Today’s Final Jeopardy – May 30, 2019

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category National Anthems) for Thursday, May 30, 2019 (Season 35, Episode 189):

Its anthem was adopted in 1947 to replace one by Joseph Haydn that had been tainted by association with Nazis

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Today’s contestants:

Rob Wolf, a family physician from Newark, Delaware
Rob Wolf on Jeopardy!
Megan Browndorf, a librarian from Washington, D.C.
Megan Browndorf on Jeopardy!
James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, Nevada (30-day total: $2,323,971)
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 Austria?

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:

David Kendall’s is an excellent source about national anthems around the world. Austria’s current anthem, “Land der Berge, Land am Strome”, adopted February 25, 1947, is purported to have had its tune been written by Mozart, but most scholars believe now that it is written by Johann Holzer.

The previous anthem was “Sei gesegnet ohne Ende”, to the tune of Haydn’s “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser”, the same tune as used by the Third Reich.

Note also that with the wording of the Final Jeopardy clue, the clue says the original anthem was by Haydn, not the current anthem. (When Clue of the Day was posted on the Jeopardy! website, a few concerned readers contacted me here at The clue, as I see it, is correct.)

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 $41,612
Megan $12,200
Rob $8,400

Tonight’s results:
Rob $8,400 – $8,399 = $1 (What is Belgium?)
Megan $12,200 – $4,601 = $7,599 (What is Ger)
James $41,612 + $17,000 = $58,612 (31-day total: $2,382,583)

James Holzhauer, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the May 30, 2019 game.)

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
James $14,800
Rob $3,200
Megan $1,400


Opening break taken after: 15 clues

Daily Double locations:
1) WORLD FACTS $800 (5th pick)
James 4000 +4000 (Megan 0 Rob 0)
2) WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? $1600 (4th pick)
James 16800 +9812 (Rob 3200 Megan 1400)
3) FILL IN THEIR DATES $800 (18th pick)
James 31412 +5000 (Megan 9400 Rob 7600)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 174

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

Game Stats:
James $26,000 Coryat, 32 correct, 1 incorrect, 52.63% in first on buzzer
Megan $12,200 Coryat, 12 correct, 1 incorrect, 21.05% in first on buzzer, 1/1 on rebound attempts
Rob $8,400 Coryat, 12 correct, 1 incorrect, 21.05% in first on buzzer, 1/1 on rebound attempts
Combined Coryat Score: $46,600
Lach Trash: $5,400 (on 4 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $2,000

James Holzhauer, stats to date:
1,122 correct, 33 incorrect
31/34 on rebound attempts (on 65 rebound opportunities)
58.20% in first on buzzer (1018/1749)
68/72 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $629,783)
30/31 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $30,710

James Holzhauer, to win:
32 games: 96.826%
33: 93.759%
34: 93.520%
35: 91.521%
36: 89.586%
75: 37.971%
Avg. streak: 75.463 games.
(This is using the updated model and now takes into account performance on specific days of the week).


Tournament of Champions projections:
With a projected 71 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 93.7572% of the time.
Anneke Garcia qualified 78.317% of the time.
Lindsey Shultz qualified 51.498% of the time.
Dave Leffler qualified 28.631% of the time.
Jonathan Dinerstein qualified 20.676% of the time.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • James is $138,117 from Ken Jennings’ all-time regular-season total of $2,520,700.
  • $58,612 is the 26th-highest regular play total of all time. James currently holds 22 of the top 26 single-game regular-play totals of all time.
  • James has been correct on his last 25 Final Jeopardy! clues.
  • The prediction model now gives James a 97.886% chance to win on Thursdays, up from 97.334%.
  • The prediction model currently gives James a 93.403% chance of surpassing Ken Jennings’ total of $2,520,700, and a 50.054% 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 26.)

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111 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – May 30, 2019"

  1. I know you can bring us the final jeopardy question as soon as The New York Times is available. I’m curious – where is the game played so early that you can post the recap for us in the Eastern time zone by 1 or 2 pm? I LOVE that you do!

    • He mentioned this in some previous comment, some time ago. There’s a TV station in Alabama that plays the episode at 9:30 CST.

      • Thank you Paul. As you may have guessed, I just discovered this web site a couple of months ago. Is there a Frequently Asked Questions column on here,do you know?

