Jeopardy! has had a long television run. Many of us grew up watching the game show with Alex Trebek and continue to watch it now after the host’s passing. The show has seen some changes, but its feel remains the same. It’s a place of comfort and peace for many people who just want to kick back after a long day and relax in front of the TV (heck, some may even consider it a bit boring at times!).
Jeopardy! contestants have set several records during the show’s run. Some are very impressive and have become nearly impossible to beat. Surely, you’ve heard of Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, Amy Schneider, and other Jeopardy! legends. We’ve prepared a selection of some of our favorite Jeopardy! records.
Top Money Winners (Regular Season Play)
Ken Jennings, whose first appearance on Jeopardy! was in 2004, had a long winning streak with 74 consecutive games won. On his last episode, Jennings walked away with $2,520,700 in winnings. He has since become a legend in the world of Jeopardy! and even went on to become a host of the show.
James Holzhauer is not far behind Jennings. Though his winning streak was shorter (only 32 consecutive wins), he almost reached Ken with total winnings of $2,462,216. James employed a more aggressive strategy and didn’t rely solely on his trivia knowledge. His use of the Forrest Bounce method caused much controversy among viewers. No matter, it paid off!
Most Consecutive Wins
Ken Jennings takes the crown for the most money won and the most consecutive wins! He left the show after 74 consecutive wins, which gave him the 74-Game Winner title. Though James Holzhauer got less than halfway through Ken’s streak, his 32-game experience was quite impressive, too. Matt Amodio from Yale University is another honorable mention, with a 34-day winning streak.
There have been many star games with exceptional performances from contestants who, unfortunately, never managed to beat the record. Some honorable mentions include Cris Pannullo, who scored 21 consecutive wins. Julia Collins got to 20 days on the show and became the second-best among women after Amy Schneider. Jason Zuffranieri and David Madden both got to 19 days. Finally, Matt Jackson made it to 13 consecutive wins.
Biggest Single-Day Winnings
On April 17, 2019, James Holzhauer walked away with the highest single-game winnings on Jeopardy! He won $131,127 in one game. He managed to put his strategic skills to good use. Before Holzhauer came around, Roger Craig, who also participated in the Battle of the Decades, held the title for the biggest single-day winnings for 9 years, with $77,000.
Biggest Lifetime Winnings (Across All Jeopardy! Appearances)
Though Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer did make the most in consecutive games and regular season play, Brad Rutter takes the cake for the most prize money ever won across all Jeopardy! appearances. He attended several Jeopardy! tournaments and won over $5 million.
Ken Jennings isn’t far behind Brad Rutter, his Greatest of All Time Tournament competitor, with over $4 million worth of Jeopardy! winnings in his bank account. And we’re not counting his paychecks for being a host of the show. It’s safe to say that Jennings made a fortune with Jeopardy!
Highest Accuracy Percentage
The highest accuracy percentage is difficult to calculate, and Jeopardy! hasn’t published any official statistics. Fans of the show love to speculate and share their calculations, which may not be far from the truth.
Most people agree that James Holzhauer has the highest number of right answers. An article published in Business Insider suggested that Holzhauer correctly answered every question he buzzed in for in 11 out of the 33 games he played. Looking at the broader picture, they calculated that James answered correctly 97% of the time.
Most Days on the Show
There is little variety on this list because, once again, Ken Jennings takes first place. He spent 74 consecutive days on the show as a contestant. (That’s a lot of time spent in Culver City!)
Most Tournament Wins
Brad Rutter has won the most tournaments out of all the contestants ever to walk the famous Jeopardy! stage. He has won the Tournament of Champions, the Million Dollar Masters, the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, the Battle of the Decades, and many other Jeopardy! team events.
Youngest Jeopardy Super-Champion
Mattea Roach became the youngest Jeopardy! super-champion at the age of 23. They’re also, notably, one of the highest female earners on the show and one of the few with the longest winning streaks. Roach is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, encouraging just the right type of representation on national TV.
Mattea owes their success in the game to their knowledge, skill, and strategy. They were unafraid to wager big sums and risk it all if it meant having fun and enjoying the game.
Currently, the highest-earning woman to ever appear on Jeopardy! is Amy Schneider. Amy ended her winning streak in December of 2021 with $706,800 in her pocket. She was congratulated by her predecessor, Larissa Kelly, who was previously named the highest-earning woman on Jeopardy! with her wins accumulating to $655,930.
Lowest Score Ever
Unlike others on this list, this record may seem very easy to break. How low can you go? Finish the game with $0 in your earnings, and congratulations, you’ve reached the lowest score! That train of thinking is perfectly logical, but Patrick Pearce had a different idea. In 2021, Patrick finished the game with -$7,400 in his earnings. The previous record was set by Stephanie Hull in 2015. She reached a score of -$6,800.
Highest Cumulative Total Without Winning a Game
The highest scores may be awarded to the winners. James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings alone beat almost every record related to earnings on the show. Philip Tiu set an entirely different record. He accumulated $19,000 in a single game and still lost to another contestant in Final Jeopardy! No runner-up has ever scored as high as Philip.
Most Daily Doubles Found in a Single Game
By this time, you should be familiar with the Forrest Bounce method introduced by Chuck Forrest. The method consists of picking random clues from the board instead of going down each category. This method has proven successful for many contestants following Chuck because it allows you to get to the Daily Doubles before your competitors. The first question in the column will never be a Daily Double, so you could skip that one, as it offers 0 chance of success.
James Holzhauer, a big advocate of the Forrest Bounce, has been the one to find all three Daily Doubles in a game on many occasions during his winning streak. He has also had the most “True Daily Doubles,” as he’s been seen betting all his earnings on Daily Doubles.
The First Woman to Win Jeopardy!
After the show’s inception, we did not have to wait long for our first female champion. Mary Cabell Eubanks became the first woman to win Jeopardy! way back in 1964.
Bonus: Most Controversial Jeopardy! Events
The record for the most controversial event on Jeopardy! is very arbitrary, but we must include these in one way or another. Whether you agree is up to you, but these two surely struck a chord with Jeopardy!’s audience!
Arthur Chu’s Style
Arthur Chu is a talented contestant who appeared on Jeopardy! back in 2014. He was remarkable because of his peculiar playing style. Instead of answering questions one after another, as they go, he would jump around the board and pick questions at random, hunting for daily doubles. This method is also known as the Forrest Bounce.
Though Arthur got backlash from the public, it didn’t bother him too much. After all, whether we agree with his gameplay or not, he did walk away with a considerable sum. He didn’t break any rules and won fair and square. How do you feel about Arthur Chu’s style?
Mike Richards as Host
If we’re talking about controversial events, we must mention the reign of Mike Richards. Mike Richards was an executive producer on the show who also accepted the role of host after Alex Trebek passed away. Mike’s new role as host was met with much negativity, as that happened right around the time some interesting information about his past surfaced.
His colleagues from another popular game show filed multiple claims against him. Audio clips of him making disrespectful comments about minorities surfaced, leading the Jeopardy! fan army to throw him off his throne. Mike Richards didn’t last very long in his role as host.
Jeopardy! is one of the most popular and long-running game shows on television. Its contestants have set many records, some more interesting than others. Though some of the contestants mentioned in this article only got to walk away with consolation prizes, they still made a dent in the history of Jeopardy!
Is there any Jeopardy! record you find particularly interesting? Share with us in the comments!