Ten games into his massive winning streak, Jeopardy! contestant Matt Amodio is continuing to make some risky gameplays. The current Jeopardy! champion, who now ranks as the eighth biggest winner in the long-running game show's history, sparked plenty of nerves among viewers on Tuesday's episode when he risked it all with a maxed-out Daily Double bid, despite only having a slim $1,600 lead over his competitors.
The New Haven, Connecticut PhD student landed on a Daily Double, and rather than playing it safe, he decided to risk it all by betting his entire $13,000 prize money in a move that shocked many. The clue read, "Australia became its own nation January 1, 1901 as the this of Australia, a word implying union for everyone's good." Amodio, who looked visibly nervous after offering up his bet, could thankfully breathe a sigh of relief as he didn't miss a beat when correctly answering, "What's Commonwealth?" With his risky move, Amodio doubled his prize money from $13,000 to $26,000.
Well, that was a big Daily Double for Matt Amodio! pic.twitter.com/mwwAqg17Qs— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) August 3, 2021
During his Jeopardy! stint, Amodio has become known, and well applauded, for his strategic gameplay, particularly involving his Final Jeopardy! wagers. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly after securing his return for the Tournament of Champions next season, Amodio said his "strategy going in was watch Ken [Jennings], and try to do whatever Ken does." Prior to stepping onto the Jeopardy! stage for the very first time, Amodio turned to Jennings' TED talks, podcasts, and other tidbits of information he has dropped and "would just take any notes I could from him. And then also, James [Holzhauer] brought in a lot of probability-based analysis in terms of which clue selection to do. I just remembered how they did it, and I'm hoping that I'm imitating it as best as I can." He also opened up about the strategy behind his Daily Double bids.
"There are times when I know a big wager is mathematically the right thing to do, and I just hate it. I really hate it," he admitted. "I think [James] reveled in that adrenaline, and I just really, really wish it wasn't the right thing to do. I try to suck it up and do it anyway, but it does not come naturally to me."
Despite how stunning his gameplay may be, Amodio's run on Jeopardy! hasn't been without controversy. As he stepped onto the game show's stage in July, he quickly sparked annoyance among viewers for his odd answering quirk. Rather than answering clues with "who's" when applicable, he answered all clues with "what's." Amodio told EW he doesn't mean to offend anyone with the quirk. With his Tuesday night win, Amodio added $52,000 to his total, which now stands at $362,400.