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James Holzhauer returns to defend ‘Jeopardy! Masters’ title

James Holzhauer is returning to the “Jeopardy!” stage this week.

The Las Vegas resident is back to defend his title in “Jeopardy! Masters” starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday on ABC.

Six of Jeopardy!’s highest-ranked champions will compete in the second annual Masters tournament. Holzhauer, who won nine of 10 games in last year’s inaugural event, will match wits with returnees Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio and Mattea Roach, along with newcomers Yogesh Raut and Victoria Groce.

“I think this year’s field is even tougher,” Holzhauer told the Review-Journal in an email. “Newcomers Yogesh and Victoria are world-class quizzers.”

Raut won the 2024 “Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions,” and Groce recently won the first-ever “Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament.”

The three-week Masters tournament will air as nine hourlong episodes containing two half-hour games. Shows also will air May 6, 8, 10, 13 and 15. The semifinals will air on May 17 and 20, and the winner will walk off from the May 22 finals with $500,000. All episodes will be available the next day on Hulu.

Holzhauer edged Roach in last year’s two-game, total-point title match that was decided in Final Jeopardy to claim the $500,000 grand prize.

He also won a $100,000 donation to Project 150 — a local charity that provides free support and services to homeless, displaced and disadvantaged high school students in Nevada.

“The charity donation for the winner is still there, and I definitely hope I can bring it home to Project 150 again,” Holzhauer told the RJ.

A native of Naperville, Illinois, Holzhauer won $2.46 million on “Jeopardy!” during a 32-game winning streak in 2019, making him the show’s second-biggest money winner in regular play behind host Ken Jennings, who won $2.52 million during a 74-game win streak in 2004.

Holzhauer owns the top 10 spots on the “Jeopardy!” leaderboard for highest single-game winnings. He is third in all-time winnings on the quiz show (including tournaments) with $3.4 million. Brad Rutter is first with $4.9 million, and Jennings is second with $4.3 million.

Holzhauer also won $250,000 for winning the 2019 TOC and $250,000 for placing second to Jennings in the 2020 Greatest of All Time tournament.

Schneider has the second-longest win streak in the show’s history at 40 games. She is the most successful woman and transgender contestant to compete on “Jeopardy!” with $1.68 million in winnings.

Amodio has the third-longest win streak at 38 games and $1.66 million in winnings.

Before his rise to fame on “Jeopardy!,” Holzhauer made his living in Las Vegas as a professional sports bettor. In recent years, he has starred on the ABC game show “The Chase” and hosted a Game Show Boot Camp and Titan Throwdown in Las Vegas as fundraisers for Project 150.

But after the Masters, he said he has no plans on the horizon.

“I don’t expect a Boot Camp or Titan Throwdown this year, and I think I may be done for good with professional sports betting,” he told the RJ. “Fingers crossed for a Chase renewal.”

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

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