James Holzhauer’s reign of terror over Jeopardy! came to a thrilling end on Monday night, as the game show king was taken out by Emma, a user experience librarian from Illinois.
Holzhauer’s loss was stunning and it was fitting that it came in a game where he was simply outplayed. Emma dominated the Daily Doubles in the Double Jeopardy round, beating Holzhauer at his own game and managing to take a lead into Final Jeopardy. It was there that Holzhauer finally got conservative with his wagering, betting just $1,399 despite trailing by $3,200 entering the round.
This was curious at first glance, but it was one last brilliant bit of game play and betting strategy from Holzhauer. Even if he bet the house, he couldn’t catch Emma if she made a high enough wager, which she did at $20,201. The only hope for Holzhauer was for Emma to get the final clue wrong, but in case he also got it wrong, he left himself with a dollar more than Jay could’ve gotten had he answered correctly and bet his full total.
Now, we’ll wait and see if Emma can begin a new streak of dominance on the show or if we’ll return to the parity that we’d become so comfortable with since Ken Jennings’ run. As for Holzhauer, he’ll be throwing his daughter a party, parsing through pro sports front office offers, and counting his millions.