      • Technically, this time of year it’s broadcast at 9:30 CDT – an hour earlier than 9:30CST.

        • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 8:04 pm |

          And in Japan they play it t 5:30 p.m. Mon-Fri which is 4:30 a.m. EST

  2. Matt Rose | May 30, 2019 at 10:00 am |

    IMO, I think you should update this front summary page for 30 games and second on this list, especially as once clicked on, the backup brings up all of James 30 games… Also as Ken and James are probably the 2 that most people are interested. They should be listed 1 and 2.

    Through April 18, 2019, 8 players have won 10 or more games on Jeopardy!:
    Ken Jennings (74 wins)

    Julia Collins (20 wins)

    David Madden (19 wins)

    Matt Jackson (13 wins)

    Austin Rogers (12 wins)

    Seth Wilson (12 wins)

    Arthur Chu (11 wins)

    James Holzhauer (11 wins)

  3. The clue today is wrong, though by just 1 year. The anthem was adopted on Oct. 22, 1946 and not in 1947. Composed by qa compatriot and contemporary of haydn, None other than Mozart, part of the “Freimaurer Kantate”. Was never intended to be a national anthem and that work was the last one Mozart completed before his death. That particular song is K. 623(a) = Koechelverzeichnis #623(a), the entire work is K.623. The Koechel catalogue lists the works of W.A. Mozart in chronological order with some pertinent remarks if applicable.
    I am surprised that J. makes such a blunder, especially in a FJ clue. It is just 1 year, but still. A player who gets it wrong could say he was “mislead”…….
    Btw, I AM Austrian by birth and came to the States in 1984. History and classical music are hobbies of mine, in addition I have a doctorate in history from the University of Vienna. My dissertation or thesis was about Austria from 1900 to 1955, from the “golden” years of the Habsburgs (yes, the name is spelled with a “B” in German) to when Austria became a free, independent and neutral (after the Swiss role model) country again, the 2. Republic and the ONLY country EVER the the USSR gave up volintarily.
    This should be a solve by all 3 players (or 2 if only 2 should be left for FJ).

    Most of all I was really happy to hear the news about Alex onCNN yesterday!!! He will beat this pancreatic cancer and all the prayers and of course thye treatment seem to work, despite this being one of the nastiest things one can get.

    • Sean:

      The Austrian government’s website disagrees.

      The clue is correct.

      • No, it is not. They have been changed to be gender neutral (thus the melody is slightly different by a few bars) but not accepted by the people. Most still sing the old version of “Heimat bist Du grosser Soehne”, leaving out the daughters.
        And the anthem was published in the “Bundesgesetzblatt” in 1947 but already declared as Austrias anthem on 2. October 1946. In theory its only law when it is published in
        1. the Bundesgesetzblatt
        2, die “Wiener Zeitung”, the official government newspaper.
        The de facto adoption happened in 1946, but laws are usually published a few months later, especially in Austria. Everything is “gemuetlich” there and my old country is known for many things, speed not being one of them.

        • Primary sources give 1947 for the date of official adoption, and primary sources are what Jeopardy needs to confirm its clues.

        • Plus, it would not be the first time that the Austrian government was wrong and it will not be the last time. Right now they did not even have a government until yesterday, since the vice chancellor resigned, the minister of the interior was canned and then President van der Bellen dismissed the entire government because of the Ibiza scandal. New elections will be held in September, until then Austria has a temporary chancellor, for the first tima a woman. Used to be the first female President of the Constitutional Court since 2018, her name is Brigitte Bierlein. Funny enough, Bierlein is a diminuitive of “Bier”=beer, so her name translates as “small beer”….😊

          • Well that’s the government’s fault, not Jeopardy’s fault

          • It’s no one’s fault. Preferring a “de facto” date as opposed to an “in theory” date (in other words, the beginning of a legal process instead of its conclusion, when something’s officially adopted) is purely idiosyncratic. The definitive legal date is clearly the latter; Sean L. chooses to proclaim the former, for reasons of his own. Jeopardy! doesn’t share those reasons, so has no grounds or impetus to contradict the official date.

  4. Lecrecia Wilson | May 30, 2019 at 11:24 am |

    I don’t understand why there is so much made of James maybe surpassing Ken Jennings, when that Brad R. made twice what Ken did??

