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James Holzhauer reflects on Matt Amodio passing him on ‘Jeopardy!’

Updated October 1, 2021 - 7:43 pm

Move over “Jeopardy! James” and make way for the “Amodio Rodeo.”

Two years after James Holzhauer captivated the game-show world during a 32-game “Jeopardy!” win streak, Matt Amodio surpassed the Las Vegas professional sports bettor Friday with his 33rd win on the popular quiz show.

Amodio, a Yale Ph.D. student and Medina, Ohio, native, now has the second-longest win streak in the show’s 38-year history behind Ken Jennings, who won 74 games in 2004.

“Ken’s always been the face of ‘Jeopardy!’ to me, so when I think of ‘Jeopardy!’, I think of him,” Amodio said. “To (be) right behind him is a surreal experience.”

Holzhauer used a sports betting analogy to put Amodio’s accomplishment in perspective.

“It’s like hitting a 33-game parlay in sports betting, and there’s a reason you never see anyone do that,” he told the Review-Journal via email. “Something or someone always trips you up eventually.”

On Wednesday, the day before Amodio matched Holzhauer’s mark, he posted a tribute to him on Twitter, writing that “Tomorrow on #Jeopardy I have the chance to remind everybody how much better than me @James_Holzhauer is in literally every way.

“It would be an honor to be unfavorably compared to a person I admire so much!”

Amodio was referencing Holzhauer’s huge lead in winnings on the show. Despite having a longer win streak, Amodio is still only about halfway toward matching Holzhauer’s winnings on the show. Through 33 games, Amodio has won $1.27 million, and Holzhauer won $2.46 million.

“I think most ‘Jeopardy’ fans measure (a player) by the number of games won,” Holzhauer said. “But I can’t go to the SuperBook window and put 32 games on the Chiefs -7.”

Holzhauer was on the cusp of passing Jennings’ record of $2.52 million in winnings (regular play only) when he lost his 33rd game to University of Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher.

A native of Naperville, Illinois, Holzhauer has the top 10 spots on the “Jeopardy!” single-game winnings list, including six wins of at least $100,000 and the record of $131,127.

Holzhauer, who recently wrapped up his second season of ABC’s quiz show “The Chase,” said he hasn’t watched “Jeopardy!” “in forever.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if Holzhauer faced Amodio in another “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” tournament, which took place in January 2020 and also featured Jennings and former champion Brad Rutter.

“I’m sure Sony saw how much money they made from GOAT and would love to do it again,” Holzhauer said. “But it has to be difficult to come up with a title that can compete with ‘Greatest of All Time.’”

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

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