Jeopardy!‘s big-time champ Matt Amodio is closing the gap between himself and record-setting pros like Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer. As the series winds down its 37th season, Amodio has banked his 17th straight win today, becoming number three on the Jeopardy! all-time highest winnings list. His total winnings of $547,600 put him behind Jennings and Holzhauer, but it may not be long before he surpasses both legends and becomes Jeopardy! royalty himself.
“The show has had so many brilliant people [on it],” Amodio said in a statement. “I’m honored to be thought of as even close to them.”
At the moment, his total winnings have him around $2 million behind on the leaderboard. Holzhauer comes in at a whopping $2,462,216, with Jennings at the top, dominating with $2,520,700 in winnings. If Amodio wants to rank on the leaderboard for consecutive games won, though, he’s got to keep at it. Jennings stands tall with a wild streak of 74 games won in a row, with Holzhauer at 32.
Although Jeopardy! fans are elated by his winning streak, Amodio has gone under fire again and again for the way in which he answers prompts on the quiz show. When an answer is a person, instead of using “Who’s” to give the answer, he says “What’s” — for example, when the answer was Anna Faris, he said “What’s Faris?” Although Jeopardy! clarified that this answering technique was A-OK, audiences are still a little wary of his style.
That all being said, Amodio recently explained why he employed the technique in the first place: “I have a strategy where I form all of my questions with a ‘what’s’ at the beginning – then, I can focus on the rest of the clue,” Amodio explained. “Other people have been very upset about me being robotic instead of forming a question differently each time. I was glad that Jeopardy! said this was perfectly within the rules. I’ve watched Jeopardy! every day of my life, so I knew it was OK.”
So, if you ever want to go on Jeopardy!, look no further than Amodio’s strategy and winnings — it seems pretty clear that “What’s” are the answer. With just one episode left in Season 38 of Jeopardy!, we may have to wait for a new season (with new hosts!) to see what the future has in store for Amodio.
Jeopardy! airs weeknights on ABC at 7/6c.
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