It’s time to welcome James Holzhauer back to the Alex Trebek Stage. The quiz show champion, who racked up nearly $2.5 million in regular-season games due in part to his affinity for high-risk wagers, returned for ABC’s “Jeopardy! Masters” tournament, which kicked off Monday (8 EDT/PDT).
The three-week tournament, hosted by Ken Jennings, pits “Jeopardy! James” against five other contestants who competed in last fall’s Tournament of Champions: Matt Amodio, Sam Buttrey, Andrew He, Mattea Roach and Amy Schneider, who walked away with the $250,000 grand prize. “Masters” offers a $500,000 pot.
Here’s everything you need to know about the primetime tournament, which offers two games each night.
James Holzhauer calls out Ken Jennings in Final Jeopardy!
After He placed first, Schneider came in second and Amodio third in the first game, Holzhauer played against Buttrey and Roach. Introduced by the show announcer as “a self-described game show villain from Las Vegas, Nevada,” Holzhauer also verbally sparred with the host, his chief competitor in (and the winner of) 2020’s “Great of All Time” tournament. Monday, Jennings referenced the competition, which Holzhauer was inclined to forget. “I don’t think this happened,” he said of their throwdown. “I think you’re imagining it.”
“You’re blocking it out,” Jennings responded. “That’s fine.”
Holzhauer found all three of the game’s Daily Doubles, doubling his score each time. He entered Final Jeopardy! with a lead (40,800 points) that made it impossible for his competitors to catch him. So he had no issue using his Final Jeopardy! response to troll Jennings. The clue: “Opened in 1909 & less famous than an older neighbor, it connects Brooklyn & Chinatown.” Instead of correctly answering the Manhattan Bridge, Holzhauer chose to scribble: “Stop ducking a rematch, Ken.”
Jennings fired back: “You know how much work I had to go to to get all the way over at this lectern and avoid having to play you again, James?”
When is ‘Jeopardy! Masters’ airing?
The tournament continues Tuesday, with additional games this week on Wednesday and Friday. For the showdown’s second week, starting May 15, the tournament airs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The semifinals air May 22 and 23; a winner will be crowned after the finals on May 24.
The tournament is points-based, with no cash total, executive producer Michael Davies said on the “Inside Jeopardy!” podcast. “Each player will appear in every episode, either in the front-half game or the second-half game,” Davies said. “Everyone will play each other in every combination and everyone will, every single one of those Masters, will play 10 games.”
The winner of each game receives three points, and the second-place contestant gets one. Cumulative totals determine who advances to the next round.
Although Holzhauer and He won their games Monday, because He had more correct answers than Holzhauer, he currently leads the tournament. Buttrey and Schneider have one point each. Roach and Amodio have zero.
Buzzy Cohen, ‘This is Jeopardy!’ podcast host, on upcoming ‘really fun’ Masters tournament
Can you solve it?Final ‘Jeopardy!’ stumps two players, but Twitter thinks it’s ‘pretty simple’
Who are the ‘Jeopardy! Masters’ contestants?
With the exception of Holzhauer, all “Masters” participants competed in the 2021-22 season, making them eligible for the 2022 Tournament of Champions. Holzhauer concluded his 32-game streak in 2019.
Last month, Holzhauer joked of the tournament lineup on Twitter, referencing a promotional image for the tournament: “This poster screams ‘We know you saw this tournament last year, but a new supervillain has joined the cast for the sequel!’ and I am here for it”
Contestants’ track record
Matt Amodio: Won 38 in-season games.Sam Buttrey: Won the “Jeopardy!” Professors Tournament; placed third in Tournament of Champions (winning one game).James Holzhauer: Won 32 games in-season games.Andrew He: Won 5 in-season games, placed second in Tournament of Champions (winning two games).Mattea Roach: Won 23 in-season games.Amy Schneider: Won 40 in-season games; winner of 2022 Tournament of Champions.
‘Jeopardy!’ fansfeel their ‘bones turn to dust’ after Gen Z player shares ‘obsolete’ hobby
In a first, Daily Double locations are revealed to viewers
The Masters tournament adds a new wrinkle: Viewers — but not contestants or the studio audience — are shown the location of each Daily Double before a round begins. This marks the first time the show has previewed where the bonus clues, which enable the contestant to double their scores with a correct response, are hidden.
‘Jeopardy! Masters’ ‘does not disappoint’
Buzzy Cohen, a 2016 competitor who triumphed in the Tournament of Champions the following year, attended games during the “Masters” tournament. Cohen, who hosts a new podcast detailing the history of the quiz show, says he observed the contestants experience a sense of ease.
“One thing you start to see is the more time that people have spent on the ‘Jeopardy!’ stage, the more relaxed they are, the more fun they have,” he says. “That doesn’t mean the competition is less intense; it just means, ‘I’m not white-knuckling it through this. I know I can win here.’ And you have six people who have won so much and had a blast doing it.”
“Everybody kind of shines, and everybody is challenged,” Cohen adds. “And that’s exactly what you want out of one of these special tournaments. It does not disappoint.”
Kylie Jenneris ready to talk about the Kardashians’ body image problem. Is it too late?