Today’s Final Jeopardy – May 29, 2019


Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category 19th Century Novels) for Wednesday, May 29, 2019 (Season 35, Episode 188):

The author of this tale dedicated the novel to British philosopher William Godwin, her father

(correct response beneath the contestants)


Today’s contestants:

Lisa Clark, a freelance designer from Atlanta, Georgia
Lisa Clark on Jeopardy!
Faizan Kothari, an investment banking analyst from New York, New York
Faizan Kothari on Jeopardy!
James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, Nevada (29-day total: $2,254,938)
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 1,000 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!

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Correct response: What is Frankenstein?


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:

William Godwin was the father of author Mary Shelley, who wrote her first novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus at the age of 21. She had met her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, as he had been one of Godwin’s followers. Godwin’s methods of educating his daughter including teaching her to write by writing letters; though she received little formal education, Godwin tutored his daughter in a variety of subjects. Frankenstein was written in the summer of 1816 in Geneva.


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 $43,914
Faizan $9,200
Lisa $2,800


Tonight’s results:
Lisa $2,800 – $2,799 = $1 (What is :)?)
Faizan $9,200 + $23 = $9,223
James $43,914 + $25,119 = $69,033 (30-day total: $2,323,971)


James Holzhauer, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the May 29, 2019 game.)


Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
James $10,400
Faizan $5,200
Lisa $2,000


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Opening break taken after: 15 clues


Daily Double locations:
1) 1919 $600 (9th pick)
James 2800 +2800 (Faizan 2800 Lisa 0)
2) ONE BIG SWAMP $1600 (2nd pick)
James 12400 +11914 (Faizan 5200 Lisa 2000)
3) SPACE “EX” $1600 (5th pick)
Faizan 6800 -4000 (James 25514 Lisa 2000)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 137


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


Game Stats:
James $31,400 Coryat, 35 correct, 1 incorrect, 59.65% in first on buzzer
Faizan $13,200 Coryat, 15 correct, 1 incorrect, 26.32% in first on buzzer
Lisa $2,800 Coryat, 6 correct, 1 incorrect, 12.28% in first on buzzer
Combined Coryat Score: $47,400
Lach Trash: $3,000 (on 3 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $3,600


James Holzhauer, stats to date:
1,089 correct, 32 incorrect
31/34 on rebound attempts (on 63 rebound opportunities)
58.39% in first on buzzer (988/1692)
65/69 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $610,971)
29/30 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $30,867


James Holzhauer, to win:
31 games: 97.334%
32: 94.245%
33: 91.259%
34: 91.027%
35: 89.081%
75: 35.324%
Avg. streak: 72.951 games.
(This is using the updated model and now takes into account performance on specific days of the week).


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Tournament of Champions projections:
With a projected 72 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 93.592% of the time.
Anneke Garcia qualified 77.744% of the time.
Lindsey Shultz qualified 50.217% of the time.
Dave Leffler qualified 26.747% of the time.
Jonathan Dinerstein qualified 18.674% of the time.


Andy’s Thoughts:

  • $69,033 is the 22nd-highest regular play total of all time. James currently holds 21 of the top 25 single-game regular-play totals of all time.
  • James has been correct on his last 24 Final Jeopardy! clues.
  • The prediction model gives James a 97.334% chance to win on Thursdays, 96.826% to win on Fridays, 96.832% to win on Mondays, 99.746% to win on Tuesdays, and 97.862% to win on Wednesdays.
  • The prediction model currently gives James a 91.403% chance of surpassing Ken Jennings’ total of $2,520,700, and a 48.638% chance of surpassing Brad Rutter’s all-time winnings total of $4,688,436. (At his current average win total, James would pass Ken on June 3 and Brad on July 25.)

