The Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions is in full swing this week, with some of the show’s best ever players vying for bragging rights in one of the biggest tournaments in show history. If you’ve been paying attention to the show at all over the last year, you’re probably very aware of three big contenders for the top prize: Matt Amodio, Amy Schneider, and Mattea Roach.
All three players broke records and went on long winning streaks during Season 38 of the show. Which is why they returned with a special advantage in the tournament: a direct pass to the semifinals. The three also participated in a special exhibition game on election day Tuesday, which also coincided with the second anniversary of late host Alex Trebek’s death.
But that game wasn’t the only way the heavyweights got ready for the tournament, of course. In fact, both Amodio and Schneider admitted they actually browsed the Jeopardy! Reddit for some feedback on their initial performances. Though they weren’t always as excited about what they found as you may think.
In an interview with Vulture, the two said they did check out some criticism — and praise — of their betting strategies.
“The difference for the tournament was, well, I was on Reddit seeing people’s commentary about me my first time around, and they felt I was suboptimal in certain ways,” Schneider said. “Most of the comments didn’t seem worth it to me, but the one thing I did realize was I needed to pay more attention to looking for Daily Doubles, keeping an eye on where they had been and where they were likely to show up again. That was one thing I changed.”
Amodio agreed that, while he didn’t always love what he saw on the and did dismiss some of the criticism outright, he was happy to see some people agreed with the way he attacked the game.
“I was pretty happy about my Daily Double hunting strategy being the best anyone could think of. I didn’t think about anything else other than the question ahead. I totally understand Amy’s perspective there,” Amodio said. “I worked really hard to get to a place where I was comfortable before stepping onstage. I was proud of how it played out. There are Redditors giving feedback, but for the most part, I said, No, I think I did it right, thanks, though.”
The two also talked to USA Today and described how they approached researching answers for the game itself. While Amodio said his natural curiosity helped build his base of knowledge in general, he “didn’t focus on preparation so much as just imagining what kind of thing am I running into that they might ask about?”
Schneider, meanwhile, did much of the same research as her first appearance. Roach did as well, though she did credit the vast J! Archive online for helping create some game prep materials that lots of contestants use ahead of their appearances.
“I started taking it a bit more seriously six weeks in advance, which was twice as long (as my first “Jeopardy!” run). I mostly did a lot of the same things in terms of just reviewing old games on the J! Archive,” Roach said in an interview with USA Today. “People have set up really ingenious ways of doing online practice games, and so I figured I might as well do some of those.”
All of this is to say the best of the best are definitely ready for their time back behind the contestant podiums. And, if we’re lucky, they’ll put on a show if they manage to play each other again in the real tournament.