RICHMOND- 15 years ago, Ken Jennings debuted on Jeopardy! as a software engineer from Salt Lake City, UT.
74 wins, $2,500,000 later, and following three victories in four games against great competition, Jennings cemented his status as the Greatest Jeopardy player of all time.
3 out of the 4 match victories played in the Jeopardy GOAT Tournament ensure that Jennings took home the top prize of $1,000,000 while fellow competitors James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter each received $250,000.
Holzhauer was the only player to win a match besides Jennings, Rutter failed to win any matches and was in third place throughout the entire tournament.
The tournament lived up to the hype as all three players played hard and while it ended early, there was a massive outbreak of approval from fans who watched it on television and commented on posts throughout social media.
In Match 1 of Game 4, there were references through categories to other ABC Shows including Modern Family and the Bachelor prompting a social media explosion.
Jennings found the first daily double and risked it all while doing the push. Holzhauer immediately claimed the royalty prompting a laugh. Did Jennings get it right? Yes indeed and he doubled to 7,600.
In Double Jeopardy, Rutter got another Daily Double and wagered it all. Sadly, like throughout this tournament, it was no good and back to zero. Jennings found the second and nailed it doubling up to 30,400.
Going into the Final Jeopardy Round, Rutter got the answer wrong and finished with 0. Holzhauer bet correct and wagered an interesting score of 11,381 taking him up to 34,181.
Jennings? He got it right and bet it all of 32,800 bumping him up 65,600 and the lead going into the second game of the match.
Game 2 started with a joke from Holzhauer at Rutter’s 0 score. Categories included Greatest Canadians, Welcome Back Boys, and the DREADED Math to Roman Numerals to Initials to Names. Yikes.
Jennings got the double in the scary category and got it wrong. Back to 0.
In the Double Jeopardy round, the movies got some love with a category paying homage to Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
Jennings got the first Daily Double and bet only 5,000. He got it right. BUT…what came next NEARLY sent the studio into chaos.
Holzhauer found the second daily double and risked 20,200. If right, there was a chance to go to Game 5. If wrong, it would all be over. Holzhauer……just got it in right and took a HUGE LEAD. Holzhauer had the lead once the round ended.
Going into final, only one clue separated the competition from being over or another game. If Holzhauer bet it all and got it right, there would be officially a Game 5. If not, it would end.
Rutter paid tribute to host Alex Trebek and finished 3rd. Jennings answered correctly but wagered 0, finishing with a two game total of 88,600. It all came down to Holzhauer. Would there be a Game 5?
The wager was all…..AND……..no good. 0+34,181 = 34,181 and no win. 2nd place and that was all she wrote. Jennings was officially crowned the greatest to a raucous standing ovation while Holzhauer and Rutter looked on with pride.
Rutter suffered his first ever tournament loss but still remains the all-time money winner. Holzhauer still holds all the scoring records for regular games. As for Jennings, the 74 games in a row still stands and now the GOAT title goes home to Seattle.
While the festivities raged on, Trebek got choked up during the early commercial break when he announced that this tournament would probably be the last time all three of them competed on the stage. Trebek’s lingering battle with cancer could be a factor.
If this is indeed the end, it was a riveting finish and now we know who stands alone as the GOAT. It’s the man with the longest streak. Ken Jennings. So long everybody.