Ken Jennings is the greatest “Jeopardy!” player of all time.
Jennings was the first to get three wins against other legendary champs James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter in the game show’s first-ever Greatest of All Time — or GOAT — tournament on Tuesday night.
Host Alex Trebek said, “It has taken 15 years for Ken Jennings to finally answer the question, ‘Is he as good as he appeared to be in his great run on ‘Jeopardy!’?’ ”
Jennings, a 45-year-old software engineer turned author from Seattle also walked away with the grand prize of $1 million. That brings his total earnings to a whopping $4,370,700 over 15 years.
These three were picked to compete because Jennings won the most regular-season games in a row (74, in 2004), Holzhauer won the most money in a single game ($131,127, in 2019) and Rutter won the most money ($4,688,436, from a first regular-season appearance in 2000 followed by multiple special tournament appearances).
They also changed up the format of the show a bit. Each night of play was, as Trebek called it, “a two-game total point affair.” The three players duked it out in two back-to-back traditional half-hour games. The points (or dollars) earned in each one were added together. The contestant with the highest score at the end of the hour earned one point. Going into Tuesday night’s competition, Jennings had two points to Holzhauer’s one. The first player to three points — Jennings — won it all.
Jennings won the first and third nights of the GOAT tournament last week.
Holzhauer, a 35-year-old professional gambler from Las Vegas, won night two. During his 32-game streak last year, Holzhauer racked up a staggering $2,712,216.
He and Rutter will both add $250,000 to their all-time totals for their runner-up spots in the GOAT tournament.