Jeopardy James at the WSOP

June 26, 2019inPoker

James Holzhauer

Your category is GAME SHOWS. Here’s the answer.

This Jeopardy! champion known for going “all in” on Daily Doubles recently put his chips in the middle in a major poker tournament series.

The correct response? James Holzhauer, a.k.a. “Jeopardy James.”

It was only a few weeks ago we were watching Holzhauer, a professional sports bettor, win a remarkable 32 straight games on the popular quiz show Jeopardy!

By the time Holzhauer was finally defeated in a close one by Emma Boettcher, a librarian from Chicago, he had amassed $2,464,216 in winnings on the show. That meant he just barely missed breaking the all-time record set by Ken Jennings who won $2,522,700 million on Jeopardy! back in 2004.

It took Jennings more than twice as many shows to win just over what Holzhauer did, as Jennings won 74 straight games. One big reason for Holzhauer’s high win rate was his aggressive strategy in the game that saw him answer high-dollar items early and often double his total by betting all he had whenever answering a “Daily Double.”

Poker players enjoyed watching Holzhauer’s “big stack” approach to the game, likening it to strategy sometimes employed in tournaments. Put that together with the fact that Holzhauer lives in Las Vegas, it wasn’t all that surprising to see him turn up this week at the World Series of Poker where he played in a couple of events.

Holzhauer took part in both the $1,500 buy-in Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em event as well as the $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em event.

According to the WSOP’s Seth Palansky, in the Super Turbo Bounty event Holzhauer managed to spin his chips up to more than triple the starting stack, but was knocked out in Level 15.

That’s when Holzhauer got most of his stack in the middle with pocket sevens versus an opponent’s pocket fives, but unfortunately watched a five come among the community cards to leave him with crumbs. He’d get it in good again shortly thereafter with K-J versus K-T, but a ten on board sent the 35-year-old to the rail.

“I’ll take Pocket Pairs for $1,500, Alex”

His exit came with about 450 players still in the event, and as only the top 281 cashed that meant Holzhauer went away without a cash.

“I didn’t expect to last this long,” said Holzhauer afterwards. “That’s poker.”

Holzhauer knows of what he speaks, having played a lot of online poker back when a college student at the University of Illinois.

Soon after Holzhauer joined Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton with whom he partnered for the Tag Team event. However it wasn’t that long after that Sexton reported via Twitter he “lost 2 races in a row” and the pair were ousted on Day 1.

Holzhauer had pledged to donate half of his winnings to Project 150, a Vegas-based non-profit organization that provides homeless and disadvantaged high school youths school supplies, food, clothing, and other items.

Holzhauer had already donated $10,000 to the charity last month, and his appearance at the WSOP this week helped publicize the organization even further. So even if sevens turned out to be less than lucky for Holzhauer this week, his participation was certainly a net positive for many.

WSOP photography by


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