James Holzhauer Is On Track to Win More Than $2 Million on ‘Jeopardy!’ — Will He Break the Record?

There’s something about watching people win the show Jeopardy! that’s so addictive.

The classic quiz show is suddenly making headlines again as contestant James Holzhauer, 34, just won his 26th straight game and came within striking distance of taking home $2 million in prize winnings. Part of the action is that he almost didn’t win this time—the professional gambler was only $5,400 ahead of fellow contestant Nate Scheffey going into the last question in Final Jeopardy! 

Still, there hasn’t been this much enthusiasm for the show since another superstar contestant, computer scientist Ken Jennings, won 74 consecutive games of Jeopardy! and $2.5 million in 2004. Now fans are wondering if Holzhauer is coming to beat the record. Or, better yet, if the two contestants could ever face off against each other.

Who is James Holzhauer?

Though many game shows make it look easy to take home $1 million or more, Jeopardy! is no such show. Holzhauer is only the second person to win over $1 million in a non-tournament game in the show’s history. People have even started calling him “Jeopardy! James.”

James Holzhauer grew up in Naperville, Illinois and was gifted in math from an early age. While he was never an exemplary student, he was always a numbers whiz, and spent his time memorizing sports statistics and other obscure facts.

Jeopardy! isn’t the first game show that Holzhauer competed on. He appeared in the American version of the quiz competition show The Chase and earned $58,0000 in the final round. He also competed on the show 500 Questions but did not win.

Holzhauer’s Jeopardy! winning streak is getting attention

James Holzhauer first appeared on Jeopardy! on April 4, 2019 and he hasn’t lost a game since. He’s already broke the record for the most money won in a single episode on April 9 when he took home $110,914, which coincidentally is the same as his daughter’s birthday (11/09/14). The previous record was $77,000.

If nothing else, it’s increasing viewership and getting a lot of attention for the show. The first version of Jeopardy! began in 1964 and was hosted by Art Fleming. Alex Trebek has been hosting the show since 1984 and is as integral to the show as the catchy theme song. Sadly, Trebek recently announced that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which is usually fatal. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy to fight the disease.

Holzhauer might be breaking the record on a technicality

Jeopardy!
Jeopardy! | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

There’s no denying the James Holzhauer is uniquely skilled and knowledgeable. But there is another reason why he’s breaking records—there used to be a cap on how much contestants could win on Jeopardy! Before 2003, contestants could only win a maximum of $75,000 with the remaining amount being donated to charity. That cap was abolished in 2003 and now there’s no limit to how much someone can take home.

Will James Holzhauer break the top record for most money won? Tune in to find out!