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Awesome / Jeopardy!

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Alex Trebek: This kind of event is so momentous and awe-inspiring, the wiki website TV Tropes devotes an entire section to them.
Trope-tan: What is a Moment of Awesome?
Alex: (looks off-camera) ...Crowning Moment of Awesome or just Moment of Awesome, yes. Go again.

General Examples:

  • In general, any time a contestant sweeps an entire category, especially if it includes a Daily Double, which is usually followed by applause.
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  • Prior to Season 20, any contestant who retired as an undefeated five-time champion. From Season 14-19, all undefeated champions also won a car.
  • In general, any of these cases where a contestant bets a true Daily Double near the end of Double Jeopardy! (which takes balls) and provides a correct response:
    • A trailing contestant with less than half the 1st place score successfully narrows the gap between 1st and 2nd place, preventing a "lock" game.
    • A trailing contestant will a little more than half the 1st place score steals the lead.
    • A leading contestant increases their lead and wins with a "lock" game because of their true Daily Double.
  • Any time a players finds all 3 Daily Doubles and gets all of them correct.
  • Any time a player wins after trailing into Final Jeopardy.
  • Any time a player wins a tournament after making it into the semifinals as a wildcard.
  • Any time a player wins a tournament after finishing the first Final game in third place, especially if it's a distant third.

Specific Examples:

  • October 1 - 5, 1984: Elise Beraru becomes the Trebek Jeopardy's first 5-time champion earning $47,350, setting its first 1-day record of $23,800 during her third show (October 3, 1984), which stood for nearly a year before being broken.
  • September 30 - October 4, 1985: Chuck Forrest, widely considered the first truly great Jeopardy! player. No less than Ken Jennings has remarked that, while he was a fan of the Trebek Jeopardy! since day one, Chuck Forrest's run is his first really clear memory of the show. This was because Chuck was a Season 2 undefeated champion who:
    • Won all of his non-tournament games in lock or lock-tie fashion — in other words, going into Final Jeopardy!, he couldn't lose unless he got Final Jeopardy! wrong and made a completely logic-defying wager (or, as they say, pulling a Clavin).
    • Set what was then the show's 5-day winnings the end of his fourth game,
    • And was so dominant in his Tournament of Champions, specifically the finals, that he single-handedly forced the producers to institute a minimum winnings guarantee for ToC finalists. To elaborate, the winner of the ToC that season won $100,000; the other two finalists' winnings were "what you won during the two finals games"; and losing in the semifinals that year got you $5000. Chuck's opponents' totals for the two finals games were $4000 and $3000, or less than they would have gotten had they lost in the semifinals. They appealed and were given $5000, which led to subsequent ToCs having a minimum guarantee for the two runners-up.
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    • To this day, Chuck Forrest is still the only Jeopardy! champion from the first two seasons to win even one game in one of the show's later best-of tournaments (everyone else from seasons 1 and 2 lost their first game in a later tournament.)
  • November 1985: Jerry Frankel, who won $32,650 in his original five-day run, winning the first ever Tournament of Champions. He was also the only player to write down the correct response in his deciding game.The Final Jeopardy! clue and correct response. . After Alex announced that he had won, he pointed out that Frankel's victory was nothing short of impossible—he had the lowest score among wild-card qualifiers.
  • June 18 - 24, 1987: Bob Verini, then a playwright and actor from New York City. Best known for his impersonations, particularly Julia Child, but was also a superb player. He cashed in with $46,802 in his original five appearances and won the Tournament of Champions that fall. He also finished second in Super Jeopardy! and placed third in the Million Dollar Masters tournament.
  • November 20, 1987: Bob's victory in the '87 Tournament of Champions in a Moment of Awesome in itself for three reasons. One—Going into the second game, he was in third place. Two—He came up with the correct response in Final Jeopardy! after changing it midway. Here's the Final Jeopardy! clue and Bob's response.  Third—He wagered just enough to win the tournament by a single dollar!
  • April 7, 1988: After placing a $6,000 wager on a Daily Double in Double Jeopardy!, Bob Beers wagers $10,000 on the second... and gets it right. This stood on record as the biggest Daily Double wager before the before the clue values were doubled in 2001, and adjusted for the increase it was the biggest until 2019. If he'd gotten Final Jeopardy! right, he would've set a 1-day record at $32,000.
  • May 20, 1988: Peggy Kennedy becoming the first female contestant to win a tournament—that year's Seniors Tournament.
  • September 6 - 12, 1989: Bob Blake breaks Chuck Forrest's 5-day record by winning $82,501 as a 5-time champion, also making him the first player to win more than $75,000 in regular games. Because of the then-$75,000 winnings cap, Blake donates $7,501 of his winnings to Oxfam, making that a Heartwarming Moment as well. He would go on to win the 1990 Tournament of Champions, the only Canadian citizen to do so to date, and would remain the show's biggest cash winner (not counting Super Jeopardy!) until 2001. Even with doubled cash values and no winning limits, he remained Canada's winningest player in regular games until 2015, and he's still the only Canadian contestant in Jeopardy! history to earn over $200,000 in regular and tournament games.
  • November 17, 1989: After winning the very first College Championship tournament that spring, Tom Cubbage also wins the 1989 Tournament of Champions. He is STILL the only player to win both, and one of only three College Champions to even make the finals.
  • January 9 - 15, 1990: Frank Spangenberg, then a member of the New York Transit Police Department (now the Transit Bureau of the New York City Police Department), set a record of $102,597 during his five days on the show, a record that lasted for 13 years. Adjusted into post-doubled values, his record still stood among champions in their first five games until James Holzhauer broke it 29 years later.
    • He set the then-one day record of $30,600 on his fifth and final day with some help from gutsy wagering on Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy!: $4,000 on his first and $7,000 on his second.
    • At the time, there was a $75,000 winnings cap, so Frank had to donate $27,597 of his winnings to Gift of Love Hospice, a facility operated by the Missionaries of Charity. In a moment that also doubles as a Heartwarming Moment, his money was used to bring the place up to fire code.
    • Frank later went on to win the Tenth Anniversary Tournament in 1993, and made appearances in all of Jeopardy!'s other "all time" tournaments (the only person to do so), including a run to the semifinals of 2005's Ultimate Tournament of Champions, but he was eliminated in the opening round of Super Jeopardy!, the Million Dollar Masters tournament, and the Battle of the Decades.
  • June 23, 1990: Eugene Finerman becomes the first player to defeat Frank Spangenberg during his Super Jeopardy quarterfinal game.
  • August 11, 1990: Dave Traini becomes the first player to defeat Chuck Forrest during his Super Jeopardy quarterfinal game. Appropriately, during his September 1, 1990 semifinal game, he defeats eventual 1990 Tournament of Champions winner Bob Blake, who had broken Forrest's 5-day record.
  • September 8th, 1990: Bruce Seymour, a four day champion from January 1988 that was eliminated in that year's Tournament of Champions quarterfinals, completed a major underdog run in ABC's Super Jeopardy! by defeating 1987 Tournament of Champions winner Bob Verini and finalist Dave Traini in the one day final to claim the $250,000 top prize, largely thanks to two correct Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy! He's never returned for any later Jeopardy! tournaments, but what a way to go out.
  • November 14 - 15, 1991: The 1991 Tournament of Champions was notable for being the first time that all three finalists, Jim Scott, Steve Robin and Lou Pryor, were wildcard semifinalists. Jim and Steve were the two-lowest earning 5-time champions that season and Lou was the 1991 Seniors Tournament winner.
  • January 21, 1992: Joseph D'Hippolito has $12,000 and a huge lead upon hitting the second Double Jeopardy! Daily Double with two other clues in play. He blurts out $8,000 as a wager with Alex telling him he can't change his mind. Luckily, he gets it right to raucous cheers and applause in the audience. Although he loses $5,000 of it in Final Jeopardy!, it still solidifies his lock and helps him defeat four-time champ Walter Mayes in the process.