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39 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – May 29, 2019"

  1. Any comments on yesterdays poll, based on about 20-25 replies.
    Either a comment on these contestants, commenting on ones that you missed or saying you think some are ranked too high or low

    Rank your Favorite players ever on Jeopardy? The ones you most enjoyed watching…
    List as many as you want, in order if possible……

    16 – James Holzhauer
    10 – Austin Rogers
    8 – Ken Jennings
    5 – Buzzy Cohen
    5 – Larissa Kelly

    3 – Julia Collins
    3 – Dave Madden
    3 – Alex Jacobs
    3 – Cindy Stowell
    3 – Arthur Chu

    2 – Matt Jackson
    2 – Brad Rutter
    2 – Alan Lin
    2 – Cliff Calvin

    1 – Levar Burton
    1 – Leonard Cooper
    1 – Roger Craig
    1 – Jackie Fuchs
    1 – Regis Philbin
    1 – Rachel Lindgren
    1 – Kristen Cutts
    1 – Lisa Schlitt
    1 – Colby Burnett
    1 – Frank Spangenberg
    1 – Eddie Timanus
    1 – John Presloid

    • Patrick Byrnes | May 29, 2019 at 11:12 am | Reply

      I should have voted yesterday. Eddie Timanus was a special player. I got to see him while a high school student when he competed at Radio City.

      It’s just unbelievable he was such a strong player while being totally blind. I also currently follow him on twitter and he’s a great sports writer, which I just don’t understand how he’s able to manage while being blind.

      He’s a uniquely talented individual. All-time Jeopardy great.

    • Zoe Wimberly | May 29, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Reply

      Wow really surprised at the lack of Rutter love. I guess he’s seen as the all-time Jeopardy villain? I guess it makes sense though lol, Ken is more universally known and loved.

      • I told Brad on Twitter that if Jeopardy didn’t have the 5-day limit when he was first on, he would still be the champion today.

    • Blair Hamren | May 29, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Reply

      I missed voting yesterday, but here is who I would have voted on, and why:

      James Holzhauer because I have seen all his episodes and am amazed.
      Austin Rogers because he was as a unique a character as ever was on.
      Ken Jennings because I watched all 74 of his shows (used VCR with timer).
      Buzzy Cohen because his game play was fun to watch.
      Larissa Kelly because of the recent team tournament – I thought she was great.
      Alex Jacobs because of his unorthodox style of play. He was so nonchalant.

  2. Watch jeopardy a lot . Only player I could identify and name would be the current champion . Might remember their face if I saw them but not the name without some help. James has made the show almost must see tv even for former casual watchers .

    • I am kind of like you..or even a little more casual….. .and out of the list, these are the main Jeopardy contestants I can picture…

      16 – James Holzhauer
      10 – Austin Rogers
      8 – Ken Jennings
      5 – Buzzy Cohen

  3. Peter Kaemmerlen | May 29, 2019 at 11:55 am | Reply

    What about tonight’s game resulted in a significant decrease in the model’s estimation of him winning going forwards? .7% for a normal player would be nothing, but James has consistently been over 98% via the model for a couple of weeks, and his Coryat was right at his average.

    • Peter: The model specifies “now takes into account performance on specific days of the week” and the “Andy’s Thoughts” section gives the model’s predictions for James’ chances on specific days of the week. James’ performances are stronger on Tuesday and Wednesday (he takes Monday to warm up, and he tires a bit by Thursday and Friday); thus, in order to model James’ streak as accurately as possible, it should take into account his fluctuations through the taping week.

      • The Monday to Friday breakdown analysis that you mention above. Are those 5 shows, usually filmed on the same day. As I think they tape 5 shows a day, 2 times a week.

      • I agree with the logic — especially on Thursday/Friday — but I wonder how statistically significant the differences are? Also, do you do it simply by estimating the mean/variance from each day of the week individually? The counterpoint to that approach is that this would increase the variance quite a bit. Even a performance like his 130k on Monday really increases the variance /on Mondays/ quite a bit, and really cause the (estimated) winning percentage to go down quite a bit. Here you also see the defect in the AM-GM inequality come into play — If I understand correctly, this modeling will always lower the expected streak length. (Modeling the length with a straight geometric always seemed a bit suspect, but I wonder whether there’s a middle-ground where one still bases the averages/variances on the long-term running average with perhaps some additional fatigue factor instead of allowing the variances to be unduly affected by limiting sample size.)

