The summer months of Jeopardy! are often quiet, unless you’ve missed large stretches of the show and need to do some catching up. Season 35 is wrapped up and new episodes await in the fall, as do the show’s big tournaments. And while the Teen Tournament is a great way to make yourself feel like a genius by answering questions about pop culture and high school science in the mean time, the looming attraction in the Jeopardy! universe is the Tournament of Champions.
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) July 28, 2019
The event is always a thrill, as former contestants who made notable appearances on the show get invited back to go head-to-head against one another. But this year’s tournament, which starts on November 15, features James Holzhauer as the big target for the other 14 champions. Holzhauer won more than $2 million on the show earlier in the year, with some huge paydays on individual games that earned him the the biggest single-game records in the show’s history.
A tournament where the winner gets $250,000 might not, then, seem like a huge payout for the big-betting, hyper-aggressive Holzhauer, which is why he joked that he could be better off gunning for second place and a huge cumulative win total over the course of the tournament that gets him more than $250k. But on Wednesday, Holzhauer shared some big news about the payout: the grand prize is a minimum, not a maximum.
I’ve received word from #Jeopardy that 250K for first place is a minimum guarantee. Game on!
— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) July 31, 2019
What this means, basically, is that Holzhauer could win far more than the $250,000 slated for the winner by the tournament’s rules. If he truly does have some big games against some admittedly much tougher competition, Holzhauer could have a payday much bigger than what’s typically reserved for the big winner.
All of this is in good fun, of course, and even if this were not the case Holzhauer almost certainly would not tank the championship game to get a payout whether it was a maximum prize or not. But it’s great that Holzhauer is having fun with all of this. His games will be what gets huge audiences in November when the tournament kicks off, but he’s certainly keeping fans interested while we wait for him to take on some of the show’s best contestants.