  • March 5 - 6, 1992: The 1992 Teen Tournament was the first tournament to have three female finalists: Cori Van Noy, April McManus, and Jill Young.
  • May 18 - 22, 1992: Jerome Vered wins $96,801 as a 5-time champion (second all-time under the original dollar amounts to Frank Spangenberg's record), shattering Frank's one-day record by winning $34,000 in his 4th game (May 21, 1992). The record stood until the show's dollar amounts were doubled, and while Vered's score held up when adjusted for inflation, Ken Jennings broke the record anyway with a $75,000 game in 2004. Vered would go on to finish third in both the 1992 Tournament of Champions and the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions.
  • November 19, 1992: The first of the two Final games in the Tournament of Champions was a rapid-fire affair with very few incorrect answers, and Jerome Vered, Leszek Pawlowicz and Bruce Simmons accumulated $25,400 as a group going into Final Jeopardy. Unfortunately, FJ was very difficult, with all three players losing substantial amounts of money.
  • June 29, 1993: For the only known time, 63 correct responses are given. That is, every clue in Jeopardy! and Double Jeopardy! is answered correctly, and all three contestants get Final Jeopardy! right.
  • December 3, 1993: Frank Spangenberg finally winning a Jeopardy! tournament, claiming the $25,000 top prize in the show's 10th Anniversary Tournament by overcoming a $13,000 deficit (pre-inflation, no less) against reigning TOC winner Tom Nosek after game 1 to win the event, thanks to betting everything on Final Jeopardy! in game 2, and Tom and fellow finalist Leslie Frates both missing the question. His correct response of "Who is Wendy Wasserstein?" in game 2 of the finals (for the clue: "1 of 3 women who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in the 1980s") earned him a dinner invite from Wasserstein, as she "wanted to meet the man that remembered her name."
  • November 24 - 25, 1994: For the first time, none of the Tournament of Champions finalists were 5-time champions, the finalists being 1994 College Tournament winner Jeff Stewart and 4-time champions Rachael Schwartz and David Hillinck (all 3 players were wildcard semifinalists, too). And after a hard-fought final, Rachael Schwartz became the first woman and 4-time champion to win the Tournament of Champions, winning by $1 over Jeff Stewart.
  • February 17, 1995: Matt Zielenski wins the 1995 Teen Tournament with $42,300, the highest winning score of any tournament from the pre-doubled era (possibly still the highest when adjusted to post-2001 scoring). For perspective, the highest winning score at the Tournament of Champions during that same era was $27,600 by Tom Nosek at the 1993 TOC.
  • May 17, 1996: The second final game of that year's Teen Tournament is perhaps the best-played statistically. Much like what happened on June 29, 1993, every clue is responded to correctly, and all three contestants write down the correct response for Final. However, this game had only two incorrect responses given as opposed to three in the aforementioned show (with rebounds accounting for every one given). To top it off, the finals ended in a tie with Amanda Goad getting the tiebreaker to become the champion. That's 64 correct responses in all.
  • October 20 - 26, 1999: Eddie Timanus, the first blind contestant to compete on the show; he was expertly accommodated by the show — he had a Braille keyboard at his podium to type Final Jeopardy! responses, and was given a Braille card containing the categories by Alex before each round (this was shown on-camera, although it was up to Eddie to recall what clues were remaining on the board). As well, a mild audio tone was used so he knew when to ring in, as he couldn't see the blinking lights used for that purpose. Merely competing on the show with such a...well, some would consider it a handicap or disadvantage...would have been awesome on its own, but Eddie was a great sport about the whole matter and was very smart — he became an undefeated champion!
  • February 16th, 2001: Then-reigning Tournament of Champions winner Robin Carroll won Jeopardy!'s third and final International Tournament in dominant fashion, winning $50,000 and overtaking Bob Blake as the winningest contestant ever on the regular syndicated Jeopardy! with $214,100, a record she'd hold until the next year's Million Dollar Masters tournament. She was also the show's winningest female player until Celeste DiNucci won 2007's Tournament of Champions.