        Unfortunately, either way, it seems hard to validate the model. (The model is also set to post-Jennings numbers, right? So I guess it’d be hard to validate at all by seeing how the model treats Jennings aggregate statistics, vs. his day-by-day statistics, and how accurately they predict a streak like his.)

        • For what it’s worth, Jennings showed up to the tapings of Games #74 and #75 more jet-lagged than normal. He had been in Toronto the previous weekend doing promotional work (throwing out the first pitch at a Blue Jays game, for starters). There’s really no way for any model to take this into account, other than the variance already baked into it.

          And, to me, I am perfectly okay with the increased variance that the update accounts for, especially because James plays what can be a high-variance strategy. He’s not guaranteed to get all three Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy correct every game, and because of his chosen bet sizing, not going 4-for-4 is going to have an effect on his win chances.

          (And, for what it’s worth, the current amount of variance on each day of the week is similar to the overall 30-game average; there’s obviously a slightly different mean and standard deviation each day that causes the change in percentages.)

      • Elizabeth Harris | May 29, 2019 at 9:24 pm | Reply

        I don’t think it’s true that he always tires by the end of the week. What also happens is that other players figure out his strategy by watching him for three games and try to implement portions of it with some success.

  4. Dang, if only James had wagered $387 more in Final J! :/

    • Jay Rosenberg | May 29, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Reply

      Two forbidden numbers – what would have done – redo it and make him change his wager by a dollar?

      • $420 actually isn’t forbidden, believe it or not. According to one contestant’s interaction with Maggie, at least.

  5. Andy…if you missed this question above, can you answer this… Thanks, Much Appreciated…

    The Monday to Friday breakdown analysis that you mention above. Are those 5 shows, usually filmed on the same day. As I think they tape 5 shows a day, 2 times a week.

  6. Today’s 30th game by James is a good benchmark in the Ken vs James comparison, as it is when Ken broke through the $1M barrier. The biggest difference I see besides betting strategy on DDs and FJ is FJ accuracy. James’s getting 29 out of 30 is other worldly, compared to Ken’s otherwise excellent 19 or 20 out of 30. It shows incredible accuracy and breadth of knowledge.

  7. Pam Mueller not listed in the tally of yesterday’s responses. I voted for her (and can’t understand why others didn’t).

    E. coli

    • Sorry if I missed one…as there were a lot to go through, and I even did a double check on the names, I guess it was is a spot that I missed.

      Sorry, but as you can see, I listed a lot and included, like 20 with only 1 vote.

      And I will try to make up for it, and try to imprint her name on others.

      PAM MUELLER
      PAM MUELLER PAM MUELLER
      PAM MUELLER PAM MUELLER PAM MUELLER
      PAM MUELLER PAM MUELLER
      PAM MUELLER

  8. I absolutely agree that a strategy such as James increases the variance in a hard-to-model way. I guess my comment is more that the increased variance seems to come from other factors more than the day-to-day changes. It’s really more that the normal approximation you use is less precise because of these large bets. Frankly, these probably change the approximation from normal much more than your model suggests. (Already the different score values on clues changes the convergence to normality, and when you have some changes that are very dramatic, these do so even more. I wonder whether the approximate normality of Coryat scores (which have kind of a bounded Lipschitz property) is much better behaved than scores going into final Jeopardy (which take into account the DD bets) with regards to the tails. These large DD bets should really flatten out the tails quite a bit, to be honest.

    Anyways: I’m not trying to denigrate your hard work or modeling, which I find quite interesting! And I’m really enjoying the statistics/work going into your site! So please take my comments just as an honest intellectual comments/debate on a topic I’m somewhat interested in :).

  9. What actual taping day are we on? Middle of March?
    It has been widely published that Saturday, April 6 was the final season taping with many of the greats present (undoubtedly James’ “favorite moment”) for an end of season wrap and hopefully not Alex’s final episode. [There was an interview with Alex today where he stated some of his tumors have decreased in size.]

