‘Jeopardy’ Host Alex Trebek Reveals What ‘Bothers’ Him When Contestants Play the Game

Alex Trebek has been a mainstay on the popular game show Jeopardy since he took command of the board in 1984. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2019, the quiz master has remained on the job and receives a plethora of support from his legions of fans.

Trebek has hosted countless games of the brain-teasing program, yet doesn’t particularly care for a certain strategy contestants sometimes utilize.

Alex Trebek of 'Jeopardy'
Alex Trebek of ‘Jeopardy’ | Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

‘Jeopardy’ host is more than a quiz master

Many view Trebek as a serious intellectual, assuming he probably knows all of the correct responses to the categories on the board.

“I’ve learned that people draw conclusions that satisfy their prejudices, and those conclusions don’t always coincide with reality,” Trebek told Vulture in November 2018. “People think because I’m the host of a fairly serious, intelligence-based quiz show that I must know all the answers. I do — because they’re written on a sheet of paper in front of me.”

The game show host revealed that there’s more to him than just manning the Jeopardy board, such as being handy with a hammer.

“Audiences are always surprised when they discover that I like to fix things around the house, that I’m not a nerdy person who spends all his time researching information that might come in handy on Jeopardy!” he noted. “But I don’t mind surprising people in that way.”

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Alex Trebek weighs in on wagers

The game show has had some high rollers over the years, including recent “Greatest of All Time” players Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer. Often getting caught up in the competition while moderating, Trebek sometimes gets frustrated if a contestant doesn’t go for the big win on Daily Doubles.

“I have been disappointed when contestants made conservative wagers because they don’t realize the obvious,” the Jeopardy host explained. “And that is, if a clue is in the second box from the top, it’s going to be easier than a clue at the bottom of the category. So if you’ve landed on what should be an easier Daily Double clue, why not take a chance?”

Despite his feelings on the opportunity at hand, Trebek keeps his opinions to himself.

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“I try not to influence contestants’ wagers. I do joke about it,” he admitted. “You’ll hear me say things like, ‘You made it a true Daily Double in the first round when you only had a $1,000. Now that you’ve got $13,000, I’m sure you’ll want to make it another true Daily Double.’ But I’m not seriously suggesting they make that wager.”

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Why jump around the ‘Jeopardy’ board?

Over the years, contestants on Jeopardy have tried to figure out a certain system in the hopes of landing on Daily Doubles and upping their winnings. Some will continue to hopscotch across the board even after the coveted blocks to double their money have been played. Trebek isn’t crazy about the strategy.

“What bothers me is when contestants jump all over the board even after the Daily Doubles have been dealt with,” he shared. “Why are they doing that? They’re doing themselves a disservice. When the show’s writers construct categories they do it so that there’s a flow in terms of difficulty, and if you jump to the bottom of the category you may get a clue that would be easier to understand if you’d begun at the top of the category and saw how the clues worked.”

As the Jeopardy master, Trebek likes the competition to run in a certain way but is willing to let contestants figure it out on their own. “I like there to be order on the show, but as the impartial host I accept disorder,” he said.

Thankfully, Trebek is still going strong on the show and doesn’t seem to have retirement scheduled anytime soon.

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