Today’s Final Jeopardy – May 20, 2019

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category Name the French Author) for Monday, May 20, 2019 (Season 35, Episode 181):

“I am making myself liable to articles 30 & 31 of the law of 29 July 1881 regarding the press, which make libel a punishable offense”

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Today’s contestants:

Adam Stone, an associate professor of political science from Marietta, Georgia
Adam Stone on Jeopardy!
Jenny Gibbs, a handywoman & gardener from Charlottesville, Virginia
Jenny Gibbs on Jeopardy!
James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, Nevada (22-day total: $1,691,008)
James Holzhauer on Jeopardy!

James has cemented his spot in the next Tournament of Champions. Our ToC Tracker shows who else is in the field.

If you’re curious to see how James’ stats so far shape up to those of Ken Jennings, you can find them at A James Holzhauer vs. Ken Jennings Statistical Comparison.

James has reached 800 correct responses on the show and has moved to #2 all-time on that list! See who else has at least 300 on our 300 Club page!

Did you attempt any of the online tests last month? You can find last week’s questions and answers here!

The Jeopardy! Book of Answers is out now! Here’s my review.

Are you going on the show and looking for information about how to bet in Final Jeopardy? Check out my new Betting Strategy 101 page!

I recently updated my tournament wild card models with as much tournament data that I’ve been able to find! If you’re playing in a tournament, you’ll want to check this out!


(Content continues below)

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Correct response: Who is Émile Zola?

Did you know that you can now find game-by-game stats of everyone, including James, who has won 10 or more games on Jeopardy!, here on the site?

More information about Final Jeopardy:

In his famous letter J’Accuse…!, French author Émile Zola was speaking out against the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, who had been suspected of providing military secrets to the Germans. France was experiencing a bout of anti-Semitism at the time and Zola contended that Dreyfus’ treason conviction had been based on false accusations, and that Major Esterhazy had in fact committed the crime, but the War Office was involved in a cover-up.

After being found guilty of libel, Zola fled to England and died in 1902, asphyxiated by chimney fumes. Dreyfus was exonerated in 1906 and returned to the French army.

Since Alex Trebek’s diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, many community members have been raising money. The Jeopardy! Fan Online Store is as well! All proceeds from any “Keep The Faith And We’ll Win” shirt sold will be donated to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. To date, over $300 has been raised.)

Looking to find out who won Jeopardy! today? Tonight’s results are below!

Scores going into Final:
James $49,229
Jenny $4,600
Adam $4,200

Tonight’s results:
Adam $4,200 – $4,199 = $1 (Who is ?)
Jenny $4,600 + $4,201 = $8,801
James $49,229 + $40,000 = $89,229 (23-day total: $1,780,237)

James Holzhauer, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the May 20, 2019 game.)

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
James $12,000
Adam $4,200
Jenny $1,800


Opening break taken after: 15 clues

Daily Double locations:
1) MURPHY, BROWN $1000 (4th pick)
James 1000 +1000 (Adam 1000 Jenny 200)
2) “O” THE PLACES YOU’LL GO $1600 (6th pick)
James 13200 +10617 (Adam 5800 Jenny -200)
3) A PRINCE AMONG MEN $1600 (8th pick)
James 25017 +9812 (Adam 5800 Jenny -1400)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 220

Unplayed clues:
J! round: None!
DJ! Round: None!
Total $ Left On Board: $0

Game Stats:
James $32,000 Coryat, 37 correct, 0 incorrect, 56.14% in first on buzzer, 2/2 on rebound attempts
Jenny $4,600 Coryat, 11 correct, 3 incorrect, 21.05% in first on buzzer, 1/2 on rebound attempts
Adam $4,200 Coryat, 10 correct, 2 incorrect, 21.05% in first on buzzer
Combined Coryat Score: $40,800
Lach Trash: $6,000 (on 3 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $7,200

James Holzhauer, stats to date:
841 correct, 27 incorrect
24/26 on rebound attempts (on 52 rebound opportunities)
58.87% in first on buzzer (763/1296)
52/56 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $483,845)
22/23 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $30,835

James Holzhauer, to win:
24 games: 98.062%
25: 96.162%
26: 94.298%
27: 92.471%
28: 90.679%
75: 36.145%
Avg. streak: 73.600 games.
(This is using the updated model.)


Tournament of Champions projections:
With a projected 79 regular-play games to go prior to the Tournament of Champions cutoff, after 500,000 simulations, our model shows:

James Holzhauer qualified 100.000% of the time.
Eric R. Backes qualified 93.800% of the time.
Anneke Garcia qualified 78.465% of the time.
Lindsey Shultz qualified 51.830% of the time.
Dave Leffler qualified 29.120% of the time.
Jonathan Dinerstein qualified 21.309% of the time.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • $89,229 is the 9th-highest one-day total of all time. James now holds the top 13 one-day totals of all time and 15 of the top 17. Arthur Chu’s February 27, 2014 win of $58,200, which sat 5th all-time in regular play prior to James’ run beginning, is now 20th.
  • If you took the 23 games James has already won out of the prediction model, it would still predict a streak of 51 games for James.
  • The prediction model gives James a 82.226% chance of surpassing Ken Jennings’ winnings total of $2,520,700.
  • James’ current per-game average winnings, $77,402, has surpassed Roger Craig’s previous one-day record of $77,000.
  • James’ current streak of hearing clues without giving an incorrect response sits at 151 after this game. He is believed to hold the record at 187 (set April 29-May 2).

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68 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – May 20, 2019"

  1. He’s not out of the running until James loses.

  2. Another perfect game. James is amazing.
    Have any spoilers been released?
    James has won more just on Daily Doubles than the total regular play winnings of anyone not named Ken.

    Also, as Ken had Zurg as the nemesis…did anyone notice that James faces another Levin this week? Hmmm…

  3. Matt Rose | May 20, 2019 at 12:06 pm |

    What date was the one shown on 5/20 actually taped. Weeks ago I assume. Asking because of 2 week teacher tournament break.

    • James’ 22nd game was the last game taped on a Wednesday; his 23rd game was the first game taped the following Tuesday.

      I am not publishing the specific dates, as comments from Alex Trebek regarding his cancer diagnosis turns knowledge of the specific tape dates into a spoiler.

      • What do you mean by this?
        We know that it is between late February and April 6.
        What is the Trebek cancer diagnosis timeline?

  4. Matt Rose | May 20, 2019 at 12:19 pm |

    What do you think is the most impressive part of James amazingly perfect play.

    I am going with his buzzer play as he seems like a robot in a zone. The way he rings in first so many times.

    Other choices would be…

    Starting with the 1,000 clues and working backwards.

    All the knowledge and correct answers on so many varying topics.

    His betting on the first 2 Daily Doubles to get a gigantic lead and then smartly only playing the 3rd Daily Double so he has a comfortable lead.

    Lastly, giving Jeopardy the best TV ratings maybe ever.

    Just some off the top of my head….

    • 35+ correct responses with 0 incorrect responses. Rinse. Repeat.
      His accuracy and buzzer speed is the most impressive part.
      The DD wagers of $9812+ are also important for demolishing the game.
      And being 22/23 on FJ. That is going to be the most important piece eventually.

      • Matt Rose | May 20, 2019 at 12:44 pm |

        Agree on the above but IMO the DD bets to get the big lead is more important than the FJ bets. As in most cases there is no real pressure as he has already won the game before his FJ bet.

        • Vader47000 | May 21, 2019 at 2:04 am |

          Just compare James’ games to the recent Teachers Tourney with the traditional top-to-bottom strategy to see how much those Daily Doubles effect the game when you have the money to really bet with them.

    • Everything comes back to his dominance on the signalling device. If he isn’t as strong with that, none of the rest of his game works as well as it does.

    • James is the perfect storm: vast knowledge, quick buzzer, bold wagering. He is what Roger Craig wanted to be. But James has the correct answers far, far more consistently than Roger; thus, he continues…

    • Christina O. | May 20, 2019 at 3:14 pm |

      Knowledge #1, Most Impressive Part of James’ Play!

      Contestants can only improve their buzzer play so much and while others can copy James’ tactics regarding wagering and board play how many can copy or come close to his range of knowledge?

