Jeopardy champion Matt Amodio becomes 3rd contestant to cross $1 million mark
Answer: The third Jeopardy contestant to earn more than $1 million during a winning streak.
The question there would be who is (or "what's," as he would say) Matt Amodio, who broke the $1 million barrier with his 28th victory on the quiz show on Friday. His $48,800 winnings on the episode brought his total prize money to $1,004,001.
"This was beyond my wildest dreams going in," Amodio said in a statement. "I knew it was a possibility, but I thought it was a very remote possibility, and to have it actually happen is unbelievable."
Amodio, a Ph.D. student at Yale, is only the third contestant in Jeopardy history to earn more than $1 million during regular-season play, the first two being official show GOATs Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer. (Both won over $2 million during their 74-game and 32-game winning streaks, respectively.) However, Brad Rutter, who faced Jennings and Holzhauer in 2020's Greatest of All Time tournament, remains the highest-winning Jeopardy contestant ever, with nearly $5 million amassed across various tournaments. (During Rutter's 2000 winning streak on the show, champions were limited to five-day runs, after which they would "retire undefeated.")
With 28 wins under his belt, Amodio is poised to surpass Holzhauer's 32-game winning streak next week. He has a long way to go to pass the high-rolling champion's total, however; Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler, won over $2.4 million and averaged $75,362 per game during his 2019 run on the show. (Amodio, a far more conservative wagerer than Holzhauer, has averaged $34,114 per game so far, according to the fan site J! Archive.)
Should his streak last long enough, Amodio could also share the stage with another Jeopardy legend for the first time, as Jennings is set to take over hosting duties for the show Nov. 5. Mayim Bialik will continue to host until then.
Amodio's extraordinary run began last season, as he racked up more than $260,000 in just seven games to become one of the top 10 highest-winning Jeopardy champions ever.
"I've been a Jeopardy watcher my whole life, even before I could really make out the words, because my parents would have it on," he previously told EW. "To see me on the stage is just surreal. It's a wonderful, wonderful feeling."
Check your local listings for Jeopardy to tune in to Amodio's 29th game on Monday.
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