The gambler outsmarting Jeopardy!
James Holzhauer has won $1 million on Jeopardy! in just 15 games, including the seven best daily totals in the quiz show’s 35-year history, said Victor Mather in The New York Times. A professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, Holzhauer, 34, employs a frighteningly aggressive strategy, picking all the $1,000 “answers” first and betting everything he’s got when he lands on a “Daily Double.” With his statistically optimized tactics, fans are wondering if Holzhauer has effectively broken the game. But if so, why don’t competitors copy him? “My comfort zone is very different than the typical contestant,” he says. “Some of the opponents I’ve been playing, you can see they are visibly shaken. You’re not going to play well if you’re up there trembling.” In sports, Holzhauer uses analytics to find “loopholes” in betting lines, which requires patience. “The fact that I win and lose money all the time helps desensitize me,” he says, “so I can write down $60,000 as the ‘Final Jeopardy’ wager and not be trembling at the thought of losing that money.” If Holzhauer seems fearless, “the funny thing is, my strategy actually minimizes the risk of me losing a game. Really, the big risk is never trying anything that looks like a big gamble.” ■