  • May 14th, 2002: Reigning Tournament of Champions winner Brad Rutter defeated early Jeopardy! greats Bob Verini and Eric Newhouse in the two day final of Jeopardy!'s Million Dollar Masters tournament, becoming the show's third "all time" tournament winner, and the biggest cash winner in game show history, which he still holds today thanks to two more major Jeopardy! tournament wins (albeit after trading the record with Ken Jennings a couple of times)
  • June 2 - November 30, 2004: Ken Jennings' miracle run. He won seventy-four straight games and won $2,522,700. Four facts to put this in perspective:
    • Before he started his run, the record-holder had been on for eight straight days and had only won about $200,000. In fairness, though, up until 2003 (about a year before Jennings's appearance), 5-time champions were retired from the show undefeated, so this by itself doesn't tell the whole story.
    • More amazingly, in over 17 years of post-Jennings play, only two contestants (James Holzhauer and Matt Amodio) have made it past 20 episodes. Only Matt Amodio made it to half Ken's run, and that took 17 years!
    • A typical winning score on a non-tournament episode of Jeopardy! is around $15,000 (give or take a couple thousand - below $10,000 or above $20,000 are both fairly uncommon). Ken Jennings averaged just over $34,000 per non-tournament game. He also tied the then-one day record of $52,000 three times before finally making a big enough wager to exceed it by $23,000 in the season 20 finale.
    • 65 of Ken's 75 games were won in lock fashion — in other words, over 85 percent of his games had him dominating his opponents so thoroughly that he was guaranteed to win no matter what he or his opponents answered/wagered during Final Jeopardy! unless he pulled a Clavin. Additionally, before his 75th game, he had only one game (his 5th) in which he would have lost in Final Jeopardy! if his closest opponent had gotten their answer right.
    • Ken's 18th game is also notable. He had $28,200 at the end of Double Jeopardy!, but his opponent was not that far behind with $24,400 thanks to a true Daily Double. Both got the correct Final Jeopardy! response, and Ken's opponent finished with a very high second place total of $44,400. If only there was an exception to the 1984 rule patch...
    • Notably, as of 2021, 17 years after Ken's run ended, he still holds the record of highest Coryat score (the score if all wagering is disregarded) in history, $39,200. He also holds the record for most correct answers per game, 45. What makes this extra amazing is that he managed the latter more than once.
  • February - May, 2005: Jeopardy!'s Ultimate Tournament of Champions, which united 144 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions competitors and/or Teen Tournament winners back to the show for a massive single elimination tournament, with the last two contestants remaining taking on Ken Jennings in a three day final. Every living Tournament of Champions and College Championship winner was in the field, plus all but 3 Teen Tournament winners to that point, and numerous other 5+ day champions dating back to season 1, so competition was very tight.
    • The event saw numerous upsets too, with only 6 of the 19 prior Tournament of Champions winners in the field winning even a single game, and none of them came from Jeopardy!'s first 11 seasons. 1994 TOC semifinalist John Cuthbertson was among the surprises of the tournament, defeating TOC winners Bob Verini and Bob Blake and 2001 finalist Tad Carithers along the way to the Ultimate TOC semifinals, where he became one of just two men to ever lead Brad Rutter after a Jeopardy! game (though Brad largely dominated game 2 to advance to the finals.)
    • Brad Rutter owning Ken Jennings and fellow finalist Jerome Vered in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions finals from May 23rd-25th, getting almost twice as much money as Ken, reclaiming his titles as both Jeopardy's biggest winner and the largest game show winner in history with over $3 Million.
  • May 19th, 2006: Michael Falk winning the first post-Jennings Tournament of Champions in unlikely fashion, advancing as a wild card after losing to 19 day champion David Madden in the quarterfinals, only to win his semifinal game and rally from a $13,400 deficit behind Vik Vaz after game 1 of the finals to win the tournament. Falk remains the only 3 day champion to ever win a TOC, partially helped by the fact that the nine highest earning contestants in the field were all eliminated in the first two rounds in an upset-riddled tournament, leading to a final round with no 5+ day champions.
