NAPERVILLE, IL — Naperville native James Holzhauer has catapulted to celebrity status by shattering multiple records and winning nearly $1 million on “Jeopardy!” in less than two weeks. The Naperville North grad, who now lives and works in Vegas as a professional sports bettor, is even starting to lead some media outlets to wonder if the “Jeopardy!” budget can sustain his lucrative wins. The secret to his success seems to come from a style of play that has left other contestants — even top “Jeopardy!” winner Ken Jennings stunned.
After 13 games, Holzhauer has won more than $940,000. In an interview with “Wired,” Jennings called Holzhauer’s 13-day streak “absolutely insane.” Jennings said Holzhauer is “maximizing money” due to his strategy “to hit the big dollar values early and make the big wagers.”
On Twitter, Jennings joked:
Jennings, who holds the top spot for total “Jeopardy!” winnings during a streak for winning $2.5 million over consecutive 74 games, may be unseated by Holzhauer, who is averaging about $72,500 per game. If Holzhauer were to stay on the show for 74 games and maintain that average, he’d earn $5.3 million.
Holzhauer’s style of game play also includes hopping from category to category to snag big-ticket clues and hunt down Daily Doubles. The style, named the “Forrest Bounce,” was named for former “Jeopardy!” contestant Chuck Forrest, who threw off other contestants by picking off high-money clues and Daily Doubles, CNN reports.
To pull off this method, though, a “Jeopardy!” contestant has to be savvy enough to know the correct answers to these high-dollar clues. That’s where Jennings says Holzhauer has been able to “pull it off.”
If the “Forrest Bounce” is one half of Holzhauer’s deadly “Jeopardy!” skills, the other half resides in his seemingly boundless wealth of knowledge.
When asked how he answers so many questions correctly, Holzhauer attributed his know-how to children’s books he has read at the library.
Watch Holzhauer’s first record-breaking win:
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