Speed Reads

who is Matt Amodio?

Matt Amodio becomes the 3rd-highest earning player in Jeopardy! history

We'll take "crushing it" for $1,000. 

Jeopardy!'s contentious host search hasn't been the quiz show's only drama as of late, as PhD student Matt Amodio has been on an impressive run. On Thursday, he took home another $42,400 after winning his 17th consecutive game, bringing his total earnings to $547,600. This made him the third-highest earning player in the show's history during regular-season play, behind only Jeopardy! legends Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer. This doesn't take into account money won during tournaments. Jennings famously won $2.52 million on the show in 2004, while Holzhauer won $2.46 million in 2019. 

Amodio's run on Jeopardy! has consisted of a string of hugely dominant games, during which he's taken a page out of Holzhauer's playbook by selecting high-dollar clues first and hunting for Daily Doubles. On many occasions, Amodio has gone into the show's closing Final Jeopardy clue with such a large lead that no other player can win. That wasn't the case on Thursday, as guest host Joe Buck noted it was the first time in over 10 days that the game wasn't a runaway. Ultimately, though, Amodio secured another victory by providing the correct Final Jeopardy response ("what is Jaws?") while the player in second place didn't. 

In an interview with Vulture on Thursday, Amodio opened up about the attention his big winning streak has brought him. 

"I'm tickled and a little bit uneasy with all of it," Amodio said. "Many Jeopardy! contestants have messaged me with congratulations. I worry about becoming a bit of a villain; a Death Star of someone who just keeps winning. You accumulate reasons to not be liked, you know? I've been pleased that everyone has been very nice to me." 

Jeopardy!'s season is set to end on Friday, leaving open the possibility that Amodio will still be on stage when new permanent host Mike Richards officially takes over in September.