    • Most of Brad’s winnings came in touranments where the prize was $1 million+.

      • Plus, it’s not even close to twice as much. In regular games: Ken won $2,520,700 in 75 games; Brad won $55,102 + a couple cars in 5 games. Brad won his Tournament of Champions while Ken skipped his. Brad has continued winning lucrative Tournaments over the ensuing 19 years, but even so has won only 139% of Ken’s total on Jeopardy!, not 200%.

        Their accomplishments aren’t comparable, whereas James Holzhauer’s is directly comparable to Ken’s. 20 years down the road, when James has won 500 games, 8 tournaments and $450M on Jeopardy!, a page comparing him to Brad Rutter will maybe make some sense.

  5. Matt Rose | May 30, 2019 at 11:35 am |

    Maybe others do this well also, but James seems to do this perfectly…

    James 3rd DD bet shows how good and smart he is, with a DD3 bet of $5,000. Enough for a good DD win of $10,000. But also enough of a cushion if he missed the 3rd DD. 9400+9400= 18,400 to 31412-5000 = 26412

    So an 8,000 $ cushion, if someone runs a whole category,

    Daily Double locations:
    1) WORLD FACTS $800 (5th pick)
    James 4000 +4000 (Megan 0 Rob 0)
    2) WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? $1600 (4th pick)
    James 16800 +9812 (Rob 3200 Megan 1400)
    3) FILL IN THEIR DATES $800 (18th pick)
    James 31412 +5000 (Megan 9400 Rob 7600)
    Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 174

    • Noumon Munir | May 30, 2019 at 1:53 pm |

      yeah exactly he has the game all played out in his favor

    • I kind of followed you, but I get your gist. But if he did miss the DD, and ended up with 26,412, Megan only needed to add $3,806 to her $9,400 to be within striking distance and one wrong final jeopardy answer from winning. Not an 8K buffer.

      • Matt Rose | May 30, 2019 at 2:44 pm |

        Yes, you are correct as it would have been a 4,000 cushion at FJ. Not 8,000.

        I think I got confused as his starting DD3 # of $32,412 was much lower than usual. So there is less play and guarantee.

  6. Matt Rose | May 30, 2019 at 11:40 am |

    Place your bets….So what do you think, 1 or 2 or 3 games for James to break the Ken Jennings record…with $138,117 needed…

    Per Andy thoughts above >> James is $138,117 from Ken Jennings’ all-time regular-season total of $2,520,700.

    • I hope 2 but I’ll bet 3. His totals of late seem a bit below his average. I just want to see him surpass KJ. Fifteen years is long enough to reign supreme. And it would be crushing for James to get SO close and not make it now.

      • I say two more games. That would mean around $69,000 per game, which is totally doable, even with his “lower” scores of late. I think he’s been playing it safer so there will be no chance of him NOT beating Ken’s winnings.

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 6:20 pm |

      I think he is NOT worried about 2 or 3 – he is going to play the game the way he always has. He bets big when he knows he can nail an answer and smaller if he is in doubt. I don’t really think it has anything to do with ‘fatigue’ or ‘playing it safe’ – he’s a big boy who has been gambling for a long time and I’m pretty sure his reasons are known only to him. Maybe we’ll find out why he played a certain way in later interviews. Of one thing I’m sure, this is the first time he has had the pressure of almost the entire world watching and commenting!

      • Glenn Benfield | May 30, 2019 at 8:52 pm |

        You forget, Elizabeth. This drama already happened months ago before the world became interested.

        • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 11:52 pm |

          I read somewhere – maybe incorrectly – that the shows we are watching now are ones when the public first saw him in action. Also – many of us have known him in other shows like The Chase in which he was AMAZING, but that never got the attention that J! has. (But maybe the J! producers saw him in that and that is the reason they finally let him on after trying for years and also put him late in the season.)

  7. Plus, it would not be the first time that the Austrian government was wrong and it will not be the last time. Right now they did not even have a government until yesterday, since the vice chancellor resigned, the minister of the interior was canned and then President van der Bellen dismissed the entire government because of the Ibiza scandal. New elections will be held in September, until then Austria has a temporary chancellor, for the first tima a woman. Used to be the first female President of the Constitutional Court since 2018, her name is Brigitte Bierlein. Funny enough, Bierlein is a diminuitive of “Bier”=beer, so her name translates as “small beer”….😊
    Long story short: “Land der Berge “became the national anthem by resolution of the parliament the anthem on 22. October 1946, it was elevated to being a “law” when that resolution was published. But by then it had been already the anthem legally since October 1946.

