James Holzhauer's winning streak on Jeopardy! came to an end on Monday, and the gambler is now denying conspiracy theories about his sudden loss.
Holzhauer has been on an incredible streak on Jeopardy!, winning 32 games in a row and coming close to the all-time winnings record. The professional gambler used a daring strategy on the game show, and after his loss on Monday, some fans thought he might have done it on purpose, betting against himself to take his winnings outside of the game.
Fans took to social media to speculate that Holzhauer had thrown the game on purpose not long after the episode aired. They wondered if he could have bet against himself in some way outside of the game for high stakes. As Holzhauer pointed out in a tweet dripping with sarcasm, this never would have worked.
"'Hello, I'd like to bet against myself on this pre-recorded TV show,'" he wrote in mock dialogue. "'Sounds legit. Our house limit is as much cash as you can fit on one boat.'"
Fans put forth many reasons Holzhauer might have thrown the game. The simplest was that the professional gambler saw an opportunity to make a bet outside of the show, though obviously no one would have taken this deal with him since the show is pre-recorded. Others theorized that the ABC network or some other organization paid him off to throw the game, not wanting him to set the bar so high.
Many wondered if previous champion Ken Jennings was involved. Jennings won over $2.5 million on Jeopardy! back in 2004, and it took him a streak of over 70 games to do so. However, Jennings has been supportive of Holzhauer in the media, saying he hoped to see himself unseated one day.
Still others wondered if Holzhauer had simply grown tired of the game. He has a young daughter back at home who has been asking him to return soon. Holzhauer shot this down with sarcasm on Twitter as well.
"Sure, I could stick around and play a game that pays me $150,000 per hour, but I'd really rather get toys thrown at my crotch for free," he wrote.
One big reason for the suspicion was the way in which Holzhauer lost. The gambler has been placing huge bets on Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy throughout his run, yet on Monday he low-balled Final Jeopardy with a wager of just $1,399. He explained this in an interview with Action Network.
Well I think the whole thing was fixed but I hope I'm wrong..I just thought with the Bad news about Alex Trebek they wanted to give the show some new attention again just me with my conspiracy theories. #Jeopardy #AlexTrebek— Milton Ousland (@NYYCOWBELLMAN) June 3, 2019
“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,” he said. “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 was beaten by 27-year-old librarian and scholar Emma Boettcher, who now stands to take over an historic streak on the beloved show. Jeopardy! airs on week nights at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.