Still, for as remarkable as Amodio’s run has been, it’s also revealed just how rare the performance was of the competitor he just passed: James Holzhauer. To be clear, we have no intention of minimizing Amodio’s achievements. Matt is a fan favorite in the Bojalad household due to his idiosyncratic playing style and his Northeast Ohio roots. Having said that, it must be gently pointed out that, in many ways, it still pales in comparison to Holzhauer’s time on the show. Allow me to explain.
Now that Amodio has passed Holzhauer in consecutive games won, he must be pretty close to passing him in most money won, right?
Nope. Not even close.
After 33 wins, Amodio’s “regular season” (excluding special tournaments) total stands at $1,267,801. Respectable to say the least. Holzhauer’s winnings in roughly the same time frame, however, amount to $2,462,216. That is only $58,484 less than Ken Jennings’ final number … in 42 fewer games played.
How did Holzhauer build up such a formidable warchest in such a relatively limited amount of time? By using his professional gambling skills. Holzhauer was notable for seeking out Daily Doubles and then going “all-in” on them, even if it risked ending his win streak altogether. To say the strategy was successful is to put it lightly. Every spot in Jeopardy!’s top 10 highest single episode winnings is taken up by a different Holzhauer game.
Holzhauer rightfully realized that betting the max was the right move for a talented player. Worried about missing those Daily Doubles? Well, the answer to that is to just not miss them. It was a risky strategy to be sure, but it never failed, not even at the end. When Holzhauer’s streak was finally broken, going all in would not have saved him. Challenger Emma Boettcher had enough of a lead that her $20,201 wager would take her one dollar ahead of Holzhauer in Final Jeopardy!