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Holzhauer doesn’t go all-in, reflects on loss in ‘Jeopardy! Masters’

James Holzhauer changed the way “Jeopardy!” is played by starting with high-value clues, seeking out Daily Doubles and betting big, often going all-in.

The Las Vegas resident was beaten, in part, by his own strategy in the two-game final of “Jeopardy! Masters” on Wednesday night by Victoria Groce.

She picked up both Daily Doubles in the second game and doubled up on the first one en route to winning the event in a runaway, claiming the Trebek Trophy and the $500,000 grand prize.

Holzhauer, who won last year’s inaugural Masters tournament, settled for third place and $150,000. Yogesh Raut placed second and won $250,000.

“It’s true that everyone is playing a similar strategy in these tournaments now, and I probably had a lot to do with that,” Holzhauer told the Review-Journal in an email. “Daily Doubles are of course vital, but finding them is actually more about skill than luck.”

The two-game final was decided by the combined scores of the three players. Holzhauer won the first game with 28,309 points after wagering 1,109 — a conservative bet for him — in Final Jeopardy! He answered the question correctly.

“I had planned to go all-in on Final in the first game, but the category was Politicians, and contemporary politics may be my absolute weakest subject,” he said. “It turned out to be a history question in disguise. Oh well.”

Groce had the victory clinched heading into Final Jeopardy! in Game 2 with 55,400 points. Raut took second with 45,910, and Holzhauer placed third with 38,017.

“Honestly, the biggest difference this year is just that Yogesh and Victoria are really good at the game,” Holzhauer said.

He congratulated his fellow finalists on X (@James_Holzhauer).

“The trivia community and fans of The Chase already knew Victoria is the best quizzer in the country — now fans of Jeopardy Masters know it too,” he wrote.

Holzhauer also expressed his disappointment that he didn’t win a $100,000 donation again for Project 150 — a local charity that provides free support and services to homeless, displaced and disadvantaged high school students in Nevada.

“I’m obviously bummed that I couldn’t win the 100K donation for @project150lv this time,” he posted on X. “But I’m sending a donation anyway to fund this year’s scholarships.”

Holzhauer said the charity’s mission aligns with his family’s.

“We believe it is important to give every student in the Valley a chance to succeed, regardless of family circumstances,” he said.

All three players will receive automatic entry into next year’s Masters. Holzhauer hopes to return to TV soon for another game show.

“I’m hoping to make another season of The Chase if ABC will have us,” he said.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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