Matt Amodio GRD ’23 “Jeopardy!” run comes to an end
The fifth-year computer science Ph.D. candidate’s record streak ends after 38 wins and $1,518,601 in cash winnings.
Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
After 39 games, 1,299 correct responses and a place in the hall of fame for the quiz game show “Jeopardy!”, Matt Amodio GRD ’23 has seen his win streak come to an end.
The “Ph.D. student from New Haven, CT” won his first game on July 21, beating out returning champion Josh Saak and fellow challenger Elizabeth Devereaux, winning $40,400 and earning the right to return as champion the following game. Amodio then went on to win 37 more games. His streak came to an end on Monday, when he placed third behind winner Jonathan Fisher and Jessica Stephens. Amodio now has the second-most consecutive wins of all time, behind only Ken Jennings’ 2004 run of 74 wins. He also leaves the show having won a total of $1,518,601 — the third-highest total in the show’s history.
“To see myself on this stage at all was an honor,” Matt said on the official “Jeopardy!” website on Monday. “And everything that’s happened since, I just can’t fathom.”
On Monday, Amodio seemed to be well on his way to his 39th win, holding $9,800 after the first round, with the next-highest contestant at $2,200. However, he faltered in the “Double Jeopardy!” round and saw himself without a lead heading into the “Final Jeopardy!” round for the first time during his streak. The category for “Final Jeopardy!” was “Countries of the World.” Amodio provided an incorrect response — “What is Poland?” — to the clue “Nazi Germany annexed this nation & divided it into regions of the Alps & the Danube; the Allies later divided it into 4 sectors.” Fisher and Stephens, however, both provided the correct response — “What is Austria?” Both challengers were backed by big wagers as they vied with each other for the right to return to the show tomorrow, which resulted in Amodio finishing the game in third place.
“That is one for the books,” host Mayim Bialik said as Monday’s episode — and Amodio’s time on the show — came to an end. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to watch you here. Congratulations.”
The only two players with higher winnings in regular-season play are fellow Hall of Famers Jennings and James Holzhauer, who captured the country’s attention with his risky style of play. Jennings won a total of $2,520,700 and Holzhauer finished his run with a total of $2,462,216 to his name.
Brad Rutter, who is also a member of the “Jeopardy!” Hall of Fame, is the highest total earner in the show’s history, including tournament play, with $4,938,436 in all-time winnings.
“Matt, you had us at ‘what’s’ and made us proud,” Yale’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences wrote in a tweet. “Now hit the lab & books … you have a dissertation to complete!”
During his time on the show, Amodio also set a record that is unlikely to ever be broken — he played under six different hosts. Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, David Faber and Joe Buck oversaw his first 18 games on the show, which came at the end of the show’s 37th season, while Mike Richards and current host Bialik hosted the rest of his run, which coincided with the beginning of season 38.
“Jeopardy!” has announced that Amodio will return to the show for its “Tournament of Champions.”