    • PS
      A little subtlety lost on J, one could make an argument for both years. But since we are talking Europe, unfortunately only one – James- got it. Haydn should have been a dead giveaway.

      • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 6:26 pm |

        From the information above…” most scholars believe now that it is written by Johann Holzer.” (Whether or not it was Mozart, the debate over Johann Holzer is awfully close to James’ name.) Is anyone remembering also that James’ father is German? I’m sure he has been schooled in differences between things German and Austrian!

        • I don’t think so–I think more people would know that the German anthem had (has) a melody written by Haydn than would know that Austria also used the same melody for their anthem…I count myself among this group. In fact, it was probably those people who knew neither of these facts but did know only that Haydn was Austrian (James??) for whom it may have been a “dead giveaway,” or at least leading to an educated guess. What immediately came into to my head when I read the question was the controversy about the use of the first stanza of the “Deutschlandlied”: “Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles…” Of course, the Nazis seemed (ahem) to be fond of this stanza for some reason and the West German government stipulated that this stanza not be sung for official events (I’m not sure where this stands today–when I did a little research into this I found out that the author of the text that was written in the 1840s during revolutionary times in “Germany” meant this stanza to be an appeal for one German state as opposed to the patchwork quilt of duchies, principalities, etc that made up the area in that time and NOT a call for Germany to be dominant in the world at the expense of other nations. I did not know this before…Nevertheless, I think this stanza and the Nazis’ stressing of it contributed I’m thinking in no small way to the whole anthem becoming “Nazi-tainted.”
          In any case, once my mind went in this direction I never even thought about Austria–I mean how often do two countries have the same national anthem (melody-wise, at least)?? Austria only had it from 1929 to 1938, while Germany had adopted it all the way back in 1922 in the time of the Weimar Republic…So, I was ready to go with East Germany(!!), and if you leave out the date (East Germany adopted their anthem in 1949) I think you can make a case for it being an acceptable response…

        • Elizabeth, James’ last name literally translates to “wood-cutter” in English (“Holz”=wood, “Hauer”=cutter, chopper)…It is interesting that he pronounces it in the proper German, a la “Mow-tzart” (Mozart), which would indicate a definite interest in his German heritage I would think…

          Still, knowing that Austria used the “Nazi-tainted” Haydn melody for their anthem for a time before 1938 (I am assuming that he would already know without a doubt that the German anthem used the melody by Haydn…For me, knowing the latter but NOT the former just scrambled my brains to the point where I was ready to say East Germany because I knew that West Germany kept the Haydn anthem after the war, with some stipulations about what stanzas should be used, etc…)

          • (sorry, got distracted by my long parenthetical tangent and did not finish my sentence)–Still, knowing that Austria…is, well, why he is James, I guess…!!

          • Oh, good lord! None of this ridiculous circumlocution is necessary. All he needed to know is that a German-speaking country switched anthems in 1947 in repudiation of Nazi domination. Austria was (uniquely) absorbed into Germany and thus shared its national anthem until liberation in 1945. GDR didn’t exist until 1949. The only other plausible choice would be Lichtenstein, so there really was no choice: “Germany” was too obvious; “Lichtenstein” was too obscure; “Austria” was juuuuust right, declared Goldilocks.

  8. He has looked increasingly tired this past week. And his daily totals seem well below what they have previously been. I wonder if something was off for him during these tapings.

    • This is apparently the taping day where Trebek’s cancer announcement broke into the news, according to Megan from today’s game. So that likely affected James’s usual dominance.

    • If you look at James’ 3rd DD wager, he seems to play a safer strategy, which hurts his total winnings, but helps his winning chances.

      • His strategy hasn’t changed a bit. He calculates wagers based on probabilities going into Final Jeopardy! His proper wager then depends to a large extent on what he wagered in 2XJ! DDs. Variables in 2XJ! are several but looming large is how many clues are left and whether another DD is somewhere on the board. By the time the 3rd DD is found, if it’s late in the round he always wagers to defend his runaway, which is always the correct strategy. (He nearly always doubles on the 1st DD, bets his daughter’s birthdate or his own wedding date (or some other significant date that’s close to the the optimum $wager) on the 2nd DD, but wagers defensively on the 3rd.) That looks conservative but it’s simply correct game play.