      Another factor that many haven’t noted about James in blog comments or in stats is AGE. Ken Jennings has mentioned age as being a factor in two interviews I’ve viewed and what a difference 15 years makes in his play.

  5. Amazing range of knowledge. Has a good strategy and his mind seems to be superior to most. How is this guy going to be beat ? First time players no matter how educated or knowledgeable cannot compete with the experience he has gained . Few categories stump him and his confidence though not lacking continues to grow. I think he will only leave the show when he wants to . May even just after one show retire undefeated . Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    • Matt Rose | May 20, 2019 at 2:56 pm |

      I would assume that James has close to a photographic memory. With how fast he is on so many answers on different topics.

    • Matt Rose | May 20, 2019 at 2:57 pm |

      besides having a photographic memory, I read that James has an IQ of around 158, what are you got tested years ago. I looked up with 158 means >>> An IQ Score of 158 Means You Have Very Superior Intelligence.

  6. Bob Chang | May 20, 2019 at 1:36 pm |

    Just seven more games over his AVERAGE of 77,402 and James will have all 20 top scores!

    One small adjustment to the comment that Arthur Chu had the 5th best game with $58,200 prior to James but is now 20th. I believe Austin Rogers’ total of $65,600 on 10/2/17 was the 5th best prior to James, but is now 20th, while his total of 69,000 on 10/3/17 previously 3rd is now 18th.

    • Bob:

      My comments also said “regular play”; it does not include tournaments, Kids Week, or celebrity games.

      • Bob Chang | May 20, 2019 at 4:18 pm |

        Thanks once again Andy! You’ve created an amazing site for Jeopardy! fans!

    • Incognito123 | May 20, 2019 at 5:55 pm |

      I think they are going to need to say all the top scores SEPARATE from James’s. He should have his own classifications for top scores, because in all honesty, as pointed out here, he already has ALL of the top thirteen and growing. If he goes as far as he certainly is capable, he’d have 40-60 or more of the best scores with Roger seemingly having a “bad” score of the $77,000, and Ken with his even more “bad” score of $75,000. I really like Ken’s statements to the Washington Post today supporting James, so professional, can’t respect him enough!!

  7. Prithvi Sudhakar | May 20, 2019 at 1:47 pm |

    I have to say, James is an extremely knowledgeable contestant.

    Also, I think if would be amazing if Jeopardy! held another All-Star Games.

  8. Prithvi Sudhakar | May 20, 2019 at 1:53 pm |

    Believe it or not, some former Jeopardy! champions have also been stunned by his appearance and style of gameplay.

    If you watch this video here, then you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    • James was a well-known quizzer before this appearance. I would not say they are “stunned.”

      • Matt Rose | May 20, 2019 at 2:53 pm |

        From some things that I read, former Jeopardy winners are amazed by his having the nerve to go all in on extremely high DD and also his play of starting at the 1000 level

    • Thanks for the link, Prithvi. I really enjoyed it! One thing that would have been so cool on the video would have been having Austin or maybe Colby Burnett saying, “All I know, is that I want James on my next Champions’ Team!!!”

  9. I have a question: On the website there is a video about James with a montage of Ken, Austin, Brad, and Pam Mueller in the studio. Why would they be there at the same time?

    • Vader47000 | May 21, 2019 at 2:09 am |

      It’s “a” studio. Looks more like a chroma-key background — easily recorded at a Jeopardy affiliate station local to the person the show might have asked to speak about it, and edited together later.

  10. Jay Rosenberg | May 20, 2019 at 2:01 pm |

    Now that his average win is over $77K, do you think we will see a game where James bets > $77K on FJ while still having a lock game if he misses?

    If someone said 2 months ago that a player would have an average greater than the all time high score after 20+ games – would you have believed them? Or that they would broken the record in excess of 50% of their games played? I wouldn’t have. Are there any other records/single game achievements that would have been considered insane/impossible that you think are now within the realm of possibility?

  11. Prithvi Sudhakar | May 20, 2019 at 2:10 pm |

    I think James will someday reach two million dollars.

    Besides, who knows what he will do with all that cash?