  10. Noumon Munir | May 29, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Reply

    james is the pinnacle of perfection in this game we call jeopardy! strategy, execution, buzzer, and it all

  11. Jody Spencer | May 29, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Reply

    Ken Jennings will always be my favorite. I’m not a casual fan–I watch every day. I would also vote for Eric Newhouse, Arthur Chu, and of course I’m enjoying James Holzhauer.

  12. Thinking about James now winning $2,32 Million over 30 games with an average of close to $77,000 daily.

    To put that $77,000 daily average for 30 games in perspective, that is more than most Americans make in a 30 year long lifetime career.

  13. Mark Warner | May 29, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Reply

    James looks like he is willing to have some fun while playing instead of staying focused every single second. To me that makes him more human and more likable. I see him as happy and not at all disrespectful of the game.

  14. Peter Wulfsohn | May 29, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Reply

    — I was distracted during the interview segment today. What was James’ response to Alex’s question regarding his largest gambling loss?

  15. Peter Wulfsohn | May 29, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Reply

    — I was distracted during the interview segment today. What was James’ response to Alex’s question regarding his largest gambling loss? (This may a duplicate entry. Mea culpa)!

  16. In an interview James said in response to the question what is your greatest memory of your historic run. James said it hasn’t aired yet. I’m confident the contestants on Jeopardy! sign a non disclousure agreement which prevents them from talking about their experience on the show until the shows air. What would be considered a violation of the Non Disclousure agreement? Is saying his greatest memory hasn’t aired yet a violation of the agreement or would he have to say what the moment was? How strict is the NDA and what is the penalty for a violation of the NDA. I’m surprised James is so open to the media with all the money he has on the line He hasn’t even got paid from Jeopardy! yet and won’t until 120 days after his final show airs. .

    • There are former contestants who swing by from time to time who would be better equipped than I to answer that question.

      • There are terms in the release you sign prior to taping that prevent various disclosures. I’m not sure how James making an unverifiable non-statement about his “greatest memory” could violate any of the terms that were in the agreement I signed.

    • Someone on the Jeopardy subreddit said he texted James and he said it was the “Dr. Dree” moment. People said judging by his post history, he does know James in real life. The interview was published May 23rd, and was probably conducted before that. The Dr. Dree episode aired May 24.

      • Thank you , for your reply. I wouldn’t think that would violate the NDA then ,because, it wasn’t talking about the actual outcome of the show or anything . James has a history on game shows I’m sure he knows what he can and can’t say. I’m just surprised he’s so open to giving interviews and doing podcasts and everything with all the money that he has on the line. I wonder how Jeopardy ! would handle that type of situation with James with a NDA I’m not saying he did commit a violation of the NDA if that was the moment he was talking about it likely wasn’t a violation of the NDA ,but, since James is obviously really helping Jeopardy! ratings getting past Judge Judy and thngs I wonder if they would give James more slack? I don’t know just wondering. His run is amazing. I’m excited to see how long it goes.

  17. @Andy
    Great news about Alex’ condition. Just heard it on CNN.!!

    But btw, I think James is STILL playing. There is an audience, and even if (idk) have to sign a NDA, somebody would have leaked it already if – and when – James lost to the National Enquirer et al……
    A secret is only a secret if only 2 people know it and one of them is dead.
    James or anyone of the J crew would most likely not talk – the J people have a job to lose – and James seems to be a fair enough character to stick to an agreement etc. But the audience???????????? IF James lost already, SOMEBODY would have leaked it pretty fast to the highest bidder. Though the shows are aired about 8 weeks later, having somebody lose who has won over 2 million is something everybody would have figured out and also have been aware that the news would be worth a lot to some tabloid.
    So I would not be surprised if we go into the summer break with James still playing…
    Any thoughts on that, AndY? Anyone??

    • Christopher Denault | May 30, 2019 at 8:50 am | Reply

      Well, if Andy did happen to know any pertinent info about this, he certainly won’t be the one to spoil it by mentioning it here. 😉

    • How do you prove you aren’t just making it up? I’m guessing no one is taking pics in there.

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