Pro Bettor James Holzhauer’s Key to Success

“Holzhauer has dominated “Jeopardy!” like no one else since the current version of the television game show had its premiere in 1984. He won again on the episode that aired Wednesday, pushing his total earnings above $1.1 million, second on the all-time list behind the legendary Ken Jennings.”

The NY Times interviewed Holzbauer in the spring of 2019, asking him several questions of how he was so successful on the popular show.

The big key to his success was going aggressive from the opening bell.  He would go right for the $1,000 questions, skipping the lower tier amounts.

As stated in the NY piece, you could make an analogy to sports betting or poker tournaments. There are big advantages to having a lot of chips early on in a poker tournament. Consequently, the bettor can make plays that other people can’t.

Would you describe the traditional way of playing “Jeopardy!” as overly risk-averse?

“I would definitely say it’s too risk-averse,” explained Holzbauer.  “The funny thing is, my strategy actually minimizes the risk of me losing a game. There’s times in a football game where a team goes for a big TD pass. If you don’t take a risk like that, you’re not going to win. Really, the big risk is never trying anything that looks like a big gamble.”

You can read the full Times interview of Holzhauer here.