It’s been a while since James Holzhauer has actually had to fight for a win on Jeopardy! That’s partially because of the Teacher’s Tournament, which interrupted his run for two weeks. But Holzhauer is back on Jeopardy! these days, and on Thursday we actually had quite a game.
There’s really no secret to what will beat Holzhauer, as it nearly happened early on in his run when he was just $18 clear of a second place finisher. Holzhauer either has to lose on a big bet on a Daily Double, or the Daily Doubles need to be found by other players. Maybe a combination of both, as well as another contestant getting Final Jeopardy right when Holzhauer hasn’t already run away with the game.
On Thursday, we had one of those scenarios on hand. Holzhauer, entering the show a 25-game winner, could have cracked the $2 million mark with a big win. But Nate, a tech consultant from New York City, played about as well as you could against Holzhauer. He played like James — snagging $1,000 clues to build an early lead. But most importantly, he got to the Daily Doubles first.
Laura didn’t get much play on Thursday, but Nate and James basically dueled the entire night. Nate got the first Daily Double and doubled his $3,400 to take an early lead on Holzhauer heading into the first commercial break. In the Double Jeopardy round, he found the first Daily Double and had a chance to do what Holzhauer has done so often over the course of his dominant run.