James Holzhauer’s reign on Jeopardy! is on pause while the show gives out $100,000 in its annual teacher’s tournament. It’s a prize that seems paltry in comparison to the more than $1.4 million he’s won over the 22 episodes he’s appeared on thus far, but it’s a good opportunity to spotlight educators and their smarts while the show’s ratings are on the rise.
One person who perhaps doesn’t appreciate traditional education as much as other contestants is Holzhauer, who got a math degree at Illinois but mostly played online poker when he was supposed to be in class. Holzhauer has also said he mostly learned the information he needed to dominate the show by reading children’s books and comics to get a basis of knowledge, which is kind of the opposite of a heavy education in a classroom environment.
One interesting thing about Holzhauer is how he has used his gambling background to aggressively play Jeopardy! He’s said in the past built his strategy for the show from “the ground up” and included methods he learned while gambling. And recently he’s spoken more about the kinds of wagering he did to build his bankroll and eventually turn betting into a profession.