        What’s changed is that a few players have caught wise to proper buzzer technique. In emulation, some lately have stood still, arms relaxed and extended, executing single, swift, precisely-timed presses. Consequently, James has not been 1st to buzz in on clues he clearly knew, and has jumped the gun a couple times on clues of which he wasn’t sure. Again, he adjusts his timing to suit the $ value and # of clues remaining, but the result has kept his lead from being large enough to bet huge on FJ!–bigger than almost anyone else in the history of the game, but not huge because he calculates precisely what guarantees winning. And only 1 game in the past month wasn’t guaranteed, none in the past week. His chances of winning don’t need help.

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 6:34 pm |

      Might be bored rather than tired – and perhaps tired of all the endless commenting and haters on social media. I can imagine that being roped into a schedule for this long (even if it’s just a couple of days a week) is confining for someone basically used to picking and choosing how he wants to use his time each day. I only teach two nights a week, but it seems like everything interesting I want to do comes up on one of those two nights!

      • Incognito123 | May 30, 2019 at 6:57 pm |

        As far as endless commenting and such, when this was taped, there was NO commenting online, it was only known to the show, contestants and the audience
        I must say, I know the show and contestants are held to not speaking about it, but pretty amazing all the audience members have kept a silence as well – – I’ve been curious if they have some obligation either implied or explicit not to talk about what they saw. The taping overlapping the general TV audience (and hence commenting, blogging, etc.) is still quite a few weeks away, it is roughly 3 months behind, and he has “only” been winning for 31 days

        • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 8:06 pm |

          I know. We’re all pondering how Jeopardy keeps the audience silent with all the social media today! Does anyone know how they do it??

          • I’m sure most of the audience are super J! fans who respect the game, plus a good portion may be friends and family of the contestants for the week.

          • I did a bit of research on this and there seems to be a few factors. 1) Small audience, only 50-159 people, 2) most of whom are related to the contestants, 3)They are told by the stage crew about how much revenue will be lost by leaked info as well as having to sign an NDA and if that doesn’t work, 4) they have ALL THE LAWYERS.

  9. I bet he does it in 2 days. Imagine though if he were to hit an all-time high and break Ken’s record at the same time. That would be sweet.

  10. How many more shows are set to air before the summer break?

  11. Noumon Munir | May 30, 2019 at 1:55 pm |

    once he beats ken jennings in 2 days….it will be unknown territory for everybody and the skys are the limits for him . i really wanna see how far the man can go !!

  12. Maurine Gutowski | May 30, 2019 at 3:06 pm |

    There is surprisingly a grammatical error in the FJ! question: “tainted by associated with Nazis.” It should be either “by its association” or “by being associated.”

    • Maurine: Apologies. Sometimes I put in little things to see who else on the Internet is copying my work verbatim.

      • Jay Rosenberg | May 30, 2019 at 4:22 pm |

        Cool – like map makers who will put in a fictional town to see if they are being copied – I like that.

  13. “With a projected 72 regular-play games to go prior to the Tournament of Champions cutoff:

    James Holzhauer qualified 100.000% of the time.”

    Is this right? I admit I may be wrong, but I thought the rule was that on the cutoff date, the reigning champion is ineligible for that year’s TOC–they instead are eligible for the following year’s TOC. Meaning that if JH continues his streak through the cutoff, he’s ineligible for 2019. At this point, that has to be considered a realistic possibility. And therefore, his odds of being eligible for the 2019 should be less than “100.000% of the time”. Right?

    • The model only cares whether or not James qualifies for any ToC, not just this next one. Thus, it’s 100%.

      If you’re curious as to the chances of James winning through the cutoff, you can see the chances of Jonathan Dinerstein qualifying.

  14. Lisa Brasch | May 30, 2019 at 5:31 pm |

    Question for you Andy. Rob was given credit for an answer that seemed wrong to me. Paraphrasing, this sport was added to the Olympics in _ year, the beach version was added later in _ year, and he answered “beach volleyball”. Do you know why this was deemed correct?

    Just want to add that I found it really funny that James didn’t even bother with the interview question today.

