The highest-earning 'Jeopardy!' winners of all time

Getty/Ben HilderAlex Trebek has hosted the show since 1984.
  • “Jeopardy!” is a game show watched by millions of people in the US. It first aired in 1964.
  • Brad Rutter is the highest-earning contestant on “Jeopardy!” ever, with a whopping net earning of around $US4.3 million.
  • “Jeopardy!” will celebrate its 35th anniversary season with its first-ever All-Star Game from February 20 to March 5, 2019.

From its catchy music to its charming host (Alex Trebek has hosted the show since 1984), “Jeopardy!” has been a beloved classic for almost 35 years. In fact, “Jeopardy!” will celebrate its 35th season with its first-ever All-Star Game from February 20 to March 5, 2019.

The show centres around three contestants competing to win cash by answering general knowledge questions, which are each worth a different dollar amount. The top scorer not only wins the value of their winnings in cash, they get to return for the next match.

Brad Rutter currently holds the top spot, having made over $US4 million on the show.

Keep scrolling to see some of the show’s biggest winners.

Dan Pawson: $US420,902

YouTube/Jeopardy!Dan Pawson had a nine-day winning streak in 2008.

Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, legislative aide Dan Pawson won the Tournament of Champions in 2009, taking home $US250,000. Previously, a nine-day streak earned him over $US170,902, totaling his lifetime winnings to $US420,902. He later competed in the 2014 Battle of the Decades.

According to The University of Chicago Chronicle, Pawson came from behind in the Tournament of Champions, by correctly answering a question on British royalty that the game leader got wrong: “Born in 1683, the second British king of this name was the last one not born in the British isles.” (Correct answer: “What is George?”)

Ben Ingram: $US426,534

Facebook/Jeopardy!Ben Ingram beat out two fan favourites, Arthur Chu and Julia Collins, to win the 2005 Tournament of Champions.

South Carolina IT consultant Ben Ingram surprised viewers when he won the 2005 Tournament of Champions for $US250,000, beating popular contestants Arthur Chu and Julia Collins.

He had an eight-day streak that earned him $US176,534, and became the 2013 Season 29 eight-time champion. In total, he has won $US426,534 in earnings.

David Madden: $US432,400

YouTube/Robert Jackson CenterDavid Madden had a 19-win streak

Art historian David Madden had a 19-day streak, the second-longest winning streak in “Jeopardy!” until he was beat by Julia Collins, in 2014.

The founder of the National and International History Bee and Bowl made $US432,400 over 19 consecutive wins in 2005.

Julia Collins: $US478,100

YouTube/Jeopardy!Julia Collins is the show’s top female champ.
Julia Collins, who majored in art and history, boasts the second-longest winning streak, after Ken Jennings’, with a 20-game streak that netted her $US428,100. Third place at the Tournament of Champions netted her another $US50,000.

She is the show’s top female champ. Collins is the CEO and founder of Girls Like You and Me, a nonprofit organisation.

Jerome Vered: $US499,102

YouTube/JeopardyJerome Vered was an undefeated five-time champion in 1992.

Vered, a screenwriter from California, was an undefeated five-time champion in 1992, holding the record for one-day winnings for years, with $US34,000. He won $US96,801 as the undefeated five-time champion that year.

He went on to compete in the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions, coming in 3rd place and winning $US250,000, after he was crushed by Ben Rutter and Ken Jennings.

In total, he has won $US499,102.

Matt Jackson: $US511,612

YouTube/JeopardyMatt Jackson boasts a 13-game streak that earned him $US411,612.

Jackson, a then 23-year-old D.C. paralegal, boasts a 13-game streak that earned him $US411,612. The 2015 Tournament of Champions earned him another $US100,000, meaning he has won $US511,612 from “Jeopardy!”

Viewers probably remember Jackson for his smile, and his shouting of “boom!” throughout the games.

Jackson used Ken Jennings’ book “Braniac” as part of his preparation for the show.

Roger Craig: $US530,200

Courtesy of Jeopardy! Productions, Inc.Roger Craig set the one day winning record of $US77,000 in 2015.

Roger Craig, a computer scientist (though a PhD student while on the show), at the time set the one-day winning record with $US77,000 in 2015, beating Ken Jennings’ record of $US75,000.

A five-game streak earned him $US195,801. In total, he has won $US530,200.

According to NPR, he “Moneyballed” the tournament: “Using data-mining and text-clustering techniques, Craig grouped questions by category to figure out which topics were statistically common – and which weren’t.”

Ken Jennings: $US3,270,700

Handout/Getty ImagesJennings had a 74-game winning streak in 2004.

Ken Jennings is arguably the most famous “Jeopardy!” contestant in the show’s history, as he holds the record for the longest winning streak, with a 74-game streak in 2004. In total, he has won $US3,270,700 in prize money.

He has also appeared on “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” and “Grand Slam.”

The former computer programmer went on to write two books detailing his experiences with “Jeopardy!” titled “Brainiac”and “Ken Jennings’s Trivia Almanac.”

Brad Rutter: $US4,385,702

Jeopardy/YouTubeBrad Rutter is the highest-earning contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ in game history.

Brad Rutter is the highest earning contestant on “Jeopardy!” ever: he’s made around $US4,385,702 over 14 years.

His first, five-day streak earned him $US55,102, but winning the Tournament of Champions ($US250k), the Ultimate Tournament of Champions ($US2 million), the Masters Tournament ($US1 million), and the Battle of the Decades ($US1 million) bumped his earnings significantly.

Rutter first appeared on “Jeopardy!” when he was only 22 years old, in 2000. Rutter defeated Ken Jennings in three tournaments, and, in fact has never been defeated by a human (only by the IBM super-computer Watson in 2011, and that was in exhibition match).


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