  • July 20 - 27, 2006: Fourteen years after her brother Dennis lost to Jerome Vered, Celeste DiNucci won five games and amassed $84,601 in winnings. She later won the Tournament of Champions in November 2007.
  • March 16, 2007: With his two opponents tied at $8,000 and within reach of his $13,400, Scott Weiss figured they would risk it all. So he bet for a tie instead of the win, which led to the show's first and only nonzero three-way tie and a very interesting intro by Johnny Gilbert on the next episode. And as Alex explained in that next episode, Scott did that because he overheard a boy asking Alex before Final Jeopardy! if a three way tie had ever happened. Alex told him no, so Scott set up the $2,600 wager hoping it'd force the tie. Everybody wins!
  • July 27, 2007: Meryl Federman wins the one-off Teen Tournament Summer Games, after having $0 going into the second final game. In that game, she turns into a buzzer demon, mounts a massive Miracle Rally and ends up beating out Greg Peterson by a single buck.
  • September 13 - 16, 2010: Season 27 began with a runaway win by Roger Craig, who also posted a total runaway in the next game — setting a new one-day record of $77,000 (beating a record set, incidentally, by Ken Jennings) in the process. Roger's third and fourth games were quite impressive, too. On the third, he took a $10,000 tumble on a Daily Double and finished Double Jeopardy! only $1,600 ahead of second place. Luckily, he was the only one to get Final Jeopardy! right. The fourth day, another contestant held a significant lead over him in the first half, but Roger quickly jumped back into the lead during Double Jeopardy!, including a True Daily Double.
  • The IBM Challenge. All of it. Watson wins both games by a landslide... not too shabby for a computer!
    • That may be so, but Watson GUESSED on a Daily Double with 32% confidence and got it RIGHT. Not only that, but Watson actually made the wager on that day's Final Jeopardy himself! (He got it wrong, but wagered only $947!)
    • Ken Jennings' Final Jeopardy card: "I for one welcome our new computer overlords".
    • This one's not as obvious, but in the second game Final Jeopardy! round, Watson's wager was just high enough to acknowledge winning the entire challenge in "lock" fashion. Even on a wrong answer, and assuming Ken and Brad wagered everything and got it right, Watson would still have won the challenge by $1.
  • November 14, 2011: In the final match of the Tournament of Champions, Roger Craig hunts down two Daily Doubles, one after the other. He bets all of his money on both of them, and gets the answers right; effectively quadrupling his score.
  • December 16, 2011: Jason Keller had been auditioning for the game for 16 years; he remained champion on Jeopardy! for nine days, winning $213,900.
  • May 11, 2012: All three finalists in the Teen Tournament won more than the guaranteed money...including the winner, Elyse Mancuso, who won $79,600.note 
  • February 12, 2013: Leonard Cooper wins the Teen Tournament despite being a wild card non-winner in the quarterfinals… helped in no small part by a ballsy $18,000 (yes, eighteen thousand) wager late in Double Jeopardy! on the final game of the tournament.
  • February 26, 2013: Teachers Tournament winner Colby Burnett wins the Tournament of Champions, becoming the first to do so. He's also the first non-regular Tournament of Champions winner since 1989.
  • July 31, 2013: During a Kids' Week game, Skyler Homback, a 12-year-old from Kentucky, amasses an impressive $36,600 heading into Final Jeopardy!, while his opponents have scores of $9,600 and $6,400. The Final Jeopardy! category is "The Civil War", Skyler, who is deeply interested in this topic, wagers a hearty $30,000 note . Skyler gives a correct response, finishing with a grand total of $66,600 — at that time the fifth-highest single-day score in the show's history.
  • 2014: The entire "Battle of the Decades" tournament, where contestants from the 1980s onward competed against each other. Luminaries such as Chuck Forrest, Eddie Timanus, and Ken Jennings were among the competitors. The three finalists on the last two episodes of the tournament? Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and Roger Craig.
    • And the ultimate winner? Brad Rutter, keeping his record of never being defeated by a human opponent intact, beating Ken Jennings for the second time, and passing Jennings to retake the lead for all-time game show winnings thanks to an unprecedented four Jeopardy! tournament wins. Not only that, but he was actually in last place for a majority of both final matches before mounting a comeback both times midway through Double Jeopardy!
    • In a subversion, Rutter was reduced to being a spectator in Final Jeopardy in the 2nd game. Rutter brought a $3000 lead over Jennings from game 1, while Jennings had an $1800 lead over Rutter going into Final Jeopardy in game 2. Craig couldn't catch either of them, so the outcome of the Tournament rested entirely on whether or not Ken Jennings would answer the Final Jeopardy clue correctly. If he did, Brad Rutter's lead from the first game couldn't hold up, even if Brad doubled up in Final Jeopardy, and if he missed, Brad would win regardless of what he did. In recognition of this fact, Brad Rutter's wager during Final Jeopardy was $0.
  • January - March 2014: Arthur Chu becomes the first contestant in over eight years (the last one being David Madden all the way back in 2005) to win a double-digit number of games (11, to be exact).
  • April - June 2014: Julia Collins' hot streak of 20 games. By her 11th game, she became the longest-running female champion in the show's history, and just kept rolling. Most of her games have been "locks" as well, but game 20 became even more impressive as she salvaged the win through a narrow lead. Only Ken Jennings had a longer reign as champion at this point (though she has since been surpassed twice), and she easily became Jeopardy!'s top money winner among female contestants before even entering the Tournament of Champions.
  • After the Battle of the Decades and Arthur Chu and Julia Collins' runs, the impressive 30th season ends in a tiebreaker at the end of the Teen Tournament, with Jeff Xie pulling off the win. The Tournament of Champions in the following season saw both Arthur Chu and Julia Collins make it all the way to the finals. The winner? Ben Ingram, using both days' Final Jeopardy to pull an impressive upset.
  • Season 31 has had FOUR instances of a game ending in a tie between two players and both coming back the next day. Sadly, TPTB removed the co-champion rule by November 24, 2014.
  • December 1, 2014: On the first episode of Kids' Week, a young boy named Cerulean Ozarow goes for a True Daily Double in Double Jeopardy! despite being well in the lead... and gets it right. Alex remarked that his parents in the audience must've had a heart attack when he asked to go true Daily Double, and another when he got it right.
  • December 13 - 21, 2016: Cindy Stowell, who had stage four colon cancer during her tapings, winning six games and $105,803 despite being visibly ill on the air. She defeated a seven-day champion in part due to a gutsy wager on a Daily Double early in Double Jeopardy!. Given a few months to live (she passed away over a week before her shows began airing), she requested to have her winnings donated to cancer research.
  • October - November 2017: Quirky Austin Rogers comes on the show and has an incredible 12-day run where he accumulates $411,000 in winnings due to having a special knack for sniffing out the Daily Doubles, making double-or-nothing bets, and huge wagers at Final Jeopardy!, including winning $69,000 on Day 6 after a $34,000 wager in Final Jeopardy!
  • November 16 - 17, 2017: Buzzy Cohen goes from a skunker Day One in the finals where he lost all his winnings in Final Jeopardy! to a commanding lead on Day Two after betting big on a Daily Double which paid off, then everyone was stumped on that day's Final Jeopardy! in a repeat of the situations where Buzzy liked to snark Alex when he had a runaway game. Buzzy responded with a kind "LOVE YOU" to Trebek and wagered precious little on the final response, while Austin Rogers and Alan Lin bombed spectacularly. Buzzy went from having $0 going in to winning with just his winnings on Day Two while neither of his opponents, who had won some money Day One, could even stack up to him. Buzzy's family could be heard and seen cheering very loudly and rooting for him when he got the Daily Double right and won the $250,000 grand prize.
  • January 31st, 2018: There are nine clues left on the board in Double Jeopardy!, and Ryan is at -$200. He proceeds to perform the mother of all come-from-behind victories as he answers correctly all nine of those questions, which includes both of the Daily Doubles, then answers the Final Jeopardy! question correctly to overtake his opponents and win with about $22,000.
  • Trebek's vow to be Defiant to the End after being diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, stating with absolute confidence that he plans to beat the extremely low survival rate of the disease and fulfill the three years left on his contract. Sadly, he ultimately lost his fight on November 8, 2020, but did film his last episodes through the remainder of 2020.
  • The remarkable reign of James Holzhauer. During his run, he improbably achieved all of the following:
    • In his fourth game, he demolished Roger Craig's former one-day record of $77,000 with a winning total of $110,914 after ballsy Daily Double wagers of $14,600 (also a True Daily Double) and $25,000 (also a record-breaking Daily Double bet). Incidentally, he also beat Frank Spangenberg's five-day record (after adjustment to the new amounts) in his fourth game (Word from the producers is that the five-day record only considers the contestant's first five games, and they had to beat the figure adjusted for the new values, which would be $205,194).
    • In his tenth game, he broke his own one-day record by making the highest bet in the game's history of $60,013 for Final Jeopardy! and getting it right for $131,127.
    • It took him just fourteen games to hit the million-dollar mark in winnings. To put this in perspective, it took Ken Jennings "only" thirty games to win a million dollars during his run, and it took Matt Amodio "only" twenty-eight games to win a million dollars.
      • After 27 games, James became only the second person to become a Jeopardy!-made multi-millionaire. It took Ken Jennings 59 games to reach this mark when he was on his run.
    • He blew past Julia Collins' 20-game winning streak to claim the second-longest game-winning streak, a record that stood until Matt Amodio's run.
    • His 17th and 18th games: On the former, he managed to secure a runaway lead without ever hitting a Daily Double, thus proving that he was just as capable of winning through buzzer speed and knowledge as he was with strategy and wagering. The following Monday, he held his closest match yet: late in Double Jeopardy!, opponent Adam Levin secured a Daily Double and wagered $12,000, considerably narrowing the gap. The scores going into Final Jeopardy! were James at $33,517, and Adam at $27,000. Adam wagered $26,999 on Final Jeopardy! and got it right... while James bet $20,500 and also gave the correct response (looking visibly relieved in the process), subsquently making Adam's $53,999 the highest losing score in the show's history.
    • Just in case you aren't impressed enough yet with all of the above, James currently holds all the top 10 one-day totals in Jeopardy! and all of them are over $80,000, i.e. more than Roger Craig's former $77,000 one-day record which had remained unbroken for over eight years until James came along, with the top 5 totals also being over $100,000. If you look at a list of the top 100 regular play totals, James makes it thirty times, with only two of his games not making the list.
    • By his 23rd game, his average winnings per day climbed to $77,401, exceeding the aforementioned previous $77,000 one-day record. So in other words, James was winning more money on average per day than anyone else had ever won in one day at all, something Trebek lampshaded three games later.
    • In his 26th game, Nate was giving James a real run for his money, and ended the first round with a $3,600 lead over James. He then managed to snag a Daily Double in Double Jeopardy, putting him at $19,400, and at a seemingly insurmountable $12,800 lead over James. But then, after wresting control of the board from Nate, James managed to pull off an amazing Miracle Rally and snag the other Daily Double and risk all $8,200 of his winnings, to ultimately double his score to $16,400 and significantly close the gap. Throughout the rest of the round, the match remained close, with James ultimately taking the decisive lead going into Final Jeopardy. To top it all off, both men answered correctly, but that last minute lead allowed James to secure victory and retain the streak with a final total of $52,108, to Nate's $35,800.
    • His reign was brought to an end on his 33rd game. Formidable as he was, Emma Boettcher was able to defeat the champion by securing both Daily Doubles in the Double Jeopardy round (going True Daily Double with $7,600 on the first), and scoring huge in Final Jeopardy with $46,801 in total. Despite that, James now holds the second largest gross with $2,464,216.
      • This game, which aired on June 3, 2019, is statistically the best-played game in all of Jeopardy! history. The three players together had a perfect first round and an almost perfect Double Jeopardy! round: only one clue was not responded to correctly, and only one incorrect response was given (for the same clue). And all three players got Final. It's the closest Jeopardy! has come to a perfect game. Emma and James may be epic, but we can't forget Jay Sexton, their other opponent; he was very much part of the game, finishing with $17,000, a score that would normally give him a fairly good chance of winning.
  • The 2019 Tournament of Champions was one long awesome moment for both James and Emma. James proved he was just as good against experienced champions as he was against unsuspecting newbies, while Emma settled all doubts about her initial victory being a fluke, handily crushing her quarterfinal and semifinal games and keeping pace with James in the finals. In fact, since the final round consists of two almost-entirely discrete games, Emma technically beat James again on the last day (though James won by more on day 1 than she did on day 2, earning him the gold). The third finalist, Francois, was a force to be reckoned with, having the highest overall scores (including James's) in the first two rounds...and then Emma and James left him so far in the dust that it was pretty much a two-player show. Emma's eventual second-place total of $65,000 was almost $10,000 higher than the previous record winning ToC total, unsurpassed since 2003. And James beat that by an even greater margin with $76,923.
  • January 7, 2020: The first Jeopardy! round in The Greatest of All Time where James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter team up to answer all 30 clues correctly.
    • Ken Jennings, despite his legendary 74-day winning streak, was considered Always Second Best to Brad Rutter due to finishing in second place to Rutter in both the Ultimate Tournament of Champions and the Battle of the Decades. In the Greatest of All Time, he finally gets his victory over Rutter, winning three out of four matchesnote  and cementing himself as the Greatest Jeopardy Player of All Time.
    • What could be better than that? Well, the instant bond the three players built with each other convinced ABC to give them their own show!
  • Matt Amodio's incredible run. He very quickly established himself as the most successful post-Alex Trebek superchamp (the previous post-Trebek record was 7 games), and then just kept going.
    • July 21, 2021: On his first game, Matt faced off against three-day returning champion Josh Saak, narrowly leading him into Final Jeopardy. Both goth Final Jeopardy correct, but what put Matt over the edge was an extremely gutsy wager of his entire scorenote . When she read out his wager, Robin Roberts sounded shocked.
    • July 29, 2021: Matt managed a Coryat score of $39,000, $200 less from the highest-recorded Coryat in the show' history. He got 44 correct answers in the game including Final Jeopardy, also statistically the second-best in the show's history.
    • August 12, 2021: Matt became the third-highest-earning Jeopardy contestant in regular season play.
    • September 16, 2021: Matt entered Double Jeopardy in the negative. He then managed to turn it around and won the game in lock fashion, clinching his 22nd win.
    • September 24, 2021: Matt has another runaway game and becomes only the third player in history to earn $1 million in regular season play. Better yet, he did so in 28 games, outpacing Ken Jennings.
    • September 30, 2021: After winning his 32nd game, Matt became the player with the second-most consecutive wins, tying James Holzhauer in this category. The following day, he surpassed James to become the sole player with the second-most consecutive wins. On said day, his total also made it onto the "All-time top ten winnings" list for American game shows.
    • October 4, 2021: Matt’s winning score of $83,000 smashed the record for highest score not held by James Holzhauer. It also broke James’ lock on the 16 highest scores.
    • October 11, 2021: As remarkable as Matt was, his reign came to an end in his 39th game. It took two very strong players to take him down. One of whom wagered his entire score to beat Matt. In a meta moment of awesome, Matt's loss was the first time an ultra-champ's loss wasn't spoiled before it aired (there was speculation of Ken's loss months prior to its airing, while James' was spoiled on the day of its end by newspapers).
    • To add to the awesome factor to his achievements, Matt started his play during the era of guest hosts and continued his play for the duration of Mike Richards' turbulent run and on to Mayim Bialik's time as host, having to get used to each of their varied game-hosting style. During his run, he played with six.
  • Jonathan Fisher, the winner of Matt's 39th game, turned out to be no slouch either, starting his own win streak with three out of his first five games won in lock fashion.
    • After winning a sixth game, he became the first giant-killer to become superchamp on his own.


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