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'Jeopardy!' star James Holzhauer defeated in 33rd game

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS 58) —The streak is over.

After 32 wins, James Holzhauer lost on Monday’s episode of Jeopardy!

In his hometown of Naperville, Illinois, family and friends gathered at a restaurant to watch the episode. Holzhauer’s brother Ian says the party was called in anticipation of Holzhauer breaking Ken Jennings’ 2004 record for most amount of money won in regular season play. 

Holzhauer accumulated $2,462,216 in winnings plus $2,000 for his second-place finish Monday. He secured the 15 highest Jeopardy! scores ever.

The professional sports gambler from Las Vegas was beaten by Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher. Boettcher won the game with $46,801; Holzhauer finished in second place with $24,799.

“If he could’ve lost to anyone I know he would’ve wanted to lose to a Chicagoan,” Ian said. “Emma played a great game.”


When the game ended, most of the crowd was stunned.

“This has been the run of a lifetime for my brother James,” Ian said. “I’m so proud of him. I’m so glad he got to go on the show. I always knew if he got on he would do something great.”

Before it even aired, the episode had some drama surrounding it. The results leaked on Twitter Monday morning.

Hunter Byington of Naperville had the chance to read the spoilers, but chose not to.

“I don’t want to read it until after it’s over,” he said. “Just look forward to it. He’s done so well all this time.”

Ian said his four kids took the news of the loss pretty hard, so James sent his nieces and nephews a personal video.

“He said, ‘Hey [it’s] Uncle Jamie, I’m so happy I got this opportunity. Don’t feel bad for me. I just want everyone to be happy.’”

The streak made Holzhauer a household name and sent ratings soaring, at a time "Jeopardy!" needed a pick-me-up amid host Alex Trebek's announcement that he had cancer.

Holzhauer combined a savant-like knowledge of the world with a mastery of the buzzer, allowing him to beat opponents to the punch, and adding a gambler's cold-blooded instinct to make big bets. Often in the show's first round, he'd quickly pile up as much money as he could, and then bet it all if he landed on a Daily Double that allows him to choose how much money to risk.

"I really felt like I had been playing with house money, so I wasn't too upset to see my run end," Holzhauer said in an email interview. He said he ran into "a terrific opponent playing flawlessly."

Holzhauer will return to Jeopardy! in Season 36 for the next edition of the Tournament of Champions.

Jeopardy! airs weeknights at 6:00 p.m. on CBS 58. 

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