Matt Amodio becomes third player on ‘Jeopardy!’ to top $1M in winnings

NEW YORK — This Yale Ph.D. student in computer science became the third person to top $1 million in winnings on “Jeopardy!” Answer: Who is Matt Amodio?

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Amodio, 30, who has won $1,004,001 over 28 games, became the third player in the long-running show’s history to break the $1 million mark, The New York Times reported. Ken Jennings won $2,520,700 over 74 victories in 2004 and James Holzhauer took home $2,462,216 over 32 victories in 2019.

These victories came during nontournament competitions. Brad Rutter is the show’s all-time winner with $4,938,436, but that includes money from tournaments, according to The Week.

Amodio, a fifth-year student at Yale, researches artificial intelligence. He said that he has been watching “Jeopardy!” since before he was “even able to understand the words,” according to a profile in Yale’s School of Engineering & Applied Science.

According to the website The Jeopardy! Fan, Amodio, from New Haven, Connecticut, correctly answers 90% of the clues when he buzzes in. He is also first to the buzzer more than half the time, according to the website.

“Trivia has always mattered to me, because in a broader sense knowledge matters to me,” Amodio wrote in an opinion piece on Sept. 17 for the Connecticut Post. “I get a lot of joy out of learning things, any things, about the world.

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“I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go on a show that values that quality and rewards it.”

Amodio’s milestone came at the end of temporary host Mayim Bialik’s first week back since host and executive producer Mike Richards, according to The Associated Press.

Richards stepped down as the next permanent host of “Jeopardy!” in August after controversial comments he made on a podcast that aired in 2013 and 2014 resurfaced, officials at Sony Pictures Television said. Richards had been tapped to replace Alex Trebek, the longtime host who died in November 2020.

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Nearly two weeks later, Sony fired Richards as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.”

Because the game show is taped ahead of time, it is possible that Amodio has already passed Holzhauer in victories, the Times reported. Friday’s episode was taped a month ago, Audiences will not know until the episodes begin airing on Monday.

Holzhauer poked fun at Amodio on Twitter earlier this week, noting that he had made much more money than the current champion over the same amount of games.

Amodio answered back with his own tweet, writing playfully, “Must be nice having time to throw shade on Twitter. Us ‘Jeopardy!’ champions with zero career losses have actual work to do.”