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 6:31 pm |

      I couldn’t watch and we don’t tape (Luddites, unfortunately.) Please tell what happened with the interview question.

      • Lisa Brasch | May 30, 2019 at 8:58 pm |

        Hi, Elizabeth! Sure, the contestant at the middle podium told a funny story and when Alex got to James he said something like “Just skip me, I can’t top that”. Didn’t think they really would but Alex just walked away!

        • It must be harder to think about 31 (so far) interesting things to say about yourself (Ken had to do it 74 times!) than to actually play the game.

          • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 11:56 pm |

            And can we all agree that some of the “bios” are unbelievably lame. That was a really strange scene this past Tuesday night with the woman on the right. And not only do repeat players have to think of new tidbits about themselves, they also know every snippet will be repeated and commented on endlessly.

          • Oh, I think they get lots of help from show staff. None of that stuff is extemporaneous.
            Usually it’s vaguely interesting fluff, but James’ worry about being locked out of sports books in Vegas is positively poignant. That’s his profession and, whatever you think of it as a profession, it’s disheartening to have national celebrity and an extremely small # of bookmakers effectively blackball you. He’s made a couple remarks about doors closing and needing a new line of work; that may be real.

    • This show was taped right after Alex announcement on his health.

      I’m sure that played into James wanting to pass on the interview.

    • I caught that too. Because it should be volleyball or indoor volleyball. There must be some J! rule that allowed it.

      • Lisa Brasch | May 30, 2019 at 9:13 pm |


        Andy usually knows if there are obscure rules about things like this.

        He must be busy saying prayers in Jurassic Park. (Apologies to non sports fans who don’t understand.)

    • I haven’t seen it yet myself, but the way you phrase it here, the judges’ ruling is consistent with how they’ve always called similar responses to similarly phrased clues.

      • Lisa Brasch | May 30, 2019 at 10:26 pm |

        The thing is though, the year the sport was added was included in the clue, and it also specifically stated that beach volleyball was added in a later year. If it didn’t note the year I wouldn’t be nitpicking.

  15. Bob Chang | May 30, 2019 at 6:25 pm |

    Ken getting $138,117 or more tomorrow is certainly not out the question. Though someone mentioned his lower scores of late, it’s just for 3 games! Just 3 games ago on Monday he exceeded $130,000 for a second time!

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 6:29 pm |


    • Bob Chang | May 30, 2019 at 6:49 pm |

      “James getting 138,117 or more tomorrow…” but I’m sure my typo didn’t confuse many if any!

      • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 8:15 pm |

        You’d be surprised. People who don’t watch J! regularly are just now tuning in and I’ve heard more than one person confuse Ken and James, believe it or not!

      • Bob Chang | May 30, 2019 at 8:20 pm |

        Elizabeth, my apologies, hadn’t read your post yet, but Ken came up because of posts of James soon surpassing his Jeopardy! regular games $ record.

        Speaking more of James’s mini 3 game “slump” of $ below his overall average, nevertheless his Coryat those 3 games has still been good and his $ total for them actually exceeds Ken’s 3 best games total (75,000, 55,099 and 52,000) by about $6,000!

        • We’ve all gotten so used to his enormous daily winnings, that now we think $50,000, $60,000, and even $70,000 are a “mini-slump”. Pre-James, those types of scores would for sure have been in the top ten, if not the top five.

          • An interesting observation: on the 29 May 2019 episode, James took $69,033. That’s the 23rd highest daily take ever (James holding 21 of those 23 records), but it’s the 1st time his winnings weren’t >$71K or <$59K. His winnings cluster, 7 between $49k-59K, then a big jump to $72K and up. Until Wednesday, that is, when he squeaked past Austin Rogers but couldn’t shoot for the $70K mark without risk, had to settle for a measly $69K.

  16. James Mercer | May 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm |

    J think he’s played safer but mainly just protecting his lead. Opponents were in close range than usual and there’s more value in winning the game and being back for the next than there is in betting bigger. Hi 100k wins were in cases where he could “afford” to bet bigger on DD#3. This has not been the case of late. James has the “game theory” part of Jeopardy! Down to a T. It will take a “perfect storm” of events for him to lose.

