The era of Jeopardy! James has come to an end.
After 32 straight wins totaling a near-record $2,464,216, James Holzhauer lost in his most recent appearance on Jeopardy!, which aired June 3. Holzhauer only blamed himself… ish.
— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) June 3, 2019
Despite answering the Final Jeopardy question correctly (The line “a great reckoning in a little room” in “As You Like It” is usually taken to refer to this author’s premature death. Obviously it’s Marlowe. Duh, guys), Holzhauer submitted a relatively modest bid that even took aback host Alex Trebek.
As a result, Jeopardy! has a new champion. And viewership can now return to its normal levels.
Historic Jeopardy! run ends — now what?
What happens now for Big Game James, the contestant who ranks second in show history for most winnings during regular season play (Ken Jennings finished with $2,520,700), and who holds more than a dozen of the show’s highest totals won in a single game?
During a recent appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Holzhauer intimated that opportunities abound for the professional sports gambler when his Jeopardy! run ends.
Considering Holzhauer’s outgoing, humorous and sharp personality, certainly he will have another chapter after stepping away from the Jeopardy! podium.
“It’s difficult,” Holzhauer told McAfee, “because new things keep popping up in the inbox every day. And I can’t talk publicly about a lot of them. Stuff I never foresaw is coming to pass right now. Gonna have some tough choices to make coming up.”
He left it at that. No other clues, other than the smug look of a man who knows he won’t be home doing nothing now that it’s all over. But what could he have on deck? Let’s speculate.
More game show action
You know, big-time game show contestants who make headlines by claiming life-changing winnings often enter a world of conspiracy theories surrounding how they cheated their way to wealth.
There was Michael Larson, who essentially broke open the safe at Press Your Luck in 1984 en route to what was then the biggest single-day total in game show history: $110,237. We all know about the dark cloud that lingered over the 1950s show Twenty-One. Recently Netflix debuted a documentary about Ted Slauson, who gamed the system of The Price Is Right to help himself and other contestants.
Fortunately, the only hate Holzhauer received was for “Daily Double hunting,” basically randomly going across the board in search of the Daily Double to quickly up his wallet. That backlash is like Cody Bellinger smacking homer after homer but old MLB purists lambaste the modern game because players only care about home runs and not as much about striking out. Grow up.
Anyway, other than a potential champions or legends Jeopardy! tournament, Holzhauer’s run as a game show contestant has likely run its course. I mean, he already went on The Chase and embarrassed an Oxford grad (a “quiz show genius,” as he was labeled) on his way to a share of $175,000. The dude correctly answered 19 straight questions to set a show record.
Holzhauer doesn’t need to be a contestant anymore. He grabbed and held onto the spotlight on Jeopardy! and carries the personality and joie de vivre of a know-it-all. So, how about bringing him in as the genius to beat, like Stump the Schwab? Call it The Holz Enchilada. That has a summer Fox show written all over it.
Time to get back to betting
When Holzhauer first gained national attention, smashing the former single-game Jeopardy! record by totaling over $110,000, his work history went under the microscope.
Headlines of “professional gambler” and “pro sports bettor” were used to identify Holzhauer more than his name. Obviously, then, his day-to-day life has become quite public. And in no way is he apologetic about it. He embraces it.
With McAfee, Holzhauer recalled his childhood. He remembered speaking with his father, wondering if there was a stock market for sports teams, he said, “because I think that I could trade those for a living.”
After turning 21, Holzhauer discovered the world of sports betting. He had begun applying mathematical analysis to determine, for example, which teams had the best shot at winning the World Series. Things went well enough that he continued placing bets, well enough that Holzhauer was able to avoid taking a regular 9-to-5 job.
Sports betting is part of Holzhauer’s fiber, and he expects to get back to it in time for football season. That said, doing well at your job, particularly in sports betting, perks up ears.
Holzhauer shared how he not only runs into house limits in Las Vegas, but he also was turned away from the likes of William Hill US and CG Technology. Banned, he confirmed to McAfee. Will Hill, Holzhauer said, has a “well-known policy of kicking out anyone who’s a long-term winner.”
What if Holzhauer could return to the betting world WITHOUT worrying (as much) about getting black-balled?
Back to betting, as an analyst
The guy obviously knows his sports betting. He has said before he used betting- and poker-style mindsets en route to this historic Jeopardy! run.
Additionally, Holzhauer’s notoriety has never been greater. And it will remain that way for a short time. Any podcast or show dedicated to analyzing sports betting would certainly land a noteworthy fish by bringing in Holzhauer.
Again, his personality lends itself to such success. During his McAfee appearance, Holzhauer was asked about his take on the NBA Finals.
“The Warriors are obviously the better team,” Holzhauer said. “I guess it just depends on how many points you’re getting on the Raptors or whatever kind of series price (exists).”
Then, Holzhauer dipped into some wry humor: “If you have any inside information on Durant’s health, I would be very appreciative. Wink, wink.”
That’s brilliant banter. It’s solid and not at all artificial, which you get with nearly every other betting pundit. (Except here, with our guys.)
The world of legalized sports betting continues to grow. It continues to expand and become accepted nationwide. Holzhauer was just center stage on a show that appeals to millions. And he dominated. He has the notoriety, fame, and respectability. Cash in on it. He’s more than willing.
As Holzhauer told McAfee: “It’s a big time in our industry. If I can be of some help in putting a good face on it, that’s great.”