James Holzhauer and Emma Boettcher Will Square Off Again on ‘Jeopardy!’

He was a record-setting “Jeopardy!” giant who captured the imagination of fans earlier this year with his high-value bets and complete domination of the game. She was the only player who could beat him.

Now comes the sequel. This week, James Holzhauer and Emma Boettcher will face each other again, this time in the final round of the show’s Tournament of Champions.

Each won their semifinal round that aired this week, with only about $500 separating their final scores: Boettcher won the Monday’s game with $29,601, and Holzhauer ended up with $30,156 on Tuesday.

Five months ago, Holzhauer, a sports bettor from Las Vegas, had a shot at surpassing the $2.52 million Ken Jennings won during his record 74-game winning streak in 2004. But in Holzhauer’s 33rd game, Boettcher, a Chicago-based librarian, dethroned him and reaped game show glory. She went on to win the next two games, losing the third.

Holzhauer and Boettcher will go up against a third finalist, to be determined in Wednesday’s semifinal, in a two-game match that will air on Thursday and Friday. The winner, determined by the highest total for the two games, will take home $250,000. The runner-up will win $100,000 and the third-place finisher gets $50,000.

During his 32-game streak, Holzhauer, 35, set the record for the most money won in a single episode and then surpassed that total three more times. (The new record, which he set on April 17, is $131,127.) Holzhauer’s statistics far exceeded those of the other players in the Tournament of Champions, a regular “Jeopardy!” event in which recent big winners compete against one another. Close watchers of the show had debated online whether Boettcher’s winnings, which amounted to just under $100,000, were low for a champions contestant. Some fans speculated that the show chose her for the potential ratings bump that would come with a rematch.

After Boettcher’s semifinals win aired on Monday, Holzhauer tweeted a photo of Boettcher’s triumphant smile, poking fun at her detractors. Boettcher, 27, had carefully and intensively trained for the show, tracking her success with clues in a notebook and building the confidence it took to bet large Daily Double wagers.

Boettcher’s semifinal was also notable for a competitor’s answer that made the longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek — who revealed in March that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer — choke up. The contestant, Dhruv Gaur, a Brown University student, responded to the Final Jeopardy item about famous phrases with a response that was clearly incorrect, but sweet: “What is we <3 you, Alex!”

His voice cracking, Trebek responded, “That’s very kind of you,” and went on to tell Gaur, who had no chance of winning, that the response would cost him $1,995.

In September, Trebek said he was undergoing a new round of chemotherapy. A spokeswoman for “Jeopardy!” said the show is currently taping episodes and that Trebek, 79, is hosting as usual.

In the episode that aired on Tuesday, all of the contestants, including Holzhauer, responded incorrectly to a Final Jeopardy clue about United States demographics. Holzhauer, who in typical fashion had already put the game out of reach, wagered only a few hundred dollars, ensuring that he would come out on top and return for the final round.

Source: Read Full Article