All three “Jeopardy!” contestants Monday night answered the final round question correctly. But it was Emma Boettcher who walked away not only with a win and $46,801, but a unique role in show history: the challenger who finally brought down superstar James Holzhauer.
“I lost to a really top-level competitor,” Holzhauer said in an interview with The New York Times. “She played a perfect game. And that was what it took to beat me.”
Holzhauer made waves on the show by strategically making large bets, and his downfall came partially after placing an uncharacteristically low one in the final round.
The final clue, per the Times: “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. (For those non-English majors, “Who is Kit Marlowe?” was the correct response.)
Boettcher went into the final question $3,200 ahead of Holzhauer. He bet only $1,399, bringing his total for the day to $24,799. She bet $20,201. Her scoreboard flashed a total of $46,801 as Holzhauer walked over to high five his successor.
Emma Boettcher, a Chicago librarian, became the new 'Jeopardy!' champion thanks to two Daily Doubles and aggressive wagering. (Photo: Jeopardy Productions)
As a viewer, Boettcher said she kept track of her scores in a notebook, calculating her percentage of right answers.
“I knew going in that Daily Double hunting was something that I could do and feel confident doing,” she told The Times. “I don’t need to be cautious around that.”
Currently a user-experience librarian at the University of Chicago, Boettcher earned an undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 2014 and a master’s two years later from the University of North Carolina.
In the host chat, she told host Alex Trebek she wrote a master’s paper on “Jeopardy!”
“I ran a series of text-mining experiments to see if a computer could predict how difficult a clue was,” based on factors including its length, syntax and audio or visual elements. What did she predict? Trebek wondered. “That it’s very hard to do.”
James Holzhauer was finally unseated as 'Jeopardy!' champion after 32 wins, and nearly $2.5 million in prize money. (Photo: Jeopardy Productions)
But she knows what goes into building good questions: Her resume cites experience writing “pub quiz-style trivia questions” for the Museum of the American Revolution’s History After Hours events.
Musical theater and history buffs alike would love this one: ” ‘What’s Your Name, Man?’ was (a category) about the pseudonyms used by Alexander Hamilton,” Boettcher shared.
More ‘Jeopardy!’: Most loved, hated and memorable contestants through the years
And: ‘Jeopardy!’ champs Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer had an unexpected encounter
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