During Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer's historic run, he took big risks on Daily Double questions that helped him build leads insurmountable for his competitors. The tables were turned in Monday's episode though, as the Daily Doubles sank him, keeping him from the all-time winnings record.
The night's winner, Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher, was the champion of Daily Doubles, getting two key clues right to put her on the path to victory. After she got the first Daily Double during Double Jeopardy, host Alex Trebek reminded her she could pass Holzhauer.
"You know, I think I have to make it a true Daily Double," she replied, leading the audience to cheer.
The answer was "It's home to the annual United States sailboat show," and the correct question was "What is Annapolis?" That response doubled her total to $15,200, more than Holzhauer's $12,600 at the time, notes The Wrap.
Holzhauer then built up some momentum to catch Boettcher, but it was cut short when she managed to get the second Daily Double of the round.
"On book covers from GOP lawmakers Jason Chaffetz and Mike Lee is this phrase for the bureaucracy said to be working against democracy," was the clue. "What is the deep state?" was the correct response.
Boettcher's total climbed to $23,400, giving her the lead over Holzhauer's $17,800. She never looked back.
During Final Jeopardy, Boettcher bid a risky $20,201. Holzhauer uncharacteristically gambled just $1.399. In the end, Boettcher beat Holzhauer with $46,801.
Holzhauer finished his 32-game winning streak with $2,462,220, plus the $2,000 he won for coming in second place Monday night. He was just $56,484 shy of the record Ken Jennings set in 2004.
In an interview with Vulture, Holzhauer said most Jeopardy! players hurt themselves by not taking big risks with Daily Doubles before they get to Final Jeopardy.
"I bet on sports, and as an example, there comes a time in a football game where a team is down three points with a minute left, so they're going to try a field goal to tie and go into overtime," the professional sports gambler from Las Vegas said. "But really the best chance of winning is to go all-out for the touchdown. Players need to be playing more aggressively when they get Daily Doubles in 'regulation time,' so to speak."
He continued, "If you don't give yourself the best chance of winning, you're going to kick yourself tomorrow. I'm used to gambling. To me, these are just points on the scoreboard and not actual dollars. That mind-set was very helpful for me."
Boettcher is also a big Jeopardy! fan. She told the New York Times she wrote her master's paper on the game while in graduate school at the University of North Carolina.
"I don't think I felt like I won until Alex said so," she told the Times.
Photo credit: YouTube/Jeopardy!