  12. Prithvi Sudhakar | May 20, 2019 at 2:13 pm |

    I wonder how James would compare to Brad Rutter.

  13. Prithvi Sudhakar | May 20, 2019 at 2:21 pm |

    Also, I wonder why he had stopped doing all those shout-outs.

    • The show changed its policy shout outs are no longer allowed . Not sure why most were meaningful

    • Matt Rose | May 20, 2019 at 2:41 pm |

      I heard Jeopardy told him to stop. Guessing they don’t want to take the chance of some one in the future posting something inappropriate

    • Jeopardy has banned shoutouts now.

  14. After a two week break, I feel that the universe is now back to where it should be, with James back on the air and decimating his opponents.
    On another note, I recently returned from two weeks in Europe, and thank goodness for this website. I was able to keep track of all of James’ games by looking at the daily recap.

  15. Matt Rose | May 20, 2019 at 3:02 pm |

    What are the few dates where James had a close game. Think it has only happened 2 times. Where he didn’t have the win before the last FJ Question

  16. Prithvi Sudhakar | May 20, 2019 at 4:08 pm |

    One thing I find really interesting is how James writes his name a different way on each show…

    kind of like how Ken Jennings does.

  17. Bob Chang | May 20, 2019 at 4:46 pm |

    While Brad R and Ken J matches with James would generate interest, how about another human rematch with Deep Blue??? While James might fare better than Ken and Brad did against the version they faced, hopefully he wouldn’t have to face an upgraded version of that super computer! But increasingly hard for humans to win such competitions, as computers already far outrate top humans in games like chess.

  18. Going into final jeopardy, do you know why James gained 4000 back? I understand getting 2000 back for the “aspect ratio” question but where did the other 2000 come from?

  19. What did James say before wagering 10617 on the daily double? Can’t understand.

  20. What channel is Jeopardy on in Australia? Planning a trip and don’t want to miss James.

  21. On the May 20, 2019 episode, how did ms Gibbs lose the amount of $4,000 and not $2,000?

    • In order to go from a correct response to an incorrect one, you do not go from +2000 to 0, you go from +2000 to -2000; a difference of 4000.

      • Why is that the case? Say she had $6,000 going into the question, and then $8,000 after it. After that, they decided James was correct. (I can understand giving him $4,000 because he went from a -$2000 to +2,000 difference.) So then, it only makes sense that she goes from $8,000 to $6,000 because she there is a difference of $2,000 of them. It’s not like she gained an extra $2,000 from the question?

        • There were two completely separate score changes. “Display ratio” and “Pepin the Short” are two completely unrelated things.

        • To continue because I realized I had a few more thoughts.

          If they had immediately accepted James’ answer of “display ratio”, she would not have had the opportunity to gain that $2,000, leaving her at $6,000. So it really doesn’t make sense that she’d lose $4,000.

          • EJ:

            Jenny’s scoring change had nothing to do with the display ratio clue. It was because she said “Pepin the Short” on a completely different clue, which was ruled incorrect.

          • OH. I missed that. I mean, I saw it but it didn’t register properly. So since she missed the Pepin the Short question AND the loss of the $2,000 from giving James the correct answer, they took $4,000.

          • EJ:

            No. Jenny’s score on the display ratio clue was unaffected by rule. For the entire 35-year history of the show, a player has not lost money on a successful rebound, even if the original incorrect response is reversed. This can lead to multiple contestants getting credit for a correct response.

            The entirety of her score adjustment was going from +2000 to -2000 on Pepin the Short.

  22. Vader47000 | May 21, 2019 at 2:01 am |

    Assuming they let James in the Tournament of Champions. By that I mean they are just as likely to set up a special event for him to substitute for his tournament, the way they did for Ken Jennings, which was basically an All-Star tournament with Ken waiting at the finals.

    So I wouldn’t be surprised that instead of James in a TOC they created an Ultimate Showdown of James vs Ken vs Brad. Maybe a five-game match between the three.

  23. Chuck Buffer | May 21, 2019 at 1:51 pm |

    Given J! was running out of excuses to trot out Ken and Brad, James has to be the answer to their prayer!

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