Matt Amodio has moved into a whole new category of Jeopardy champions.
The now-seven-day champ racked up $74,000 on Thursday's episode of the quiz show, bringing his total winnings to $268,800. That places Amodio, a Ph.D. student from New Haven, Conn., among the top 10 highest-winning Jeopardy contestants ever (not counting tournaments). He currently sits at no. 9, between 12-time winner Seth Wilson's $265,002 total and 11-day champion Arthur Chu's $298,200.
Asked to pick a highlight of his run in a post-game interview with Jeopardy's Sarah Whitcomb Foss, Amodio chose his first victory on the show. "Once you do it once, that's just such a great accomplishment," he said. "Nobody can ever take that away from you."
Amodio has displayed a strategy reminiscent of previous Jeopardy high-rollers including Chu and James Holzhauer, which includes picking high-value clues first and betting big on Daily Doubles. It's paid off handsomely, with runaway scores that earned Amodio more than $100,000 in just three games.
Of course, as other Jeopardy contestants know, being a successful champion doesn't necessarily make you beloved by the show's fans. Some viewers have called Amodio "the most annoying contestant ever" due to his habit of saying "what's" for every response, rather than "who is" when naming a person. (Per the rules of Jeopardy, responses simply need to be phrased in the form of a question, regardless of the pronoun used.)
The highest-winning Jeopardy contestant of all time is still official GOAT Ken Jennings, who won over $2 million during his legendary 74-game run in 2004. In the no. 2 slot is Holzhauer, who fell just $56,485 short of Jennings' total during his 32-game winning streak in 2019. The two faced off in 2020's Jeopardy: The Greatest of All Time tournament, and now costar on ABC's The Chase.
Only two weeks remain in Jeopardy's current season, which has featured a roster of rotating guest hosts after the death of beloved emcee Alex Trebek. Long-anticipated guest host LeVar Burton is currently hosting, with CNBC's David Faber and Fox sportscaster Joe Buck set to close out the season.