If you follow Jeopardy!, or the news recently, you surely saw the articles and buzz around James’ 33 episode run as champion, which earned him 2.4 million dollars. Falling all of 58 grand short of the all time record, set by Ken Jennings in 74 episodes.
James is a professional sports gambler, and maybe one of the best trivia players ever. This combo meant he answered almost every question correctly, which is impressive already… But it was the way he would quietly and calmly go all in on a daily double, or wager huge sums of money with seemingly no hesitation, that made him fun to watch. He would drop a wager of 12 grand on a question, and answer it immediately as if he knew the answer one word into the question. He was unflappable.
He was finally defeated, and truthfully, he only lost because someone else got both daily doubles in double jeopardy, and took advantage of one of them. By the end of the game, James was out of commission. Even if he had gone all in, he wouldn’t have been able to make up the gap. It was amazing to watch, and it might be the last time the show sees a contestant at his level.
One thing that happened during his run that was interesting, was the teacher’s tournament. And that is when it sank in. These “normal” contestants would wager $3,000 dollars, and they would do so as if it was a gamble. They didn’t realize America was already used to seeing a guy throw around 10’s of thousands of dollars every night for weeks before. It was nearly unwatchable in comparison.
The only hope we have now is that someone caught on, and this run changes the way the game is played. The only problem, is that it’s going to require a type of person that just isn’t all that common. Either way, I’m glad I got to witness it, and hopefully the next tournament of champions delivers.