Today’s Final Jeopardy – May 24, 2019

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category Around The USA) for Friday, May 24, 2019 (Season 35, Episode 185):

Astronomy buffs visit Idaho for the USA’s first dark sky reserve; oddly, part of it is this resort area with a bright name

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Today’s contestants:

Susan Waller, a K through 12 school administrator from Chester, Pennsylvania
Susan Waller on Jeopardy!
Sam Kooistra, a criminal defense lawyer from Tucson, Arizona
Sam Kooistra on Jeopardy!
James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, Nevada (26-day total: $1,991,135)
James Holzhauer on Jeopardy!

Will James break the $2 million mark today?

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 900 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)

If you appreciate the work I do here on The Jeopardy! Fan and would like to make a one-time contribution to the site, you may do so here!

Correct response: What is Sun Valley?

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:

The area around Ketchum, Idaho, near the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, is the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve; Sun Valley is a resort town adjacent to Ketchum. The idea of a dark sky reserve is so that people can view the night sky without light pollution.

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 $370 has been raised.)

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

Scores going into Final:
James $39,400
Susan $1,800
Sam -$2,000

Tonight’s results:
Sam -$2,000 (by rule, did not play Final Jeopardy)
Susan $1,800 – $0 = $1,800 (What ?)
James $39,400 + $35,000 = $74,400 (27-day total: $2,065,535) (What is Sun Valley? Las Vegas Strip)

James Holzhauer, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the May 24, 2019 game.)

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
James $24,600
Sam $2,200
Susan -$600


Opening break taken after: 15 clues

Daily Double locations:
1) THE BIG UNIT OF MEASURE $400 (22nd pick)
James 11600 +11600 (Sam 2000 Susan 0)
2) IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE $2000 (2nd pick)
Sam 2600 -2600 (James 24600 Susan -600)
3) LET’S GO TO THE OPERA $1600 (6th pick)
Sam -400 -2000 (James 24600 Susan -600)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: -100

Unplayed clues:
J! round: None!
Total $ Left On Board: $800

Game Stats:
James $28,200 Coryat, 37 correct, 2 incorrect, 61.82% in first on buzzer, 3/4 on rebound attempts
Susan $1,800 Coryat, 3 correct, 2 incorrect, 7.27% in first on buzzer, 0/1 on rebound attempts
Sam $2,600 Coryat, 10 correct, 5 incorrect, 23.64% in first on buzzer
Combined Coryat Score: $32,600
Lach Trash: $7,600 (on 6 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $11,000

James Holzhauer, stats to date:
977 correct, 31 incorrect
31/34 on rebound attempts (on 62 rebound opportunities)
58.12% in first on buzzer (884/1521)
59/63 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $545,654)
26/27 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $30,556

James Holzhauer, to win:
28 games: 98.057%
29: 96.152%
30: 94.284%
31: 92.452%
32: 90.656%
75: 38.995%
Avg. streak: 77.472 games.
(This is using the updated model.)


Tournament of Champions projections:
With a projected 75 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 93.930% of the time.
Anneke Garcia qualified 78.916% of the time.
Lindsey Shultz qualified 52.838% of the time.
Dave Leffler qualified 30.603% of the time.
Jonathan Dinerstein qualified 22.956% of the time.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • $74,400 is the 17th-highest one-day total of all time. James now holds 18 of the top 20 one-day totals.
  • $24,600 is a record score after the Jeopardy! round; the previous record is $22,012, set during James’ 7th game.
  • This was the 4th time that James had at least $20,000 after the Jeopardy! round.
  • James has been correct on his last 21 Final Jeopardy! clues.
  • The prediction model gives James a 88.894% chance of surpassing Ken Jennings’ winnings total of $2,520,700, and a 51.318% chance of James surpassing Brad Rutter’s all-time winnings total of $4,688,436. (At his current average, James would pass Ken on June 3 and Brad on July 26.)
  • James’ average winning total on Fridays is $69,079.
  • James’ weekly total, $374,527, is his lowest weekly total since his first full week (games 3 through 7) where he won $332,429.

Become a Supporter now! Make a monthly contribution to the site on Patreon!

Contestant photo credit:

When commenting, please note that all comments on The Jeopardy! Fan must be in compliance with the Site Comment Policy.

If you are going to quote any statistics from this page or this website, attribution is required.

Have you had a chance to listen to our new podcast game show, Complete The List, yet? Check it out! It’s also available on Apple Podcasts.

78 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – May 24, 2019"

  1. Anyone else bite on the Hailey negbait?

    The different spelling should have been a tip-off…

  2. 2 correct. James and 1 lucky guess. Have a nice weekend everybody!!

  3. “$52,108 is the 28th-highest winning score of all-time. Prior to the start of James’ run in April, it would have placed 9th.” Wasn’t that comment coming from yesterday?

    And look at how other contestants finding the DDs can “ruin” James’ score. Had James found those DDs and got them right, he would probably run his score into the $100k league.

  4. Tried leaving a comment earlier, but it didn’t take…anyway, I heard James has trivia game show appearances dating back to 2012…curious why it’s taken 7+ years to get on Jeopardy, because if his test scores correlate with his game performance, he should have been on much sooner.

    • Cary: Higher test scores do not correlate to an expedited appearance. The show takes demographics, location, and audition performance into account when casting (so that the show is not filled with a bunch of people of the same general age and location).

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 24, 2019 at 6:11 pm |

      Jeopardy does not always select the most intelligent contestants – it looks for “interesting” contestants who are also smart. Apparently James did not come across as “interesting” enough. Jeopardy also does not reimburse any expenses for those who make it to the show which is pretty cheap as far as I’m concerned. They have to pay their own travel (which likely also includes at least one other person), hotel, meals, etc. It probably costs at least $2,000 for most people to have the “privilege” of being on the show. That is also the reason that affects the final wagers of some contestants. I heard one contestant in an interview say that she had to at least come in second so she could pay for the expenses of being on the show. She was smart and a trivia buff, but did not work in a high income position. Knowing that Jeopardy does not pay for the expenses of the contestants who make money for THEIR show has made me lose a lot of respect for the show even though I still watch it regularly.

  5. That bet in Final is concerning. Runaway could have ended in a tie.

    • I’m not sure I follow. 4400 > 3600=1800*2, yes? (Sam, who was at 2200 after Jeopardy round, was negative by Final Jeopardy.)

  6. Bob Chang | May 24, 2019 at 12:42 pm |

    Besides, being James’s lowest full week since his first full week in April, it is the first week he’s failed to top $100k at least once. Yesterday also clearly marked his largest deficit, when down $12,800 ($19,400 to $6,600) early in DJ! he had his powerful comeback to seize and keep the lead and game!

    • Noumon Munir | May 24, 2019 at 4:33 pm |

      i feel like the pace that he is playing , fatigue has to be a factor now.

      • Elizabeth Harris | May 24, 2019 at 6:13 pm |

        Or maybe he’s just getting bored of it all now and wants to get back to his regular life.

      • Playing for 2 days every two weeks and making the money he’s making? I think not…

  7. Bob Chang | May 24, 2019 at 1:35 pm |

    Though James’s second lowest week, he maximized his chances limited largely because of hitting fewer DDs and some excellent competition as well He kept alive his amazing streak of beating the pre-James record of 77,000 at least twice every full week!

  8. James lead into DJ! is the record for largest ever as well.

  9. James said Las Vegas Strip in Final Jeopardy which isn’t the correct answer . Why was he given credit for $35,000 ? The fact is with this game it just so happens even if they took awa his $35,000 in final Jeopardy he would still end up winning with $4,400 . He’d have to wait until Monday for $2 Million. Why is Jeopardy! giving James credit for wrong answers?

    • Tony:

      That’s what he crossed out. By rule, anything crossed out is disregarded by the judges. His response was Sun Valley.

      • Elizabeth Harris | May 24, 2019 at 6:15 pm |

        I’m sure he did that as a joke. If you’ve ever flown in to LV airport, you know that out of the blackness arises the brilliant lights of the strip. He has a crazy sense of humor like that! And now that they won’t let him do shout-outs…

        • Exactly! The Las Vegas strip is the antithesis of a dark sky reserve; it was a monumentally tongue-in-cheek jest, and in case anyone missed the glaringly obvious, he said he “didn’t think it was in Idaho”. Las Vegas is his city; he knows where it’s located better than most of us, and we all know where it’s located. In fact, he knew the correct answer so surely and immediately he had time to amuse himself with a joke written and crossed off afterward. If anything, he should get an extra $35K for slyly tweaking the cavilling producers.

  10. I’m assuming his Las Vegas strip reply was intending to be comical. 🤣🤣🌞🌞

  11. W/the Las Vegas crossout, I think James has figured out a way to avoid the new and stupid “no shoutout” rule. Another “yay” for James.

  12. Noumon Munir | May 24, 2019 at 4:35 pm |

    wow …..i cannot believe I am saying this …Kens 15 year record has been beaten or i mean it WILL be beaten very soon. haven’t seen this high of total since 2004-2005 Ken ( i might be wrong on the years)

  13. Not a big fan of James cleaning up the final clues in Double Jeopardy. They were top of the board clues, the game wasn’t in doubt, and Sam had a chance to play his way out of the red. IMO, the gentlemanly thing to do would have been to lay off the buzzer.

    • With all due respect, it’s real money. 3rd place gets 1k and 2nd place gets 2k either way, but 1st place keeps all the real money, so there is no sense at all in letting a 3rd place person get out of the red for the sake of it. James is here to win the most money possible, that’s literally his profession, not to make friends and be a gentleman.

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 24, 2019 at 6:19 pm |

      Seriously?! This is not about being a “gentleman” – this is a GAME SHOW and the objective is to WIN. I’m very puzzled at all the haters getting on James’ case. No one treated Ken like this when he won $2.5 million – he was claimed as a hero for being such a winner. Have we changed so much in this country now that we want experts to perform BELOW their ability level?

    • Ed Collins | May 24, 2019 at 10:37 pm |

      The gentlemanly thing to do? Are you kidding me?? Since when does a gentleman not try his hardest? Since when does a gentleman allow someone to receive something without having them rightfully earn it?

    • Christina O. | May 25, 2019 at 5:44 pm |

      “…lay off the buzzer” why? It’s a game where each move, each answer, each buzz counts towards your score and James needs to keep on task and not start worrying about helping other players. James is playing for millions not $1,000 or $2,000.

  14. Dylan Long | May 24, 2019 at 5:11 pm |

    He is truly comical!

    • Other funny lines were about realizing being a Jeopardy contestant could be a career and the online poker major🤣🤣🤣

  15. And sure, Sam was getting paid the same no matter what, but James had an easy opportunity to save a competitor the embarrassment of finishing in the red and passed it up. I know it’s personal preference, but at that point in the game, I would leave the door open for him to stay at the podium.

  16. The clues were mean to Sam.

  17. Very annoying that Sam got the DD’s and then whiffed both of them.

  18. Bob Chang | May 24, 2019 at 7:57 pm |

    It was noted at current pace James would pass Brad Rutter’s all-time winnings on July 26 ( in his 61st game, a day before the season ends if I’m not mistaken). If he finishes this season undefeated (62-0) he would need to win just 13 more games to claim the last significant J! record. But an Adam or Nate, with better luck can arise any time. Because of Alex’s GMA interview (well after season end taping)where he said James had no weaknesses and he had reconsidered his assumption that Ken’s record would never be broken, that this implies James’s streak is at 62. Seems likely to me, but we’ll see!

    • Alex Trebek is a past master of speaking in the pretend present. It’s not a big trick for him to speak in the real present pretending ignorance of the recent past.

  19. Why did they give him credit for Dr. Dre? He pronounced it wrong!

    • “Dree” can be reasonably spelled “D-R-E’, so the judges gave credit.

      • Nancy Parker | May 24, 2019 at 8:54 pm |

        Also, early on in his run James made a joke about his dad, who eschewed pop culture but loved crossword puzzles. That is how his father pronounced it.

        • You’ve heard his father prounce Dre then? Or am I missing something here? All I’m saying is I’ve heard mispronunciations become soon to be lost points.

          Either way, I love James and laugh so hard throughout the episodes. He is accidentally the funniest, quirkiest, most animated-yet-subdued, people I’ve ever known of! Go James!

          Also I’m loving how these other contestants are trying to “play like James” going after 1000s first and wagering more in DD.

        • Elizabeth Harris | May 25, 2019 at 9:53 pm |

          On April 22.

    • But sometimes they do not allow incorrect pronoucations.

      • It’s generally ruled on a case-by-case basis.

        • In this case, it was mispronounced on purpose. Seriously, people, pay attention. Whenever James says something beyond the straight, quick response, there’s a humorous or sentimental flourish on the bass clef. Many or most are so obscure only he gets the reference, but he’s thinking about twice as fast as the rest of us and needs to entertain himself while we’re wrinkling our brows and stroking our beards. If you don’t get his jokes, bet on it being that you just haven’t gotten them yet.
          Mispronunciations are errors when they’re errors, not when they’re humorous self-referential distortions.

        • Nancy Parker | May 25, 2019 at 12:34 am |

          Also, a mispronunciation is generally disqualified if a letter is added or omitted, which wasn’t the case here.

  20. Nancy Parker | May 24, 2019 at 8:16 pm |

    For a while there, I though James would be alone in FJ. Has that ever happened before? If so, does the one contestant get to do FJ by themselves?

  21. MojaveDon | May 24, 2019 at 8:29 pm |

    North of Las Vegas is the Black Rock Desert. We camped there years ago and the night sky is unreal. Amazing what you can see. I have been watching and playing Jeopardy! Since the Art Fleming days of the 1960s and I haven’t seen anyone dominate the game to this degree. James must really have a photographic memory. Remind me never to get in a blackjack game with him! Ken won, but his scores were not anywhere as high as James’. I have tried to get on the show, was actually at a tryout in LA just before Ken’s shows were televised. They were desperately trying to find someone to compete with him. I do well playing at home, but James is in a different universe. I think the only thing that will stop him is boredom. He’ll want to take his earnings and jump into a giant poker game in Macao.

    • Well, I hope his boredom kicks in soon, mine already started. ( Yeah, yeah, I’m a “hater” …blah, blah, blah. Shake it off everybody.)

  22. Even putting the DD on the bottom row hasn’t worked at keeping James from racking up a high win

    • Is that by design to push him to start higher in the category columns? It’s definitely reduced his cashouts, and my respect for the game if it’s actually being manipulated to thwart a winning strategy.

      • James hit the DD on the very first pick a couple of times and some people saw a pattern instead of a coincidence. James is great for the show’s ratings and it would be crazy for it to covertly make a change that would hinder him and compromise its appearance of impartiality and fairness. The DDs have historically been more likely to appear in the lower rows, presumably through a random process that weights the rows in a manner that has produced the long-term averages that have resulted (someone who pays closer attention to these things might be able to say if there are other limitations, such as preventing them from appearing on clues with a guest reader; many years ago it seemed like if there was a picture or audio category that a DD was very likely to appear in it, but that seems to have stopped, perhaps as a result of the incident in which a visually-impaired contestant encountered a video DD).

  23. We love the James Holzhauer Hour with Alex Trebek. Keep up the good work James! Be the change 😉

  24. @Colby, re … the gentlemanly thing to do would have been to lay off the buzzer.
    I disagree. Personally, if I were one of those players, I would not want to be played down to – it would feel like an insult. There isn’t a person who gets on that show who doesn’t deserve to be there; the testing and interviews don’t allow for that. Why treat them like they don’t? Like they need help?

    I look at James the same way I look at elite athletes. Did anyone ever get bored watching Wayne Gretzky play hockey? Did anyone ever want him to let the other team get the puck? In his heyday, should Tiger Woods have played a lesser game, so others would look better?
    In everything, there will be those who are head and shoulders above the rest. They’re the elite. If Jeopardy was a team sport, James would get the MVP award. It’s not a team sport, and he’s playing at a different level and deserves respect, in my opinion.

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 25, 2019 at 12:27 pm |

      Totally agree with Kate. The bias against anything academic these days in which everyone is presumed “equal” is rather stunning. It’s amazing the public doesn’t seem to want the level playing field in other areas. I don’t want a “boring” but highly intelligent physician giving away some of his extra points on the board examinations to a less qualified doctor, and I don’t want a player on any game show doing anything but trying to win the most points possible. I celebrate excellence in ANY field of endeavor. James’ pre-K teacher stated that he could add two-digit numbers in his head instantaneously on his first day of school at 4 years old and that he learned to read at 2 years. He is obviously on a different plane – and I’m enjoying so much reveling in his acquired skill set!

  25. Cheryl Siegel | May 25, 2019 at 7:30 pm |

    Totally agree with Kate. Well said.

  26. Andy,

    Feel free to delete this if necessary. I have a prediction. Just read on Friday that “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” was cancelled, somewhat abruptly and definitely unexpected. This leads to believe that Chris Harrison may be the new host of Jeopardy when the Fall season starts. While Alex can never be replaced, Harrison in my opinion would be a great new host for Jeopardy. He’s intelligent, handsome, young, witty, and has considerable experience with trivia-based shows. I certainly hope Alex will be able to complete his contract, but it’s not sounding very promising. I’ve thought for a while now that Chris would be a great host when Alex retired (much better than comedians or prior players) and this sudden cancellation leads me to believe this may already be happening. I tweeted Harrison with this prediction, but of course there has been no reply (which in itself might be a confirmation). Wondering your thoughts on this prediction. If you want to keep it off the board I understand.

    Thanks and have a great Memorial Day weekend,


    • Frank Smith | May 26, 2019 at 4:59 pm |

      I think this is a good prediction, as unlikely as it seems.

    • Christina O. | May 26, 2019 at 6:55 pm |

      Perhaps Chris Harrison is going to be busy with The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

      I read online an interview USA Today did with Alec in February 2019 where he mentioned CNN’s Laura Coates, LA Kings announcer Alex Faust and TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz. These three seem like serious contenders.

  27. Since I’ve seen posts here by Jeopardy! contestants, this forum is obviously well-known to those in the Jeopardy! universe. I really hope and pray Mr. Trebek is not a devotee, for I’d hate for him to be exposed to.the ghoulish comments above. The man’s alive and fighting people, cmon!

    • Jim,

      I did not mean for my thoughts to come off as ghoulish and I’m sorry you read them as such. I sincerely respect Mr. Trebek and will miss him when he retires. What he has done with a game show from the 60’s (which I loved then as well) has been phenomenal. But he has already said he is going to retire. I sincerely hope that he beats this cruel disease, but in the last three years I have lost two good friends to the same malady. My comment was only to remark on the coincidences I noticed, plus the fact I think Chris Harrison would be a great host of Jeopardy. My apologies if my comments were misconstrued, that was not my intent.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: