the buzzer to answer a clue, using a mechanical pencil wrapped in masking tape, according to The Ringer.

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