James Holzhauer

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James Holzhauer is an American game show contestant and professional sports gambler residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is best known for holding the single-game record on Jeopardy! ($131,127) on April 17, 2019. [1] [2]

Holzhauer is currently the reigning champion, with a grand total of $1,691,008 won on the game show.[11]

Early Life & Education

James Holzhauer's high school yearbook photo

James Holzhauer is a native of Naperville, Illinois. According to his father, Juergen Holzhauer, James excelled in math and science at an early age. At 4 years old, he was written up in the Chicago Tribune for his math. In junior high school, he was on the Mathcounts team.[14]

Holzhauer then attended Naperville North High School where he excelled academically and competed in the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering state competition. He won state championships during his junior and senior years, including a first place victory in physics and second place finish in math.[4][+]

Holzhauer was also a member of the chess team, the Academic Bowl, and Amnesty International.[+]

After high school, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in mathematics. [4]

During his college days, Holzhauer enjoyed playing online poker. He jokingly claims it is is his "real major" because he rarely attended class.[+]


Youtube Video
Jeopardy! Champ James Holzhauer Talks Record-Setting Run & More w/Dan Patrick | Full Interview

After succeeding in online poker during college, James Holzhauer started his own strategy website where he eventually got his sports betting bankroll. He started betting on baseball games, but expanded to American football, hockey, and basketball.[+]

He eventually stepped away from gambling after meeting his wife, Melissa, and started a family with her.[+]

While doing so, he started his own pet project by learning as much trivia as he could. He would check out children's library books on subjects of which he was not knowledge enough anytime he felt he did not know enough about that particular subject. His strategy was to find the most basic level of content to read on the matter.[+]

Game Show Career

The Chase

On September 2, 2014, Holzhauer competed in The Chase.[+] Mark Labbett (best known as "The Beast" on the show) said, "Professionally speaking, he gave me the worst whooping I've ever had."[+]


James Holzhauer began competing on Jeopardy! on April 4, 2019.[9] He is known for placing wagers that represent dates that are memorable to him, including birthdays and wedding anniversaries of loved ones.[14]

Youtube Video
James Holzhauer Beats Roger Craig’s 1-Day Record! | JEOPARDY!

On April 9, 2019 Holzhauer broke the single game record, winning $110,914. Amazingly, Holzhauer strategically positioned his winnings to match his daughter's birthday, October 9, 2014 (10/09/14). Holzhauer has competed in ten Jeopardy! games as of April 17, 2019, winning a total of $566,660. He holds the second highest winnings in the history of Jeopardy! after Ken Jennings. [1]

Youtube Video
James Holzhauer: New Single-Game Record | JEOPARDY!

On Thursday, April 18, 2019, Holzhauer broke his own single-game winnings mark with $131,127 to capture his 10th straight victory on the game show. He became the 8th player in Jeopardy! history to accomplish the feat; Ken Jennings holds with all-time record with 74 straight wins.[8]

He has won $851,926 during his 12-day streak and owns the five most prolific single-day performances ever on the show. [5]

On April 19, 2019, he won $80,006, which is fifth all-time in one-day earnings on Jeopardy! He now owns the top five one-day totals on the game show and six of the top eight.[10]

On April 22, 2019, Holzhauer won $90,812, which is third all-time in one-day earnings on Jeopardy![11]

On April 23, 2019, he won $118,816, which is the second-highest one-day total of all time.[12] He also passed the $1,000,000 total winnings mark in 14 games; it took Ken Jennings 30 games to reach the same milestone.[12]

On April 26, 2019, Holzhauer announced on Facebook that Jeopardy!'s show producers informed him that the rules have changed and he is no longer allowed to give shoutouts on Final Jeopardy.[16] April 29 became the first day Holzhauer did not give a shoutout for his written answer.

In early May 2019, the teachers tournament on Jeopardy! began, which put James Holzhauer's winning streak on hold. He will defend his title on May 20, 2019.

Game # Date Right Wrong Winnings Answer (Final Jeopardy)
1 April 4, 2019 32 1 $43,680 What is Great Salt Lake ? Happy birthday Jack
2 April 5, 2019 23 1 $38,926 What is Berlin <3 Happy Anniversary M!
3 April 8, 2019 31 1 $50,845 Who are the Munchkins? Happy Birthday Pops <3
4 April 9, 2019 43 1 $110,914 What is quantum leap Happy Birthday Booger <3
5 April 10, 2019 32 2 $54,322 Who are the Romanovs Happy Birthday Pete <3
6 April 11, 2019 25 3 $27,190 Who is Madonna Happy Birthday Scarlett
7 April 12, 2019 33 0 $89,158 What is Fahrenheit 451 Happy Bday Scarlett <3
8 April 15, 2019 38 2 $45,444 What is Iwo Jima flag raising hbd Michael
9 April 16, 2019 43 2 $106,181 What is Crimea Happy birthday no one!
10 April 17, 2019 41 0 $131,127 Who is Atticus Finch This is for you Granny <3
11 April 18, 2019 40 0 $74,133 Who is Aquaman Hi Katie & Jo Jo <3
12 April 19, 2019 36 4 $80,006 What are George, Edward & Henry Happy Birthday Katy <3
13 April 22, 2019 37 0 $90,812 Who is Lord Elgin ? Hi Zach Emma & Lilly <3 <3
14 April 23, 2019 41 1 $118,816 Who are U.S. Grant & R.E. Lee Hi Autumn <3
15 April 24, 2019 37 1 $73,621 What is Bermuda Triangle hi Benjamin
16 April 25, 2019 36 1 $90,812 What is Europium ? Hi Jessa <3
17 April 26, 2019 34 2 $49,600 What is Deerslayer ? Hi Tuesday
18 April 29, 2019 28 1 $54,017 What is a Chamber of Commerce ?
19 April 30, 2019 44 0 $96,726 What is Bonn ?
20 May 1, 2019 43 0 $101,682 What is Death?
21 May 2, 2019 36 4 $80,615 What is The Glass Menagerie ?
22 May 3, 2019 44 0 $82,381 What is crowdfunding ?
Total 803 27 $1,691,008

Personal Life

Holzhauer is married to Melissa Sassin Holzhauer , who also appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The couple have a young daughter together and got married in 2012. [1]

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