James Holzhauer Responds to ‘Jeopardy!’ Conspiracy Theories Following Loss

Posted on: June 4, 2019, 07:36h. 

Last updated on: June 4, 2019, 07:36h.

James Holzhauer’s shocking loss on the Monday edition of Jeopardy! has only fueled more conspiracy theories regarding his historic win streak that spanned 32 shows.

James Holzhauer Jeopardy! sports betting
James Holzhauer made his final regular-season appearance on Jeopardy! Monday night. (Image: Jeopardy!)

In the defense of those who felt something fishy was going on surrounding Holzhauer’s incredible run, the odds of all of this happening were astonishingly long.

Heading into Final Jeopardy on Monday’s show, the Las Vegas native and pro sports bettor trailed contestant Emma Boettcher by $3,400. Known for risking large sums on the final clue, Holzhauer wagered only $1,399. He got the clue correct, but so did Boettcher – who risked $20,201 to eliminate the gameshow’s second all-time regular-season money winner.

On Twitter, Dave Ramos, a former TV gameshow contestant, tweeted, “Was #JeopardyJames cheating and Sony found out about it and forced him to take a fall? His wager made no sense. He didn’t say a word in the contestant interview. A scandal like that would have taken down the show. #JeopardyConspiracy.”

Holzhauer told The Action Network Monday, “I knew I could only win if Emma missed Final Jeopardy, as there was no way she wouldn’t bet to cover my all-in bet. So, my only concern was getting overtaken by third place, and I bet just enough to make sure of locking him out.”

“Betting big would have looked good for the cameras, but now I turn my straight bet (Emma misses) into a parlay (Emma misses and I get it right),” Holzhauer explained.

Other conspiracies include the final clue being on Shakespeare – which Boettcher wrote her undergrad thesis on. Another comical one on social media read, “I believe the dude losing on Jeopardy! was staged. Ken Jennings knew he was getting close to his record so he paid off ABC.”

By the Numbers

James Holzhauer has secured his place in the Jeopardy! record books. Here’s a look at his amazing run:

  • 04/09: Breaks Roger Craig’s single-game record
  • 04/15: Becomes second to Ken Jennings in winnings (regular-season play)
  • 04/17: Breaks his own single-game record
  • 04/23: Passes $1 million in winnings
  • 05/01: Achieves all top 10 single-game records
  • 05/02: Becomes second-winningest contestant
  • 05/24: Passes $2 million in winnings
  • 05/31: Wins final game of his streak
  • 06/03: Finishes his streak with 32 wins

Holzhauer’s run ends with nearly $2.5 million in earnings. He answered at a stunning 97 percent accuracy rate.

Holzhauer seemingly cracked the code to the syndicated classic gameshow by utilizing the Forrest Bounce, a strategy where one jumps around the board in order to keep their opponents off their toes, and to search out the Double Jeopardy clues.

However, Ken Jennings remains the show’s all-time winnings leader in regular-season play with $2,520,700 – a mere $58,484 more than Holzhauer.

Taxing Game

Holzhauer returns to Las Vegas with the keys to the city and newfound fame. He will also need to meet with a skilled tax expert.

According to CNBC, after federal and California state taxes (where the show is taped), Holzhauer’s net winnings will be around $1.29 million – a nearly 47 percent cut.

Gameshow winnings are considered ordinary income by the IRS, meaning they are taxed up to 37 percent.