From Professional Sports Gambler to Jeopardy TV Contestant…

From Professional Sports Gambler to Jeopardy TV Contestant…

James Holzhauer  - a seasoned sports gambler / family man from Las Vegas, Nevada turned an ordinary Jeopardy episode into one of the most replayed episodes on youtube ever. The 34-year old contestant authored the single highest winning Jeopardy prize winning day.  In all, he only missed one question, took on all three “daily double” answers and topped it off with the highest final wager ever.

Throughout Jeopardy history, no one has ever won more than $77,000 in a single day ever. Holzhauer won $110,914 in that single day. Holzhauer had begun with the $1,000 clue in the "Light" category. Correct. Next was the $1,000 clue in "Pale Ail." It was the Daily Double, and Holzhauer asked for the window limit, meaning all-in. Right again. He finished the round with $13,000 and went for the jugular in Double Jeopardy. He found the first Daily Double of the second round with his second pick and mimicked pushing all his chips into the pot, risking $14,500 on "American History." His answer ("Jesse James") came instantly, doubling his stack to $29,200. But a bigger bet would come minutes later.Hidden behind the $800 clue in "International Architecture & Design," he landed the second Daily Double with $46,800 at his disposal. Tilting his head to the left, he squinted, smiled and limited himself to a $25,000 wager. In response to, "In Andalusia Arabic, calligraphy represents style named for medieval visitors from Africa," Holzhauer quickly replied, "What is Moorish?" "Moorish is right," Trebek said with emphasis. The crowd applauded and let out a collective "wooh."

At this point his earnings were at $71,800. His fellow contests turned to look at him and asked “who is this guy?” They then nodded and clapped, acknowledging his success. Heading into Final Jeopardy $72,600. Holzhauer ran the numbers in his head. He could bet $58,599 without risk of losing the game, but it was important to him to do something for his 4-year-old daughter. He calculated how much he would need to wager to end up with an amount to match her birthday, Nov. 9, 2014. A successful bet of $38,314 would give him $110,914 or 11/09/14. The Final Jeopardy category was "Physics Terms." The clue: "Ironically, it's a metaphor meaning a huge step forward, but this 2-word process only occurs on a subatomic scale." No issue for Holzhauer, who correctly wrote, "What is Quantum Leap," adding "Happy birthday Booger <3" for his daughter. When his wager was revealed, the crowd squealed, and the legend of Jeopardy! James was born. Only a few shows later, Holzhauer broke his own record, earning a whopping $131,127 and correctly answering all 40 questions he buzzed in for, along with a $60,013 wager on Final Jeopardy. Social media has been buzzing about the gambling dad who some say is breaking the game.

“Every game show has a prize budget,” says Bob Boden, a former head of programming at Game Show Network who has worked on dozens of shows there and elsewhere, including Family Feud. “Typically, for a long-running show the prize budget is determined by way of averages of what has been won in the past.” Large deviations from such averages can strain these prize budgets. “James’s performance, I’m sure, is causing grief for an accountant somewhere,” says Boden, who’s now an executive at the production company Entertainment Studios.

Estimating payouts is easier for some types of shows than others. “You know that the winner of Survivor is going to get $1 million, and you know what the second- and third-place players will get, so the prize budget on that is locked,” Boden says. Budgets for shows such as Jeopardy with variable winnings are harder to project. Second, Holzhauer’s stellar performances are drawing in more viewers. Normally, Boden says, it’s not compelling TV for a single player to run up the score, “but in a situation like this, where records are being set and broken every night, the excitement, I believe, outweighs the lopsided results.”

That excitement will almost definitely help the show’s bottom line. Increased viewership often translates to more lucrative ad sales (though, Boden notes, this uptick in ad value isn’t immediate and would take some time to kick in). Spikes in popularity are also good for whatever additional revenue streams a show may have, such as merchandising or interactive gaming. More symbolically, Boden says, a thrilling contestant like Holzhauer can further burnish the reputation of a long-running game show like Jeopardy, solidifying its place in the canon of American TV.

Why Choose TGF?

The art of sports betting is not something that is taught or learned overnight. Like most hobbies, it takes time and effort to pick winning spreads and keep momentum. Many novice sports bettors choose to bet with their hearts instead of their minds. Sports betting is about statistical information, the type of knowledge that only comes through following teams, players and game results.