It’s the week before the first game of Jeopardy‘s eagerly awaited “Greatest of All Time” tournament, as the three biggest money-winners in the quiz show’s history face off for the first time. The show is a rare primetime version of Jeopardy! and will be hosted by Alex Trebek, airing January 7 at 8-9 PM ET/PT.
Jennings spoke with a Seattle publication about his chances in the tournament. He brings his record 74-game winning streak and total winnings of $3.370,700 to the table, but admits that he’s at a slight disadvantage at age 48, some 15 years removed from his glory years on the show.
'Jeopardy!'s All-Time Top Money Winners To Face Off In Primetime Tourney: Holzhauer, Jennings & Rutter
Jennings is the most seasoned of the three players, in more ways than one.
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“I can tell you firsthand that age matters on Jeopardy! he said. “I wish it didn’t because I am 15 years older than when I first played, but I can tell the difference. I’m a little bit slower on coming up with names, and my rhythm isn’t that great on the buzzer.”
Jennings has been watching a lot of Jeopardy! to prep for the tournament. “I have a pretend buzzer that I play along with, and I watch Alex every night. You can’t press the button as soon as you know it,” he said. “You have to wait for Alex to finish reading the clue – and there is the briefest of beats, a guy flips a switch and [then] you can buzz in. If you buzz early, you actually get locked out for a fraction of a second. So you are just trying to get in a rhythm with Alex’s voice to find that exact second to buzz in. It’s like a zen thing – it’s like hitting a curve ball.”
He faces formidable opposition. Rutter has won $4,688,436 and Holzhauer $2,712,216 on the show.
“James and I actually met at Bumbershoot once when I was doing a trivia contest,” said Jennings. “He came up on stage for the final round, but he was still a young apprentice, he was buzzing too fast and he actually finished third. But he’s very funny on Twitter which I really admire. Winning two million on Jeopardy! is hard but being funny on Twitter may be harder, so I have a lot of respect for him.”
Rutter offers a different challenge.
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