Jeopardy Contestant Becomes Second Highest-Earning Winner Of All Time

James Holzhauer Jeopardy

Move over Ken Jennings – or at least get slightly less comfortable in your throne – as there's a new Jeopardy! champion making his way towards the show's top earner at a rather feverish pace. Gambling enthusiast James Holzhauer has quickly made a name for himself in quite a good way, as he's already secured his status as its second highest-earning winner in Jeopardy! history.

As of his most recent episode ahead of this writing, James Holzhauer has earned a grand total of $460,479. Those winnings exceed the record previously held by Dave Madden, who managed to earn $430,400 in his 19-game run as Jeopardy champion in 2005.

UPDATE: After Wednesday's Jeopardy, Holzhauer was able to extend his winning streak by racking up $131,127, meaning that his total winnings are now at $697,787.

James Holzhauer's record is not just impressive for overcoming Dave Madden's dollar amount, but being able to do so in just under half the games that it took Madden to earn his winnings. Holzhauer will play his ninth game on Tuesday, and has a solid chance of expanding on his cash earnings even further.

James Holzhauer has obtained his quick fortune through incredibly aggressive play, which may be rooted in an understanding of the game he's gained via a career as a professional gambler. Holzhauer has shared some of the secrets behind his short but hugely successful run, which involves capitalizing on Jeopardy!'s Daily Double.

When I watch at home, I always root for the contestants to bet big on Daily Doubles. They get them right most of the time, and it can give them a big leg up on the competition. I’m proud of myself for sticking to that attitude when it was my money on the line.

Surprise, surprise, the professional gambler is a fan of betting big, and he understands the odds are in his favor when it comes to the Daily Double. By wagering large amounts of money, Holzhauer can keep a relatively safe distance from other show competitors' scores, while also amassing himself a small fortune rather quickly. Of course, there's always the risk he'll bet too big on a question where he has no idea what the answer is, but that hasn't happened yet.

This aggressive Jeopardy! tactic has helped James Holzhauer previously smash the show's one-day record for earnings, which was the $77,000 total won by Roger Craig. Holzhauer zoomed past that amount, and is the current record holder with an astonishing $110,914. He could've gone even higher, but as he explained after getting the correct answer, the number is a homage to his daughter's November birthday. Given the achievement, it's sure to go down on a list of the show's more memorable moments.

Check it out below!

James Holzhauer is doing well, but he's still a long way from beating out game show legend and stand-up guy Ken Jennings' record of $2,520,700 in Jeopardy! earnings. That being said, if Holzhauer maintains his high betting and win streak, he could surpass Jennings' total well before the 74 games it took the champ to hit that total. It's certainly an exciting time to watch Jeopardy!, and it works to detract sad attention away from recent headlines regarding host Alex Trebek's health.

He may fizzle out before then if his aggressive play betrays him, although James Holzhauer shouldn't be discounted so readily. Holzhauer is a game show veteran himself, and has used his skills to win big on quiz shows like The Chase in the past. You can watch part of that performance below.

James Holzhauer's record is mightily impressive, and there's a chance it'll only climb higher. Readers can check their local listings to find Jeopardy! airings to see if he'll hang on.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.