    • The funny part was he sort of mumbled on dd3, “this one seems hard” when it was obvious he was watching out for the 12.4k the lady had. Even before the bet, I’m thinking, you aren’t gonna throw 10k+, are you? And he didn’t, smartly.

      • Christina O. | May 31, 2019 at 7:56 am |

        Let’s add excellent strategist to James’ list of talents which are now becoming so evident in his play. Alex Jacob addressed this to some degree in his J! Insider interview.

  17. I can’t believe I’m the only one who thinks James has broken Jeopardy and that the longer his streak continues the worse it will be for the ratings. And you have to admit, his toothy grin is certainly disturbing.

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 8:12 pm |

      Yes and no. Think about this. If he finishes the season and comes back in the fall everyone who comes up against him will know his strategy and have the summer not only to bone up on additional info, but also to do buzzer practice. So many of the winners on J! are high school and college quiz bowl competitors. I used to read the questions and help our quiz bowl team practice. These students go through tens of thousands of questions when they prepare for quiz bowl and also have excellent buzzer skills – so we would see what difference (if any) a summer of additional practice might make for another gifted challenger. OTOH, J! might buy him out, especially if Alex is not able to return and another individual begins the new season in the fall.

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 30, 2019 at 8:14 pm |

      LOVE his grin – it’s his signature and now there are memes all over the place focusing on it!

    • Not going to happen. It might peak, but they are getting extreme ratings right now. Most people like excellence. The guy has answered 30/31 final J questions. Think about that. Those aren’t easy. He is amazing at answering questions, quite a bit better than Ken. And it’s good TV watching that excellence.

      • Marvin Moskowitz | May 30, 2019 at 9:32 pm |

        Not only ratings, but an enormous amount of free press coverage. Studios used to pay PR firms hefty fees to stage publicity stunt so to generate this much coverage. Of course, James reaps additional financial benefits out of the publicity because it establishes him as a “brand” which can be leveraged into additional income, as Ken did through publishing and appearances on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader. ( BTW, Ken quit those after the penultimate questions, though knowing the winning answer, playing it safe. I think John is more confidant and would go the distance.)

  18. Martin Sich | May 30, 2019 at 8:25 pm |

    May 30, 2019 – The response to the clue about the sport that was an olympic game in 1964 should have been What is volleyball? not What is beach volleyball?

  19. Steve Probst | May 30, 2019 at 8:49 pm |

    Andy, please give your opinion why “beach volleyball” was ruled correct, when based on the phrasing of the clue, the answer should clearly have been “volleyball”.

    • Right, but contestants have traditionally been given latitude to repeat key words in the clue in their response, even if the new response doesn’t quite make perfect sense.

  20. Mark Warner | May 30, 2019 at 8:59 pm |

    “James has broken Jeopardy” – poppycock.
    Did Babe Ruth break baseball?
    Did Shakespeare break plays?
    Did Tom Brady break football?
    Did Einstein break physics?
    Did Michael Jordan break basketball?

    • Tom Brady might be a poor example for what you’re trying to say here. ;o)

      • Let’s ask James!
        Hey, James, has Tom Brady been a consistently excellent quarterback through 17 seasons, now? (Ignoring 2000 & 2008, when he hardly played.)

        • The original remark wasn’t about whether James has played well though; it was about whether he’d “broken” the game while doing so.

  21. center ice | May 30, 2019 at 9:26 pm |


    Is there a reason why some posts might not be appearing tonight? I tried to post twice and neither went through.


  22. Mary A Rose | May 30, 2019 at 9:30 pm |

    At this rate, James might might pass Ken on my birthday! That would be a bit of trivia I would not be likely to forget.

    Suggestion: How about a tournament which includes all those contestants who lost to James? Give them a chance to recover from the teasing they might be enduring from friends, coworkers, and possibly even family. I’d like to see how they would fare. Anybody agree?

    • That wouldn’t interest me. They had their chance and they were unfortunate enough to go up against James. Nothing against any of them, but I have no interest in seeing them again.

      • Elizabeth Harris | May 31, 2019 at 12:06 am |

        Agreed. A lot of people have suggested this and the ONLY way it would be remotely interesting would be to limit those who lost to those who really had high scores (like Nate.) Maybe a one-week “Loser’s Tournament” of the best of them for kicks during one summer in the midst of re-runs.

