Leaked footage shows the ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant who’s been on a 32-game winning streak losing — meet the professional gambler from Illinois who took home $2.4 million in winnings and nearly broke an all-time record

Leaked footage shows that reigning “Jeopardy!” champion James Holzhauer will lose in tonight’s episode. The 34-year-old professional sports gambler’s loss follows a 32-game winning streak, the second longest in the show’s history.

Holzhauer has broken nearly every “Jeopardy!” record and raked in $US2.4 million so far.

He sits in second place for all-time regular-season earnings to Ken Jennings, who won 74 games in a row to take home $US2.5 million in 2004, Business Insider’s Aylin Woodward reported. Holzhauer won $US850,000 of his “Jeopardy!” earnings in just over a dozen episodes and earned nearly as much as Jennings in half that time.

Slate dubbed Holzhauer the Serena Williams of “Jeopardy!” Here’s what we know about Holzhauer and his plan of attack.

James Holzhauer, 34, is a professional sports gambler.

“As a gambler, I know you can do everything right and still have to wait a long time to see positive results if luck is not on your side,” Holzhauer told The Ringer.

He told The New York Times that his sports betting used to be focused primarily on baseball, but that he has started to focus more on basketball and football.

Holzhauer hails from Naperville, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.

Holzhauer now lives in Las Vegas with his daughter and wife, Melissa, who is a tutor and linguistics expert.


According to Heavy, she was also a game-show contestant, winning $US28,800 on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

Holzhauer has used family birthdays and anniversaries as “Jeopardy!” wagers several times. According to The Washington Post, his winnings of exactly $US110,914 on one night during his winning streak was far from an accident – it correlates to his daughter’s November 9, 2014, birthday.

Before Holzhauer’s winning stint on “Jeopardy!”, the most money a player had ever won in a single game was $US77,000 (according to Insider).

Throughout Holzhauer’s 32-game winning streak, he broke this record several times. On April 9, he earned the highest one-day total ever: $US131,127.

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When breaking his own single-day record on April 17, Holzhauer answered all 41 questions he buzzed in for correctly.


He holds the top 10 slots in the “Jeopardy!” rankings of single-day winnings.

His April 17 game with 41 correct answers was, in Jeopardy terms,a perfect game.

According to The Boston Globe, Holzhauer has a 97% response accuracy and wins an average of $US73,867 per game.


That earnings average far exceeds the show’s average single-day winnings of $US19,980, according to a “Jeopardy!” fan site.

To prepare, Holzhauer spent hours rewatching old “Jeopardy!” episodes.


He also previously competed on quiz teams and has a good memory for facts, he told The Washington Post. However, he was never a “diligent student,” he told The Times.

Holzhauer told The Post he’s been preparing to go on “Jeopardy!” his whole life — he grew up watching it on TV on school nights and promised his grandma he’d appear on the show one day. He told The Post he doesn’t take promises lightly.

He also read a lot of children’s books to prepare.

“They are chock-full of infographics, pictures and all kinds of stuff to keep the reader engaged,” he told The Post. “I couldn’t make it through a chapter of an actual Dickens novel without falling asleep.”

But Holzhauer has more than trivia knowledge — he also has an aggressive strategy.


As Business Insider previously reported, he goes for high-value clues first and bets big on Daily Doubles, often doubling his total.

In an interview with The New York Times, he noted that he thinks the traditional way of playing “Jeopardy!” is “too risk-averse.”

Holzhauer also emphasises hitting the show’s iconic buzzer at just the right time.


According to The Ringer, before going on stage, he grilled “Jeopardy!” producer Maggie Speak about the specifics of the buzzer timing. Contestants have to hit the buzzer at exactly the right time after the question is asked – attempting to buzz in too early will lock them out for a quarter-second.

As of May 31, Holzhauer had won $US2.4 million — which, as The Post reported, means Ken Jennings continues to hold on to his long-standing winnings record.


Holzhauer has donated money to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum – $US100,000, according to a press release – and plans to donate some of his winnings to charity. He also plans to travel the world with his wife.