SALT LAKE CITY — “Jeopardy!” winner James Holzhauer shot down a number of conspiracy theories about his run after he was defeated on Monday.
Social media went ablaze with theories about whether or not Holzhauer actually threw his 32nd game, which ended his streak just shy of earning the same amount as Ken Jennings.
Some were wondering if Holzhauer’s wager on Final Jeopardy was so low because he was throwing the game. Holzhauer bet $1,399 on the final question, which didn't seem like a lot, and added fuel that maybe the "Jeopardy!" champ was trying to lose.
According to For The Win, Holzhauer fielded a number of questions from social media about whether or not he threw the game on purpose. Others suggested that Holzhauer’s winnings were costing “Jeopardy!” a lot of money so he was given an offer to throw the game.
- “I think @James_Holzhauer lost @Jeopardy on purpose today. His daughter wanted him to come home & the thank you card she made #AlexTrebek sends us the biggest lesson of all: money isn’t everything,” wrote Karen Dumas.
Holzhauer retweeted the comment and added, “Sure, I could stick around and play a game that pays me $150,000 per hour, but I'd really rather get toys thrown at my crotch for free.”
But Brad Rutter, the all-time leader in “Jeopardy!” winnings, told The Washington Post that it was the easiest way for Holzhauer to win. Holzhauer had $23,400 and Emma Boettcher had $26,600. Holzhauer could only win if Boettcher got her answer wrong and Holzhauer guessed correctly. Similarly, if Jay Sexton guessed correctly, then he could have won. Holzhauer’s bet would have left him with $1 more than Sexton’s maximum winnings of $22,000, according to Rutter.
- “If Holzhauer had bet everything and Boettcher guessed the Final Jeopardy question correctly, Boettcher would have still won,” Fox News reported.
Holzhauer told Action Network that he didn’t throw the game in a new interview.
“I knew I could only win if Emma missed Final Jeopardy, as there was no way she wouldn’t bet to cover my all-in bet,” Holzhauer told <a href="https://www.actionnetwork.com/entertainment/james-holzhauer-loses-jeopardy-record-run-2019">The Action Network</a>. “So my only concern was getting overtaken by third place, and I bet just enough to make sure of locking him out. Betting big would have looked good for the cameras, but now I turn my straight bet (Emma misses) into a parlay (Emma misses and I get it right).”