        • Yeah, I think Adam Levin and the other guy who came close (was that Nate?) deserve another chance.

    • Elizabeth Harris | May 31, 2019 at 12:09 am |

      Actually I don’t think they’ve had much teasing. From interviews I’ve heard most of them – the good sports, anyway – are feeling like if they had the lose, the fact that they lost to the best gives them cover and that it was almost a badge of honor to play against James. There have only been a couple of bad sports, but they have been REALLY bad sports like the woman who crossed her arms and pouted and almost refused to even shake hands with Alex until the last second.

    • That would be a long tournament. 64 of them so far and a high likelihood of that # climbing into triple digits. Even forming teams, it’s too many players. You’d need to give them a season, not a tournament.

  23. center ice | May 30, 2019 at 9:33 pm |

    Actually, it might be related to a glitch I’ve had with over the last 2-3 weeks; I can’t reach the website unless I google the terms “the jeopardy fan” — if I type the address, it says the page does not exist! James may have broken this j/k! I’ll give it one more go.

  24. Pizza Face Fred | May 30, 2019 at 10:39 pm |

    Holzhauer has been great for The Jeopardy! Fan. You should consider an Initial Public Offering…

  25. Prithvi Sudhakar | May 31, 2019 at 7:55 am |

    James kind of reminds me of Alex Jacob, to an extent.

    Speaking of Alex, does he still play poker?

    • Peter Kaemmerlen | May 31, 2019 at 10:14 am |

      Yes, he posted a list of his summer poker tourneys on twitter sometime last week.

  26. I’m curious, the sidebar stats give James a 37.971% chance to win 75 games (beating Jennings), but then state that apparently the same methodology is predicting “Avg. streak: 75.463 games.”.

    I assume 75.463 then is the 50-50 point, and he’s equally likely to fall below or above that? How can that be true at the same time as having only a 37.971% chance to win 75 games?

    • You are assuming a normal distribution where median equals mean (equals mode).

      • Yes, I stated my assumption up front. And I think it’s a reasonable assumption. If it doesn’t follow a normal distribution, then that would be very odd, and interesting to know why, in and of itself. It’s hard to reconcile the two stats in a meaningful way, which leads me to believe the methodology is flawed.

        • Neil:

          It’s because of the fact that his chances of winning games in the future displays exponential decay. To give an example, the prediction model currently gives James a 10% chance of winning 108 more games (just because of the fact that he’s such a heavy favorite in each individual match. Comparing that to the fact that he’s also got a 10% chance of only winning 5 more games, the arithmetic mean of 5 and 108 is 56 (even though the exponential decay puts the 50% threshhold at 32-33 more games).

          • It seems then that using the arithmetic mean is meaningless with exponential decay. You’re essentially using two different models that way, that come up with different predictions of the length of his streak?

            I’m also curious about the new day-of-the-week twist: aren’t multiple games taped per day? How could the day of broadcast be statistically relevant to win odds? Unless Fridays are always taped at the end of a long day, never at the beginning or middle (as just one hypothetical example).

          • It very much has meaning, and the same model informs both the average streak and the chances for the next game. People want to know what his chances are of winning the next game, and what his average streak is. Both are relevant.

            And, yes, for the last eight years, Fridays have been taped as the 5th taping of a five-taping session. That’s precisely why “day of week” is relevant. (The producers even have their own maxim, “champions lose on Thursday” because it’s the game right after the lunch break.)

  27. I didn’t understand why that would be an issue for him. Is it because he has so much money now that the bookmakers would be afraid of taking bets from him? He doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would automatically make gigantic bets if he didn’t before.

    • Casinos simply rig odds favoring the house. That’s only gambling in the entertainment sense of the word. Sports books respond dynamically to bets placed, so gamblers are betting against each other. James makes a living by betting in a way that slightly favors himself, which disadvantages others, which is fine and proper unless he attracts so much interest and following that what he does influences what others do. If people bet on a bettor instead of betting on teams, the book gets skewed and could, potentially, be deliberately manipulated. I think that’s the fear.

      Gambling establishments aren’t generally comfortable with the concept of “professional gambler”. For one to consistently win, many must lose (or the house go broke). It might bespeak a flaw in the system, chicanery or consummate skill, but anything that discourages people from taking chances is bad for business.

  28. Thanks for the clarification. That makes sense.

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