The (almost) king is dead. James Holzhauer, the pro gambler from Las Vegas who has astounded, confounded, impressed and/or distressed Jeopardy! fans for nearly two months, has gone down after 32 consecutive wins — less than $60,000 short of breaking Ken Jennings’ record haul for an initial run on the show.
Video of his loss to Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher leaked this morning but since has been removed. “Emma dominated her warmup games that day, and I knew she would make an extremely tough challenger,” Holzhauer said. “I was still incredibly impressed by her courage on that ‘True Daily Double.’ I’m proud that it took a top-level player at her absolute best to eliminate me.”
Boettcher did her master’s thesis about Jeopardy! (watch her explain that in the tweeted video below). She went into Final Jeopardy with a lead, and all three players gave the correct question to the answer. But Holzhauer made a rather uncharacteristically low wager and was vanquished. He walked over to offer Boettcher a high five.
Watch the Final Jeopardy round here:
The gambler had been chasing the all-time winnings mark of $2.52 million set by Jeopardy legend Ken Jennings in 2004.
“I never really believed I could win 75 shows, but I definitely thought I had a great shot at Ken’s cash winnings record,” Holzhauer said.
Here are the some headlines on Holzhauer’s Jeopardy! obituary: He set the single-episode record for most money won on April 9 and proceeded to break it 14 times. He went nearly a dozen games without questioning an answer incorrectly. He topped the $2 million mark in the May 24 airing and made more than $100,000 on a half-dozen shows. During his run, Jeopardy! posted its best household ratings in 14 years — since Jennings was one his incredible 74-game win streak.
His final 33-game tally: $2,462,216.
Fans have held watch parties during Holzhauer’s run. And here’s hoping any drinking games were followed by a call to a rideshare company.
To get an idea just how close the generally stoical but sometimes cheeky Holzhauer came to dethroning Jennings on the initial-winnings leaderboard, check out his tweet that has been pinned atop the show’s feed since Saturday:
And here is how Trebek interviewed today’s players, including the new champ explaining her master’s thesis, followed by a tweet posted last week that congratulated Holzhauer on hitting the 30-win mark: