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Here’s The Clue: He Bets On Sports And Wins Big Money On Jeopardy

Alex Trebek

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

The category is Making Money. Here’s the $1,000 clue:

“He makes a living as a professional sports gambler, but he knows more than you might think about the world.”

Answer: “Who is James Holzhauer?”

Just imagine Alex Trebek then saying, “You are correct!”

Admit it, you love to watch Jeopardy. You gobble down dinner and take a cup of coffee to the living room as often as you can and answer questions along with contestants. It is one of the greatest shows in history of television, a game show “Seinfeld.”

Getting on the show is quite difficult. You have to pass qualifying tests and the competition for one of its three nightly slots is as intense as getting into Yale (if you don’t have a rich, conniving parent).

Now envision yourself as a lover of sports – and gambling. In fact, you make your money on sports wagering. You know about spreads and over-unders, but you don’t know much about Theatre, American History or Literary Classsics Of The 19th Century.

It might seem the odds of landing a seat on Jeopardy would be longer than Route 66. But not for Holzhauer, a Las Vegas native.

The dude has rocked Jeopardy’s world for the last four nights and has worked his way into the core of our nation’s cultural consciousness.

He has combined the astounding breadth of his knowledge with his instincts to push his chips into the middle of the table to rack up record winnings.

During Tuesday night’s episode, Holzhauer, 34, won $110,914, the most ever on a single day in the game show’s 35-year history. The previous single-day mark was $77,000, set on Sept. 14, 2010, by Roger Craig.

During his run, Holzhauer has won $244,365. And that is also a record for a four-day appearance.

It’s the way Holzhauer worked his way to $110,914 that really catches your attention. He correctly answered Tuesday’s Final Jeopardy question after wagering $38,314.

The question from the category Physics Terms:

“Ironically, it’s a metaphor meaning a huge step forward, but this 2-word process only occurs on a subatomic scale.”

Come on, unless you are Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory” there is no way you would know the answer. But Holzhauer did.

“What is quantum leap?”

The place went nuts.

If you are a true Jeopardy fan you know who Ken Jennings is. He’s the king of the game’s champions. In 2004, he went on a 74-game winning streak – the UConn women’s basketball team of game contestants – and won $2.5 million.

If you’ve watched Holzhauer blitz his way across the Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy boards you’ve got to figure he has as legitimate a chance to catch Jennings as anyone who has followed him over the last 15 years. He is smart, quirky and fearless. Holzhauer has been right on 129 of his first 133 attempts.

On his first show, he bet $3,268 on a Daily Double question in honor of the birthday of his nephew, who was born on 3-26-2008. Of course, he guessed right.

Before Tuesday’s episode, Jeopardy’s promotional department started to build its case for Holzhauer’s reign. It featured Trebeck saying on Twitter, “Is it too soon to begin making comparisons with Ken Jennings?”

Jeopardy’s producers already knows the ultimate outcome. Holzhauer’s episodes were taped in February.

Holzhauer is a native of in Naperville, Illinois, a 2005 graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in math. He made his initial cash operating a poker strategy website. That gave him the capital he needed to start supporting himself and his family betting on sports.

ESPN reports that the wise guys in Vegas know of him and think he’s legit. He’s been living this way since 2006 and concentrates on basketball, hockey and football.

“Now, I focus largely on in-game betting, where the oddsmaker often struggles to put an accurate line with only few seconds to think about it,” Holzhauer told ESPN in an email. “I think my work is similar to an investment bank, except that I’m the analyst, trader, fund manager and day trader all into one.

“I’m proud that I’ve found success in many different fields of sports betting, but the most important thing about my work is the freedom it gives me to travel and spend time with my family, which I would never have a nine-to-five – although maybe not on a college football Saturday.”